After three grueling days covering 40 rounds and 1,216 picks, the 2013 first-year player draft has finally come to an end.
While some teams employed a consistent draft strategy across all three days, others were seemingly all over the place. As my colleague Adam Wells stated on Saturday, some teams seemed like they were merely “throwing darts at a set of photos and wherever it hits, that is what they pick.”
With that said, here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers from the 2013 draft.
Although it’s close, the Red Sox get the nod for this year’s best draft.
With a farm system that’s deep at nearly every position and only getting stronger, the organization was free to target many of the high-upside players on the board during the early rounds.
After selecting left-handed pitcher Trey Ball with the seventh overall pick and right-handed pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz in the second round, the Red Sox began Day 2 with the selection of catcher Jon Denney. In my opinion, he was a sure-fire first-round talent.
They came up big with another steal in the fourth round, landing RHP Myles Smith, another player who I thought might come off the board at some point on Day 1.
However, it was the organization’s strategy on the final day of the draft that sold me. While most teams played it safe and selected affordable college talent, the Red Sox aggressively targeted many of the high-upside prep players who slid in the draft due to signability concerns.
While I highly doubt all five players are signable, or that the Red Sox will have the money to even do so, they are presumably banking on the hope that at least one or two of them will sign.
After selecting outfielder Phil Ervin in the first round on Thursday, the Reds' draft lost steam rather quickly. They settled for right-handed pitcher Michael Lorenzen with their next pick. However, I do like their selection of prep third baseman Kevin Franklin toward the back end of the second round.
After targeting high-upside talent on Day 1, the Reds passed over some of the better talent still on the board in favor of making a run at numerous high-floor-at-best arms. RHP Mark Armstrong (third round) and RHP Ben Lively (fourth) are prime examples.
Considering that the organization has more depth on the mound than anywhere else, its aggressive pursuit of pitchers on Friday and Saturday is confusing. In my opinion, the Reds should have focused on adding outfielders and catchers before drafting arms.
The Reds also waited until the later rounds to take a flyer on additional high-risk prep players such as RHP Brett Morales (24th round) and catcher Zack Collins (27th). Considering that both are players who ranked within the top 100 on my draft board, it’s doubtful that either player will end up signing.
Although they passed on right-handed pitcher Jonathan Gray with the second overall pick, the Cubs filled a glaring void at the hot corner by selecting third baseman Kris Bryant.
As expected, the organization shifted its focus to college arms with the selection of left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny in the second round. Chicago then proceeded to make a haul on guys who had fallen in the draft for one reason or another.
The Cubs bolstered their system on Friday with an excellent run on once-promising arms, including RHP Tyler Skulina (fourth round), RHP Trey Masek (fifth), RHP Scott Frazier (sixth), RHP David Garner (seventh) and LHP Sam Wilson (eighth).
On Saturday, they netted another solid pitching prospect in RHP Michael Wagner (15th) a few rounds after taking a flyer on hard-throwing prep RHP Trevor Clifton.
After depleting their system via trades during the offseason, the Blue Jays’ objective in this year’s draft was to restock their system with pitchers. As a result, they ended up selecting one in each of the first nine rounds.
But while they did land several power arms, their strategy on Days 1 and 2 was too high-risk.
Don’t get me wrong: Both players have a live fastball and high ceiling, but there’s not much more to their respective games at the moment. And because both players have relatively strong college commitments and presumably lofty signing demands, the organization’s spending potential was already severely restricted entering Day 2.
As a result, the Jays made a stab at two lesser-known prep arms in RHP Patrick Murphy (third round) and left-handed pitcher Evan Smith (fourth) before shifting their focus to high-floor college arms. The most notable was LHP Matt Boyd (sixth).
On the final day of the draft, the Blue Jays continued to pursue position players from the college ranks, including first baseman L.B. Dantzler. They also took a stab at a few more high-ceiling prep arms from the Midwest, such as LHP Jacob Brentz (11th), LHP Eric Lauer (17th) and RHP Sam Tewes (22nd).
It’s doubtful that any of them will actually sign considering their draft slot. If the Blue Jays were so all-in on prep arms from the start, why not make a run at some of these guys early on Day 2?
After landing one of the best hitters in this year’s draft class in first baseman Dominic Smith with the 11th overall pick, followed by one of the more underrated, high-upside arms in right-handed pitcher Andrew Church in the second round, the Mets continued to find exceptional value throughout Day 2.
They stayed young with their first two picks on Friday by netting both prep outfielder Ivan Wilson and 6’7” RHP Casey Meisner in the third round.
