A lot has changed since the first mock two months ago. Mark Appel decided to return to school at Stanford instead of signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates, thus giving the Pirates the ninth-overall pick in the 2013 draft as compensation, as well as their slotted pick. The Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American games showcased some of the best high school talent in the country. And the Cape Cod League showcased some of the top college players. Here is my latest mock:
1. Houston Astros — Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
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Opting not to sign with the Pirates after being selected with the eighth-overall pick last year, Appel returns to Stanford for his senior season. While others may have a higher ceiling than the 6’-5” right-hander, Appel should be a quick riser to the show and has the stuff to be a front line starter thanks to a mid-90s fastball and great mound presence. He also features a swing-and-miss slider, a change-up with late fade and he will mix in a cutter. Went 10-2 as a junior with a 2.56 ERA and 130 K/30 BB over 123 innings, averaging 7.7 innings per start.
2. Chicago Cubs — Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
Meadows opened eyes and showed the entire world how special his talents are at the 2011 IBAF Youth Championships held in Mexico. As a member of the U16 team USA squad, he was the MVP of the tournament, hitting a ridiculous .537 (22-for-41) over eight games as Team USA won the gold. He added nine extra-base hits, six stolen bases and set a Team USA record by knocking in an absurd 28 runs. The 6’-4”, 200-pound left-hander has all five tools including power to all fields and great speed. His outstanding talent and high character has teams drooling already.
3. Minnesota Twins — Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
With three pitches that project to plus, the 6’-4”, 180-pound right-hander will see plenty of scouts in the stands on Friday nights next season. His fastball touches 97 mph, his curveball sits in the low 80s and his change-up in the mid 80s with good deception. He went 7-4 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 80 K/33 BB over 86.2 innings as a sophomore. Stanek missed being a draft eligible sophomore in the 2012 draft by a week and the extra year at Arkansas should do nothing but improve his stock.
4. Colorado Rockies — Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei HS (CA)
Arguably the most polished high school player in the draft, the 5’-11”, 200-pound right-hander excels on both sides of the field. Defensively, he should contend for Gold Gloves at the next level as his arm and footwork are outstanding behind the plate. With his Albert Pujols-like stance, he can rake at the dish, too. He has an advanced approach at the plate and his bat speed allows him to drive the ball to all fields. Hit .388 as a junior with just eight strikeouts over 29 games for powerhouse Mater Dei. An intelligent player who has played on the highest level as he was part of the U18 USA Team that won the gold and is currently in Seoul, South Korea trying to win another with the 2012 U18 team.
5. Cleveland Indians — Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Not highly touted coming out of high school, The 6’-5”, southpaw has emerged as one of the top pitchers in the country after absolutely dominating the Cape Cod League this season. He went 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 87 K/7 BB over 52.2 innings for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. He had four double-digit strikeout games including 15 over seven shutout innings on July 19, allowing just two hits to no walks. His fastball sat in the 93-96 mph range and his slider was filthy, sitting around 80-83 mph with hard downward action. His change-up is still developing, but with two plus pitches in his arsenal already, coupled with his size, there isn’t a lot not to like. As a sophomore for Indiana State, he went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 115 K/37 BB over 105 innings.
6. Toronto Blue Jays — Clinton Hollon, RHP, Woodford County HS (KY)
A 6’-1”, 185-pound right-hander with four quality pitches and good command of all of them, Hollon is one of the top prep pitchers in the country and still has a lot of room for improvement. His fastball has touched 97 mph but sits more comfortable in the 92-94 mph range, and both his curveball and change-up project to plus. His frame suggests he could add another 20+ pounds with ease and the early success of Orioles’ prospect, Dylan Bundy, will have a lot of scouts keeping a close eye on Hollon’s progress this season.
7. Kansas City Royals — Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Wilson is a 6’-5” right-hander with tremendous power. He is a five-tool prospect who also has a very high understanding of the game and would have been a likely first-round draft pick out of powerhouse Harvard-Westlake HS in California had he not been so committed to Stanford. Over 59 games as a sophomore last season, he hit .285 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs, 56 RBI and stole nine bases. Huge upside because of his size, power, speed and ability to play a corner outfield position.
