2013 MLB Draft: Preview
With the 2013 MLB Rule 4 First-Year player draft coming up on June 6th, we’ve been working extra hard around here to bring you our Baseball Instinct preview of the top players available. Our list is by no means a mock draft, as predicting what teams should do isn’t our thing. Sure it’s fun to do but with baseball the possibilities are endless. What we will do is give you our very best list of top talents based on our reports on these players. Those players that we didn’t see ourselves we spent extra time compiling data from scouts and friends of ours that did see them. It’s going to be a BIG weekend here at Baseball Instinct and we hope you’ll be pleased with the resources. Check us out on Draft Day as we will be doing live updates on the site with each selection as well as on our Twitter feed: @BaseballInstinc. Here is the 26-50, 51-75, and the 76-100.
So we’ll start at the top and work our way through the Top 75 which takes us through the Top 2 rounds and Supps. So let’s lead it off with our #1. After going with a High School arm in each of the last two drafts, Dylan Bundy and Lucas Giolito, we battled back and forth as to whether we should go with an arm again or the top bat. So here we go:
1. Jonathan Gray, RHP Oklahoma 11/5/1991 H:6’4″ W:240 – Gray is a college junior that has risen up draft boards over the past 12 months. The big framed righty has a plus fastball that works in the high 90s and touches triple digits late in starts. He’s also crafted a plus slider which has been a key to his rise.
He’s not a 2-pitch starter though. He combines his plus stuff with an above average curveball and an average change with fade that works well to offset the slider and dives at the plate. It’s currently an average pitch and should be above average by the time he reaches the majors.
Our Instinct: Gray has the frame, stuff, and approach to be a front of the rotation presence. He gets a high rate of strikeouts (127 K in 110 IP) and keeps walks to a minimum (21 BB), showing the dominance needed of an Ace type. He has that type of upside and if, by some low probability chance, he doesn’t remain a SP, he has dominant stuff to be a shut down closer.
2. Kris Bryant, 3B San Diego 1/4/1992 H:6’5″ W:215 – Bryant is the premier college power bat in 2013. He’s been stepping up the power since putting up an OPS of 1.081 as a freshman and has broken out this yearOPS with a 1.360 powered by 13 doubles and 31 HR in 215 AB. He’s also been able to work a 62-40 BB to K ratio. The strikeout rate is a little bit of a worry but for a power hitter of his caliber it will be more than acceptable. He projects to be a 25+ HR threat with upside.
Our Instinct: If he can stick at 3B he’s a elite talent and even if he has to move off of the position I don’t think a shift to 1B will be the answer. He has more than enough arm and is athletic enough, despite sub-average speed, to be a prototypical RF with plus power. As the top power bat in the draft it wouldn’t surprise me to see Bryant go #1 overall.
3. Mark Appel, RHP Stanford 7/15/1991 H:6’4″ W:195 – Appel was drafted last year but couldn’t reach an agreement with the Pirates, and decided instead to head back to Stanford for his Senior year. Chances are good that it will pay off for him as he’s once again being mentioned as the #1 overall pick and should go within the top 3 either way.
Heading into last year’s draft here is what we had to say when Appel was pegged at #4 for Baseball Instinct’s draft board:
4. Mark Appel RHP Stanford – Appel is an established college arm with Stanford and stints on Team USA. He was drafted in 2009 by the Tigers in the 15th round before choosing college, which has proven a wise choice. His fastball sits in the 93-95 range and he can get it to 96-98 although it tends to flatten out when he over-throws it. His slider is a strikeout pitch with excellent tilt. His changeup is currently average at best, but is a pitch he can upgrade.
Our Instinct – When his mechanics are in sync his fastball has tailing movement that will handcuff right-handers and move away from lefties. His slider compliments it well, but when the fastball starts to flatten out he loses the zone up and can be more hittable. If he can refine the change-up into a plus offering he has front of the rotation upside but currently may top out as a potential #2 with a back end of the rotation floor if healthy. He’s really been worked deep into games and moving into an every 5th day workload after logging a ton of college innings is sometimes a red flag. But he has high upside and is an advanced arm.
