2013 MLB Draft Grades: Breaking Down Value of Top 10 Selections
It was a good day for Major League Baseball teams looking forward to what the future holds.
That's because the 2013 MLB draft is stocked with talent, especially near the top of the class, so teams with early picks on Day 1 have high hopes for the prospects they will be welcoming to their organizations.
There were a couple of surprises, but for the most part, the players that we expected to see off the board early were snatched up quickly by teams that were eager to improve their long-term fortunes.
However, that doesn't mean that every team adequately addressed their most glaring organizational needs with their first selections in what appears to be a relatively strong prospect pool.
With that in mind, here's a look at what kind of value each of the top-10 picks brings to their respective teams.
No. 1: RHP Mark Appel, Houston Astros
This one was a virtual slam-dunk.
Mark Appel was the best player available in the draft, and after Houston passed on the Stanford stud a year ago—only to see him spurn the Pittsburgh Pirates (who took him at No. 8 overall) in favor of returning to the Cardinal for his senior year—the Astros were pleased to get a second crack at the right-handed blue-chipper.
Appel is much better prepared for the rigors of professional ball than he was a year ago, and he is a virtual lock to be a vital member of the Astros' staff for years to come.
Grade: A. The only other option here was taking one of the other highly-regarded pitchers, but let's not kid ourselves, Appel was the best of the bunch.
No. 2: 3B Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
There's no doubting that Kris Bryant was a good selection for any team that had the luxury of taking him, because, by all accounts, the San Diego star was the best position player in this year's class.
Bryant, who had a school-record 31 homers as a junior this season, has the talent and tools to be an offensive dynamo for the Cubs, and, despite his 6'5" frame, the Las Vegas native has deceptive speed and quickness.
However, the Cubs' biggest need heading into the draft was pitching, so it's unclear whether this pick will pan out as the best course of action from an organizational standpoint.
Grade: B. This isn't because Bryant is anything but a top-flight prospect; it's because he doesn't address the club's most pressing need.
No. 3: RHP Jonathan Gray, Colorado Rockies
After Appel and Bryant were off the board, the Rockies did the best they could by taking the consensus second-best pitcher in the class.
Gray, an Oklahoma product, is an elite-level prospect, and despite the lingering questions surrounding a failed drug test in the weeks leading up to the draft, he clearly projects to be the Rockies' ace of the future.
A talented right-handed stud, Gray will be a valued member of the Rockies sometime within the next three years, and he may even blossom into the best pitcher of the draft.
Grade: A-. The Rockies wanted a pitcher to build around, and they got one.
No. 4: RHP Kohl Stewart, Minnesota Twins
The Twins were forced to settle for Kohl Stewart, who entered the draft as the consensus best prep player available.
No, he won't make an impact as quickly as Gray or Appel will, but with a few years of development within the Twins' system, he'll make his presence felt.
Despite Stewart's original plans to head to Texas A&M in the fall to play football, according to The Houston Chronicle, he's decided to opt out of college in order to begin his professional career a little bit earlier.
Grade: B+. The Twins got the best high school pitcher in the country, and though it may take a little while for him to fully develop, Stewart will reward them for their faith in him.
No. 5: OF Clint Frazier, Cleveland Indians
The Indians took the best prep position player in the prospect pool by taking Georgia's Clint Frazier, who projects to be a star at the next level.
However, the Indians failed to address their burning need for blue-chip pitching, so the jury is out on this pick.
Frazier is a great prospect who has the speed and all-around tools to be a solid major league player, but unless he blossoms into a star, the Indians may regret passing up on taking an elite pitching prospect with such a high pick in a deep class.
Grade: C-. The Indians got a very good prep prospect in Frazier, but with so many talented pitchers on the board, they should have gone another direction with this pick.
No. 6: 3B Colin Moran, Miami Marlins
Behind Bryant, Colin Moran might be the best position prospect in this class, and the Miami Marlins were happy to grab him outside of the top-five.
Moran, who lead the University of North Carolina in homers with 13 as a junior, has the offensive talent to be a stud at the next level, and given how much he's developed during his three years as a Tar Heel, he might not be that far away from shoring up the Marlins' depleted lineup.
He may be forced to move away from third base, but he's got solid defensive abilities, so that shouldn't be a problem for the sure-handed Moran.
Grade: B+. Moran was a solid pick, and he could prove to be a much-needed building block for a franchise that is in the midst of an ugly rebuilding process.
No. 7: LHP Trey Ball, Boston Red Sox
As arguably the best left-handed pitching prospect in the class, the Boston Red Sox did well to snag the second-best overall prep pitcher available.
Ball may not have received the same hype as Stewart, but his versatility may make him an even more intriguing prospect.
Viewed as being capable of playing both in the field and on the mound, Ball's future in the majors could come in either role, but he'll have to improve at the plate if he's going to be a position player at the next level.
Grade: B. Solid pick. Ball has good upside, and the only question regards whether he'll be in Boston as a pitcher or an outfielder.
No. 8: SS Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals
This was the shocker of the top-10.
The Kansas City Royals went off the board by taking Hunter Dozier out of Stephen F. Austin, which raised eyebrows across the league.
It isn't that Dozier is a bad, or is even a below-average prospect; it's more that with so many elite-level options still on the table, why would the Royals take such a gamble on a relatively unheralded talent?
Grade: D. I hope Dozier proves me wrong, but at least for the time being, this looks like a cost-cutting move that isn't geared towards making the Royals better on the field.
No. 9: OF Austin Meadows, Pittsburgh Pirates
Austin Meadows entered the draft as the second-best position player in this year's crop, and for good reason.
He's got the arm, speed and instincts to be a force at the next level, so assuming that the Georgia native decides not to head to Clemson in the fall, he'll be tearing apart minor league ball in no time.
It's unclear whether he'll have the power to put up gaudy offensive numbers in the majors, but either way, he's a top-flight prospect who will be a standout in the Pirates' outfield someday.
Grade: A-. Meadows brings great value to Pittsburgh at No. 9, and could one day prove that he, and not Frazier, was the best prep prospect in this year's class.
No. 10: RHP Phil Bickford, Toronto Blue Jays
Due to the Royals and Indians choosing to take position players, Bickford fell to the Jays to close out the top-10, and Toronto has to be happy with that.
Bickford was one of the best prep pitching prospects in the class, and given Toronto's depth, he'll get the time he needs to develop.
He's a long way from contributing in the majors, but the right-handed Bickford is a solid coup for the fast-improving Jays, especially given how well the organization has done in regards to developing rangy pitching prospects.
Grade: B. Bickford's ceiling is relatively unclear, but he'll get his chance to prove himself at some point down the road.
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