With Friday marking the conclusion of the first 10 rounds of the 2013 MLB draft, it's safe to say we've exited the area of the draft where future superstars will be born.
Saturday will see teams enter the Piazza Zone—a name I've given to the rounds where players are drafted in rapid succession, sometimes without great reasoning and sometimes even as a favor to an old buddy.
None of this is bad. There have been plenty of diamonds in the rough found late in drafts, as teams take stabs on increasingly high-risk prospects. A superstar likely rests somewhere in Saturday's draft; finding him is just a near-impossible task.
What that means is that we can start building a consensus on how each team has done this year—even if that's quite the difficult process by itself.
Affixing grades to each individual selection in baseball's draft is a fool's errand. Less than 40 percent of players drafted within the first 100 selections even make it to the big leagues, according to a study by Baseball America's Matt Eddy. And with 10 rounds and 316 selections in the books, it's pretty safe to say we're looking at a far lower number here.
I'm no math wiz, but if the value for each 100 picks were to depreciate by half with each successive century mark being passed—meaning if 40 of the top 100 players selected make the bigs, then 20 of the players from 101-200, and so on—then roughly 70 players who have been drafted so far will make the bigs.
That would mean less than a quarter of the players taken will have any relevancy in the bigs. I'm using rough estimates rather than hard numbers the way Eddy did, but remember the low success rate before rushing to judgment.
What we can do, though, is measure how a team did based on the value of its selections. Meaning where the player it took was expected to be taken versus where he wound up being drafted. That, even as an inexact science, is something we can judge.
So with that caveat out of the way—and noting that I won't give a draft lower than a "C" rating, simply because of the aforementioned reasons—let's take a look at how each team's draft has shaken out thus far.
2013 MLB Draft Grades
|Team||Best Pick||Worst Pick||Grade|
|Houston Astros||Mark Appel (P, Stanford)||Tony Kemp (2B, Vanderbilt) ||A-|
|Chicago Cubs||Kris Bryant (3B, San Diego)||Jacob Hannemann (OF, BYU) ||B-|
|Colorado Rockies||Jonathan Gray (P, Oklahoma)||Konner Wade (P, Arizona)||A|
|Minnesota Twins||Ryan Eades (P, LSU)||Aaron Slegers (P, Indiana)||B|
|Cleveland Indians||Dace Kime (P, Louisville)||Kyle Crockett (P, Virginia)||C+|
|Miami Marlins||Colin Moran (3B, North Carolina)||Ben Deluzio (SS, HS)||B|
|Boston Red Sox||Jon Denney (C, HS)||Mike Adams (P, Univ. of Tampa)||B|
|Kansas City Royals||Sean Manaea (P, Indiana State)||Hunter Dozier (SS, Stephen F. Austin)||B|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Austin Meadows (OF, HS)||Cody Dickson (P, Sam Houston State)||B|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Phillip Bickford (P, HS)||Clinton Hollon (P, HS) ||C|
|New York Mets||Dominic Smith (1B, HS)||Jared King (OF, Kansas State)||B|
|Seattle Mariners||D.J. Peterson (3B, New Mexico)||Ryan Horstman (P, St. John's)||A-|
|San Diego Padres||Bryan Verbitsky (P, Hofstra) ||Jake Bauers (1B, HS)||C+|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Braden Shipley (P, Nevada)||Justin Williams (OF, HS)||C+|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Cord Sanberg (OF, HS)||Trey Williams (3B College of Canyons)||B-|
|Chicago White Sox||Tim Anderson (SS, HS)||Andrew Mitchell (P, TCU)||B+|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Chris Anderson (P, Jacksonville)||Brandon Dixon (3B, Arizona)||B-|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Marco Gonzales (P, Gonzaga)||Mike Mayers (P, Mississippi)||B|
|Detroit Tigers||Jonathon Crawford (P, Florida)||Kevin Ziomek (P, Vanderbilt)||C|
|Baltimore Orioles||Hunter Harvey (P, HS)||Stephen Tarpley (P, HS)||B|
|Oakland Athletics||Chad Pinder (SS, Virginia Tech)||Dylan Covey (P, San Diego)||B|
|San Francisco Giants||Daniel Slania (P, Notre Dame)||Christian Arroyo (SS, HS) ||C|
|New York Yankees||Aaron Judge (OF, Fresno State)||Michael O'Neill (OF, Michigan)||A-|
|Cincinnati Reds||Phillip Ervin (OF, Samford)||Michael Lorenzen (P, CSU Fullerton)||C+|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Ryne Stanek (P, Arkansas)||Kean Wong (2B, HS)||A|
|Texas Rangers||Alex Gonzalez (P, Oral Roberts)||Akeem Bostick (P, HS)||
|Atlanta Braves||Victor Caratini (C, Miami Dade CC) ||Jason Hursh (P, Oklahoma State)||B-|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Devin Williams (P, HS)||Taylor Williams (P, Kent State)||A-|
|Los Angeles Angels||Hunter Green (P, HS)||Elliott Morris (P, Pierce Col)||B|
|Washington Nationals||Jake Johansen (P, Dallas Baptist)||Drew Ward (3B, HS)||C+|
Most Notable Drafts
Tampa Bay Rays: A
The Rays have become so good at plucking superstars in June, so adept at harnessing young talent, that they probably could have plugged fictional names into their slots, still received an "A" and everyone would have nodded along. Tampa's scouts and development team are that good.
