2013 MLB Draft Top 35 Prospects

THIS IS NOT A MOCK DRAFT. I repeat, this is not a mock draft. These rankings represent my personal draft board of the top talents in the 2013 MLB Draft. This draft board has been developed through my own scouting over the last couple of years as well as countless conversations with scouts, front office officials and coaches inside the game. In compiling my draft rankings I subscribe to much the same theory as I do when compiling my organizational rankings; I hold a preference for velocity and projection in pitchers, and athleticism, up-the-middle potential and power with position players.

1. Mark Appel (RHP) – Stanford UniversityScouting Report (03.12.12)
Appel has entered the last two college seasons as arguably the top draft prospect in the country. After turning down a $3.8 million slot offer from the Pirates as the eighth overall pick last year, Appel did exactly what you would hope he would as he returned to school; he got better. Appel’s command, consistency and changeup all improved during his senior year and the results now match the raw stuff that has always suggested a frontline starter. Appel will be one of the fastest movers in this draft class and it is not unreasonable to see him reaching the big leagues for good in 2014. The scouting report linked above dates back to last year and has not yet been updated on this site.

2. Clint Frazier (OF) – Loganville (GA) High SchoolScouting Report (04.26.12)
Yes, I realize I deviate from the prospect industry consensus in this regard, but for me, Frazier is an elite-level talent that has a case as the top prospect in this draft. There is risk involved, namely that his hitting mechanics and aggressive approach will get him in trouble at higher levels, but Frazier is a true five-tool monster that could provide a team with a serious impact talent. There are no convenient comps for Frazier and that is seemingly part of the reason he gets pushed down in rankings like this, but his talent is real and he deserves consideration as the best position player in this draft class.

3. Jonathan Gray (RHP) – University of OklahomaScouting Report (04.23.12)
Gray exploded this year at Oklahoma, displaying the type of incredible raw stuff that has scouts projecting him as a frontline starter not far behind that of Mark Appel. He has the potential to move quickly through the minor leagues and could make a major impact at the big league level. Some concerns linger with Gray, including the final disposition of his thick frame and how well he can sustain his present stuff under a pro workload. The recent findings of a failed drug test (reportedly for Adderal) should not impact his draft stock.

4. Kris Bryant (3B) – University of San DiegoScouting Report (05.16.12)
Power is always in demand and Bryant offers plenty of power. He is the best college power hitter in this year’s class and the improvements he has made to his swing mechanics and overall offensive consistency this year have made him a very strong prospect at the top of the first round. For teams that believe he can stick at third base and that he will routinely handle quality secondary stuff, he is a quick moving slugger that can impact a big league lineup within two years.

5. Kohl Stewart (RHP) – St. Pius X High School (TX)Scouting Report (04.30.12)
Also an elite football recruit, Stewart is expected to sign and commit to baseball full time if he goes among the top few picks as expected. A superb athlete, Stewart offers plenty of physical projection and the potential to develop into a quality number two starter. It may take time for Stewart to grasp the nuances of pitching at the pro level, but the payoff could be huge. Continue reading

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Scouting Report: Reese McGuire (C)

BLUF: Top catcher in the draft with an advanced defensive profile and some offensive promise.

The Player: Reese McGuire (C, Kentwood HS) – Showcase warrior the last two years and hit .388 as a junior, he has backed it up with a strong performance as a senior. Has hit .436/.559/.883 this year with 13 doubles, three triples and four home runs.

Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts

Scouting Report
Body (6-1, 190): Live, athletic body. Added some muscular definition in the last year. Looks the part of a backstop. Good coordination. Not completely physical mature but getting there and has some projection remaining.
Hit: Balanced, smooth swing with a quiet load. Gets the bat to the zone with consistent mechanics and has the bat speed to catch up to quality velocity. Can make contact with some regularity but still struggles with better secondary offerings. Tends to get pull happy with leads to some weak contact on pitches away from him. Likes to swing and will need to develop approach. Has basic tools to hit .260-.270 down the line. Will need significant development at the plate. Grade – 30/50
Power: Improved strength has allowed him drive the ball more consistently. Has above-average bat speed and some lift in his swing. Power is mostly to the pull side right now and limited to batting practice/workouts. Power does not translate to games consistently because of heavy focus on contact. Potential for power to play better as the approach matures and he becomes more comfortable with his swing and better secondary pitches. Average raw could be part of his game down the line. Not likely to pick up many doubles given lift in swing but could have 15+ home runs a year at peak. Grade (raw power) – 40/50 Continue reading

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Scouting Report: Trey Ball (LHP)

BLUF: Strong two-way player with far more potential on the mound.

