2013 MLB draft: 15 high school players on the rise
The 2013 MLB draft is just about a month away with the first round to be held on June 6. This is the fifth in a series of prep players who have impressed over the last week, either improving their draft stock, or proving the hype is for real. I usually go with 10 but decided to up it to 15 as so many players have been putting on great performances of late.
Carlos Salazar, RHP, Kerman HS (CA)
Salazar put on quite the show Friday, allowing just one hit over seven shutout innings. He also struck out a career-high 19 batters and didn’t issue a walk. He now has 44 K/3 BB over his last 20 innings and, for the season, has yet to allow a run over 62 innings with 123 K/21 BB and just 16 hits allowed. The 6’-3” right-hander has a plus fastball that sits in the 91-93 range with late life. The most impressive thing about him, however, may be his continued work on his command. After allowing 6.4 BB/9 as a junior, he has cut that number down to 2.9 this season. Committed to Fresno State.
Phil Bickford, RHP, Oaks Christian HS (CA)
It seems that I have been writing a lot about Bickford over the last couple of weeks. That’s because he just keeps giving me something to write about. On Friday, the 6’-4” right-hander tossed six more scoreless innings, striking out 11 to one walk. Over his last four starts, he has allowed one run on six hits over 27 innings, striking out 50 to six walks. He has been flashing his plus fastball that can touch 97 mph and showing excellent command. On the season, he has a 0.95 ERA, 0.59 WHIP and 112 K/12 BB over 66.1 innings. My hopes of him being available when the Cubs pick again at 41 are dwindling by the day. Committed to Cal State Fullerton.
Dominic Smith, OF, Serra HS (CA)
The owner of one of the prettiest swings in the draft, Smith is a 6’-1” left-hander with an advanced approach at the plate. Over his last four games, he has gone 5-for-7 with a double, triple, three home runs and seven RBI. He has also drawn five walks and has been hit by a pitch three times, meaning he has reached base 15 of his last 17 plate appearances. On the season, he is now hitting .490/.614/1.059 over 20 games with five doubles, six home runs, 27 RBI and has drawn 14 walks to just five strikeouts. Aside from his hitting abilities, he also has a canon arm and can touch 94 mph on the mound. Committed to USC.
Ian Clarkin, LHP, Madison HS (CA)
One of the best southpaws in the draft, the 6’-2” Clarkin tossed seven shutout innings on Friday, striking out 10 to two walks. Over his last three starts, he has 35 K/5 BB over 19 innings and, for the season, now has 97 K/19 BB over 51.2 innings, allowing just 26 hits. He features a plus curveball and a low-90s fastball with a lot of deception in his delivery. Committed to San Diego.
Clinton Hollon, RHP, Woodford County HS (KY)
The 6’-1” right-hander tossed a two-hit shutout on Thursday, striking out 12 to no walks. He now has a 1.13 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 57 K/10 BB over 40 innings, allowing just 18 hits as he continues to overpower his peers this season. Scouts have said he has become more of a pitcher this year, using his secondary offerings more, instead of relying just on his low/mid-90s heater. Both his curveball and change-up are already considered above-average pitches and he has great control of all three. Committed to Kentucky.Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys HS (NC)
The 6’-3” right-hander tossed a five-inning no-hitter on Friday, striking out nine to two walks. For the season, he is now 8-0 over 10 starts with a 0.58 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 99 K/17 BB over 46.2 innings. His 19.2 K/9 ratio shows how overpowering he is with his mid-90s fastball and he also adds a solid curveball. He is the son of former big-league closer Bryan Harvey and has an arm just like his dad.
Corey Simpson, C, Sweeny HS (TX)
Over his last six games, the 6’-3”, 220-pound right-hander has gone a ridiculous 15-for-18 (.833) with two doubles, a triple, three home runs, 14 RBI and has drawn three walks for a .857 OBP/1.556 SLG. On the season, he is now hitting .578 with 11 doubles, 10 home runs, 39 RBI and has drawn 16 walks to just five strikeouts over 24 games for a .659 OBP/1.183 SLG. A very good defensive catcher, there is obviously a ton of offensive upside, as well, with his size, power and approach at the plate. He may, however, outgrow the position. Committed to Houston.