Appel still holds that same mid 90s fastball and power slider. Both are plus offerings. His time spent this year back at Stanford have given him the time to refine the changeup and its now at least an average offering. His Stanford education is obviously a plus since his intelligence on the mound will help him with making adjustments.
Our Instinct: Appel is one of the three possible #1 picks. Appel will be looking for full pay, although he holds less leverage as a senior than he did as a junior and both Gray and Bryant are both juniors. He has clear Ace potential and my only real concerns with him come with his mental edge. His strikeout rates may be no more than average without the killer instinct. That could limit his potential upside and, as I said last year, he may settle into a solid #2 instead of reaching that Ace upside.
4. Trey Ball, LHP New Castle HS (Ind.) 6/27/1994 H:6’6″ W:180 - Ball is a two way player and it’s possible that he could go off the board as an outfielder but his elite upside should come as an SP. His frame has major projection and his low 90s fastball could be in line for an elite uptick as he fills out. He pairs the fastball with a solid changeup that he has advanced feel for as a two way player.
He has development needs with his breaking pitches, a slow curveball and a hard slider, but the two pitches can at times blend together, which renders them much less effective.
But having used his changeup much more than the average high school hurler, Ball already has an advanced feel for one of the toughest pitches for a pitcher to master.
Our Instinct: I think come draft day Ball will find himself slated for the mound. It could happen inside the Top 5 and he’s the top LHP available with potentially the highest upside of in 2013. His fastball could eventually sit in the mid 90s and with his advanced feel for a changeup he could dominate at the lower levels while he refines his curveball/slider.
5. D.J. Peterson, 3B New Mexico 12/31/1991 H:6’1″ W:190 – Peterson is a college junior and one of the most advanced bats available in the draft. He doesn’t have the same power as Bryant but does have an even better pure hitting ability. His current 1.348 OPS is just slightly behind Bryant and Peterson has 46 XBH including 18 HR.
He has a short stroke which limits strikeouts and should keep him from prolonged slumps as a professional. His environment in college is conducive to power but he still projects out as a .300 hitter with 20+ HR power potential.
Our Instinct: Peterson’s polish and advanced hit tool will make him a fast mover and high floor prospect. He’s currently a 3B and has a solid chance to stick there. Many believe he’ll end up at 1B but he has more than enough arm and range to handle 3B as long as his bat plays up as projected.
6. Kohl Stewart, RHP St. Pius X HS, Houston 10/7/1994 H:6’3″ W:190 – First the bad to get it out of the way: Two sport star QB/SP committed to Texas A&M. He’s also a Type 1 diabetic. In neither case is he the first nor will he be the last. It may raise some concerns but it won’t keep him from going early in the draft.
Stewart has a low to mid 90s fastball working in the 92-93 range and touching 96. Similar to Gray and Appel, Stewart’s secondary breaking ball is a power slider and it already flashes as a plus offering. He also throws a changeup but it’s rarely used and despite a “feel” for the pitch it is an offering that will need to be refined basically from scratch once he’s drafted.
Our Instinct: Stewart will go within the top 10 and there is little chance that he heads to A&M instead of turning pro. He has the makings of a future #2 starter and could have more upside if there is a plus changeup hiding in his development path. But he’s a project, though one that comes with plus stuff and elite athleticism. The project will be with refining his mechanics so he can attain the command needed to maximize his stuff through long outings against advanced hitters. 3-5 years of development time.
7. Austin Meadows, OF Grayson HS, Loganville, Ga. 5/3/1995 H:6’3″ W:210 – Meadows is part now and part projection. He’s one of the youngest players available in the draft with the frame of a college player. He swings it from the left side and average or better with all 5 tools. Currently a CF but with growth still to come he may need to move to RF in time.
