Mark Appel is one college arm that will be on the fast track to the big leagues.
The 2013 MLB draft class is loaded with impact bats and strong arms, but which prospects are going to turn out to be stars in the big leagues?
The first three picks in the draft are still very much in the air and what follows is even more in question. One thing that’s for sure is that many players are going to have their dreams fulfilled by hearing their names called on June 6.
But getting drafted is only the beginning of a long process. Many of the players taken in this year’s draft won’t make it past Single-A and more and more will continue to fail as the competition gets tougher. But there are some players that were born to make it to the big leagues and shine their brightest.
Here’s a look at how the first round of the 2013 MLB draft could play out, while noting which players should be stars at the highest level.
*Italicized picks denote players that will be eventual stars in Major League Baseball.
1. Houston Astros: Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
Keith Law of ESPN brought up a great point in his most recent mock draft regarding the No. 1 overall pick in the draft (Insider subscription required). He said that by taking Moran, the top position player in the class, Houston would save money to use on other picks. The Astros just need talent. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a position player or a pitcher.
2. Chicago Cubs: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
The Cubs are going to get their hands on a great pitching prospect, whether it’s Appel or Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray. As long as Appel doesn’t get selected No. 1, I don’t see any way he doesn’t land in Chicago. He’s has great potential and a very high ceiling.
This season for Stanford, Appel is 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA through 106.1 innings of work. The right-hander has great command, striking out 130 batters while walking just 23 over the course of the season. The Cubs will be sure to handle him with care, as he’ll become their ace of the future.
3. Colorado Rockies: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
The Rockies will look to take the best pitcher on the board, meaning Appel, Gray or potentially Kohl Stewart. Colorado desperately lacks talent on the mound in the big leagues and in the minors. This will be the first step toward turning things around and preparing for the future.
4. Minnesota Twins: Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius HS (Texas)
Stewart is arguably the top high school prospect available and will be a nice fit with the Twins. Minnesota doesn’t have a lot of starters in their system with a lot of potential. Stewart would certainly give the Twins’ future starting rotation a boost, but that’s only if he doesn’t go to Texas A&M.
5. Cleveland Indians: Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego
While Moran is a great overall prospect, Bryant is easily the most offensively gifted player in the draft. He’s showed off his incredible power this season, hitting 31 home runs through 60 games thus far. Cleveland has a very sound minor league system and adding Bryant to the mix would be huge.
Whether Cleveland would play Bryant at third base or in the outfield would be an interesting debate. Dorssys Paulino, arguably the second best prospect for the Indians, is at third for now, but there could be an opening in a corner outfield spot. As long as his power stays, the Indians will find a way to get him in the lineup.
6. Miami Marlins: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
The rebuilding process is well underway for the Miami Marlins and they will most likely look to take the best pitcher on the board. The Marlins already have a couple of great pitching prospects in the minor leagues and Jose Fernandez is already with Miami, but adding someone like Braden Shipley would be a smart decision.
7. Boston Red Sox: Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Ga.)
An outfielder with superb power, the Red Sox will be looking to take an impact bat with the No. 7 pick. Boston is pretty much set with pitching for the future and if Frazier is there, it would make sense to get him off the board. Boston has decent depth in the minor leagues and securing Frazier would improve it considerably.
8. Kansas City Royals: Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (Ga.)
One of the top position players in the draft, the Royals will likely take either Meadows or Frazier, depending on who is available. If neither is still on the board, Kansas City could resort to going with a pitcher. The Royals must look to make up for the loss of Wil Myers, who was traded over the winter.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates*: Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Wash.)
The Pirates are fine behind the plate for now, but need to start thinking about who is going to take over once Russell Martin is gone. Pittsburgh does have Wyatt Mathisen in Single-A and he’s expected to be the next guy in line, but a little competition might bring out the best in him. Reese McGuire has what it takes to be a great catcher.
10. Toronto Blue Jays: J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (Calif.)
The Blue Jays have a solid team on paper, but as we’ve seen this season, Toronto has failed to produce on the field. Toronto is all set on paper in terms of pitching for the future, but lack position player talent. The Blue Jays don’t have a solid infielder for the future and could use a guy like Crawford. Unless Jose Reyes is going to play forever, Toronto needs a plan.
