Making it to the major leagues is every prospect's dream, but it's a difficult and arduous road that awaits the young men who were selected in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft.
Some of the players selected have a better shot than others, however, and it won't be a big surprise to see them make an appearance with their new ball clubs sometime in the 2014 MLB season—if not sooner.
Here's a look at the entire first round, courtesy of MLB.com:
|1||Houston Astros||Mark Appel||Stanford||RHP|
|2||Chicago Cubs||Kris Bryant||University of San Diego||3B|
|3||Colorado Rockies||Jonathan Gray||Oklahoma||RHP|
|4||Minnesota Twins||Kohl Stewart||Pius X HS (TX)||RHP|
|5||Cleveland Indians||Clint Frazier||Logansville HS (GA)||3B|
|6||Miami Marlins||Colin Moran||North Carolina||3B|
|7||Boston Red Sox||Trey Ball||New Castle HS (IN)||LHP/OF|
|8||Kansas City Royals||Hunter Dozier ||Stephen F. Austin||SS|
|9||Pittsburgh Pirates||Austin Meadows||Grayson HS (GA)||CF|
|10||Toronto Blue Jays||Phillip Bickford||Oaks Christian HS (CA)||RHP|
|11||New York Mets||Dominic Smith||Sierra HS (CA)||1B|
|12||Seattle Mariners||DJ Peterson ||New Mexico||3B|
|13||San Diego Padres||Hunter Renfroe||Mississippi State||OF|
|14||Pittsburgh Pirates||Reese McGuire||Kentwood HS (WA)||C|
|15||Arizona Diamondbacks||Braden Shipley||Nevada||RHP|
|16||Philadelphia Phillies||JP Crawford||Lakewood HS (CA)||SS|
|17||Chicago White Sox||Tim Anderson||East Central CC (MS)||SS|
|18||Los Angeles Dodgers||Chris Anderson||Jacksonville||RHP|
|19||St. Louis Cardinals||Marco Gonzalez||Gonzaga||LHP|
|20||Detroit Tigers||Jonathon Crawford||Florida||RHP|
|21||Tampa Bay Rays||Nick Ciuffo||Lexington HS (SC)||C|
|22||Baltimore Orioles||Hunter Harvey||Bandys HS (NC)||RHP|
|23||Texas Rangers||Alex Gonzalez||Oral Roberts||RHP|
|24||Oakland A's||Billy McKinney||Plano West HS (TX)||OF|
|25||San Francisco Giants||Christian Arroyo||Hernando HS (FL)||SS|
|26||New York Yankees||Eric Jagielo||Notre Dame||3B|
|27||Cincinnati Reds||Phillip Ervin||Samford||OF|
|2013 MLB Draft Supplemental First Round|
|28||St. Louis Cardinals||Rob Kaminsky ||St. Joseph Regional HS (NJ) ||LHP|
|29||Tampa Bay Rays||Ryne Stanek||Arkansas||RHP|
|30||Texas Rangers||Travis DeMeritte||Winder-Barrow HS (GA)||SS|
|31||Atlanta Braves||Jason Hursh||Oklahoma State||RHP|
|32||New York Yankees||Aaron Judge||Fresno State||OF|
|33||New York Yankees||Ian Clarkin ||James Madison HS (CA)||LHP|
|2013 MLB Draft Competitive Balance Round A|
|34||Kansas City Royals||Sean Manaea||Indiana State||LHP|
|35||Miami Marlins||Matt Krook||St. Ignatius HS (CA) ||LHP|
|36||Arizona Diamondbacks||Aaron Blair||Marshall||RHP|
|37||Baltimore Orioles||Josh Hart||Parkview HS (GA)||OF|
|38||Cincinnati Reds||Michael Lorenzen||Cal State Fullerton||RHP|
|39||Detroit Tigers||Corey Knebel||Texas||RHP|
Now it's time to take a look at the players with the best chance to earn a spot on a big league roster in the next year. These prospects are already highly skilled, polished players who won't need a lot of refining in order to make a positive impact in the big leagues.
Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros
No surprise here.
Appel was drafted in the first round the past two years before becoming the No. 1 overall pick of this year's draft. He's the most polished, pro-ready player in his draft class, and he won't need to spend much time in the minors before Houston calls him up.
That doesn't mean the Astros will rush him, however, according to Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart:
Still, it won't be earth-shattering news if Appel makes an appearance on Houston's big league roster before the 2013 season is finished.
Appel features a fastball in the mid-90s with excellent movement, a hard slider and an effective changeup. He throws all three pitches with acumen and control, and he'll be an outstanding member of Houston's starting rotation sooner rather than later.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Baseball analysts were expecting Chicago to pick either Appel or Jonathan Gray here with the No. 2 overall pick, but the Cubs decided to pick the biggest bat in the draft instead.
WGN's David Kaplan was hearing some buzz before the draft that Chicago was leaning toward Bryant. After the pick he spoke with Bryant's coach at San Diego, who told him Bryant is a once-in-a-career star:
While it isn't hard to argue that the Cubs need pitching, it's not hard to understand why the team fell for Bryant, either.
A Golden Spikes finalist this past year, Bryant batted .329 with 31 home runs, 13 doubles, 80 runs and 62 RBI, with an .820 slugging percentage for the University of San Diego.
He's also a fantastic athlete who could end up playing in the outfield at some point for the Cubs. It's this versatility, along with Bryant's big bat, that could propel him onto the team's big league roster as soon as the beginning of the 2014 season.
Colin Moran, 3B, Miami Marlins
Moran is a talented hitter who has plenty of experience against top-level pitching, playing in the ACC. He's also a big guy, at 6'4" and 215 pounds, and he can play either corner—third base or first base.
Last year at North Carolina, Moran batted .351 with 13 home runs and 85 RBI in just 248 at bats. Marlins Director of Scouting, Stan Meeks, compared him to Wade Boggs, according to Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:
Considering the fact that Placido Polanco is currently starting at third base for Miami (.234 average with zero home runs and just seven RBI), it's not hard to envision Moran making an appearance in Miami by the time the 2014 season arrives.
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