8. Miami Marlins — Karsten Whitson, RHP, Florida
Whitson was a first-round (ninth-overall) draft pick by the San Diego Padres in 2010 but chose to attend Florida instead. After an impressive freshman campaign, going 8-1 with a 2.40 ERA and 92 K/28 BB over 97.1 innings, he suffered a sophomore slump. Over 33.1 innings, he had a 3.51 ERA and 20 K/18 BB as he struggled through a groin injury for most of the year. Now fully healthy, the 6’-4”, 220-pound flame thrower should be one of the top pitchers in the country. His fastball can reach the upper 90s with movement and he also adds a plus curveball and above-average change-up.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates* — Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA)
An incredible hitter with some of the best bat speed you will ever see, the ball jumps off Frazier’s bat like few other players his age. Has been one of the more impressive prep players in summer tournaments, cementing his name as one to watch for the upcoming season. Also runs a 6.4/60, showing great speed to go along with his hitting abilities. As a junior, he hit .424 with 24 home runs and stole 14 bases over 118 at-bats.
10. San Diego Padres — Kris Byrant, 3B, San Diego
One of the premiere bats in the draft, Bryant is a 6’-5”, 215-pound right-hander who can mash to all fields. Over 57 games as a sophomore, he hit .366 with 17 doubles, 14 home runs, 56 RBI, nine stolen bases and had 39 walks for a slash line of .483/.671/1.154. His strong arm should play well at third base but could also transition over to first. A big bat with a great approach at the plate should land him in the upper half of the draft.
11. New York Mets — Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss
The 6’-3”, 210-pound right-hander is a big, power pitcher whose fastball has been clocked as high as 97 mph. His slider has plus potential and his change-up sits in the low 80s with late fade. He went 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 104 K/32 BB over 99 innings as a sophomore last season. With another year of progression, should be one of the first college pitchers off the board.
12. Philadelphia Phillies — Willie Abreu, OF, Mater HS (FL)
Playing for the same school as 2012 sixth-overall pick, Albert Almora, the 6’-4”, 210-pound Abreu got more than his share of looks last season. Abreu is a pure hitter with great bat speed, allowing him to spray the ball to all fields. More of a gap hitter right now, the power is going to come fast and furious due to his size and bat speed. His strong arm and instincts in the field make him the prototypical right fielder. Hit .423 (11-for-26) over seven games for the 2011 U16 Team USA squad and is currently in Seoul playing for the U18 team.
13. Boston Red Sox — Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (FL)
Up-the-middle defenders are all the rage these days and Mercado is a defensive whiz at shortstop who also can handle the bat. He hit .370 over 29 games as a junior with eight extra-base hits, 29 RBI and was 11-for-11 in stolen bases. His glove, however, is what scouts really love, as his arm, range and instincts in the field make him arguably the best defender at his position in the entire draft.
14. Milwaukee Brewers — Colin Moran, 3B/1B, North Carolina
One of the better college bats in the draft, Moran hit .365 with 11 doubles, three home runs, and 35 RBI his sophomore season. His 21 walks to just 24 strikeouts also show his great approach at the plate. At the Cape Cod League, he hit .314 over 39 games with eight doubles, six home runs and led the league with 42 RBI. At 6’-3” and 200 pounds, his power is coming fast.
15. Seattle Mariners — Keegan Thompson, RHP, Cullman HS (AL)
The 6’-3”, 185-pound right-hander had a dominant junior season going 7-2 with a 0.94 ERA and 119 K/5 BB over 67.1 innings. Features a mid-90s fastball, plus curve, a developing change-up and superb command of all three. Was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Alabama as a sophomore and also starred for 2011 U16 Team USA, going 2-0 with 18 strikeouts and only six hits allowed over 14 innings, including tossing a complete game shutout against Cuba in the gold medal game, striking out 12 while also going 4-for-5 at the plate with two RBI. Big-game pitcher with big-time potential who is currently in Seoul playing for the U18 team.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks — Robert Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph HS (NJ)
Kaminsky is another player who has seen his stock soar over the summer. He has consistently been hitting 90-94 mph with his fastball and his 80-83 mph curveball is a hammer and already plus. He also adds a good change-up and has command of all three pitches. The 6’-0”, 190-pound southpaw went 8-2 as a junior with an 0.20 ERA and 103 K/20 BB over 53 innings while allowing just 12 hits.