Dustin Peterson, SS, Gilbert HS (AZ)
The younger brother of projected 2013 MLB first-round pick D.J. Peterson of New Mexico, Dustin may have the higher upside as he may be able to stick at shortstop. The 6’-2” right-hander has soft hands, great instincts and above-average speed. He also has the arm to move to third if he can’t handle short and his bat would play very well at the hot corner. Over 26 games this season, he is hitting .549/.579/1.195 with 11 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, 39 RBI and has only struck out five times. He has also gone 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts.
Trevor Clifton, RHP, Heritage HS (TN)
It has been a tale of two halves for the 6’-6” right-hander. Over his first four starts, he had a 8.60 ERA, 2.21 WHIP and 21 K/9 BB over 13.2 innings. Then, something clicked. Over his last four starts, he has a 2.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 58 K/12 BB over 26 innings. His fastball has touched 95 mph this season and, with his size, has a ton of upside. Although he weighs 180 pounds, he has good control of his body and should add even more velocity as he fills out. Committed to Kentucky.
Kyle Serrano, RHP, Farragut HS (TN)
On Saturday, the 6’-1” right-hander allowed three hits over seven shutout innings, striking out 12 to two walks. Over his last seven games, he has a 0.49 ERA, 0.60 WHIP and 68 K/10 BB over 37 innings. He features a mid-90s fastball to go along with a plus curveball and is very polished on the mound. Committed to Tennessee.
Corey Ray, OF, Simeon HS (IL)
As the weather is warming up in Chicago, so is Ray, a 5’-11” left-hander with a lot of upside as he can play all three outfield positions and has excellent bat speed. Over his last four games, he has gone 6-for-13 with a double, three triples and has stolen six bases. He now has a .370/.517/.717 line over 16 games with 10 extra base hits, 11 stolen bases and 13 walks. Ray is a quick-twitch athlete with above-average speed and a strong arm. Committed to Louisville.
J.B. Woodman, OF, Edgewater HS (FL)
A two-sport star, the 6’-2” left-hander’s future may be brighter on the diamond as he has shown an advanced bat with pop this season. Over 26 games, he is hitting .571 with nine doubles, three home runs, 29 RBI and has stolen 19 bases. He has also drawn 18 walks to just six strikeouts for a .660 OBP/.831 SLG. With his strong arm — he has been clocked at 91 mph from the outfield — along with his speed (6.6/60), he should be able to remain at centerfield. He projects as a leadoff-type hitter. Committed to Ole Miss.
K.J. Franklin, 3B, Gahr HS (CA)
Over his last five games, the 6’-2”, 220-pound right-hander has gone 10 for-16 (.625) with four doubles, two home runs and has driven in 14 runs. On the season, he is now hitting .459 over 23 games with seven doubles, eight home runs, 32 RBI and has drawn 11 walks for a .544 OBP/.878 SLG. With his size and tremendous power, he could go high in the 2o13 MLB draft, especially if teams believe he can stick at the hot corner. Committed to Arizona State.
Keegan Thompson, RHP, Cullman HS (AL)
In his last start, the 6’-3” right-hander struck out 16 over seven shutout innings. Over 15 starts this season, he now has 1.60 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and an eye-popping 124 K/8 BB over 73 innings, allowing just 48 hits. He features a mid-90s fastball, plus curve, a developing change-up and has superb command of all three. He is as polished a prep arm as there is having pitched for Team USA baseball multiple times and seems to always play his best in the biggest games. Committed to Auburn.
Josh Hart, OF, Parkview HS (GA)
The 6’-1” left-hander has been hitting everything in sight lately. Over his last seven games, he has gone 14-for-23 (.609) with five extra-base hits, 11 RBI and has drawn five walks for a .700 OBP/1.087 SLG. On the season, he is now hitting .453 over 28 games with 13 extra-base hits, 23 RBI, 19 stolen bases and has drawn 11 walks for a .547 OBP/.733 SLG. The toolsy outfielder has been a four-year starter for one of the top programs in the country.
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