Our Instinct: He projects as a 20+ HR power though, depending on how much power he develops, he could best that projection based on his size. He has the arm to handle RF and will steal his fair share of bases early in his career. He is more of a project than Clint Frazier, though he’s also much younger and his upside could be substantial. He also has the frame that scouts look for.
8. Clint Frazier, OF Loganville (Ga.) HS 9/6/1994 H:6’1″ W:190 – Frazier is a fast twitch athlete and despite not looking the part of a power hitter, Frazier hits HRs at a regular clip. He doesn’t project for plus power as a pro but average power and a plus hit tool will play up well. He’s currently a CF and should stick there, at least early in his career.
Our Instinct: Frazier doesn’t have the physical upside of other High School prospects; he’s old for a High School draftee but his hit tool is the most advanced and his power and speed both play up as well giving him the all around tool set for success at the next level. Will he be a game changer? It’s possible, though there are higher upside players on this list. But Frazier is the safest bet of the High School OF crop to be an impact player.
9. Dominic Smith, OF/1B Los Angeles, CA 6/15/1995 H:6’0″ W:195 – The tool that makes Smith stand out amongst other high school hitters is his pure ability to square pitches. His advanced bat is the best in the High School class and while some project him to be a 1B, he’s athletic enough to handle RF and his plus arm would be wasted at 1B.
Our Instinct: The team that drafts him should give him the opportunity to work as an OF where his arm will be another premium tool. His power is still developing but he projects as a .300 hitter type and to have average power with upside. Pure hitting ability is difficult to teach and is a premium tool that ranks up there with pure velocity. Smith has a chance to go off the board inside the first 10 picks and his bat is advanced enough that he could move quickly through the lower levels as he matures into his power game.
10. Colin Moran, 3B North Carolina 10/1/1992 H:6’3″ W:210 – Moran is the Tar Heels’ leading hitter and the the nation’s RBI leader with 84 RBI through 60 games. He also holds a .357 AVG and .579 SLG with 13 HR in 235 AB. Moran may be the best pure hitting 3B in the college ranks, but power projection is going to be a big part of his development. Many see him sticking at 3B and I agree, despite sub-average speed, he has the range and arm to handle 3B.
Our Instinct: Moran is going to have the bat to hit at the higher levels; his power is currently average and should bump up to above average within the next couple of seasons. He uses the entire field and drives the ball to the gaps and out to the opposite field when he’s going good. Again, the plus hitting ability is a premium and power will come. He has the chance to be a near .300 hitter with 20 HR power at the hot corner.
11. Braden Shipley, RHP Nevada 2/2/1992 H:6’3″ W:190 – Shipley is a late riser up the draft boards, putting himself on the map last season when the Nevada coaching staff gave him a shot on the mound full time. Shipley was recruited as a SS but his plus plus arm fits well on the mound. His fastball sits in the mid 90s and gets to 96-97 with more regularity this year.
The pitch that intrigues me enough to see him as a possible top 10 selection is his changeup. He has an athletic delivery and his changeup is far advanced for a pitcher who’s only in his second full season on the mound.
Our Instinct: Despite having premium velocity and athleticism, it will take Shipley more time than the college pitchers ahead of him on the list to refine his mechanics and command along with a power breaking ball. He hasn’t used the curveball enough and will need time at the lower levels to boost it to an average or better offering. But Shipley has the stuff to become a high level starter. Ace type, probably not, but a solid #2 starter is right there in his skill range.
12. Hunter Green, LHP Warren East HS, Bowling Green, Ky. 7/12/1995 H:6’3″ W:180 – Green has a low 90s fastball that touches 95 and with a projectable frame he has an uptick in velocity in his near future. There are a few mechanical tweaks that should be easy to iron out and with added strength in his lower half he could sit mid 90s with regularity. He pairs the premium fastball with a curveball and changeup; both offerings just need time to be average or better.
