With the regular season over, the first-round of the 2013 MLB draft is set. For the second season in a row, the Houston Astros will select first after another 100 loss season. With one of the better farm systems in baseball, the future is looking good in Houston as they make the transition to the American League. The Pittsburgh Pirates have two picks in the top 15, including the ninth overall selection for failing to sign last year’s first-round pick, Mark Appel, who decided to return to Stanford for his senior season in hopes of winning a national championship. Teams who finished with identical records were slotted based on the previous years record.
1. Houston Astros — Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
The Astros futility over the last couple of seasons has allowed them to build quite the farm system for the future. Meadows is arguably the most talented position player in the draft as the 6’-4” 200-pound left-hander is a true five-tool talent. He has great bat speed which allows him to generate a ton of power from the left side and also makes consistent contact that projects to a high-average hitter. He has plus speed, a plus arm and should be able to stick at center field. As a member of U16 Team USA, he was named MVP of the 2011 IBAF Youth Championships by hitting .537 (22-for-41) over eight games with nine extra-base hits, six stolen bases and set a Team USA record by knocking in a ridiculous 28 runs as Team USA won the gold in Mexico. He is one of the youngest players in the draft (he won’t turn 18 until May 3), and he has one of the highest ceilings in this draft.
2. Chicago Cubs — Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
The Cubs have added some serious talent over the last couple of drafts, as well as the signing of Jorge Soler. Most of that talent, however, is on the offensive side. Stanek would give them the future ace they are currently lacking in their farm system. At 6’-4” and 180 pounds, he has three quality pitches and all three have the potential to be plus. 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. He will be the Friday night starter for the Razorbacks this upcoming season and scouts will be everywhere as he and teammate Dominic Ficociello are both considered first-round picks.
3. Colorado Rockies — Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA)
Okay, I’ll admit it, I am buying into the hype in this kid. I am a sucker for bat speed and Frazier has some of the best I have seen. He saw his stock soar over the summer, and like his friend and high school rival Meadows, is a five-tool talent. At 6’-1” and 190 pounds, he generates a lot of power to all fields and is only going to get stronger as he matures. He has been timed at 6.4 in the 60, showing the speed that should allow him to stick at center field, as well as being a threat on the base paths. As a junior, he hit .424 with 24 home runs and stole 14 bases over 118 at-bats. Should see a ton of scouts every game as he and Meadows battle for a state championship.
4. Minnesota Twins — Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, Appel has the size, as well as the stuff, to be a frontline starter at the next level, and could get there quicker than anyone in the draft. His pitch selection can be frustrating at times, but his stuff is great. He features a mid-90s fastball along with a swing-and-miss slider, a change-up with late fade and will also 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, showing great stamina to go along with great mound presence.
5. Cleveland Indians — Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Even after a dominant sophomore season, going 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 115 K/37 BB over 105 innings, Manaea wasn’t getting a whole lot of attention. Then he went to the Cape Cod League. Over 52.2 innings for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, he went 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 87 K/7 BB. 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 at 6’-5”, the left-hander has a ton of potential having two plus pitches already.
6. Miami Marlins — Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
He is big, strong and fast and most likely would have been a first-round pick in 2010 coming out of Harvard-Westlake HS in California, the same school as 2012 first-round picks Max Fried and Lucas Giolito. The 6’-5” right-hander has great power to all fields and a solid approach at the plate. Over 59 games as a sophomore last season, he hit .285 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs, 56 RBI and stole nine bases. A big year is expected but he is already considered a likely top-10 pick.
7. Boston Red Sox — Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
One of the better bats in the draft, Bryant is a 6’-5” 215-pound right-hander with tremendous power, as well as a good approach at the plate. 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.
8. Kansas City Royals — Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (TX)
Like Frazier, Stewart is a hot name because of his performances over the summer when he was hitting 97 mph on the radar gun. The 6’-3” right-hander also adds in an above-average slider and change-up, and once he starts using his legs more, he should add even more velocity. Aside from his huge potential on the mound, he is also a blue-chip quarterback prospect and has a commitment to play the position at Texas A&M. Could be a tough sign, but with high risk comes high reward.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates* — Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss
After another disappointing year in Pittsburgh, the good news is the Bucs will have two picks in the top-15 selections. With studs Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon not far away from the big leagues, the Pirates could add one of the top college pitchers out there and a guy who could be a quick riser. Wahl is a 6’-3” 215 pound right-hander whose fastball can reach the upper 90s. 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.
