2013 MLB Draft Preview: Guide to Top Ten Picks
Players that are taken in the first 10 picks are more likely than almost any other player in the draft to move quickly through their parent club’s system, especially college products. According to Cliff Corcoran at Inside Baseball, 78% of the top ten picks from 1990-2010 have made the majors (164 of 210 total players). Furthermore, 25% of these players have been selected to at least one all-star team (52 of 210 total players).
Therefore, if your team has a pick in the top ten of the 2013 MLB Draft, be sure to tune in and watch who they select. He may have a more immediate impact on the future of your favorite club than any other player your team selects. Here is a breakdown of what to expect from the first ten teams to pick. The 2013 slot allotments assigned to each pick by the MLB are included as they are sure to impact a club’s choice.
Pick No. 1: Houston Astros – Slot Allotment $7,790,400
Stanford RHP Mark Appel is the most MLB-ready player who already possesses an assortment of all-star caliber tools on the mound. However, Appel turned down a $4 million deal from the Pittsburgh Pirates as last year’s No. 8 selection. Many feel as though he was gambling that he would be able to get more money this year, making him the type of player that is likely to use a team’s entire slot allotment.
Houston has shown a tendency to avoid using their entire slot allotment (i.e. Carlos Correa last year) in order to allow them to use the remaining money to be nab more expensive players later in the draft. Three players that Houston might be able to sign under the slot allotment are San Diego 3B Kris Bryant, UNC 3B Colin Moran, and Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray (due to concerns over a positive drug test for adderall). Colin Moran has been the most talked about player at this other than Appel, but Houston needs help and soon. Pick Prediction: RHP Mark Appel.
Pick No. 2: Chicago Cubs – Slot Allotment $6,708,400
If Houston passes on Mark Appel, the Cubs do not hesitate to take him here. If Appel is not on the board, look for Kris Bryant here. Bryant’s power potential is truly rare, as he has put together a 31-home-run campaign this season at San Diego. The one downside to Bryant’s hitting, however, is that his bat speed is only average at best.
Slower bat speed means less time to react to the 90-plus mph pitching he will face in the MLB. This typically leads to a high strike out rate not only due to being late on fastballs, but also because these hitters are usually caught having to guess fastball more often, resulting in trouble adjusting to anything off-speed. If concerns about Bryant’s ability to be a consistent hitter in the MLB outweigh his power potential, look for the Cubs to go with 3B Colin Moran of UNC or RHP Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma. Pick Prediction: 3B/OF Kris Bryant.
Pick No. 3: Colorado Rockies – Slot Allotment $5,626,400
The Rockies sit in a beautiful position in this draft. At third overall, they will have their choice of he possible No. 1 overall talent in any other year for $2.1 million less than what they would pay if they had the pick in that spot. The Rockies could take any route with this pick. Adding another offensive threat to a lineup that gets to play 81 games in the hitter friendly Coors Field would not be a bad choice.
If Kris Bryant is not taken in the top two picks, his plus-plus power makes him an extraordinarily tempting pick here. Other options include the ever-steady Colin Moran of UNC or possibly one of the top prep bats OF Austin Meadows or OF Clint Frazier (both from Georgia). However, the Rockies really need to bolster their young pitching talent. Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray looks like the smart pick in this spot, already possessing a fastball that would be one of the more dominant in the majors and a host of other all-star worthy tools on the mound. Pick Prediction: RHP Jonathan Gray.
Pick No. 4: Minnesota Twins – Slot Allotment $4,544,400
Look for the Twins to quickly jump on Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray, or Kris Bryant if any of them are still around at the fourth slot. However, it’s a very real possibility that those three are gone by this point in the draft. With holes on both sides of the field, this pick is somewhat wide open. A consistent bat like that of UNC’s Colin Moran could be the pick here. The need for a defensive catcher to replace Mauer as the Twins hope to lengthen his career by limiting his starts in that position could make prep catcher Reese McGuire of Washington the choice.
Ultimately, the twins have plenty of spots to fill so look for them to try to come in under the slot allocation so they can be more aggressive later in the draft. With that being the case, it is more likely that McGuire becomes the selection here. Reese McGuire possesses the best arm in the draft but his hit tool does not grade out very high so look for him to take a longer route than others in the top ten to the majors. Pick Prediction: C Reese McGuire.