The Player: Trey Ball (LHP, New Castle (IN) High School) – A known commodity on the showcase circuit for the last two years, Ball is one of the top two-way players in this year’s draft. He finished his final high school season with a 0.76 ERA and 93 strikeouts, along with a .329 batting average as one of his team’s best hitters. He is committed to Texas.

Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts

Scouting Report
Body (6-6, 185): High-end athlete. Very tall, thin frame. Plenty of room for added mass and associated strength. Extremely projectable body. Long levers. Good coordination at a young age. Epitome of projectable.
Delivery/Mechanics: Simple and repeatable windup that is controlled and rhythmic. Consistent arm sweep and slot, leading to consistent release point. Repeats everything very well thanks to athleticism and advanced coordination. Excellent extension out front. Everything looks easy with seemingly no effort throughout.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 95, Low – 87, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 94, Low 87, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Nothing explosive but some arm-side life that gets in on LHH and can swing back off the glove-side corner. Good angle to the plate generates good plane on the fastball and compensates for lack of big life. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Solid overall pitch right now. Can go side-to-side with fastball but almost always works low and hasn’t demonstrated ability to elevate consistently. Velocity is not overwhelming but projection comes easy with frame, athleticism and the way the arm works. Could reach plus velocity registers without much trouble and that spike could come early in developmental cycle. Has just enough movement to keep him from getting squared. Overall grade heavily dependent on velocity. Grade – 50/60 Continue reading

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Scouting Report: Colin Moran (3B)

BLUF: Quality hitter but lots of questions about the power and the glove.

The Player: Colin Moran (3B, North Carolina) – Hit .335 as a freshman on campus, earning multiple Freshman of the Year and All-American honors along the way. Continued to hit on the Cape and was named a Cape Cod League All-Star. Upped the ante as a sophomore, hitting a team best .365 in 41 games which led to a .314 average on the Cape and a league-leading 42 RBI. Continued his strong performance with a .372/.498/.610 line through 57 games this spring, including nine doubles and 13 home runs.

Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (Cape Cod League, 2012), Industry Contacts

Scouting Report
Body (6-3, 215): Strong, physical body. Looks the part of a corner guy. Fringy athlete that can get a little clumsy at times. Projects for more strength as he finishes the maturation process.
Hit: Best tool. Approach is sound with good pitch recognition and a plan at the plate. Picks up spin early and shows willingness and discipline to lay off borderline pitches. Attacks pitches he can drive. Barrel stays in the zone a long time. Has ability to adjust barrel to meet the ball, regardless of movement. Rarely fooled. Uses the whole field well. Excellent plate coverage. Lots of line drives and good, hard contact. Potential plus hitter with high OBP thanks to approach and willingness to work counts. Hit tool should mature quickly against pro pitching. Grade – 50/60
Power: Significant questions exist here. Power potential doesn’t match physical appearance. Has easy projection for plenty of gap power and could have 30-40 doubles annually. Finds both gaps with ease. Doesn’t use the lines much as his middle-of-the-field approach takes priority. Could stand to turn on pitches a little more often, utilizing his strength. Doesn’t have a ton of loft in his swing and he isn’t overly leveraged, leaving his home run power in question. Likely average power at peak but may be more the result of lots of doubles than true 15-18 home run popo. Grade (raw power) – 40/50 Continue reading

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Scouting Report: Kris Bryant (3B/OF)

BLUF: Best college position player in the draft with middle-of-the-order potential and good polish.

The Player: Kris Bryant (3B/OF, San Diego) – Turned down the Blue Jays as an 18th round pick in 2010, attending San Diego and posting a .365/.482/.599 line with nine home runs as a freshman. Showed well again as a sophomore with a .366/.483/.671 line with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. Mechanical changes and general polish have led to an explosive junior season that currently stands with a .338/.496/.876 line, 12 doubles, 30 home runs, and more walks than strikeouts.

Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts

Scouting Report
Body (6-5, 220): Muscular, strong frame. Physically imposing. Looks the part of a slugger when he walks off the bus. Physically mature and not much left to do here. Could see some additional strength with a pro workout/conditioning routine, but wouldn’t expect significant changes.
Hit: Hit utility has improved dramatically with altered stance/mechanics. Wider base allows for improved balance and reduced movement with his head. Quick trigger gets the bat started in a hurry and he has the hand-eye coordination to get the barrel of the bat to the ball on time and with the proper plane. Shows good lift in swing without stretching to uppercut. Generates hard line drives to all fields. Swing can get a little long, leading to some miss in the offensive game, but nothing that will prevent him from tapping power and hitting enough to be a high-end player. Approach is solid and shows aptitude for adjusting to improved pitching. Should make adjustments at pro level and continue to hit at an average level with a chance for more than that if it all clicks. Grade – 40/50+
Power: Enormous raw. Can drive the ball out to all fields. Legit plus-plus power to pull side and easy plus power to opposite field. Oppo power continues to grow with more experience and trust of hands/swing mechanics. Good approach at the plate and is willing to wait for pitches. Can light up FB, even high velocity. Struggles at times with driving spin but is making strides. Plus-plus raw should translate to games at highest level. Potential 35+ homer middle-of-the-order masher. Grade (raw power) – 70/70 Continue reading

