2013 MLB Draft: Most Likely to Hit 50 Homers, Win MVP and Other Milestones
The primary goal of the MLB draft is to draft a player that has the potential to be successful in the big leagues some day. Players that become successful usually tend to win awards, break records and achieve milestones throughout their careers.
In the 2013 MLB draft, there were plenty of players selected that have that sort of potential. Over the next 20 or so years, these will be the stars of the game, winning MVPs, Cy Young awards and maybe even getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.
So, which draft picks are most likely to win these types of awards or achieve these milestones? Well, I’ve compiled a set of achievements that are prestigious within in the game, and in the following slides, I’ll explain who has the best chance at winning the award, breaking the record, etc. and why that player's chances are so good.
Without wasting anymore time explaining what we’re doing it, let’s take a look at which 2013 draft picks will be doing some special things in the near future.
Hit 50 Home Runs in a Season
Most Likely: Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego
Since 2008, only one player in all of baseball has amassed 50 home runs in a season: Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2010. While it seems likely that someone may hit the 50-homer plateau this year, Kris Bryant is a name to keep an eye on in the future.
Bryant, taken with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft by the Chicago Cubs, has the most power out of anyone else in his class. In 62 games for San Diego this past college season, he hit .329/.493/.820 with 31 home runs and 62 RBI.
Let me single out one of those stats: 31 home runs.
Bryant’s 31 home runs for the season led all Division I hitters, and the next closest player to him only had 21. And while I don’t have the numbers to back this up, I can assure you that no high school batter hit more than 31 homers this year either.
The Cubs have a potential monster on their hands—in a good way. Bryant is bound to be a slugger in the big leagues, just like he was in college. He still has some developing to do, but he has a great bat and knows exactly how to show off his power. If he continues to get better, there’s a great chance he leads the majors in homers one day.
Collect 3,000 Career Hits
Most Likely: Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
There have only been 28 players in the history of the game to collect 3,000 hits over the course of their respective careers. Only one is still active—Derek Jeter—and there are just two players that are somewhat close, Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki. If there’s one draft pick from this year that could do it, it’s Colin Moran.
Moran, the sixth overall pick in the draft who was taken by the Miami Marlins, was one of the best hitters in this year’s class. For North Carolina, he's been the go-to guy the last three years. He’s led the Tar Heels in hitting the previous two seasons and will likely finish this year with the third-highest average on the team.
In Moran’s freshman season, he went 83-for-248 for a .335 average. Last season, he hit .365 after going 62-for-170. Through 64 games this season, the third baseman is hitting .348, going 88-for-253. Needless to say, Moran knows he’s doing in the batter’s box and makes contact quite often.
The ability to make contact is a valuable asset to have and is one reason the Marlins took Moran. Miami is really a great fit for him, and in the future, he’ll likely be hitting among the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich—not a bad group. He’s hit well at the college level, and I believe he’ll be consistently great in his career.
Go 30-30 in a Season
Most Likely: Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Wash.)
Just 38 players have ever been able to hit at least 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases in a season. Thirteen of those 38 have done it more than once. Combining power and speed is not something every baseball has—it’s actually somewhat rare. Reese McGuire, future catcher of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has both.
McGuire, the No. 14 pick in this year’s draft, was, by far, the best catcher available. Many thought Pittsburgh would take him at No. 9, but the Pirates opted not to and, luckily for them, he was still around five picks later. Teams that didn’t select him will now watch from afar as he turns into one of the top players in the game.
B/R’s Mike Rosenbaum was extremely high on McGuire entering the draft. In Rosenbaum’s final big board, McGuire was deemed, among other catchers, the best prospect, the best athlete, the catcher with the highest ceiling, the catcher with the most speed and the catcher with the best arm. He didn’t win best power, though.
McGuire is extremely quick on the basepaths, which is unusual for a catcher. But it’s not just being awake on the bases; he has legitimate 30-steals-per-season kind of speed. He will have at least 30 steals in several of his big league seasons. Hitting 30 home runs will be tough, but I think he’ll be able hit that many at least once.
Win Most Valuable Player
Most Likely: Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Ga.)
Miguel Cabrera. Buster Posey. Josh Hamilton. Albert Pujols. Joe Mauer. Joey Votto. Clint Frazier.
What do all of these players have in common? Well, they’ve either already won an MVP, or they eventually will. Note that Frazier is the only one that hasn’t yet, and that’s because he just got drafted the other day.
Frazier is an incredible talent that the Cleveland Indians were fortunate enough to land with the fifth overall pick in the draft. He’s the complete package. He is a well-rounded hitter, a great defensive outfielder and a guy who will make a lot of money one day.
Frazier projects to be a plus-hitter with plus-power, above-average plate discipline, average speed and play above-average defense with an above average arm, according to B/R’s Mike Rosenbaum. If you need a little more to get excited about Frazier’s future, Rosenbaum compares him to Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout.