Pick No. 5: Cleveland Indians – Slot Allotment $3,787,000
The Indians seem to really be in the market for a bat in the 2013 draft. If Colin Moran falls to this spot, don’t expect the Indians to take very long in announcing their pick. Moran has been a steady producer for UNC at 3B. He grades out to all-star level tools defensively and offensively. This would be an ideal scenario for Cleveland with this pick.
If Moran has already been taken and Bryant is off the board as well, prep OF Clint Frazier from Georgia could be the pick here. Frazier has the best bat speed in the draft by far and a true five-tool player with a great mind for the game. Either selection for the Indians would be great in this spot. Pick Prediction: 3B Colin Moran.
Pick No. 6: Miami Marlins – Slot Allotment $3,516,500
The Marlins are also searching for another bat in this draft after the fire sale they undertook in the offseason. More than likely the top two collegiate hitters in the draft, Colin Moran and Kris Bryant, are already off the board. That leaves one of the top two prep bats to be the most likely selections in this slot, either OF Austin Meadows or OF Clint Frazier.
Frazier, as stated mentioned, has the best bat speed in the draft. Austin Meadows grades out higher in some of the tools but Frazier’s are comparable. Look for bat speed to win out due to the power potential and consistency it creates. Pick Prediction: OF Clint Frazier.
Pick No. 7: Boston Red Sox – Slot Allotment $3,246,000
Boston has had a season in which things in the AL East seem to have returned to form. Having turned in strong performances as a team in both hitting and pitching, their weaknesses do not seem easy to point out. The Red Sox could really go in any direction with this pick.
History has shown that when teams feel as though a pick is this open this close to the draft, they tend to default to a pitcher. Pitchers tend to be safer selections in the draft. Nevada RHP Braden Shipley and Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek have been discussed in the tier just below Gray and Appel. Shipley grades out to be a bit more ready than Stanek so look for him to be the pick here. Pick Prediction: RHP Braden Shipley.
Pick No. 8: Kansas City Royals – Slot Allotment $3,137,800
Kansas City has seemed to be a perennial inhabitant of the top ten of the MLB draft. Some of those top choices are starting to reach the majors and show flashes of their true potential. The Royals have another chance here to add some depth to their organization and could stand to use this pick on an arm.
RHPs Braden Shipley and Ryne Stanek are options here for the consistency they’ve shown in the collegiate ranks. Both will be producers at the next level, but just how much of an impact they will make is up for debate. The risk/reward pick is the top prep pitching prospect, RHP Phil Bickford of California. Prep arms always have extreme bust potential but Bickford's shows the ability to have a dominating fastball. Ultimately, look for an available college arm to win out. Pick Prediction: RHP Ryne Stanek.
Pick No. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates – Slot Allotment $3,029,600
If irony were the only force in action in this draft, RHP Mark Appel would drop to the Pirates here at the spot they received in compensation for failing to sign him last year. However, this seems to be an unimaginable possibility. Pirates pitching prospects Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are poised to be the staples of the rotation soon. That leaves room for a bat in this spot.
Five-tool prep OF Austin Meadows from Georgia is an option here. Meadows offers a lot of upside at this pick but is still a bit raw. This would keep him from moving up to the majors as quickly as some of the others in the top ten. Other possibilities at this slot include second tier college bats such as Mississippi State OF Hunter Renfroe and New Mexico 3B DJ Peterson. Pick Prediction: OF Austin Meadows.
Pick No. 10 Toronto Blue Jays – Slot Allotment $2,921,400
The Blue Jays seem to be more in the market for prep talent this year. OF Austin Meadows is a real possibility here if he falls to this point. However, an intriguing prospect that many experts have tied to the Blue Jays here is LHP/OF Trey Ball.
Trey Ball is a two-way player from Indiana. Ball is projectable both as a hitter and a pitcher, with the possibility of developing plus power or becoming an early rotation starter. Right now, Ball is more polished as a pitcher, with some basic mechanical flaws in his swing that he would need to fix if he moves to the outfield. Pick Prediction: LHP/OF Trey Ball.