10. Toronto Blue Jays — Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei HS (CA)
Fresh off his second consecutive gold medal for U18 Team USA, Martinez enters his senior season as arguably the most polished player in his class. With his strong arm, footwork and understanding of the game, he should stick at a premium position and be an above-average to plus defender at the next level. Offensively, his bat speed allows him to make consistent contact and spray the ball to all fields. At 5’-11” and 200-pounds, more power will come as he matures and he should be a middle-of-the-order type hitter. He hit .344 with eight RBI and a .463 OBP over nine games for Team USA over the summer and hit .388 over 29 games as a junior for Mater Dei, a perennial powerhouse. High character and high understanding of the game.
11. New York Mets — Clinton Hollon, RHP, Woodford County HS (KY)
There are some injury concerns with Hollon as he had a bout of tendonitis in the flexor tendon in his forearm/elbow recently. When healthy, the 6’-1” and 185 pound right-hander has four quality pitches and commands all of them well. 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. He has great mound presence and a great feel for pitching. A strong, injury-free senior season could boost him back to the top of the draft.
12. Seattle Mariners — Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida
Crawford gave Gator fans a reason to be excited about the upcoming season when he tossed a no-hitter in an NCAA Regional game last year. He has one of the best sliders in the draft, as well as a fastball that sits in the low 90s with movement. 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.
13. San Diego Padres — Karsten Whitson, RHP, Florida
Whitson is a bit of a wild card in this draft. The potential is there, it’s just erratic at times. There are also injury concerns. He 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. He is fully healthy now, and blessed with an upper 90s fastball and a plus curveball, he could go much higher if he puts it all together this season.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates — Colin Moran, 3B/1B, North Carolina
A great bat with a great approach at the plate, Moran is a 6’-3” 200 pound right-hander whose power is coming fast. He 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.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks — Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (FL)
More defense than offense, Mercado is a great defender in a class weak on up-the-middle talent. He does have good bat speed and should be a high-average hitter, just not much pop in his bat. As a junior, he hit .370 over 29 games with eight extra-base hits, 29 RBI and was 11-for-11 in stolen bases. With teams putting an emphasis on catchers, shortstops and center fielders in recent drafts, Mercado is the top shortstop in his class and should be a high draft pick come June.
16. Philadelphia Phillies — Justin Williams, OF, Terrebonne HS (LA)
Huge power potential with this kid. Like Nick Williams last year, Justin is considered raw in some areas but is a very athletic player with a high upside. The 6’-2” 200 pound left-hander won both the Perfect Game Classic and Under Armour All-American Game home run derby’s over the summer, establishing himself as one of the top power prospects in the draft. The bat speed is there, he just needs to work on his pitch selection. Also has good speed and an above-average arm.
17. Milwaukee Brewers — Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS (CA)
Every year, a couple of prep players rocket up draft boards due to their impressive play over their senior seasons. Last year it was Carlos Correa, Jose Berrios and D.J. Davis. This year, I have a feeling Clarkin is going to be one of those guys. A 6’-2” power lefty who can zip his fastball up to the mid 90s, he also has a big, looping curveball that sits in the low-70s with a lot of deception in his delivery. Went 8-2 as a junior with a 0.62 ERA and 106 K/27 BB over 68 innings, allowing just 27 hits. A big-game pitcher who played in the 2012 Perfect Game All-American Classic, as well as the gold-medal winning U18 Team USA squad this summer.
18. Chicago White Sox — Andy McGuire, IF/OF, James Madison HS (VA)
One of my favorite players in the draft, McGuire is one of the best pure hitters out there and could see his stock soar with a strong senior season. At 6’-2” and 190 pounds, the right-hander uses his excellent bat speed to spray the ball to all fields and more power will come as he fills out. He adds a great arm and above-average speed and could play second base, third or a corner outfield spot at the next level. Went 4-for-4 and reached base all eight times at the 2011 Perfect Game Junior National Showcase, winning MVP honors, and was also a member of 2012 U18 Team USA.
19. Los Angeles Dodgers — Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, (CA)
Starring for U18 Team USA, the 6’-5” left-hander went 2-0 in Seoul with 12 strikeouts, four walks and a 0.88 ERA over 16 innings. He has a sinking fastball that can touch 94 mph and also adds a mid 70s curveball that is still developing. 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 due to his frame.