The curveball could morph into a wipeout slider because Green comes from a 3/4 slot. The slot should also lend itself to solid changeup fade if he can maintain arm speed.
Our Instinct: I only throw out comps once in awhile, and only when warranted, but Green reminds me of Chris Sale coming out of HS and Sale was at the top of our list of LHP in 2010 Draft. Green has the arm slot, potential size and premium velocity to be a dominant starter. He’s one of the youngest players available in the draft and will need the additional development time reach his upside. While he’s a project to be sure, he has the upside of a front of the rotation SP. He won’t go this high in the draft but this is the type of project a draft can be made a success with.
13. Hunter Renfroe, OF Mississippi State 1/28/1992 H:6’1″ W:210 – Renfroe has broken out this year after a great summer campaign. He’s kept up the power output with 15 HR this year and has put himself in the upper rankings of power hitting OF prospects. But he’s more than a power prospect. He is one of the best hitters for AVG in the nation this season and has an even approach with almost a 1/1 bb to k split. For a stocky OF he moves well, can steal some bases, and can cover the OF. His arm is is plus and profiles well for RF.
Our Instinct: Renfroe is going to regress some from this breakout season and it will probably come by the way of the strikeout as a pro. But he still could be a 20+ HR hitter with a possible .280 AVG upside while being able to hold down a starting job in RF or LF as an above average regular. He has a pretty high floor for a power hitter and that will make him attractive to a team in need of a power hitting OF.
14. Billy McKinney, OF Plano (Texas) West HS 8/23/1994 H:6’2″ W:195 – McKinney has a plus bat which rivals that of the Dominic Smith. McKinney is a sure fire OF though and his arm and range will play up in both LF and RF. He projects to have more power as he matures and his left handed swing is conducive to a lot of contact. Reminds me of David Dahl with his swing but he plays the rest of the game all out where Dahl is a smoother talent.
Our Instinct: McKinney will go high enough to bypass TCU and his advanced bat could have him in full season ball to start next season. He’s a potential .300 hitter with 15-20 HR power and plus makeup in the OF and on the bases. His speed is only average but his game could turn him into a 20/20 threat on the upside at least in his mid 20s.
15. Ian Clarkin, LHP Madison HS, San Diego 2/14/1995 H:6’2″ W:190 – The High School lefty pool is actually quite deep this year. With Clarkin being another high upside arm with low 90s on his fastball and power curveball. Clarkin has projection in his frame and his mechanics are clean, reminiscent of Clayton Kershaw though Clarkin doesn’t have the ultra premium stuff that made Kershaw our #1 talent that season. There will need to be physical growth and additional velocity for Clarkin to reach his high upside.
Our Instinct: It’s tough to look the other way when the upside of Clarkin is substantial, despite the fact that he will need plenty of development time. There is a large range of future outcomes, but Clarkin could have a plus fastball to go along with what is almost currently a plus curveball. He will need to refine his changeup but his mechanics bode well that he will be able to do so.
16. Aaron Judge, OF Fresno State 4/26/1992 H:6’7″ W:255 – Judge is a monster OF at 6’7″ and 255 and that size normally throws up red flags. However, Judge is very athletic, can steal bases, and his timing at the plate is above average. His swing is short to the ball such that it is actually limiting his power potential right now. With his size, he’s always going to have holes in his swing path, but once he’s able to get a little more extended, the plus power will translate far more in games.
Our Instinct: Judge will handle LF duties well with enough speed and arm to handle RF as well. His power could be elite, though it will come with 20%+ K rates. He’s also shown the ability to take walks and utilize his speed on the bases, so his all around game is deeper than most prospects that come in at 250 lbs+. This is a high upside selection with some downside if he can’t translate that plus power. But we have hopes that his athleticism will indeed allow that to happen.
