2013 MLB Draft: Looking at the redrafts
We are about a month until the 2013 MLB Draft and things are starting to crystallize. The top two picks are all but confirmed to be Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray, though the order they are taken is yet to be determined and won't be known until draft night.
That being said, one of the things that has always made the MLB Draft very different from every other draft, is that it is the only draft that includes redrafts. In fact, Appel and Gray have already been drafted before but did not sign.
Redrafting is extremely common in baseball. Of the top ten college players in this draft the only players who were not drafted out of high school are Sean Manaea, Branden Shipley, and Colin Moran. They are the rare exceptions, as even a player like Austin Wilson, who was viewed as a near impossible sign, was drafted as a team figured they had to take a chance and see if they could sign him.
It is better to draft a player late and not sign him than see a rival draft that player and see him signed. Plus you get the chance to get to know the player a little more as you scout and talk to him throughout the signing process.
The rules of a redraft are simple: a player must agree to be redrafted by a team. If the player does not agree then he can't be drafted by that team. I don't know of any player who has refused the right to be redrafted. Cody Allen on the Indians is the classic redraft story of late for the Indians. They drafted him in back to back years in 2010 and 2011 and finally got him in a uniform.
There are currently four players who could go in the top three rounds who are players the Indians had previously drafted and failed to sign. The Indians, like many teams, have a long history of targeting players they have drafted before so these players are all names to know as possible future Indians.
I remember when the Indians drafted Bobby Wahl in the 39th round of the 2010 Draft. The rumor at the time was that the Indians made a major effort to sign him and the bonus might have been over a million dollars. Wahl in the end wanted to go to school and now he should get more than that.
There is pretty much no chance the Indians draft Wahl as he is not worth a top five pick and I can't see him getting out of round two. I have not been his biggest supporter as he didn't make my first big board. He will make my second though, and is honestly a guy who could make a major league pen this year. I worry about his command long term, but Wahl is one of the safest picks in this draft and will quickly help a team out in some way.
In the 2010 Draft the Indians took Ben Lively in the 26th round. He was a big kid who looked like he could add some velocity to his fastball. Well a few years later he is still big and his fastball has gained that extra velocity. He has been in the low to mid 90's this year and shows two pitches which should develop to at least average. He has all the looks of an interesting developmental pitcher. He has been pitching at Central Florida and putting up good numbers. He has a 1.26 ERA and 85 strikeouts to 24 walks. He needs to work on his command, but is a player who won't escape the third round.
In the 2011 Draft the Indians took Stephen Tarpley with their 8th round pick. It has been rare for this franchise to draft a player in the first ten rounds and not sign the player. Before Tarpley, the last player they had failed to sign in the top ten rounds was Cole St. Clair out of Rice in 2007. He had been taken in the 7th round that year.
The Indians knew Tarpley was a hard sign, but they could not pass on the athletic lefty who threw fairly hard and flashed what looked like could be a plus curve. Well, it's been two years and the report reads eerily similar. He went to USC for a year and then left to get closer to home.
This was the accepted story, but it must be noted that there were a lot of rumors about his leaving and of makeup concerns. You hear a lot about a kid who doesn't love baseball, who is a great athlete and the game comes easy to. His scouting report today is the same it was when I wrote it two years ago, and that's why even in a weak class a guy like Tarpley is viewed as a 3rd rounder instead of a borderline first like a player with his talent should be.
In the 2011 Draft the Indians also took a big lefty named Tyler Nurdin in the 28th round. He was a Juco pitcher who was committed to go to Oklahoma State. Nurdin actually missed all of 2012 with a shoulder injury, so this season was his first year in division one, which coupled with his injury would make one expect that he would have struggled. In truth, Nurdin has done anything but struggle as his numbers have been fantastic with a 1.89 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
If you are not familiar with the college game, it should be noted that things like wild pitches and hit by pitches occur a lot more frequently. For example Mark Appel has nine wild pitches and eight hit batters this year, and he is one of the more ready pitchers in this draft. Nurdin has hit no one and has only one wild pitch this year. Add in only 16 walks and this shows me plus command.
When you are injured one of the last things to come back is control, which means he could get even better. He does have a ton of leverage since he is only a sophomore, yet he might be the most intriguing of these redraft eligible arms to me because of the numbers. Nurdin will also more than likely be the last of these arms taken. He isn’t on any top 100 list I have seen, but he is officially on my sleeper list. He doesn’t have Wahl’s fastball, Tarpley’s athleticism, or Lively’s velocity, but he does seem to have better command than any of them.
So there are four former Indians picks that would have made great additions to the Indians farm system. If the Indians had signed any of them they would be in competition to be the top starter in the system. The negative fan might see this as a failure of the front office to sign top talent, but to me it shows that the front office is succeeding on evaluating players. I will take a few missed signings if it means that the talent which is drafted and signed is living up to its potential.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org