Alas, Tampa decided not to pull a fast one on the public. Maybe next year. Instead, the Rays did what they do best—find valuable talent at premium positions.
With the No. 21 pick in the first round, the Rays took prep catcher Nick Ciuffo, who has battled with Pittsburgh Pirates draftee Reese McGuire (14th overall) for top prospect at the position all season.
Ciuffo is a very strong defensive catcher, his receiving pitch skill is already plus and he has pretty good power at the dish. Should he remain at catcher—never a guarantee for prospects—Tampa will find it got very good value down the line.
That being said, Arkansas pitcher Ryne Stanek, drafted later in Round 1, is the pick that could really be special.
As a guy mentioned alongside Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel as potential top-five pitchers heading into the season, Stanek failed in living up to that lofty goal. His control was an issue, spotting pitches more than a high walk rate, and his velocity dipped between his sophomore and junior years ever so slightly.
In pitching prospects, that's enough to make top-five pick become a mid-to-late first-rounder.
Such was the case for Stanek, but he couldn't have gone to a better situation. The Rays churn out future aces like McDonald's does hamburgers at this point. As noted by Bleacher Report MLB lead writer Zachary Rymer, Stanek's top-notch stuff and Tampa's reputation should make for quite the pairing.
Ryne Stanek to the Rays? I expect him to be a Cy Young-caliber pitcher by, oh, July.— Zachary D. Rymer (@zachrymer) June 7, 2013
After the first round, the Rays continued to make very good long-term calls. High school center fielder Thomas Milone has UZR darling potential someday with his speed and athleticism, and Riley Unroe is one of a few shortstops in this class who will probably stick at the spot.
It's easy to fawn over the Rays come draft day because they're great at development. But this crop of players was really inspired, no matter the team behind the call.
Kansas City Royals: B
For Royals fans, this draft has already become something of an emotional roller coaster. With many fans lamenting the development of Eric Hosmer's power, Mike Moustakas everything and the entire systematic failure of the team's minor league pitching program, it's quite the sensitive time in Kansas City.
This core, built under the guise of the Tampa Bay model, was supposed to be better by now. So any malfeasance by the front office on draft day was surely going to come with the voracious outcry you'd expect from a great fanbase wronged for so long.
Little did fans know what the front office had in store at No. 8, taking Stephen F. Austin shortstop Hunter Dozier.
Expected by most to be a second-rounder or a competitive balance pick, the Royals' selection of Dozier came with widespread shock. He's a very good hitter, providing a 396/.482/.755 slash line at SFA and replete with pop in his bat, but there are many questions about Dozier's viability at short.
Grantland's Rany Jazayerli, a Royals fan, was one of many to exclaim their frustration and disbelief at the pick:
Just got home. I'll be happy to tell you what I think of Hunter Dozier, just as soon as I find out WHO THE HELL IS HUNTER DOZIER.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) June 7, 2013
However, as the draft continued playing out, it became quickly apparent how the Royals were planning their draft strategy. By the time their competitive balance pick at No. 34 came on the board, it was obvious that Indiana State lefty Sean Manaea was going to be the pick.
Battling through hip issues—the Royals expect Manaea to need surgery—is what pushed the Indiana State star to No. 34. But once his issues are repaired, the left-hander has all the tools to be an ace. Manaea's fastball sticks mostly in the lower 90s, and he has good breaking pitches that could develop to a plus level down the line.
In fact, let's check back in with Jazayerli after Kansas City made the Manaea selection:
I'm not 100% sure why they were drafted in reverse order, but Manaea at #8 and Dozier at #34 would be perfectly reasonable. Stand down.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) June 7, 2013
Essentially, what could have been a disaster could turn out to be smart drafting in hindsight. The Royals landed the player they wanted, the one they weren't sure would be there in the competitive-balance round and then went boom-or-bust with a talented lefty.
With the team landing a couple of other promising arms in Cody Reed and Carter Hope later, it's probably best to put the pitchforks away in KC.
Detroit Tigers: C
I know grades can't dip below a C, but Detroit's first couple of rounds were so head-scratching I almost broke my own fictional rule. With their first selection, No. 20 overall, the Tigers took Florida right-hander Jonathon Crawford.
A flamethrower who doesn't stop attacking opposing hitters, Crawford is one of the most intimidating starting pitchers in college baseball. He's got a good fastball and a hard slider that works as his out pitch. The problem, however, is that many feel Crawford will ultimately wind up in the bullpen.
Even if he does, that's just fine. The kid's stuff is good enough that he could probably throw innings of big league relief by Opening Day next year. And nabbing a future closer isn't exactly a bad thing for a Tigers team that could use a bit of bullpen help.
However, the team took Texas reliever Corey Knebel with its next pick at No. 39. And then Kevin Ziomek of Vanderbilt at No. 58, a kid whose arm action is a massive red flag—so much so that some have pegged him as a future bullpen guy.
So within Detroit's first three picks, it's very possible it walked away with three relievers. I don't think I have to tell you how bad that is. And the Tigers only continued the confusion by drafting four right-handed pitchers after those initial selections, meaning each of their first seven picks were guys on the mound.
Detroit needed help in its farm system with pitching, but this wasn't the way to go about it.
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