MLB Draft 2013: Predicting the MLB ETA for Every 1st-Round Pick

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2013

MLB Draft 2013: Predicting the MLB ETA for Every 1st-Round Pick

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    After the first day of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, we can start to make sense of the things we saw from the 28 teams that made a pick in the first round on Thursday night. 

    Specifically, we are going to focus on the first 33 picks made and provide our best estimate for when you can figure on seeing them in the big leagues.

    One of the most important things to preach with the MLB draft is patience, as some of these players are going to take at least two years before they are ready for The Show. It would be great if everyone came into a system as a finished product, but that isn't reality.

    So here is the big league ETA for the 33 picks made in the first round, in descending order. 

No. 1 Pick: Houston Astros Select RHP Mark Appel

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    Appel came into the draft as the most polished pitcher, and his stuff is certainly as close to big-league ready as it can possibly be. Depending on how long his negotiation takes—assuming he actually signs this time—it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he could debut at the end of this year and hold his own.

    The Stanford ace will have a layoff before signing and the Astros don't want to start his arbitration clock too soon. The realistic scenario has him debuting after the All-Star break in 2014—not this year, despite what Harold Reynolds might have you believe.

    MLB ETA: Mid-2014

No. 2 Pick: Chicago Cubs Select 3B Kris Bryant

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    The interesting thing about Bryant is that, while everyone expects him to hit a lot of home runs, there is some uncertainty about which position he will play in the big leagues. He is a good athlete and may be able to handle third base, but his lateral quickness isn’t very good and could make him a fringe-average defender at the hot corner.

    Considering Bryant’s bat holds more value at third base, as opposed to right field, he will be given every opportunity to prove he can stay there. But when you have true 30-plus homer potential, teams will find a spot to put you.

    MLB ETA: Late 2015

No. 3 Pick: Colorado Rockies Select RHP Jonathan Gray

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    While Gray’s upside is slightly higher than that of Mark Appel, he also comes with a little more risk thanks to a lesser track record, stuff that isn’t quite as polished, and lesser command, particularly of his changeup.

    It might be best to play things conservatively with Gray, since this was his breakout season, and trying to rush him could stunt all the positive development he made. He could debut next year with little problems, but look for him again at the start of the 2015 season.

    MLB ETA: 2015

No. 4 Pick: Minnesota Twins Select RHP Kohl Stewart

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    The most exciting high school pitcher in the draft, Stewart has a big decision ahead of him as he also has a scholarship to play quarterback at Texas A&M.

    He could sit behind Johnny Manziel for at least one year, as well as pitch for the Aggies baseball team.

    Stewart does have a bright future on the mound, as he has a huge fastball already and a very good slider. He is unrefined as a high schooler, with a delivery that is unorthodox and will have to be cleaned up a bit in pro ball, but the upside is huge. It’s just going to take time before we see it in the big leagues.

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 5 Pick: Cleveland Indians Select OF Clint Frazier

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    Frazier is going to need plenty of time in the minors, particularly the lower levels, as he adjusts to pitchers throwing him breaking balls. He has electric bat speed and can let the ball travel deep before committing, but he has an unrefined approach that will need work.

    It also remains to be seen where the outfielder will play. Center field remains an option thanks to average speed, but he won’t have the most range and his throwing arm could push him to left field.

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 6 Pick: Miami Marlins Select 3B Colin Moran

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    Like Kris Bryant, Moran faces some questions about his ability to stay at third base. He has the arm strength and accuracy for the position, but doesn’t always react well to the ball off the bat. That could necessitate a move to first base, where his bat would be slightly less valuable.

    But given Moran’s natural hitting ability, disciplined approach and good power frame, it doesn’t matter where he plays in the field because he is going to be a terrific hitter who gets on base and hits 20-25 homers.

    MLB ETA: 2015

No. 7 Pick: Boston Red Sox Select LHP Trey Ball

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    One of the best pure athletes in the draft, as well as one of the most highly projectable, Ball will have to grow into his 6’6” frame before we know exactly what he is.

    A lefty with an above-average fastball already is a nice luxury. Ball will have to find a third pitch, as his changeup wasn't used enough in high school since he was good enough to get by with a fastball-curveball combination.

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 8 Pick: Kansas City Royals SS Hunter Dozier

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    Even though the Royals currently list him as a shortstop, Dozier will eventually have to learn second base because he is too big (6'4", 220 pounds) and lacks range for SS. He does have a good, polished bat and quick, explosive hands that give him above-average power potential. 

    The Royals reached to get Dozier, likely to save money to sign players with higher upside later in the draft. His value lies in his bat, which is what you want from a player who is limited to second base.

