The 2013 MLB draft is now just over two weeks away with the first round to be held on June 6. This is the eighth in a series of prep players who have impressed recently, either improving their stock or proving the hype is for real. Here are 10 players, in no particular order, whose stock is on the rise:
- Officially licensed by the MLB
- Officially Licensed Product
Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph HS (NJ)
On Saturday, the 6’-1” southpaw struck out 12 over five shutout innings, allowing one hit in a 10-0 win over Demarest. He improved to 8-0 over eight starts with a 0.18 ERA, 0.49 WHIP and has a whopping 107 strikeouts to just four walks over 51 innings. He already had a plus mid-90s fastball and maybe the best curveball in the draft. Lately, he has shown a plus change-up, as well, making him a highly desirable pick come June 6.
Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)
The 6’-1” left-handed hitter has not struck out in his last 70 plate appearances. Over 25 games this season, he is hitting .419/.546/.770 and has drawn 21 walks to just two strikeouts. He has 11 doubles, three triples, three home runs and has added nine stolen bases. For all of the talk about his plus defensive abilities, including an arm that is becoming legendary, the kid can stroke it at the plate and has shown a great approach at the plate. Mix that with a high character and he should hear his name called in the first 15 picks in the 2013 MLB draft.
Denton Keys, LHP, Rye HS (CO)
The ridiculous season of Denton Keys continued on Saturday as the 6’-3” southpaw struck out 12 more over five innings in an 11-1 win over Yuma HS. He did give up an earned run — his first of the year — and now has a 0.21 ERA, 0.44 WHIP and 109 K/9 BB over 43 innings for a 22.8 K/9 ratio. His team has outscored its opponents 237-22 over 19 games, so, apparently, everyone who can play baseball in Colorado plays for Rye high school. Nevertheless, the kid has talent, including a fastball in the 89-92 mph range.
Cody Thomas, OF, Heritage HS (TX)
The 6’-5”, 220-pound left-handed hitter is most likely going to Oklahoma where he should be the next great Sooner quarterback. However, if a team can woo him away from school with a big enough bonus, they might have a ridiculous talent on their hands. Enormous power and a very good approach at the plate, Thomas is also a very good athlete with surprising speed for his size. He has been absolutely destroying the baseball this season, hitting .487 over 39 games with 16 doubles, three triples, 15 home runs, 54 RBI and has stolen 15 bases. He has also drawn 27 walks for a .592 OBP/1.060 SLG.
Phil Bickford, RHP, Oaks Christian HS (CA)
On Friday, the 6’-4” flame thrower picked up the win in relief tossing four shutout innings, striking out five to no walks in a 1-0 win over San Marino HS. If you throw out his second start of the season, in which he allowed four runs over six innings, he has a 0.41 ERA, 0.55 WHIP and 110 K/9 BB over 65.1 innings, allowing just 27 hits. His fastball is plus and can touch 96 mph. His secondary offerings are solid, but with his size, there is so much projection left. He should be gone on day one of the 2013 MLB draft and could go as high as pick 12-15.
Corey Ray, OF, Simeon HS (IL)
The 5’-11” left-hander just keeps mashing the baseball. On Friday, he went 2-for-3 with a double, triple, two RBI, two walks and a stolen base as Simeon beat Lane Tech — my old stomping grounds — 10-5 in the Public League playoffs. Over his last 11 games, he is hitting .485 with four doubles, four triples, two home runs, 14 RBI and has stolen 12 bases. He has also drawn 12 walks for a .630 OBP/1.030 SLG. A quick-twitch athlete who can play all three outfield positions due to his strong arm and speed, Ray has been flashing his five-tool ability at the right time.
Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington HS (SC)
The 6’-1” left-handed hitter may be the best defensive catcher in the 2013 MLB draft and he has a chance to go in the top 20 picks as he has been showing great offensive potential this season. He had a 25-game hitting streak earlier in the year and, over 33 games, is hitting .453/.541/.705 with seven doubles, five home runs, 33 RBI and has drawn 21 walks to just six strikeouts. He also fits the mold as a clubhouse leader and is one of the more competitive players you will see.
Rowdy Tellez, OF/1B, Elk Grove HS (CA)
The 6’-4”, 225-pound left-hander has put up gaudy numbers all season. Over his last 14 games, however, he has taken it to another level. He has gone 23-for-39 (.590) over that span with 10 doubles, five home runs, 26 RBI and has drawn 13 walks to zero strikeouts for a .709 OBP/1.231 SLG. A lot like Chicago Cubs prospect Daniel Vogelbach, Tellez has enormous power from the left side but also has a great approach at the plate and rarely gets cheated. There has been talk about him possibly being selected in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft, but he shouldn’t last past the second.
Travis Demeritte, 3B, Winder-Barrow HS (GA)
The state of Georgia has some insane talent his season and Demeritte is among the best. The 6’-1” right-hander is a plus defender at the hot corner with his strong arm, range and instincts. He also has excellent bat speed and some serious raw power. Over 24 games this season, he hit .404 with seven doubles, 12 home runs, 37 RBI and drew 33 walks to 11 strikeouts for a .563 OBP/.910 SLG. A high-character kid who is a good bet to be selected on day one of the 2013 MLB draft.
Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist HS (MD)
Maybe the best leadoff-type hitter in the 2013 MLB draft, the 5’-10” left-hander has blazing speed (6.19/60) and knows how to steal bases. As a junior, he went 68-for-72 in stolen bases attempts over 39 games. This year, he hasn’t quite swiped bases at the rate he did last year as he has battled a nagging hamstring, but he still has gone 26-for-29 over 23 games. He also has improved his swing and is hitting .484 with seven extra-base hits, 23 RBI and has drawn 19 walks for a .602 OBP/.613 SLG. He isn’t going to hit for a lot of power but he can get on base and wreak havoc once he gets on.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @DanMKirby for 2013 MLB draft updates, prospect news and Chicago Cubs ramblings.