The 2013 MLB first-year player draft, held on June 6-8, is almost a month away and what more can a reeling Astros fan look forward to than take a look at potential players his team could take in the draft.
This is the busiest time of the year for baseball scouts, as they bustle from game to game trying to help their respective teams decide who to take where on each day of the draft. After some scouting of my own, here’s a look at my top prospects for the 2013 MLB Draft.
1. Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
I saw this kid completely overpower the Texas offense in March, as he allowed one unearned run and struck out eight Longhorns in 6 2/3 innings. At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, he has the size and power to that MLB scouts drool over to project as a potential front-end starter in the future. He currently holds a 1.09 ERA this season and has struck out 91 batters in 74 1/3 innings pitched. His fastball sits around 95 mph with movement and has shown that he can run it up to 102 mph multiple times. He still needs to work on command of his slider, but it is a consistent out pitch for him at the college level. Gray also possesses an above average changeup even though it lags behind his two other pitches.
2. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
This is another guy who roughed up UT bats early in the season. On March 1 in Palo Alto, Appel struck out 14 Longhorns and pitched his way to a complete game three-hitter. His slender 6-foot-5 has the projection to make MLB scouts drool. He has a three-quarters arm slot, which is a small cause for concern for arm problems further down the road, but his 93-96 mph fastball causes most scouts to overlook that. He has been known to get up to 98 mph when he needs to. He might have the most polish and control in terms of prospects with electric stuff in this year’s draft, shown by his ability to go deep into games. He has a 1.54 ERA this season and has compiled 84 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 70 1/3 innings pitched.
3. Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
This 6-foot-5 physical specimen has improved his draft stock more than anyone in the country over the past few months. He clearly possesses tremendous power due to his size but also has shown surprising athleticism, with six stolen bases on the year. Bryant has MLB bat speed already and has a great approach to hitting, as he can hit for power to all fields. He is an average defender at third base, but his athleticism helps him project to a corner outfield position as well. This year he is hitting .350 with 20 home runs and 42 RBIs. Of his 49 hits, 32 are extra-base hits.
4. Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS, committed to Georgia
It’s always risky drafting a high school prospect so highly in the draft, especially position players, but when it does happen, the player is usually a five-tooler who is too projectable to pass on. Clint Frazier fits that bill. He runs a 6.4-second 60-yard dash (which translates to a 4.3-second 40-yard dash), throws 98 mph from the outfield, and can hit for serious power. Like most high schoolers, his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame has some room to fill out, but it’s easy to see why he is most likely a Top 10 lock in this year’s draft.
5. Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
Moran is probably the most MLB-ready bat in this year’s class, as he has spent 3 years in college, unlike most top prospects. He has great bat control and fluidity to his swing, almost unseen at the college level. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Moran has the size to be a solid first baseman since his fielding and range at third is not MLB caliber. Even though he has increased his power numbers from three homeruns last year to 10 this year, some still worry about his MLB power potential. However, I can see him being a .300 average, 15-20 homerun guy once he finally settles in to the majors. He also has 15-20 pounds of weight to add to his frame once he reaches the majors. Perhaps the most impressive stat, regarding Moran this year is that he has only struck out eight times in 163 at-bats.
Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State
Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Dominic Smith, 1B/OF, Serra High School - committed to USC
Kohl Stewart, RHP/OF, St. Pius X High School - committed to Texas A&M
Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson High School - committed to Clemson