11. New York Mets: D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B, New Mexico
It appears that Wilmer Flores will be the eventual replacement for David Wright at third—but Flores could move to second base as well. Either way, New York needs to add a bat that can play both corner infield positions. Peterson has that versatility and great power—another thing that the Mets currently lack and could lack in the future as well.
12. Seattle Mariners: Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
There’s a lot to like about Stanek, as he’s continued to get better and better with experience. This season for Arkansas, the right-hander has gone 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA through 67.1 innings of work. He’s struck out close to one batter per inning while keeping his walk total under control.
Seattle does have a lot of pitching talent in the minor leagues, but adding to it would prove to be a beneficial move. With the upside that Stanek has to offer alongside of the talent already in place, there’s no doubt that the Mariners would have a topnotch starting rotation down the road.
13. San Diego Padres: Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State
The Padres need someone to play next to Rymer Liriano in the near future and there’s a good chance that that player could be Renfroe, if he’s still available at No. 13. He can play a variety of positions too, but outfield is where he’s at his best. He hit .347/.438/.639 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI for Miss. State this year.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates: Dominic Smith, 1B, Serra HS (Calif.)
The Garrett Jones project isn’t going to last much longer in Pittsburgh, in my opinion. While he’s been fine recently, I don’t think he has what it takes to be a star in the big leagues down the road. Pittsburgh lacks a long-term first baseman and Smith could fill that void. He’s a great hitter with solid power too.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Oral Roberts
Arizona has a very good starting rotation now and should be even better within the next couple of seasons. Once Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley are there to stay, opponents better watch out. Adding a righty like Gonzalez would provide balance to what looks to be a lefty-dominated starting five.
16. Philadelphia Phillies: Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle HS (Ind.)
Ball is one of the players that I think is going to slip in the draft, but there’s no chance that the Phillies let him get by them. Two of Philadelphia’s top prospects are left-handed starters that should be in the big leagues soon and Ball is a safe choice to meet them there a couple of years after. He might be a guy that choose school over a professional contract, though.
17. Chicago White Sox: Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Wilson is a beast of an outfielder that looks more like a linebacker than a baseball player. He has good power and if he can stay healthy, he could have a quick road to the big leagues. Putting Wilson with Trayce Thompson and Courtney Hawkins would give the White Sox a scary outfield—in a good way.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana St.
The Dodgers have a lot of stars under contract for the near future, including a couple of top prospects that will soon be in their starting rotation. Los Angeles has stacked its minor league system with talented lefties and righties that should make the Dodgers contenders in the NL. There’s no harm to adding another starter here.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Tim Anderson, SS, East Central CC
St. Louis is prepared at every infield position for the future with the exception of shortstop and catcher. While the Cardinals could decide to take a catcher like Nick Ciuffo with the No. 19 pick, I think they can hold off on taking one until their second first-round pick. There isn’t a ton of shortstop talent in this year’s draft class.
20. Detroit Tigers: Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville
I’m sure that Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski is hoping that his current starting rotation stays intact throughout the rest of his life, but that’s not necessarily a guarantee. The Tigers only have a pair of top pitching prospects and adding a third with the No. 20 overall pick is a good idea, in my opinion. Anderson went 7-5 with a 2.49 ERA for Jacksonville this season.
21. Tampa Bay Rays: Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington HS (S.C.)
The Rays have their third baseman and most of their starting rotation. They have great outfield prospects and a couple of good infield stars for the future too. What Tampa Bay doesn’t have is a catcher. They don’t have a great one now and no one is in line to take Jose Molina’s spot. Nick Ciuffo is the obvious choice for the Rays.
22. Baltimore Orioles: Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS (Calif.)
Baltimore needs to find an ace. If it’s going to be Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman, awesome. If not, the Orioles need to draft someone who they think can be. Even if Clarkin doesn’t turn out to be a No. 1-type pitcher, he’ll be a valuable lefty to have. Currently, Baltimore is overloaded with right-handers. He’ll even things out.
