2013 MLB Mock Draft 1.0
The draft season is in full swing, and I find I am often getting more and more questions about who might go where and who is going to be around when the Indians pick. It seems like the right time of year to do my first mock. Since the Indians are picking in the top five this year, this mock will only go ten picks deep. So this is more of a protected picks mock.
Here are my ground rules as a mocker, the pick is always what I think will happen. I pull up the teams recent draft history and see what would make the most sense. The point is to figure out how things will play out, not how I think they should play out. This explains why I just don't have the top players going in order.
1.Houston Astros - Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
The last time a team had the first pick back to back the Nationals got Strasburg and Harper, so no matter what Houston does it won't be as good as the Nationals in the same situation. Last year's draft rules changed everything, and no one did a better job than Houston. I think right now there is a 1A and 1B for the top pitchers in this class, so I bet Houston plays them off each other and takes whoever signs for less so they can use this money later, which was their approach last year. Gray is my favorite pitcher in this draft as what he can do makes me see a pitcher with true number one potential. He shows two plus pitches, is a workhorse, and throws it harder than anyone. He can sustain this power and has even hit triple digits late in games. In all fairness I would take Gray number one if I was running Houston, but I think it is also what they will do as I bet he will be cheaper than Appel.
2. Chicago Cubs - Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
I think Appel could be a solid four or five starter in the majors this year. He should make the rotation of whatever team drafts him by next season, he is that ready. My scouting report on him last year is the same as this year as I see him as a very good number two type down the road. An All Star most years, but just shy of that elite upper tier. He has the lowest floor and a very high ceiling, and is the safest pick in this entire draft. I just don't see a way the top two pitchers don't go one and two in the draft this year.
3. Colorado Rockies - Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (Georgia)
The Rockies love to draft toolsy young players, and the most toolsy player in this draft is Meadows. He is a legitimate five tool talent who projects to stay in centerfield. The Rockies took David Dahl in the top ten last year, and Meadows projects to me as a better version of Dahl. Meadows has every tool you could want and would instantly be the Rockies number one prospect to me. He just fits their draft profile so well. There is talk they could move CarGo this year and Meadows would become the heir apparent even if he is years away.
4. Minnesota Twins - Jon Denney, C, Yukon HS (Oklahoma)
Denney is rising as fast as anyone in this draft. He plays a position of scarcity, but it's his power and bat speed that mean he would be a first rounder no matter of position. When you add in the fact he projects as an above average defensive catcher that is why Denney could easily go in the top five and should to me. You never draft for need, but if players are close then you should look at strengths and weakness of a system. Frazier is higher on my board, but only two spots higher. A team like Minnesota which has a lot of outfield depth, it makes sense to take Denney. Frazier has the better bat, but Denney has a much greater positional value. At the end of the day, due to position, there is a much better chance that Denney is a top five player at his position than Frazier is when it's all said and done.
5. Cleveland Indians - Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Georgia)
Frazier is currently third on my board, so why is he still here? The reason is position as he is projected to move to a corner outfield spot. This makes him a little less valuable than a sure centerfielder or catcher to many. The other issue is with his size and build that there might not be a ton of projection left in him. Yet when I see his bat speed, it makes me a believer. This kid can catch up to any pitch, and when there is a mistake he is going to hammer it. He doesn't have the tools of Meadows or the power of Bryant. I still think the Mike Trout comparison is unfair as he might be a once in a generation talent. If Frazier reminds me of anyone it is more David Wright. To me he is the top hitter in this draft and would give the Indians a fourth blue chip player in their system, which is something that has not happened since the early 90's.
6. Florida Marlins - Kris Bryant, 1B, San Diego State
Bryant is far and away the best college hitter in this draft. He has 70 level power in his future and should be in the top ten for homeruns every year. He is not just all power as he has good bat speed and a good eye and projects to be a three or four hitter very soon. He could put up MVP type numbers. The issue with him is position he plays third base but few think he can stick there. He played center field this year and no one thinks he can stick there either. He might be able stick as a corner outfielder, but it seems more than likely he ends up as a first baseman with questionable defense. For those who are new to the baseball draft, first basemen are the guard equivalent of the NFL draft. They tend to fall just because of position. If Bryant played an up the middle position or could even stick at third base, there is a good chance he goes number one or two.