With a large chunk of their draft pool likely reserved for the aforementioned early-round pick, the Mets got a steal in second baseman L.J. Mazzilli (fourth round), and even more so with outfielder Jared King (fifth). They even managed to add a few more high-floor bats before the end of the day with first baseman Matt Oberste (seventh) and outfielder Patrick Biondi (ninth).
Given their spending over the first two days, the Mets completed their draft by targeting mostly cheap college arms and a few high school pitchers with minimal signability concerns.
While it’s hard to fault the Astros for allotting most of their draft spending pool toward signing right-handed pitcher Mark Appel and second-round RHP Andrew Thurman, it noticeably impacted their strategy on Friday and Saturday.
After opening Day 2 with the selection of left-handed pitcher Kent Emanuel, the Astros continued to play it safe with a run on college talent, including first baseman Conrad Gregor (fourth round) and second baseman Tony Kemp (fifth).
They mixed in a couple selections from the prep ranks, such as catcher Jacob Nottingham (sixth) and outfielder Jason Martin (sixth), before targeting primarily low-risk college pitching on Day 3.
While the Astros netted a future ace in Appel and mid-rotation starter in Thurman, their draft was too “safe” given the state of the organization and their overwhelming success in previous years.
Considering the lack of high-upside position prospects in the Phillies’ system, I’m not sure their draft could have gone any better.
After selecting prep shortstop J.P. Crawford 16th overall and then saving some money by nabbing switch-hitting catcher Andrew Knapp in the second, the Phillies were aggressive with both of their third-round picks. They landed high-ceiling, dual-sport standout outfielder Cord Sandberg and shortstop/third baseman Jan Hernandez.
The run at prep talent carried over into the fifth round when they nabbed raw but promising catcher Jake Sweaney. That pick also shed light as to why they reached for Knapp in the second.
And before shifting their focus to pitching on Saturday, the Phillies were able to add several college bats toward the end of Day 2. Outfielder Jason Monda (sixth round), third baseman Trey Williams (seventh) and outfielder Justin Parr (eighth) stand out.
The Braves’ draft began with the selection of right-handed pitcher Jason Hursh (first round) and catcher Victor Caratini (second) on Day 1.
That pretty much sums up their strategy the rest of the way: pitching and power. While they netted some potential impact bats on Day 2 in catcher Tanner Murphy (fourth round) and third baseman Ian Hagenmiller (10th), they came up especially empty on the mound.
The team’s third-round pick, RHP Carlos Salazar, turned out to be the best arm the Braves drafted between Days 2 and 3. They used too many picks on mediocre arms, including a run on college pitching from Rounds 15 to 22.
Heading into the draft, the Pirates' farm system was already regarded as one of the best in the game. Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson and Luis Heredia made up a very strong nucleolus. After landing arguably the best collection of high-ceiling talent in this year’s class, it got even better.
The Pirates made a statement with their two first-round picks on Thursday night when they drafted outfielder Austin Meadows and catcher Reese McGuire. They still managed to add an impact prep arm in the second round with left-handed pitcher Blake Taylor.
However, the Pirates' run at projectable, high-upside talent didn’t stop there. They went on to draft toolsy outfielder JaCoby Jones (third round), LHP Cody Dickson (fourth) and shortstop Trae Arbet (fifth). They even took a flyer on right-handed pitcher Billy Roth in the 16th round.
It’s also worth noting that the Pirates added a much-needed college shortstop this year with their selection of Adam Frazier in the sixth round.
For a team such as the Dodgers that already has considerable pitching depth in the minor leagues, I didn’t like how they targeted college arms on Day 1 in right-handed pitcher Chris Anderson (first round) and left-handed pitcher Tom Windle (second). There was so much high-upside infield talent still on the board.
The organization made an effort to compensate on Friday for its pitching-heavy approach on Day 1, but it ultimately failed to make a splash. Los Angeles selected third baseman Brandon Dixon (third), who lacks the power for a favorable long-term projection at the hot corner, and first baseman Cody Bellinger (fourth), a 6’4”, wiry-thin left-handed hitter who could grow into some power.
The Dodgers did find some value in subsequent rounds when they selected shortstop Brandon Trinkwon (seventh) and catcher Spencer Navin (11th). Still, neither player profiles as anything more than a reserve option at the next level.
Beyond that, they picked up a few intriguing college right-handers in J.D. Underwood (fifth), Jacob Rhame (sixth) and Thomas Taylor (26th). But considering the organization’s needs as a whole, it was a disappointing draft for the Dodgers.