2013 MLB draft: Plenty of upside left for Chicago Cubs on day two
After a thrilling first day of the 2013 MLB draft that, for the most part, went as expected, there is still a ton of talent left over as we head into rounds 2-10 today. The Chicago Cubs added some serious power with their first selection in San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant. I did a write-up on the pick here. With their second selection, they chose Rob Zastryzny, a 6’-3” southpaw out of the University of Missouri. Not a power arm, he is more of a location pitcher who mixes his offerings well and keeps hitters off-balance. With two players in the books, and the Cubs next two picks coming at 75 and 108, here are 31 players to keep an eye on today in no real particular order:
Connor Jones, RHP, Great Bridge HS (VA)
Jones, a 6’-3” athletic right-hander, has gone on record as saying he will honor his commitment to the University of Virginia. That is a major reason why he is still on the board as he was considered first-round material by most. It would be a risky pick because of the signability issue but the reward could be great. He features a plus fastball that sits in the low-90s with heavy sinking action to go along with a slider that looks plus at times. His change-up is still developing but he has a lot of upside due to his size, athleticism and loose arm.
Kyle Serrano, RHP, Farragut HS (TN)
Like Jones, Serrano is now considered a tough sign as his dad tweeted out last night that he will be attending the University of Tennessee where his dad also happens to be the head coach. While he doesn’t have the size of Jones (6’-1”, 190 pounds), his stuff is better. His fastball sits in the low-90s with late life, his change-up is already flashing plus and his curveball is headed in the same direction. He has great mound presence and there is still room in the tank for more.
Carlos Salazar, RHP, Kerman HS (CA)
The 6’-2”, 215 pound right-hander put together one of the most dominant seasons you will see from a prep pitcher. Over 74 innings, he allowed just one run on 22 hits while striking out 147 to 26 walks. His fastball can touch 97 and sits in the low/mid-90s with explosive life to it. His change-up is solid but he still needs a third pitch. His command has improved greatly over the last year without losing velocity or his aggressiveness. He is going to take time to develop but has a ton of upside with his electric arm and size.
Brett Morales, RHP, King HS (FL)
At 6’-2” and 215 pounds, Morales has the size you want in a starter. He features a low-90s fastball with some movement and his curveball projects to a plus pitch. His change-up has nice sink and also could be an above-average pitch down the road. Over 85 innings this season, he had 127 K/21 BB. He has a commitment to Florida so he could be a tough sign at this point but the upside is very good.
Garrett Williams, LHP, Cavalry Baptist HS (LA)
A former Little League World Series hero, the 6’-2”, 195 pound southpaw has a commitment to Oklahoma State and could be a tough sign at this point. He features a plus curveball and a low-90s fastball to go along with a developing change-up that should be a solid offering down the road. A very good athlete with a loose, clean delivery, he is also an alumni of Team USA Baseball.
Jonah Wesely, LHP, Tracy HS (CA)
One of my personal favorites, the 6’-2” southpaw has overpowered his peers throughout his high school career thanks to a plus fastball that sits in the low/mid-90s and a plus, knee-buckling curveball. His change-up is still developing but you would be hard pressed to find a harder worker. His legs are like tree trunks and he has the size to be a durable workhorse at the next level. Over 64 innings this season, he had 110 K/25 BB, allowing just 38 hits.
Jacob Brentz, LHP, Parkway South Hs (MO)
The 6’-2” southpaw made news after he was hitting 96 mph on the radar gun with his fastball at the Perfect Game World Championships. He doesn’t maintain velocity deep into games, however, and his secondary offerings are still developing. He is raw, but with added arm strength and work on his secondary stuff, he has a ton of upside.
Dustin Driver, RHP, Wenatchee HS (WA)
Like Salazar, the 6’-2”, 210 pound right-hander mostly relies on a plus low/mid-90s fastball with late life. His secondary stuff needs work but he is athletic and has a good feel for pitching. He had 71 K/20 BB over 51.1 innings this season, allowing 31 hits.
