2013 MLB Mock Draft 4.0: New draft rules already taking effect

There are quite a few changes to the MLB amateur draft this year. Aside from the lottery selections at the end of the first round, there were changes to compensation picks. When the Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton this week, they forfeited their first-round pick in the 2013 draft. Unlike in year’s past when the previous owner of the Type-A free agent, in this case the Rays, would be awarded the pick, no one gets it, everybody just moves up a spot. The Rays still get a compensatory pick after the first round. Patrick Ebert from Perfect Game does a great job explaining it all in this article.

Here is my latest 2013 MLB Mock Draft:

Austin Meadows is an early front-runner for the top pick in the 2013 draft. (Gregg Forwerck/USA Baseball)

1. Houston Astros — Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson County HS (GA)

The Astros have built themselves up a farm system full of exciting young prospects over the last couple of seasons. They can continue that trend by selecting the player with arguably the highest upside in the draft. There isn’t much not to like about the 6’-4” left-hander with all five tools. At 200 pounds, he already has a major league body and will only get stronger as he matures. 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. He showed the world just how special a player he is as a member of the 2011 U16 Team USA squad, earning MVP honors by hitting an absurd .537 (22-for-41) over eight games with nine extra-base hits, six stolen bases, and he set a Team USA record by knocking in 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 — Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

Personally, this wouldn’t be my pick as I would rather see the Cubs take Clint Frazier, but all signs seem to point to Appel here as of now. The Cubs are in dire need of pitching in their system, and the 6’-5” senior is, dare I say, the safest pick in the draft as he should be no worse than a third starter at the major league level. His size (6’-5”, 220 pounds), stuff and mound presence separate him from the rest, and after averaging 7.7 innings per start as a junior, he also shows the stamina to be a workhorse. Went 10-2 as a junior with a 2.56 ERA and 130 K/30 BB over 123 innings. 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 he also mixes in a cutter. I wouldn’t be upset at all if the Cubs ended up with Appel.

3. Colorado Rockies — Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA)

Give me a kid with tremendous bat speed, plus speed, power to all fields and a great make up. A kid who has a lot of Mike Trout in him. Now, I am not comparing the two (I know the dangers of that), I’m just saying their games are similar. At 6’-1” and 190 pounds, the right-hander 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. Lifelong friends, he and Meadows will battle it out this season for Player of the Year honors in the state of Georgia.

4. Minnesota Twins — Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas

The 6’-4” right-hander arguably has better stuff, and a higher ceiling, than Appel. 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. Very easily could end up being the first pitcher off the board when all is said and done. For now, however, he is still behind Appel … slightly.

5. Cleveland Indians — Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State

The best southpaw in the draft, the 6’-5” Manaea wowed everybody at the Cape Cod League over the summer. 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. As a sophomore, he went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 115 K/37 BB over 105 innings without getting a whole lot of attention.

6. Miami Marlins — Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford

After blowing up the major league roster, the Marlins are, once again, looking to rebuild through the draft. Wilson is a 6’-5” right-hander with power to all fields, speed 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. Played his high school ball at Harvard-Westlake HS in California, the powerhouse that had two first-round selections in last year’s draft in Max Fried (seventh-overall to the Padres) and Lucas Giolito (16th-overall to the Nationals). A huge year is expected.

7. Boston Red Sox — Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (TX)

A power righty, Stewart opened eyes by hitting 97 mph with his fastball over the summer. His fastball has nice tailing action to it and should be a plus pitch at the next level. The 6’-3” right-hander also has an above-average slider that sits in the 85-88 mph range and a developing 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.

8. Kansas City Royals — Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego

In Kyle Zimmer and Sam Selman, the Royals added some serious talent on the mound in last year’s draft. They could opt for one of the best bats in the draft in Bryant, a 6’-5”, 215-pound right-hander with tremendous power, as well as a strong 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 he 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.

9. Pittsburgh Pirates* — Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss

The Pirates get this pick as compensation for not signing Appel last year. With stud pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon rising quickly through the system, Wahl would add more depth to a future rotation that could scare NL Central teams. 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.

Jeremy Martinez is considered the best catcher in the draft.

10. Toronto Blue Jays — Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei HS (CA)

After a busy off season loading up on major league talent, the Jays can add one of  the premiere prep players in the country, who also plays a premiere position. 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 — Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS (TX)

Clarkin is a kid I feel is going to shoot up draft boards this season and find himself in the upper half of the draft come June. 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.

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. A player on the rise who should have a monster junior season.

13. San Diego Padres — Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)

A player who saw his stock rise by putting on a show in Seoul, South Korea, playing for gold-medal winning U18 Team USA. 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, although he is good enough defensively to stick behind the plate.

14. Pittsburgh Pirates — Colin Moran, 3B/1B, North Carolina

After adding one of the better college arms, the Pirates can add one of the better college bats in Moran, a 6’-3”, 200-pound right-hander whose power is coming fast. He hit .365 with 11 doubles, three home runs and had 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 — Clinton Hollon, RHP, Woodford County HS (KY)

Hollon had a bout of tendonitis in the flexor tendon in his forearm/elbow over the summer. Healthy now, the 6’-1”, 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.

16. Philadelphia Phillies — Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle Chrysler HS (TX)

Ball is a 6’-6” left-hander with a lot of projectability 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, coupled with his strong arm, projects to a corner outfield spot. Whichever he decides, he should remain first-round talent.

17. Milwaukee Brewers — Andy McGuire, IF/OF, James Madison HS (VA)

McGuire is the player I will keep an eye on most this season. He was named MVP at the 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase by going 4-for-4 and reaching base all eight of his plate appearances. He then went out and led the Tournament of Stars in every offensive category except RBI, which he finished second. He posted better offensive totals than Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Francisco Lindor did when they competed at the event. He topped off his incredible summer by helping U18 Team USA to a gold medal in Seoul, South Korea. What’s even more impressive about his play at those events was the fact he was only playing at about 80 percent. He had a partially torn labrum in his left hip and bone spurs that limited his speed and range. Fully healthy now, the 6’-2″, 190-pound right-hander should really open eyes with his play this season. He has excellent bat speed which allows him to spray the ball to all fields, and more power will come as he matures. A strong arm and above-average speed will allow him to play multiple positions at the next level.

18. Chicago White Sox — Justin Williams, OF, Terrebone 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 derbys 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 pitch selection. Also has good speed and an above-average arm. A future outfield of Courtney Hawkins and Williams on the south side of Chicago could be highly entertaining.

19. Los Angeles Dodgers — 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.

20. St. Louis Cardinals — Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (FL)

Oscar Mercado is a defensive whiz at shortstop.

The Cardinals continue to have one of, if not the best, farm systems in baseball. Mercado is their type of player in that he has a very high understanding of the game, does all of the little things and has great character. 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.

21. Detroit Tigers — 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.

22. Los Angeles Angels — 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 he 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.

23. Tampa Bay Rays — 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. 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.

24. Baltimore Orioles — 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 wants 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.

25. Texas Rangers — Chris Oakley, RHP, St. Augustine HS (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 — 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.

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.

28. New York Yankees — 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 in a game 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.

29. Cincinnati Reds — 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.

30. Washington Nationals — 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 97 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 last season, he had a 0.99 ERA and 73 K/24 BB while only allowing 21 hits. Tons of upside, and has been really impressive lately, but again, Vanderbilt.

Next five: Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno St., Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph HS (NJ), Chris Okey, C, Eustis HS (FL), Dylan Covey, RHP, San Diego, Adam Plutko, RHP, LSU.

You can follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for draft updates and prospect news.

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