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Scouting Report: Kohl Stewart (RHP)

BLUF: Crude pitcher with very nice raw tools and a huge risk profile.

The Player: Kohl Stewart (RHP, St. Pius X High School) – One of the elite quarterback recruits in the country, Stewart has committed to play baseball and football at Texas A&M. Through April 22, Stewart had not allowed a run in 22 innings, allowing just seven hits and striking out 28 batters. He is also hitting .380 with ten home runs and 30 RBI.

Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts

Scouting Report
Body (6-3, 195): Long and lean. Highly athletic. Good strength with room for more. Very projectable. Plus-plus body that is mature but still offers physical projection. Ideal pitcher’s frame.
Delivery/Mechanics: Lacks consistency. Landing foot location varies with every pitch, often coming up a little short and varying from side to side. Lower half gets a little quick when descending from the balance point, forcing arm to catch up. Has electric arm speed and can catch up but would be well served to get things in sync. Needs repetition. Very raw mechanically but athletic enough to improve and gain consistency.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 88, Low – 97, Average 92-93, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 88, Low 96, Average 92-93, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Doesn’t blow you away with movement. Jumps out of his hand and appears to get on hitters quickly. Has some arm-side life at times. No visible sink/cut at this time. Doesn’t get squared up against amateur competition. Average movement. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Good present velo and can reach plus-plus registers when he needs to or in short bursts. Despite remaining physical projection, not a ton of FB projection in the tank. May get more consistent at 92-93 mph and eliminate 88-89 readings from his arsenal. Not great movement but enough to keep him off the barrel. Some potential for velo spike with baseball focus but I’m not willing to project that at this time. Good quality pitch that should flash a half-tick better than plus at his peak. Grade – 60/60 Continue reading

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Scouting Report: Clint Frazier (OF)

BLUF: Top player in the draft has elite raw power and plenty of other tools.

The Player: Clint Frazier (OF, Loganville High School) – Hit .424 with 24 home runs, 55 runs scored, 58 RBI, 14 steals and 31 walks as a junior in 2012. Broke Brandon Moss’ single season school record for RBI and home runs and also set the school mark for runs scored. Already owns the career home run mark at Loganville and has almost doubled Moss’ previous school best. As of April 8th, Frazier was hitting .561 with 11 home runs so far this season.

Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts

Scouting Report
Body (6-1, 190): Nearly physically mature but still has some physical projection remaining. Lean and strong. Well built; ripped. Very athletic. Fast twitch guy. Tremendous body and athleticism.
Hit: Elite bat speed. Exaggerated weight shift onto the back leg as part of trigger. High hands that shift back during load. Exceptional bat speed overcomes quirks in setup and attack. Makes up for minor mistakes early in process. Bat speed allows for late decisions but mind is often made up. Likes to swing early and often. Attacking approach. Needs to develop better concept of the strike zone to find pitches he can attack. Plate coverage is not ideal but crushes what he can get to. Lack of coverage and aggressive approach will lead to plenty of swing and miss but ultimately it won’t hinder his game. Raw hitter that needs to use the opposite field better. Very pull conscious now. Would be exploited by advanced pitchers and better breaking balls right now and may need multi-grade jump to reach average hit projection. I’m light on present ability to hit but optimistic about future potential. Grade – 30/50
Power: Best raw power in the draft. Elite bat speed and impressive natural strength lead to mammoth shots. Shows off in BP and can already translate to games against inferior pitching. 80 raw to pull side. Has strength and bat speed to show similar raw to opposite field but doesn’t trust hands and tries to pull stuff he should drive the other way. Raw plays down slightly as a result right now. Extremely consistent getting to the zone and can barrel pitches in the upper 2/3 of the strike zone. Lacks ability to go down and get it and drive it. Has good leverage at contact, hitting off a staunch front leg. Lift in the second half of the swing helps him drive it out of the park. Huge raw power that could translate to 40+ home runs at peak. Hit tool should be good enough for 80-raw to come out in games down the line. Grade (raw power) – 70/80 Continue reading

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