Jesse Roth, RHP, Horace Mann HS (NJ)
A 6’-3” 200 pound right-hander whose fastball has touched 96 mph this season, Roth has projection due to his size, power arm and easy delivery. Playing in the northeast, he didn’t get a lot of chances to show what he can do early on as the weather was brutal. A smart player with good control of his pitches, he is one of my sleepers in the 2013 MLB draft.
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 had 77 K/8 BB, allowing just 20 hits.
Jon Denney, C, Yukon HS (OK)
I really don’t understand why Denney is still available. The only player invited to the draft who is still on the board, the 6’-2”, 210 pound right-hander has some of the best power in the draft and the defensive skill set to remain behind the plate. His footwork needs work but he has a very strong, accurate arm. He doesn’t appear to be a tough sign and could be one of the real steals of the 2013 MLB draft. He also is a high-character kid.
Cord Sandberg, OF, Manatee HS (FL)
The 6’-3”, 215 pound left-hander has excellent bat speed, raw power and is a great athlete. The reason why he is still available is that he has a commitment to play quarterback at Mississippi State so he is a tough sign, although reports are he wants to play pro baseball. He obviously has a strong arm, as well as enough speed to hold down a corner outfield spot at the next level. He is still considered raw as he has split his focus on both sports. Huge upside.
Andy McGuire, SS/3B, Madison HS (VA)
A Texas commit, the 6’-2” right-hander could be a tough sign at this point. He has above-average tools across the board and profiles well on the left side of the field where his range, instincts, arm and soft hands would play well. At the plate, he has a good approach and drives the ball to all fields with more power to come. A highly intelligent player with an outstanding work ethic, he has a lot of upside.
Chris Okey, C, Eustis HS (FL)
One of the more polished players at the prep level, the 6’-0”, 180 pound right-hander has said he will honor his commitment to Clemson. A team could still pry him away with the right price, however, and they would be getting a very high-character kid with a lot of abilities on the baseball field. A great athlete, he has above-average speed and has drawn comparisons to Jason Kendall. He may not hit for a lot of power but should hit for a good average and has the defensive tools to be an everyday catcher. He is a two-time gold medal winner for U18 Team USA baseball.
Trey Michalczewski, 3B, Jenks HS (OK)
The 6’-3”, 215 pound switch-hitter is a great athlete and has raw power. He has an advanced approach at the plate and excellent bat speed from both sides of the plate. He doesn’t have a lot of speed but does have enough range, along with the arm, to play the hot corner. He shouldn’t last past the third round and could be one of the steals of the draft.
Dom Nunez, C, Elk Grove HS (CA)
A shortstop for most of his prep career, the 6’-1” left-handed hitter has turned himself into a very good defensive catcher with some upside on the offensive side. He makes consistent contact and should hit for average power at the next level. An alumni of Team USA Baseball, he is a very intelligent player with a great make-up.
Cavan Biggio, 2B, St. Thomas HS (TX)
The son of Craig Biggio, Cavan is a 6’-2”, 180 pound left-handed hitter considered one of the best hitters in the prep class. He has excellent bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate. He doesn’t have a lot of speed but he should hit for decent power and has the defensive skills to remain at second base. A very high IQ having grown up around the game.
Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist HS (MD)
Arguably the fastest player in the draft, the 5’-11” left-hander battled hamstring injuries this season, limiting his speed on the base paths. As a junior, he stole 68 bases over 39 games. He has excellent bat speed and is very patient at the plate. While he doesn’t have a very strong arm, his speed and instincts could keep him at centerfield. You can’t teach speed and, with some work on his swing, he could be another steal of the draft.
Corey Ray, OF, Simeon HS (IL)
Playing in the same backyard as the Cubs, Ray is a 5’-11”, 190-pound left-hander who is a quick-twitch athlete with very good speed, as well as excellent bat speed. His short, compact swing allows him to make consistent contact and drive the ball to all fields and more power should come as he matures. He has a strong arm, and both his speed and instincts allow him to play all three outfield spots. He was an absolute beast down the stretch, hitting .513 over his final 13 games with four doubles, five triples, three home runs, 19 RBI and 16 stolen bases.