17. Los Angeles Angels — Zach Collins, C, American Heritage HS (FL)
Collins has garnered some comparisons to Mark Teixeira because of his size, power from the left side and approach at the plate. The 6’-3” left-hander hit .442 over 29 games as a junior with 11 doubles, four home runs, 31 RBI and drew 23 walks for a .557 OBP. He has electric bat speed and the power to hit the ball out to all fields. Still has some work to do defensively, but his bat is what scouts love. He was also a member of the 2011 U16 team, hitting .500 (16-for-32) with three home runs and 16 RBI over eight games.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers — Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (TX)
A blue chip football prospect who has a commitment to play quarterback at Texas A&M, Stewart could be a tough sign. Has been shooting up draft boards over the summer thanks to a fastball that has touched 95 mph and a change-up that has looked plus at times. His slider is also already showing plus potential and sits in the 84-86 mph range with good tilting action. At 6’-3” and 190 pounds, he has the size and arsenal to be a front line starter with still room for added velocity as he matures.
19. Detroit Tigers — Dominic Ficociello, 1B, Arkansas
Ficociello is one of the better hitters in college, and if he can add more power to his game, could go in the upper half of the first round. Over 63 games last season, he hit .301 with 14 doubles, six home runs, 40 RBI and drew 33 walks for a .402 OBP. The 6’-4″ switch-hitter was a Freshman All-American in 2011, as he hit .335 and lead the team with 50 RBI.
20. Pittsburgh Pirates — Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tullahoma HS (TN)
Sheffield is a two-sport star whose commitment to Vanderbilt might make him a tough sign. The 6’-1”, 185-pound right-hander can touch 94 mph with his fastball, and it has late life. He also has a power curve to go along with a slider that projects to plus. Over 49.2 innings this season, he had a 0.99 ERA and 73 K/24 BB while only allowing 21 hits.
21. St. Louis Cardinals — Cavan Biggio, 2B, St. Thomas HS (TX)
The son of former 20-year major league veteran, Craig Biggio, who is also the coach at St. Thomas, Cavan is a great athlete whose potential is sky high. As a sophomore, the 6’-1” left-hander hit .402 over 34 games with seven home runs, 48 RBI and a .750 SLG. He also drew 36 walks for a .570 OBP. Last season, he hit .420 with two home runs, 26 RBI and a .488 OBP over 24 games as he hardly got a pitch to hit. He is a great defensive second baseman with a strong arm and quick feet. At the dish, he projects to a high-average hitter with a great approach at the plate, as well as developing power from the left side. Currently in Seoul playing for the U18 team.
22. Tampa Bay Rays — Jonah Wesely, LHP, Tracy HS (CA)
Big, strong left-handers who can touch 95 mph with their fastball are always hot commodities. Wesely is a 6’-2”, 215-pound southpaw with a strong lower half, suggesting a future workhorse at the next level. He also has a mid-70s curveball that projects to plus, as well as a developing change-up and has good command of all three. Over 37 innings last season, he only allowed six hits, while striking out 79 batters to just 13 walks. He tossed two no-hitters and struck out 17 over seven innings against Bear Creek on May 3, allowing two hits on no walks. He has a lot of projection with a lot of room still to grow. He had 105 strikeouts over 59.2 innings as a sophomore, allowing just 21 hits.