While Trout has yet to win an MVP, he will some day, and there’s a great chance that he’ll be competing against Frazier. Frazier should be up with the Indians in just a couple of years—potentially around late 2015 or early 2016. Once he makes his MLB debut, get ready for the show. He’s going to be a star.
Strike out 3,000 Career Batters
Most Likely: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
Despite Braden Shipley falling to the No. 15 pick in the draft, he still has a bright future ahead of him with the Arizona Diamondbacks. If he develops quickly, he could be in Arizona by 2016, depending on what the Snakes need. Shipley has a high ceiling and could be a great No. 2 starter or a good No. 1.
No matter where he is in the starting rotation, he’s going to be a good strikeout guy. Shipley wasn’t the best pitching prospect in this year’s class, but he was one of the better ones. He went 7-3 this year in 15 starts with Nevada, posting a 2.77 ERA across 107.1 innings of work while striking out 102 batters and walking 34.
Now, Shipley didn’t strike out more than one batter per inning like some collegiate starters did this past season, but he does have upside. He has the potential to strike out around nine batters per game in the majors if he improves his off-speed stuff a little more.
At the moment, Shipley has a great fastball, an average changeup and a good curveball. If he gets his changeup to be a little better and just improves his curveball a tad, he’ll be a nightmare for opposing batters.
Compiling 3,000 career strikeouts is very difficult to do, but if anyone is going to do it, I think Shipley can.
Win 250 Career Games
Most Likely: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
Jonathan Gray is the type of pitching prospect that doesn’t come around every year. He’s a rare talent that the Colorado Rockies are very lucky to have in their system—or are expected to have in their system, pending Gray signs. He has great upside and will eventually be one of the game’s best pitchers.
Gray has been one of the best pitchers on Oklahoma the last two seasons. Last year, he went 8-4 in 18 starts with a 3.16 ERA in 102.2 innings of work. Through 17 starts this year, he’s 10-3 with a 1.64 ERA in 126.1 innings—and he might pitch some more depending on how far the Sooners go at the College World Series.
Gray shouldn’t take too long in the minor leagues, and I think he’ll be pitching in Colorado by the end of 2015. He has a lot of experience under his belt, has great stuff and has good makeup. I think he has the potential to win 250 games over the course of his big league career.
Winning 250 games has only been accomplished by 46 pitchers ever; Andy Pettite is currently one win away from joining the club. If Gray can manage to pitch 16 years in the big leagues and average around 15 wins per season, he should be able to get there.
Win a Cy Young Award
Most Likely: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
The Houston Astros were going to select the best prospect available this year, and they thought that was Mark Appel. I did too. So Houston took Appel with the No. 1 pick in the draft. No pressure to succeed, right? Wrong. But I think he will handle the pressure quite well.
Appel has a high ceiling of being an ace with the Astros in the near future. He could end up being their ace by the end of next season—but definitely not in the next month, Harold Reynolds. He has a great arm and one that Houston isn’t going to wreck by trying to get him to the majors as soon as possible.
This year at Stanford, the senior right-hander went 10-4 in 14 starts with a 2.12 ERA. He struck out 130 batters while walking just 23 in 106.1 innings of work. If his success at Stanford translates to the big leagues in the slightest manner, there’s no doubt that he’ll be one of the best pitchers in baseball.
But can he be the best pitcher in baseball for a year? I believe he can. It’s weird to think of an Astros pitcher winning a Cy Young Award, but I think Appel can do it. He is already a great pitcher and should be even better as time goes on. If he gets the run support, he could be a 20-game winner. That, and a low ERA, should win him the award.
Get Inducted into Hall of Fame
Most Likely: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
I just said what I think about Mark Appel’s chances to win a Cy Young Award. If you didn’t read that slide, I think he has a very good chance. But can he achieve what every kid in the nation once dreamed of: making into the Hall of Fame? Well, let’s discuss.
In doing some research, there has yet to be a No. 1 overall draft pick that turned into a Hall of Fame inductee. Not one. But keep in mind that the draft only started in 1965, and there are some current players that have decent odds to this point, including Joe Mauer, David Price and some Nationals youngsters.
Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is one of the toughest feats in baseball, if not the toughest. Appel has yet to throw a pitch in the minor leagues, better yet the majors. Predicting whether he’ll even make it to the big leagues is a stretch right now. But making it the majors won’t be a problem. Being successful shouldn’t be either.
But making it into the Hall of Fame?
Let’s put it like this: I don’t know if Appel is ever going to be an ace. I don’t even know if he’s going to win 10 career games. But he was the best player in this draft class, and out of all of the other prospects that got drafted, he has the best shot at making it to Cooperstown. Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but he’s the most likely.