My (Very) Early Top Picks for the 2013 Draft

Posted: February 25, 2013 in by J.P. Schwartz
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Greetings, fellow prospectors.

It may be four months away, but time has little meaning when it comes to speculating on who will be taken at the top of this year’s draft.

The experts say this will be a substandard draft overall, but the same was said of last year’s crop, and that surely hasn’t stopped anyone from buying baseball cards of players from the 2012 draft. As always, you should expect more of the same this year.

Here are my early favorites for those who, based upon observations of professional scouts, have a very good shot at being taken at or near the top of the draft.

Collegiate Top 5 List

1)        Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas – Thin, projectable build, excellent arm strength, has a fastball that sits in the 92-94 MPH range, but can top out at 96, with excellent movement. Slider is in the 84-87 range, can be a plus pitch. Changeup also in the mid 80’s, and is deceptive. Still needs better command. Presently projected as a #3 starter, but could become a #2 or even a #1. Has a strong case to become the #1 draft pick.

2)         Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State – I’m admittedly partial to lefties, but he is something special. A gifted athlete, his fastball sits in the 93-96 MPH range, has great life to it, and can touch 97 late into games. Variable curve, deceptive changeup, clean arm action, great makeup, command still a bit of a work in progress, but could very well end up becoming the #1 overall pick. Not presently as polished as some, but ceiling is higher.

Image3)         Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford – Sits in the mid to upper 90’s and can reach 93-94 MPH late in games. Great changeup and curve in the low 80’s. While most project him to be the #1 pick for the second straight year, he still needs to improve location on all pitches, and fastball needs more late life. Still considered the safest pitcher in the draft, projects as a frontline starter, and could very well go first overall in June.

4)         Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina – Best pure, polished hitter in this year’s college class, strong left-handed hitter, power still a work in progress. Should be able to stick at the hot corner, with great range and a solid arm. Very even shot to go somewhere in the top 10.

5)         Jonathan Crawford, RHP, Florida – Has a plus fastball in the low-mid 90’s, can touch 96 MPH. Hard breaking ball as well. Good arm action and delivery, needs to learn to change speeds effectively. Could easily be drafted in the top 10.

High School Top 5 List

1)         Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA) – He has actually evoked early comparisons to Josh Hamilton; has true 5-tool potential, with a very athletic frame, excellent feel for the game, could have a plus arm in the future, quick hands, great bat speed, average power with the potential for more. Currently expected to go in the top 5 picks, perhaps top 3.

2)         Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA) – very impressive all-around, excellent bat speed, despite not having a large frame he has emerging power potential, is a plus runner, great range in CF (chances are he could stick there), was the most talked about player during the showcases last summer. Some say his ceiling is higher than Meadows’. Has gotten some early comparisons to Andrew McCutchen. Easy top 10 pick at this time, with the chance to go in the top 5.

Image3)         Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA) – likely the top catcher in the entire draft class, he has great defensive instincts, can block almost anything, with pop times of 1.8-1.9 seconds. Has great raw bat speed, with average power and an above-average arm. Will almost certainly stick at his position. Could be mentioned in the same sentence as Padres catching prospect Austin Hedges if all goes as planned. Very good chance to get popped in the top 10.

4)         Dominic Smith, OF/1B, Serra HS (CA) – considered the best pure hitter in the HS  class, has above-average power, may eventually switch to 1B fulltime but has the tools for OF as of now. Excellent athlete, with the potential to go in the top 10.

5)         Trey Ball, OF/LHP, New Castle HS (IN) – the top two-way player in the entire 2013 class, has serious projectability in his lanky frame. Heater currently sits at 87-92 MPH, but could easily add more in the future. Has a deceptive changeup, curveball still a work in progress. Also a great runner and excellent athlete overall, with a smooth left-handed swing. His future is likely to be on the mound, though. Easily a first-rounder at this time.


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