Stephen Wrenn, OF, Walton HS (GA)
The 6’-2”, 190-pound right-hander has plus speed (6.4/60) and an advanced approach at the plate. He has a strong enough arm (85 mph) to hold down centerfield, and his speed and instincts will play well there. He may need to retool his swing a bit but he destroyed prep pitching this year to the tune of a .513/.649/.833 line.
Thomas Milone, OF, Masuk HS (CN)
The 6’-1”, 185 pound left-hander is a plus runner (4.3/40) and has a strong enough arm to remain at centerfield where his glove plays well. Offensively, he is still considered raw at the plate but has shown a good approach this year drawing 19 walks to just three strikeouts over 23 games for a .589 OBP. He has also gone 28-for-29 in stolen base attempts, showing great instincts on the base paths to go with the speed. He doesn’t hit for much power now, but projects to at least decent power as he matures.
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. He had a three-home run game earlier this season. His speed and strong arm would play well in a corner outfield spot and his bat would justify it.
Dane McFarland, OF, JSerra HS (CA)
The season didn’t turn out as expected for the 6’-4” right-hander, He broke his hand in a winter game, missed almost half of the season and saw his team go 10-13. He hit .281 over 12 games with a .425 OBP and stole five bases but didn’t record an extra-base hit as his power was limited recovering from the injury. When healthy, he is a quick-twitch athlete with excellent bat speed and raw power. He also is an above-average runner, timed at 6.5 in the 60.
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 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.
Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss
The 6’-3” right-hander was one of my favorite pitchers entering this season. His fastball can touch 97 and sits 92-94 mph with explosive life. His slider is plus at times and his change-up is solid. He has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter but I feel he could be a light-out closer with his fastball/slider combo and aggressiveness on the mound.
Andrew Mitchell, RHP, TCU
Like Wahl, the 6’-3”, 225 pound right-hander may be better suited for the bullpen where his fastball that can touch 98 mph and plus, low-80s curveball could make him a dominant closer. His command was shaky this year but TCU kept switching from a starter role to the bullpen, so that could play a part. Over 49 innings, he had 57 K/33 BB.
Tyler Skulina, RHP, Kent State
A 6’-6”, 225 pound right-hander, Skulina had an inconsistent season but can be dominant when on. Over 15 starts, he had a 3.36 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 102 K/34 BB over 93.2 innings. He features a low/mid-90s fastball with late sink, a low-80s swing-and-miss slider, and he also adds in two average offerings in a curveball and change-up. His command can get the best of him at times, but with his size and stuff, there is great potential.
Dace Kime, RHP, Louisville
A 6’-5”, 220 pound right-hander, Kime has been primarily a reliever at Louisville so he does have a fresh arm. He features a four-pitch mix that includes a low/mid-90s fastball with late life and a plus curveball that he uses as an out pitch. He also adds in a cutter and change-up and has good control of all four. He has posted a 3.14 ERA, 1.26 WHIP over 66 innings with 79 K/20 BB.
Ben Lively, RHP, Central Florida
The 6’-4” right-hander could be a nice pickup as he has four quality pitches and throws them all for strikes. His fastball sits in the low-90s and he has some deception in his delivery. None of his pitches stands out but he could be a back-of-the-rotation starter and an easy sign.
Stuart Turner, C, Mississippi
A JUCO transfer from LSU-Eunice, the 6’-2”, 220-pound right-hander won the Rawlings Gold Glove and was an Academic All American. He has huge power potential due to his size and has a good approach at the plate. Over 62 games this season, he hit .374 with 15 doubles, five home runs, 51 RBI and a .444 OBP/.518 SLG. Solid on both sides of the plate, he could be a nice pick as the Cubs lack depth at catcher.
Zane Evans, C, Georgia Tech
The 6’-2”, 220 pound right-hander is more offense than defense but he does have a canon arm and is still learning the ropes behind the plate. Over 64 games this season, he hit .361 with 12 doubles, 14 home runs and drew 33 walks for a .430 OBP/.590 SLG. He also could be a dominant reliever as his fastball can touch 97 mph and he adds a wipe-out, mid-80s slider.
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