    MLB ETA: 2016

No. 9 Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates Select OF Austin Meadows

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    There might not be a bigger boom-or-bust prospect among the top players in this class than Meadows. His athleticism and raw tools suggest a potential four-tool star, but there is a laid-back approach to his game that will take time to adjust against advanced pitching.

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 10 Pick: Toronto Blue Jays Select RHP Phil Bickford

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    Bickford is the definition of a one-trick pony right now, with a plus fastball and not much else. He does have the makings of a good changeup, but his delivery is very stiff and could hold back his command and breaking ball. A move to the bullpen down the road would not shock anyone. 

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 11 Pick: New York Mets Select 1B Dominic Smith

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    Smith has a great chance to be the first high school player from this draft class to make it to the big leagues. For starters, he is a first baseman and there is not a lot of defensive pressure that comes with the position. That said, Smith is such a good athlete with easy actions in the field and will be a plus defender.

    More important, though, Smith is just a great, natural hitter already. He has a beautiful swing that requires very little effort, and he generates a lot of power through excellent hip rotation and quick hands.

    MLB ETA: 2017

No. 12 Pick: Seattle Mariners Select 3B DJ Peterson

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    The most polished college hitter outside of Colin Moran, Peterson will not need a lot of time to develop. He isn’t going to hit for the kind of power you want from a corner infielder—or outfielder, since his quickness is fringy, at best—since he is more compact and short to the ball. But he will hit for average, with little trouble.

    MLB ETA: 2016

No. 13 Pick: San Diego Padres Select OF Hunter Renfroe

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    Despite being loaded with tools, Renfroe has only had one good season at Mississippi State. It pushed him high into the first round in a volatile draft. He will need to refine his approach, which is still incredibly raw, and he can get beat by average off-speed stuff.

    MLB ETA: 2016

No. 14 Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates Select C Reese McGuire

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    Catchers, especially at the high school ranks, are a difficult breed to predict, because there is so much for them to still learn. McGuire does have the advantage of a great throwing arm and good footwork already, but he has to work on receiving, game-calling and proving his bat is starter-worthy.

    MLB ETA: 2019

No. 15 Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks Select RHP Braden Shipley

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    Unlike your typical college pitcher taken high in the first round, Shipley isn’t quite as polished because he just started pitching full time two years ago after playing shortstop.

    The move to the mound has obviously paid off, though he will need time to build up arm strength to handle a starter's workload.

    MLB ETA: Late 2015

No. 16 Pick: Philadelphia Phillies Select SS JP Crawford

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    While not a high-impact shortstop, Crawford does have the natural ability to stay at the position with plus arm strength and range.

    His bat is the biggest question mark, as he doesn’t stay balanced through the zone very well and there is little power. He does have bat speed that will allow him to hit better velocity in time.

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 17 Pick: Chicago White Sox Select SS Tim Anderson

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    Anderson lacks the polish of a typical first-round college hitter thanks to a lack of quality competition, but his athleticism and upside are very intriguing for a White Sox system lacking in talent.

    He isn't very physical and won't hit for more than average power, but could turn into an above-average defensive center fielder with plus speed if the team doesn't trust his arm at short.

    MLB ETA: 2017

No. 18 Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers Select RHP Chris Anderson

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    Anderson has a very good, strong pitching frame at 6'2", 225 pounds. He does have some command issues, especially with the fastball, but the velocity was spotty at the end of the year after being worked like a dog. His slider is a plus pitch and gives him a chance to move quickly.

    MLB ETA: 2016

No. 19 Pick: St. Louis Cardinals Select LHP Marco Gonzales

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    While not a typical Cardinals pick, in that his fastball is a fringe-average offering, Gonzales could join the rotation very soon.

    The lefty's small stature does limit his ability to create plane on the heater, but he backs it up with a strong off-speed arsenal, highlighted by a plus-plus changeup and above-average command. 

    MLB ETA: 2015

No. 20 Pick: Detroit Tigers Select RHP Jonathon Crawford

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    The Tigers have done wonders for Max Scherzer, another hard-throwing right-hander who had issues with mechanics and command, so Crawford makes perfect sense for them.

    He has a high-effort delivery and needs to prove he can handle a starter's workload in the big leagues. More likely, Crawford will wind up as a good late-inning reliever with a plus fastball-slider combination. 

    MLB ETA: 2015

No. 21 Pick: Tampa Bay Rays Select C Nick Ciuffo

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    Another high school catcher who will need time to translate his game to pro ball, Ciuffo does have a bit more polish behind the plate than McGuire. He also offers a bit more offensive potential with good bat speed and power projection.