7. Boston Red Sox - Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pious X (Texas)
Stewart is the last of the first tier of players to me in this draft. I really like him and view him as the top prep arm in this class. Saying that, he is barely in the upper tier to me and I debate back and forth on this. I don't like him as much as the top six but like him more than anyone after him by a good margin as well. The first issue with Stewart is he is also a very good football player and is committed to Texas A&M to be their future quarterback someday soon. So whatever team takes the risk, they will have to realize he has all of the leverage. If Stewart is not a top 20 pick I doubt he ends up signing. This is also a positive for Stewart as a quarterback needs to have a strong arm and the ability to repeat their mechanics under the pressure of an opposing defense. Compared to this pitching might seem like a more relaxed activity. You have to love the athleticism and when you add the arm to that athleticism it is easy to see a potential ace. He is a ways away and needs to work on command like most young pitchers, but the upside is enough to intrigue some team in the top ten.
8. Kansas City - Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana St.
Manaea was viewed as a sure top three pick before the year began, and even though he has been a major disappointment, there is no way he does not end up in the top ten. It can be hard to find a lefty who throws as hard as he does, and when you add in a slider that at one point looked like the top pitch in this draft, some team will take the chance sooner than later. If you have faith in your pitching coaches in the lower levels then you draft Manaea and figure they can fix him. He went to a smaller program and didn't have the same support the bigger programs have. He has the size and velocity every team wants. He could be a front of the rotation pitcher, and at this point if you are going to take a pitcher from the second tier you might as well take the lefty with the best upside.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates - Braden Shipely, RHP, University of Nevada
Now might be a good time to talk about short sightedness. This is the pick Pittsburgh received for failing to sign Appel last year. Now, as an Indians fan, we should all be thankful for this because without this pick then the Mets are in the top ten and Michael Bourn signs with them before the Indians even enter the picture. Yet, who would you rather have: Mark Appel and a year of seasoning readying to pitch in your majors this year along with Cole and Taillon? Or wait a year and get Braden Shipley and Colin Moran? The Pirates were so afraid to lose a pick they ended up with less talent this year. You need to be able to evaluate your own team, and this was a major failure to me. Appel is head and shoulders above Shipley and keeping the 14th pick was not worth letting him walk. As for Shipley, he is a good pitcher and should be in the top ten as I see him as more of a three or four starter type. He has pitched well this year and sits in the mid 90's and has solid secondary offerings. It just seems a little less than spectacular when you compare him against Mark Appel.
10. Toronto Blue Jays - Trey Ball, OF/LHP, New Castle HS (Indiana)
I was very tempted to put Ryan Boldt here, who I think is going to rise as the draft approaches. I still ended up going with Trey Ball. Toronto loves to draft upside and athletes, and Ball is a great athlete who could have a major league future as a hitter or a pitcher. He is 6'6" which would lead a majority of teams to making him a pitcher, but it takes one team to like him as a hitter and he could stay there. He is mostly projection at this point, and is a guy who will be drafted then should just be forgotten by fans for a few years so he can develop and fill out (he might be 6'6" but he is only 180 pounds). At this point, to me he has the best upside of any player on the board and his stock should only rise now that Indiana's high school baseball season has begun.
So there is my first mock of the year. With each new mock this year I will expand out on picks. This draft is not viewed as the strongest and with many of the top players underachieving like Stanek and Manaea or hurt like Austin Wilson, it has made it a year where a top ten pick might not have the value it traditionally has had in the past.
Yet this is an important draft for the Indians because it should be the last time they have a top five selection for a while. This might be the last chance to grab a real blue chip type player for the foreseeable future. For me, I see six or maybe seven guys with probable All Star potential, and I am looking forward to the Indians adding another top prospect to a system which has been steadily improving.
If there any questions please post them in the comments section and I will respond.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Btw, I don't think it's the right path to take targeting a specific spot (position) high, but I think they may look to infuse a cpl college arms into the SP rotation in the minors with hopes of hitting on a few.
As for Shipley I kind of like Blair from Marshall better.
There is a clear top 6 for me and to reach for a lesser guy is just foolish. This is not the NFL or NBA, these guys wont help for 2 to 4 years. You don't think about need, because by the time they are ready so much can happen. You take the top player and move on.
Will try and get my big board out in the next week, this was purely based on who seems to be rising.
I think if the Indians do draft a starter the most likely guy is still Stanek, had his issues but velocity has stayed the same, and 2 of last 3 starts solid
I'd love to get Frazier & Denney would be a nice consolation prize. Unless, of course, Appel or Gray falls to us, In that case we take the pitcher.