23. Baltimore Orioles — Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida
Crawford put his name in the front of scouts by tossing a no-hitter in an NCAA regional game this past season. The 6’-1”, 200-pound right-hander went 6-2 as a sophomore with a 3.13 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 70 K/24 BB over 74.2 innings. He features a low-90s fastball and a slider that looks plus at times. Pitching for Florida alongside Karsten Whitson will get him a ton of looks from scouts next season.
24. Oakland Athletics — Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, (CA)
A 6’-5” left-hander, Gonsalves is one of the top prep pitchers in the country, thanks in most part to a fastball that can touch 93 mph. As a junior, he had a 1.91 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 79 K/20 BB over 66 innings. He led his team to a second straight state title last season by tossing a three-hitter with eight strikeouts in the championship game. High ceiling with a lot of projection from his frame. Currently in Seoul playing for the U18 team.
25. San Francisco Giants — Chris Rivera, SS, El Dorado HS (CA)
Rivera is a smooth-fielding, slick defender who makes the game look easy. At 6’-1”and 175 pounds, the right-hander also shows the ability to be a high-average hitter at the next level with his short, compact swing and ability to drive the ball to all fields. The 2012 draft showed the importance teams put on up-the-middle players, and Rivera has a chance to be a very good major league shortstop on both sides of the field.
26. Chicago White Sox — Chris Okey, C, Eustis HS, (FL)
Okey excels on both sides of the field. The 6’-0”, 185-pound catcher is a great athlete whose strong arm, quick release and footwork will allow him to stick at his position at the next level. He hit .386 his junior year with three home runs, 21 RBI and just four strikeouts over 57 at-bats. As a sophomore, he hit .519 with seven doubles, three home runs and 25 RBI. Offensively, he generates extremely quick bat speed from his strong wrists and projects to a high-average hitter with pop. He is currently in Seoul trying to win another gold as he was a member of the 2011 U18 team that won gold in Colombia. A high character kid with a ton of high level experience and the talent to back it up.
27. Atlanta Braves — Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)
A left-handed hitting catcher, McGuire is an excellent defensive back stop with a strong, accurate arm and great footwork. Offensively, he is an aggressive hitter and uses good bat speed to make consistent contact. Hit .388 his junior season with four home runs, 34 RBI and a .675 SLG. He has an easy swing with developing power from the left side. Currently in Seoul playing for the U18 team.
28. New York Yankees — Adam Plutko, RHP, UCLA
Plutko is a 6’-3”, 200-pound right-hander who is the ace of the Bruins staff. He went 11-3 as a sophomore with a 2.56 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 92 K/45 BB over 112.2 innings. As a freshman, he went 7-4 with a 2.01 ERA and had 92 K/24 BB over 107.2 innings while also holding opponents to a .193 batting average. He features a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a plus change-up. His curveball is above-average and he is a polished pitcher who should be a quick riser to the major leagues.
29. Texas Rangers — Justin Williams, OF, Terrebonne HS (LA)
After winning the home run derby at both the Perfect Game All-American Classic and the Under Armour All-American Game, Williams has established himself as one of the premiere power hitters in the draft. Still raw in many areas, the potential is sky high for the 6’-2”, 200-pound left-hander. He is an exceptional athlete with great bat speed and has an easy swing. A lot like Rangers’ 2012 draft pick Nick Williams.
30. Washington Nationals — John Kilichowski, LHP, Jesuit HS (FL)
A 6’-5” left-hander who has a sinking fastball that can touch the low 90s, Kilichowski also features two other above-average pitches in a curveball and change-up with good fading action. He has great mound presence, excellent command of his pitches, and with his frame, still has a lot more room for velocity. Over 33.2 innings as a junior, he went 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA and 47 K/13 BB while allowing just 12 hits. Currently in Seoul playing for Team USA.
31. Cincinnati Reds — Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle Chrysler HS (IN)
Ball is a 6’-6” left-hander who shines both on the mound and at the plate. Still a little raw as a pitcher, his fastball already touches 94 mph with sink, and his athletic ability makes for an easy delivery. He also adds a slider and change-up, both sitting in the mid 80s. With more refining on his overall game, and a strong senior season, he could shoot up draft boards come next season.