    There is some length to his swing that has to be cleaned up, but his defensive prowess is what made him a first-round pick. 

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 22 Pick: Baltimore Orioles Select RHP Hunter Harvey

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    Projectable high school pitchers are always going to take a long time before we see what they are, because they have to grow into their bodies and find their stuff in the process.

    Harvey is listed at 6’3”, 175 pounds with an above-average fastball-curveball combination already. He could take a huge leap in quality over the next two years.

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 23 Pick: Texas Rangers Select RHP Alex Gonzalez

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    Polish and pitchability are the two words that immediately spring to mind when you think of Gonzalez, who doesn’t blow you away with stuff but has a very solid four-pitch mix and a fastball with great sinking action. He will also cut the pitch to induce a ton of weak contact.

    Even with a fringe-average changeup, Gonzalez could move quickly because he spots his fastball very well to all four quadrants. 

    MLB ETA: 2015

No. 24 Pick: Oakland Athletics Select OF Billy McKinney

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    Very polished as a high school hitter, McKinney could move quickly. He is limited to left field thanks to average speed and a fringy throwing arm, but he should be a plus hitter who draws walks and is able to use his bat speed to get 15 home runs per season at his peak. 

    MLB ETA: 2017

No. 25 Pick: San Francisco Giants Select SS Christian Arroyo

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    A surprise pick, Arroyo is both raw and lacks big upside for a first-round selection. He has some bat speed, but doesn't get through the zone quick enough because of a long load that also limits his power.

    He will also have to move from shortstop, likely to second base, thanks to below-average range. 

    MLB ETA: 2018

No. 26 Pick: New York Yankees Select 3B Eric Jagielo

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    More of a solid all-around player than star, Jagielo is a decent athlete with a good arm and good reaction times. He is a little long to the ball, which will give him problems against good velocity, but he has some bat speed, gets good extension, and has plus power.

    MLB ETA: 2016

No. 27 Pick: Cincinnati Reds Select OF Phillip Ervin

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    A bit small for a typical corner outfielder, which he will be thanks to below-average running speed, Ervin is nonetheless polished and should move quickly for a Cincinnati team that does need depth in the outfield.

    He has good pop with a quick, short swing and projects as an average hitter. 

    MLB ETA: 2015

No. 28 Pick: St. Louis Cardinals Select LHP Rob Kaminsky

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    An undersized lefty without much ceiling but a good floor, Kaminsky has an advanced feel for pitching, good fastball and one of the best curveballs among HS pitchers in this class.

    He has very crisp, clean mechanics and could start in a full-season league thanks to his poise and polish. 

    MLB ETA: 2017

No. 29 Pick: Tampa Bay Rays Select RHP Ryne Stanek

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    One of the top college right-handed starters in the draft, Stanek has to prove he can translate his stuff to the big leagues.

    He does have a plus fastball-slider combination, but his control and consistency were so spotty this year that he could end up moving to the bullpen down the line.

    MLB ETA: 2016

No. 30 Pick: Texas Rangers Select SS Travis Demeritte

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    A personal favorite of mine, Demeritte is incredibly raw and unrefined on the field. He will move to third base thanks to limited range, though he does have more than enough arm strength for the left side of the infield.

    His best tool is bat speed, which only Clint Frazier can match and exceed among players in this class. He will grow into plus power and profiles as a very good offense-first third baseman. 

    MLB ETA: 2019

No. 31 Pick: Atlanta Braves Select RHP Jason Hursh

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    Hursh gives the Braves yet another power-throwing reliever with a history of arm issues, having had Tommy John surgery in 2012.

    He does have a good fastball-changeup combination, but his low arm slot puts stress on his elbow and will likely push him to the bullpen. He can move quickly in a relief role. 

    MLB ETA: 2015

No. 32 Pick: New York Yankees Select OF Aaron Judge

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    There might not be a more physically imposing player in this draft than Judge, who is listed at 6’7” and 255 pounds.

    But that is also one of his biggest weaknesses, as it makes him vulnerable to pitches low in the zone and could prevent him from tapping into his big raw power. That is an adjustment he will have to make.

    MLB ETA: 2016

No. 33 Pick: New York Yankees Select LHP Ian Clarkin

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    Clarkin is a polished high school pitcher with above-average fastball velocity and a very good curveball. He does need to work on controlling his pitches in the zone, as well as commanding the fastball, however.

    His ceiling isn't huge, but there is a good No. 3 starter down the line if he can make some mechanical adjustments. 

    MLB ETA: 2018