2013 Draft: Top 7 Profiles and an early mock
After the collapse the Indians had this summer, the only thing to really look forward to for most fans was the idea of a high draft pick as the Indians minor league system could use an infusion of blue chip type talent that typically goes with having a top five pick. At this point there only seems to be two blue chip players in the system in Dorssys Paulino and Francisco Lindor, and in spite of next year's draft being considered a weaker draft than this past year, the top five picks should still generate a blue chip like talent for the Indians.
For this piece I am going to look at who are my top 7 players at the moment in the 2013 Draft. The reason I am going seven deep is that there are seven guys I really like and any of these guys could be in play for the Indians at #5. For this draft I really like the first five players, and then have two more who I am also a fan of but to me are just a little notch below the others.
In all honestly, it is really early and there is a good shot that the Indians pick won't even be featured here or that one of the guys featured here might end up not going in the first round. A lot can change in the draft world, but it should be noted that this time last year Mark Appel was the consensus top pick and was still top 3 on every board by the time the draft occurred.
After the profiles I am including a five pick mock draft - just for fun - to give people an idea of how I think things might shake out for the Tribe.
Mark Appel RHP
Pittsburgh was incredibly dumb to not sign him this year. They were so afraid of losing a pick that they let a stud arm get away from them. Would you rather have the #9 and #14 picks in 2013 or Mark Appel? I think that Appel is a slam dunk over two middling guys. Appel throws hard and should be in the majors un under two years. He has developed secondary pitches and is about as close as you can get to a ready pitcher and I would not be shocked to see him in the majors next year. Near ready, developed secondary pitches, great velocity and movement...sign me up. This all combines to make him my number one player.
Ryne Stanek RHP
I have been somewhat joking that the Indians have their hearts set on Stanek because the Indians have been drafting players high out of Arkansas over the past two years. Stanek might have the best pure stuff of any of the college pitchers, but still needs work on his pitches and specifically his fastball. His breaking ball is the best in the draft right now to me, and he has size you look for in a pitcher. He still feels a little underdeveloped to me and for that reason I like Appel more in this draft.
Austin Wilson OF
Last season Austin Wilson saw his average drop 20 points but his on base percentage go up 40 points. The reason is his walk total tripled and his strikeouts were down in spite of having 50 more at bats. His homerun and double totals doubled, while only having five more hits. His BABIP was also a 100 points lower and he still excelled. Wilson was a first round talent coming out of high school because of his athleticism and tools that was viewed as a hard sign thanks to his Stanford commitment. He has performed well there and is the best college bat to me in this draft. The team that gets him will get a great athlete with a ton of upside who I think can profile in centerfield going forward. Also as a bonus for the Indians he is right handed and does show plus power potential. In my mind he is an ideal choice for the Tribe, but I am just not sure he will be there.
Clint Frazier OF
I am in the minority having Frazier as the top high school player. The reason I like him is the most important tool I use to judge hitters is bat speed and Clint Frazier has the best bat speed maybe in the entire draft and definitely best of any of the high school players. He has also shown improving power which looks like a plus tool. He looks like a guy who has a potential for five tools, and has an absolute gun in the outfield. He might end up as a corner outfielder, but I think you have to try him out at centerfield. I know this might be a kiss of death, but his bat speed and skills remind me a bit of a young Grady Sizemore. I think he could be the rare centerfielder who displays plus power. He is another case of a guy who fits a need for the Tribe who is also right handed with a great skill.
Sean Manaea LHP
When I watch him I see a lot of Chris Sale just in the mechanics and way he pitches. I know others have made comparisons to Sabathia but to me every time I see him it's Sale both for good and bad. The same concerns about the possibility for injury and coming from a smaller school also exist for Manaea, but both Sale and Manaea were really dominant in the Cape to help make them top prospects. His breaking stuff isn't as good as Sale, but they are still very good pitches. Remember, Sale is a Cy Young candidate this year so any near comparison is extremely high praise. The excellent scouting service PGCrosschecker has him as the number one prospect in the draft, and when you look at what he did in the Cape along with his stuff it is easy to see why he is going to end up going somewhere in the top five picks. I like him a lot but do not expect him to get past the Twins as he strikes me as the type of pitcher they often target.
Kris Bryant 1B
This spot was my biggest debate, I sat back and thought about who do I like more and for me it is Bryant. The deciding reason was his power potential. If you could guarantee that he could play third base where he has played in school then I think he would be a slam dunk top five player. But a guy who looks like he is a future first baseman rarely if ever is a top ten pick let along a top five selection. Bryant carried an early grade out of high school but like Wilson a high asking price caused him to drop and then not sign. His calling card in college has been right handed power. He is big at 6'5", walks at a very good rate, and to me is the best power prospect in the draft. He might not have the best pure power, but in terms of total package he is the best power type hitter in this draft. One thing I really liked about him this year was that in 20 more at bats he dropped his strikeout total by a third while still keeping his walk totals constant. He is also a good athlete having racked up 27 stolen bases in school while only being caught 6 times. There is a drop off between five and six to me, but Bryant still has a skill set that wherever he lands that team should be excited.
Austin Meadows OF
I know I am the lowest on Meadows of anyone out there, and that is not me saying I think he is a bad player because obviously he is not if to me he is the 7th best player in this draft. It is just that I tend to judge hitters by three factors: bat speed, power potential, and distance from the majors. Meadows is the best high school athlete in the draft and his chances of staying in centerfield are better than Frazier, but I think they have about equal power potential and Frazier has better bat speed. When it comes to Meadows vs. Frazier, it is eye of the beholder as both have great futures but do you prefer athleticism and speed or do you want bat speed? It should be noted that Frazier is still a solid athlete placing 8th in 60 yard dash times at a PG event , though Meadows was 3rd and over a tenth of a second better.
Here is a bonus five pick "way too early mock" based on team history and the draft profiles listed above:
1. Astros: Stanek - They passed on Appel last year. Stanek will be cheaper, but has great upside.
2. Cubs: Appel - A team that is not afraid of price tags will take the top player on the board.
3. Rockies: Meadows - They tend to take highly rated high school athletes.
4. Twins: Manaea - They like college arms, and Manaea is right in their mold.
5. Indians: Wilson - Special bat and potential. 5 tool player who could move fast.
So here is my first draft piece on the 2013 Draft and my first quick mock. I hope this gives people some players to research and watch when the college and high school baseball season begins in a few months. At worst, it should give some names to debate as this offseason continues. I will be spending the rest of the offseason paying attention to how these players perform, see who elevates, who declines, and who else might move into the picture for the Indians top selection come next year.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopefully the Tribe goes BPA instead of an under slot pk like last yr. afterall they will have the added pk after the 2nd Rd bc of the competitive balance lottery. Meaning they will have added slot money with the extra top 65/75 pk.
I'd be comfortable with the Tribe getting just about any of them. Although I think Appel could be a tough sign bc he's a senior sign and will still want $5 mil plus.
Any idea what the slot is at 5?