17. Phil Bickford, RHP Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, Calif. 7/10/1995 H:6’4″ W:200 – Bickford is a late riser. He has abig frame already but there is room for him to add weight and he could be a true innings eater. He has a mid 90s fastball that could bump up to the upper 90s in time. He pairs it with a slider and changeup, with the slider the more advanced pitch. A red flag is his both his arm slot and mechanics, specifically his landing point.
There are certainly things to iron out but they should relatively easy to do. I don’t think he’ll ever be a true over the top pitcher but his arm angle should settle into 3/4 slot and it won’t cause a drop in velocity because he is up there with the best in this draft as far as arm speed.
Our Instinct: If a team with vision is watching, Bickford could go this high. I can also see him falling and getting picked off later by a team smart enough to save cash in the earlier rounds. Bickford has significant upside, though he lacks clear polish. With his arm speed and potential to add more weight to his frame, his fastball could eventually be a rival to Gray’s as the best to come out of this draft class.
18. Chris Anderson, rhp Jacksonville 7/29/1992 H:6’4″ W:215 – Anderson has the frame and plus stuff to project at the front of a rotation. His fastball sits mid 90s and touches 97 with a power slider and above average changeup. He is really just learning to utilize all of his weapons and has averaged nearly a strikeout per inning and limits walks as Jacksonville’s friday night starter.
Our Instinct: Anderson has the total package looked for out of a RH power SP, similar to Gray and Appel, though he needs much more refinement. I think it will only be a matter of time before he is able to reach his ceiling, which based on his age and still raw skills, could be a little more limited than the Power Duo at the top of the draft. Anderson could settle in as a very good #2 SP.
19. Hunter Dozier, SS Stephen F. Austin State 8/22/1991 H:6’4″ W:220 – Dozier is a little less heralded than some of the other college sluggers projected in the first round. But Dozier has raked and hit for power as much as the next has. He has 17 HR and 25 doubles in 212 AB this year with a .396 AVG. While Dozier is a SS right now, and has a chance to stick as a pro, the odds are good that he shifts to either 3B or 2B. He has a plus arm that hits 93 on the mound and the range of a SS that would play up at a plus level at 3B.
Our Instinct: Dozier is going to be a sneaky pick for someone in the first round and he could pay very high dividends. He has plus raw power good for 25+ HR annually and a possible .290-.300 hitter as well while being versatile enough to play anywhere in the infield or OF. Sleeper pick that could pick up real steam heading into this last week before the draft.
20. Ryne Stanek, RHP Arkansas 7/26/1991 H:6’4″ W:180 – Stanek was high on the Baseball Instinct draft list in 2010 but he failed to sign with the Mariners and instead went to Arkansas, where he took the helm as their #1. He has a upper 90s fastball and mid 80s slider, both plus offerings. But Stanek has mechanical issues that bring questions about his future spot. While his stuff would point to a front end starter, his mechanics lead to less swings and misses than a true front of the rotation starter needs.
Our Instinct: Stanek is past the point where his high school mechanics should be changed and unfortunately the true upside we saw coming out of HS will probably never materialize. But a team could take the approach of a full rework and hope the can find that command and GB rate to make him a #2 starter. He has the talent, but I can see him in the bullpen much more readily and going to a team that needs helps sooner rather than later.
21. Tim Anderson, SS East Central (Miss.) JC 6/23/1993 H:6’1″ W:180 – Anderson is one of the toolsiest players in the draft and there is a wide range of opinions as to his future. He’ll go high enough in the draft based on those tools that we will see where his future lies sooner rather than later. He has plus plus speed with emerging power to match. He’s still learning the game of baseball and with time he should take off as a hitter, although it’s not as if he’s struggled in JC hitting .495 with 10 HR.
Our Instinct: Anderson is going to be a sleeper in the draft with very high upside. The chance to stick at SS is there, but he profiles well as a 2B. His infield actions are good and his arm will play in the OF as well. He will need time to refine his approach against breaking balls, but his tool set is that of a high 1st rounder and he’ll probably still be there near the back end of the 1st for a team to grab a potential steal.