20. St. Louis Cardinals — Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)
McGuire put on a show in Seoul over the summer in helping U18 Team USA to it’s gold medal. Over nine games, he hit .462 (12-for-26) with four doubles, 11 RBI, eight walks and a .583 OBP. He is a left-handed hitting catcher who is aggressive at the plate 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 is a catcher now, but could find himself in the outfield due to his strong arm and hitting abilities.
21. Detroit Tigers — Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle Chrysler HS (IN)
Ball is a 6’-6” left-hander with a lot of project ability as both a pitcher and hitter. A great athlete, he can run his fastball up to 94 mph on the mound with an easy delivery. He also adds a slider and change-up, both sitting in the low 80s but is still inconsistent with both. He has above-average speed and, coupled with his strong arm, projects to a corner outfield spot. If he decides on one of the two, and focuses full time on it his senior season, he could go way higher in the draft.
22. Los Angeles Angels — Jonah Wesely, LHP, Tracy HS (CA)
Wesely is a power lefty who uses his strong lower half to get his fastball up to the mid 90s. He also has the makings of a plus curve that sits in the mid 70s. His change-up is developing and he has command of all three. At 6’-2 and 225 pounds, he has the size to be a workhorse at the next level. Over 37 innings as a junior, 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. Tampa Bay Rays — Willie Abreu, OF, Mater HS (FL)
Another member of U18 Team USA, Abreu is a 6’-4” 200 pound left-hander with quick wrists and an advanced feel at the plate. More of a line drive hitter right now, his size suggests a whole bunch more power will come as he matures. He was also a member of the U16 Team USA team that won the gold and hit .423 (11-for-26) over seven games. A strong arm and a strong bat make him a perfect fit for right field and a strong senior season could see him land in the first round. Plays for the same school as Albert Almora, the sixth-overall pick by the Cubs in the 2012 draft, and like Almora, has a very high understanding of the game, as well as a high character.
24. Baltimore Orioles — 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. Had seven strikeouts over six innings, allowing one run for 2012 U18 Team USA.
25. Texas Rangers — Chris Oakley, RHP, St. Augustine Prep (NJ)
A 6’-8” 230 pound right-hander, Oakley has a lot of projection. And like Kohl Stewart, once he starts using his legs more, will add even more velocity. He has an easy delivery and can get his fastball up to the mid 90s. He adds a mid 70s curveball that has plus potential and also mixes in a developing split-finger fastball. A big time talent who could go higher with a strong senior season.
26. Oakland Athletics — Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
A 6’-1” southpaw, Gonzales is one of the better athletes in the draft and could get drafted high as a hitter if he wanted to go that route. The mound, however, is where he belongs as he is one of the best left-handers in the country. After a stellar freshman season, going 11-2 with a 2.57 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 90 K/21 BB over 105 innings, he had a monster sophomore campaign. Over 12 starts, he went 8-2 with a 1.55 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 92 K/23 BB over 92.2 innings. His change-up is a plus offering and his fastball sits in the low 90s.
27. San Francisco Giants — Brett Morales, RHP, King HS (FL)
Made a name for himself over the summer by being one of the best pitchers at some of the biggest events. His fastball can reach 94 mph with good sink to it and he has one of the best change-ups among prep players, sitting in the upper 70s with late fade and deception. He adds a developing 12-6 mid 70s curveball and knows how to mix his pitches well. His mechanics need a little work as he tends to throw across his body a little much.
28. Atlanta Braves — Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS (MN)
A speedy outfielder, Boldt showed off his base stealing abilities for U18 Team USA over the summer by going 12-for-12 in stolen base attempts over nine games. He also drew seven walks and scored 11 runs as Team USA won the gold in Seoul, South Korea. The 6’-1” left-hander has a smooth, compact swing and could add more power as he matures. His speed and glove should allow him to stick at center field and he projects to a top-of-the-order hitter who will wreak havoc on the base paths once he gets on.
29. New York Yankees — 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 led the team with 50 RBI. A great defensive first baseman.
30. Cincinnati Reds — Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU
While his numbers aren’t eye-popping, Eades stuff is. The 6’-3” right-hander has a low 90s fastball to go along with a potential plus curveball, a change-up and slider. He commands all four pitches and has an easy delivery. Over 12 starts as a sophomore, he went 5-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 63 K/28 BB over 94 innings. A breakout year is expected.
31. Washington Nationals — 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.