23. Texas Rangers: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys HS (N.C.)
The Rangers have been battling health issues within the starting rotation all year long and depth is very important going forward. That’s why Texas must take a pitcher at No. 23. The Rangers will likely go with the best one still on the board, which very well could be Harvey. A left-hander would work too.
24. Oakland Athletics: Josh Hart, OF, Parkview HS (Ga.)
Oakland should have Yoenis Cespedes in its outfield for the long-term and it appears that Michael Choice is going to be the real deal very soon. But who will that third outfielder be in the coming years? It could be Hart, should the A’s decide to go with an outfielder. Left-handed pitchers are another area of weakness for Oakland.
25. San Francisco Giants: Eric Jagielo, 3B, Notre Dame
The Giants have a lot of flexibility with the No. 25 pick in the draft because they don’t need much. San Francisco is definitely all set with pitchers, but I think the Giants will end up going with the best player available—maybe someone who pitches and can play the field. There’s no one behind Pablo Sandoval and Jagielo wouldn’t be a half-bad selection.
26. New York Yankees: Phil Bickford, RHP, Westlake Village HS (Calif.)
With three picks in the first round, it’ll be tough for the Yankees to mess things up. New York has a bunch of right-handed talent in the lower levels of their minor league system and with the injury problems some prospects have had in the past, it makes sense to add another. Bickford throws very hard and probably wouldn’t mind putting on pinstripes.
27. Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Serrano, RHP, Farragut HS (Tenn.)
While it may appear that the Reds have enough pitching in their minor league system, they have to know that you can never have enough pitching. Cincinnati is setup nicely for sure, but adding another arm wouldn’t hurt at all. Taking an infielder is probably their biggest need, but I still think the Reds will end up selecting a pitcher at No. 27.
28. St. Louis Cardinals*: Cord Sandberg, OF, Manatee HS (Fla.)
Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Jon Jay aren’t going to be in the Cardinals’ outfield forever. I have St. Louis taking a shortstop to boost the infield with their first pick of the first round and here, I think an outfielder makes sense. Outside of Oscar Tavares, the Cardinals don’t have another impact outfielder for the future.
29. Tampa Bay Rays*: Hunter Green, SS/3B, Stephen F. Austin
With their second pick of the first round, I think the Rays will go with another player to stick in the lineup and in the infield. Tim Beckham and Hak-Ju Lee are solid shortstop prospects, but Green would be a safe option should one of them not pan out in the big leagues or if something were to happen to Evan Longoria.
30. Texas Rangers*: Travis Demeritte, 3B/2B, Winder Barrow HA (Ga.)
The Rangers have quite the logjam in the infield right now, but in a couple of years everything should’ve sorted itself out. Jurickson Profar is going to be somewhere in the infield and Mike Olt and Joey Gallo will likely be there too. Demeritte has the potential to be the second baseman if he hits consistently and plays well defensively.
31. Atlanta Braves*: Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
Atlanta isn’t going to get a superstar with such a late pick in the first round, but by taking Gonzales, the Braves would get a good left-hander with potential. The Braves don’t have many lefties lined up for the future, either. A solid hitter too, Gonzales is 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA this season—and definitely projects more as a starter than a position player.
32. New York Yankees*: Billy McKinney, OF, Plano West HS (Texas)
It might be tough to break into the future outfield of the Yankees with Tyler Austin, Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott expected to be there, but if anyone can do it, it’s McKinney. He has a very good bat and with three picks in the first round, it wouldn’t be horrible if he decided to go to TCU instead of signing with New York.
33. New York Yankees*: Dustin Peterson, SS/3B, Gilbert HS (Ariz.)
The Yankees need to find out who is going to be on the left side of the infield in the coming years as soon as possible. It’s definitely not going to be Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez. Dante Bichette, Jr. might turn out to be the third baseman, but there isn’t a great prospect behind Jeter. With the ability to play either position, if Peterson is available, the Bronx Bombers should snag him.
*Denotes a compensation pick.