22. Rob Kaminsky, LHP St. Joseph Regional HS, Montvale, N.J. 9/2/1994 H:5’11” W:190 – Kaminsky is a power lefty with a low to mid 90s fastball and a power curveball. He has the plus stuff to profile as a high end starter, but his frame is the least projectable of the HS lefties. So we’re probably looking at his physical upside and his mechanics, while not a red flag, are not the cleanest either.
Our Instinct: Kaminsky’s size puts a possible limitation on his upside, but not his ability. His stuff is premium and he’s an advanced pitcher for a High School starter, although not young for the draft level. He’s going to have a good shot at success, but his upside may be closer to that of a mid to back of the rotation starter. Higher floor than the other HS lefties, but there is a more certain cap to his upside as well.
23. Sean Manaea, LHP Indiana State 2/1/1992 H:6’5″ W:235 – Manaea was a breakout in the Cape last year, when his fastball upticked into the mid 90s. He hasn’t seen the same velocity this season, which could be due to injury because he’s faced ankle and hip problems this year. He was successful as a starter before the uptick and his fastball works in the low 90s with a slurve in the low 80s. His slider and slurve tend to blend and he will need to refine that mix into a tight slider to be successful as a starter.
Our Instinct: Manaea is a big kid and that uptick is going to be the difference between him being an innings eating middle of the rotation starter or a LH RP. The split in velocity between his mid 90s FB and his slider and his low 90s FB and his SL are night and day when trying to get through a lineup multiple times. He also lands hard on his front side and it puts additional stress on his shoulder when he’s trying to uptick the velocity. Manaea should be able to refine his stuff and an upside of a mid rotation LHP is there. The downside could be big, though the upside will be worth a pick in the 1st round.
24. Jonathan Denney, C Yukon (Okla.) HS 9/28/1994 H:6’2″ W:205 – Denney is the premier High School bat at catcher. He brings contact ability and plus power to the plate and has the plus arm to stick behind the plate. As often happens with catchers coming out of High School, they are either pure catchers, or a plus bat with a need for refinement. Denney is the plus bat variety. Though he catching is far from raw.
Our Instinct: Denney has the best chance to be an impact bat at the major league level out of the High School ranks this year. His power is very impressive and stands to uptick, so plus is the tag that could be there in the future if it isn’t already. He’s not going to hit .300, but a .270-.80 with 25+ HR power and plus arm behind the plate is very valuable. There will be a learning curve for him to become a true professional catcher, but he’s young enough to ride that learning curve to the pros.
25. Kyle Serrano, RHP Farragut (Tenn.) HS 7/6/1995 H:6’2″ W:195 – Kyle Serrano is the son of Tenn. HC Dave Serrano and as expected, Kyle is an advanced pitcher for his age. He has the making of a 3 pitch arsenal that all are average or better at this point. His fastball sits low 90s up to 94 and both his changeup and curveball are advanced for his age although inconsistent at times. He doesn’t have the biggest frame, but his mechanics are clean and his frame is strong.
Our Instinct: Serrano may go to Tennessee to play for his father, so he will probably fall out of the first round. But he has the deep arsenal and know how to profile as a mid rotation starter. It’s not obvious, but there is room for a velocity uptick in his frame. Both his change and curveball could be plus pitches. If he spends 2 seasons with his father, I would expect him to come out of Tennessee as a surefire first rounder, although it’s doubtful he will ever be viewed as a frontline starter with a #2 as his ultimate upside. The only way he turns pro is if a team has saved enough to give him mid 1st round money at the back end.
Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon as we release our top 21 prospects for each organization. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our in-season top 360 prospects, and we will be updating it throughout the season. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be, so don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org. And while you’re at it head over to Facebook and join the Instinct page. You can also follow us on twitter: @BaseballInstinc.