2013 MLB draft: First round picks and analysis
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The first round of the 2013 MLB draft is in the books. Aside from a couple of surprises, it went pretty much as expected. Heck, even I had 28 of the 33 picks in the first-round in my final mock. Here is a rundown of how it unfolded along with my analysis:
1. Houston Astros — Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
The Astros, after teasing everyone with several scenarios, opted to take the best available player in the 2013 MLB draft. The 6’-5” right-hander features a mid-90s fastball that can touch 99 mph, a true swing-and-miss slider, and his change-up sits in the mid-80s and has developed into another plus offering this year. He has excellent command of his pitches and can maintain velocity deep into games. His poise on the mound separates him from most as he never seems to get rattled. While others may have a higher “ceiling” as far as upside goes, his “floor” may be the highest in the 2013 MLB draft, meaning the risk is low and he should be no worse than a third starter in the rotation. A high-character kid with a ton of talent, Appel posted a 2.12 ERA, 0.97 WHIP over 14 starts with 130 K/23 BB over 106.1 innings.
2. Chicago Cubs — Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
The Cubs left a potential ace on the board in Jonathan Gray and opted for the best college bat in the 2013 MLB draft in the 6’-5” right-hander who leads the nation in home runs (31), BB (66) and SLG (.820). His mix of power and patience made him one of the safest players available, and he joins a farm system loaded with offensive potential, including Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Daniel Vogelbach. The Cubs then went pitching for many of their next several picks, just as they did last year when they selected Almora sixth-overall.
3. Colorado Rockies — Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
The 6’-4”, 240-pound right-hander may have more upside than Appel, and his fastball can hit 100 mph with ease. He maintains his velocity deep into games, and he also adds a plus slider and solid change-up. Gray ranks second in the nation in strikeouts with 138 and fourth in WHIP at 0.84. He is a workhorse pitcher who projects to a front-line starter. Some believe his positive test for the amphetamine Adderall may have been the tie-breaker that caused the Cubs to select Bryant over him.
4. Minnesota Twins — Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (TX)
As expected, the Twins go with the best prep arm in the 2013 MLB draft in Stewart, a 6’-3” right-hander with four quality pitches, including a plus slider and a fastball that can touch 97 mph. Both his curveball and change-up are solid and have plus potential. He has a scholarship to play quarterback at Texas A&M, along with baseball, but should sign. He may have the highest ceiling in the 2013 MLB draft.
5. Cleveland Indians — Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA)
The Gatorade National Player of the Year goes to Cleveland, and he brings the best bat speed in the 2013 MLB draft with him. The 6’-0” right-hander has enormous power, as well as above-average speed and arm strength. Over 32 games this year, he hit .561 with 17 home runs, 45 RBI and had a 1.134 SLG. Arguably the most exciting player in the draft, Indians fans are going to love this kid.
6. Miami Marlins — Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
Miami throws a bit of a curveball and takes one of the better pure hitters in the 2013 MLB draft. Moran, a 6’-3” left-handed hitter, has an advanced approach at the plate and showed increased power this season — something many scouts question if he will be able to do at the next level. Many thought the Marlins were in on a college arm or one of the prep bats like Austin Meadows but had to be happy when Moran fell to them. Over 64 games this season, he is hitting .348 with 13 home runs, 86 RBI and has drawn 60 walks to just 22 strikeouts for a .478 OBP/.557 SLG.
7. Boston Red Sox — Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle HS (IN)
Boston takes a highly projectable player who could be a star as either a pitcher or a hitter. At 6’-6”, the southpaw can dial his fastball up to the mid-90s and has solid secondary stuff. At the plate, he generates a ton of power from the left side and also has very good speed. He will take some time as he hasn’t focused full time at either, but the Red Sox wanted high upside and that is exactly what they got.
8. Kansas City Royals — Hunter Dozier, SS, Stephen F. Austin
The surprise of the first round, this pick set up the move to grab Sean Manaea, a top lefty from Indiana State, in the competitive balance lottery round. Dozier is a very good talent, however. One of the better college bats in the draft, he hit .386 with 25 doubles and 17 home runs. At 6’-4” and 220 pounds, he may be too big to remain at shortstop, but his power and glove would play well at second.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates — Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
A five-tool stud, Meadows is a 6’-3” left-handed hitter with raw power to all fields and plus speed. He has a strong enough arm and instincts to play center field at the next level, although his bat would play well in right. This was compensation for losing Appel last year and Meadows has a chance to be the best player out of this draft with his skill set.
10. Toronto Blue Jays — Phil Bickford, RHP, Oaks Christian HS (CA)
A guy who started the year off most people’s radar, the 6’-4” right-hander showed a plus fastball that touched 99 mph this year. His secondary stuff is still developing, but with his size and arm strength, he has a ton of upside and still has room for added velocity. He had 146 K/11 BB over 84.2 innings, allowing just 38 hits. He threw a first pitch strike to 226 of the 254 batters he faced.
11. New York Mets — Dominic Smith, 1B, Serra HS (CA)
The Mets grab maybe the best pure hitter in the 2013 MLB draft and a kid whose power is coming on fast. At 6’-1” and 200 pounds, Smith has excellent bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate. Over 105 games in his prep career, he hit .551 with a .643 OBP and struck out just 21 times over 303 at-bats. He isn’t going to steal any bases, but he could develop into a plus defender at first. One of my favorite players in the draft.
12. Seattle Mariners — D.J. Peterson, 3B, New Mexico
The Mariners were seeking power bats, and they got one of the better ones available in Peterson, a 6’-1” right-hander who hit .408 with 18 home runs and led the nation with a 1.327 OPS. His numbers may have been a little inflated due to the park he plays in, but the power is real and he should also hit for a high average due to his advanced approach at the plate. He also may end up at first base but should be given every chance at third until he proves otherwise.
13. San Diego Padres — Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State
The Padres were another team seeking bats, and I like Renfroe better than Peterson due to his ability to play a corner outfield spot, as well as his athletic abilities. Over 59 games, he hit .352 with 15 doubles, 15 home runs and had a .440 OBP/.634 SLG playing in the SEC, arguably the toughest conference in the country. He doesn’t have the track record of guys like Peterson, Moran and Bryant, but his upside makes this a great pick.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates — Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)
Another favorite of mine, the Pirates were the big winners of the first round, grabbing two extremely talented prep players who have enormous upside at premium positions. McGuire is maybe the best defensive catcher in the 2013 MLB draft, and he showed great improvements in his bat this, especially his approach as he struck out just two times all season. The power is going to come, and left-handed hitting catchers are a rare commodity.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks — Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
Adding to their embarrassment of riches in starting pitching, the Diamondbacks selected an athletic right-hander whose fastball can touch the upper-90s with ease due to his fluid delivery and he also adds a plus slider. Over 15 starts, he had a 2.77 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 102 K/34 BB over 107.1 innings. A converted shortstop much like Kyle Zimmer last year, he is still raw but oozes potential as a future front-line starter.
16. Philadelphia Phillies — J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (CA)
A slick defender with some flash to his game, Crawford’s strong arm, range and instincts make him one of the few players in the 2013 MLB draft that should stick at shortstop. At the plate, he has excellent bat speed and makes consistent contact. He won’t hit for a lot of power, but he projects to a top-of-the-order hitter with above-average speed. A four-year starter, he hit .417 over 131 career games with 73 stolen bases and struck out just 30 times over 429 at-bats.
17. Chicago White Sox — Tim Anderson, SS, East Central CC
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