2013 MLB draft: 25 high-upside targets for Chicago Cubs
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In my last article, I addressed the Chicago Cubs need for more depth at the catching position with 10 possible options in the 2013 MLB draft. This time around, I take a look at 25 players I believe have high upsides and could be available when the team selects at 41, 77, 108 and beyond. All 25 players come from the prep ranks as anyone who still has a lot of upside in college will all but likely be taken in the first round. These are players who, if they decide to choose college instead of turning pro, could end up being high first-round picks in three years because of their outstanding talents and current projection.
Phil Bickford, RHP, Oaks Christian HS (CA)
One of my personal favorites in the 2013 MLB draft, the 6’-4” right-hander most likely won’t be around when the Cubs pick at 41. He has been touching 97 mph and sitting 91-94 mph with more room for velocity as he matures and tweaks his delivery. He adds solid breaking stuff and his offspeed stuff is still developing, as is the case with most prep pitchers. Over his last three starts, he has allowed one run on four hits over 21 innings, striking out 39 to five walks. If he is available at 41, he would be a huge steal in my opinion.
Casey Shane, RHP, Centennial HS (TX)
At 6’-4” and 200 pounds, Shane has the size and stuff to be an ace at the next level. He features a filthy, sinking fastball that sits in the low 90s and adds a low-80s change-up and mid-80s curveball that both project to be at least above-average. He had back-to-back 17-strikeout outings on March 28 and April 5, the latter being a no-hitter. He has excellent control of his pitches and great poise on the mound. Over 39.1 innings this season, he has 77 K/8 BB, allowing just 20 hits. If he is somehow still on the board when the Cubs pick at 41 in the 2013 MLB draft, he would be a great addition to the organization. Committed to Texas A&M.
Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist HS (MD)
The 6’-0” left-hander has plus/plus speed and should develop at least gap power with a chance for more. He has very good bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate. Over 17 games this season, he has stolen 20 bases while battling a nagging hamstring injury. He has also posted a .603 OBP, drawing 14 walks to six strikeouts. His speed is his best asset, however, and he has the defensive skill set to remain in centerfield and be a table-setter on offense. If he is available when the Cubs pick at 41, he could be a nice sign as the Cubs don’t have much depth at leadoff-type burners in their system. Committed to Miami.
Terry McClure, OF, Riverwood HS (GA)
A dynamic athlete, the 6’-2” right-hander should be able to stick at centerfield due to his quickness and instincts. At the plate, he has excellent bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate. He also generates a lot of power from the right side with room for more as he matures. Over 27 games this season, he has hit .400 with eight doubles, eight home runs, and has drawn 19 walks for a .534 OBP/.800 SLG. He has also added 11 stolen bases, showing above-average speed. Could be available at 41 and could be a great selection even though the Cubs have several top outfield prospects including Jorge Soler and Albert Almora in their system already.Garrett Williams, LHP, Cavalry Baptist HS
In 2007, Williams led his Lubbock team to the consolation game of the Little League World Series where he hit his pitch limit with one out to go in the game. Up to that point, he had tossed 5.2 no-hit innings, striking out 14 batters. Flash forward six years and the 6’-3” southpaw is still dominating opposing hitters. In his last start, he struck out 15 over seven shutout innings and now has 89 K/26 BB over 41.2 innings, allowing just 13 hits. A great athlete and hitter, he features a low-90s fastball with late life and a plus curveball. A polished pitcher who also starred for U18 Team USA baseball, he would be a great selection if he was still available at pick 41. Committed to Oklahoma State.
Hunter Green, LHP, Warren East HS (KY)
At 6’-4” and 170 pounds, Green has reportedly touch 95 mph this season and will add more velocity once he matures. He adds a deceptive change-up and a power curveball with nice depth. He locates his pitches well and has a good feel for his pitches. He has 28 strikeouts over his 12 innings and now has 89 K/26 BB over 41.2 innings, allowing one run on just 13 hits. A ton of upside who could be a major steal if he is available at 41.
Carlos Salazar, RHP, Kerman HS (CA)
Salazar has been climbing draft boards all spring, and there is a great chance he won’t be available when the Cubs pick at 41. His fastball has touched 97 mph and sits in the 91-93 range with late life and movement. He also features a solid, low-80s change-up while his breaking stuff is still developing. At 6’-3” and 210 pounds, he has the frame to add more velocity. Over 55 innings this season, he has yet to allow an earned run and has struck out 104 to 21 walks, allowing just 15 hits. He has worked hard on his control over the past year, cutting his BB/9 ratio down from 6.4 to 3.4 this year. Committed to Fresno State.
Dustin Driver, RHP, Wenatchee HS (WA)
One of the better power arms among prep players in the 2013 MLB draft, the 6’-2”, 200-pound right-hander may still be available when the Cubs pick at 41. If he is available, he has frontline stuff headlined by a low/mid-90s fastball that maintains velocity deep into games with good sink. He also adds an above-average change-up and a developing curveball. His delivery is clean and easy and he is very aggressive on the mound, attacking hitters inside and out. Committed to UCLA.
Josh Hart, OF, Parkview HS (GA)
Like many players on this list, Hart is a speedy outfielder with a nice stroke from the left side. A great athlete, he has been clocked at 6.49 in the 60. He has some of the best bat speed in the 2013 MLB draft which allows him to catch up to any pitch and drive it to all fields. Over 26 games this season, he is hitting .450 with five triples, three home runs, 20 RBI and has stolen 19 bases. He has drawn nine walks for a .536 OBP/.738 SLG playing for one of the top programs in the country. At 6’-2” and 190 pounds, he should hit for more power as he matures but may end up at a corner outfield spot if he fills out. Should be available at 41. Committed to Georgia Tech.
Cody Thomas, OF, Heritage HS (TX)
Let me preface this one by saying the Cubs would most likely have to make a pretty sweet offer to the 6’-5”, 220-pound left-handed hitter with tremendous raw power. He has a commitment to play quarterback at Oklahoma and, with his size, rocket arm and athletic abilities, could be a great one. He passed for 4,221 yards and 46 touchdowns over 12 games his senior year and was also the team’s punter. On the diamond, he shows a lot of upside as he also has a good approach at the plate to go along with the massive power potential. Over 32 games this season for powerhouse Heritage, he has hit .485 with 12 doubles, 13 home runs, 45 RBI and has drawn 20 walks for a .579 OBP/1.061 SLG. He also has added 12 stolen bases, showing good speed for his size.
Austin Nicely, LHP, Spotswood HS (VA)
A 6’-2” southpaw with a lot of projection left, Nicely has an easy, fluid delivery and features a low-90s fastball with movement. He has excellent command of his pitches and has great mound presence. Over 17 innings this season, he has 30 K/4 BB and has gotten better as the season goes on and the weather gets warmer. Over his last three appearances, he has tossed 12 shutout innings, striking out 20 to just one walk. A great make-up and a kid who just knows how to pitch. Committed to Virginia.
Ivan Wilson, OF, Ruston HS (LA)
A 6’-3”, 220 pound right-hander with above-average speed (6.6/60) and raw power, Wilson uses his quick, strong wrists to drive the ball to all fields and has shown a good approach at the plate this season. Over his last 10 games, he is hitting .424 with four doubles, four home runs, 15 RBI and has drawn six walks for a .548 OBP/1.030 SLG. His speed and strong arm would play well in a corner outfield spot and his bat would justify it. He may not be around at 77, but if he is, the Cubs should take a serious look.
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