3 Up 3 Down: 2013 Draft Edition
The college and high school seasons are both in full swing. This means we have hit the time for teams to evaluate their boards and start shifting guys around. It might seem early but already a guy who was considered by many the top pitcher in this draft looks like he might not go in the top ten.
I am already getting a lot of questions on Twitter, so it seemed about time to do my first draft stock report. I am going to choose three up and three down to give the fans some names to watch as the season continues.
The hottest name in college baseball is Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma. He has the size, 6'4", and velocity to make teams pay attention. He is sitting in the high 90's this year and late in games is still able to break 100. He has been drafted twice and was a 10th rounder last year as a draft eligible sophomore. He has cleaned up his mechanics, added about 7 MPH to his fastball, and has managed to overshadow his more heralded teammate Dillon Overton this year. I would have no problem with him going as high as number one. Some guys have great stuff and velocity but fail to dominate in college. This is not the case with Gray who has been virtually unhittable all year, and seems like a lock to go in the top three. He has legitimate ace potential. I see a potential 70-80 grade fastball and a slider which should grade in the 60-70 range. I have to be honest, I am a big fan. He is number three on my big board, and if he does fall on draft day I would love to see the Indians grab him.
When it comes to prep bats everyone talks about the two big Georgia kids in Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows, yet there is another prep bat who might go before them and that's Jonathan Dewey, a catcher from Oklahoma. It's hard to believe there was some debate about who the best prep catcher was before the year began. Catchers rise on draft day, and Dewey is a legit catching prospect. He projects to not only stay behind the plate but be an above average to plus defender there. He also projects to have plus bat speed and plus power. It is easy to see why Dewey is surging; he projects to be an all star at a position of scarcity. It won't be fair but expect to hear more and more Buster Posey comparisons before the draft occurs. I don't see any way Dewey does not go in the top seven picks as he is 5th on my big board. He is another guy that I could not blame any team in the top five drafting because of his potential and position.
For the final "up" player we are going to leave the state of Oklahoma and pick a guy who is not named Jonathan. The third player on the rise is Chris Anderson, a right handed pitcher out of the University of Jacksonville. He was taken by the Cubs in the 35th round back in 2010, so he has been on the draft radar for awhile. He was generally viewed as more of a second round pick before the year began. This year he has been dominant, well at least until recently at least. He has the size at 6'4", and features what could end up being three plus pitches. I have read reports that project his fastball and slider as plus, and some also project a plus change. I do worry about the level of competition, but right now every pitcher in the second tier has some red flags. Anderson is fighting with Stanek, Manaea, and Shipley to be the third college pitcher off the board.
I was as big of a Ryne Stanek fan as anyone as I had him two on my big board to start the year. The Indians recent habits of drafting heavily out of Arkansas convinced me that Stanek was very much in play for them. He might still be, but right now if the Indians drafted Stanek I would be disappointed. You want a player to step up their junior year, but he has been so wildly inconsistent that he was taken out of the coveted Friday night slot. Two weeks ago everyone got excited that he might be righting himself when he pitched a complete game against a very good South Carolina team. I like his stuff, but more and more he seems unlikely to go in the top 10. He is my 5th rated college arm, and is very much reminding me of Anthony Ranaudo. In all fairness, Ranaudo had an injury, but both were projected as top five picks who just seemed to lose it during their junior years. I hope he can recover. The more blue chip talent the better for the Indians, but I just don't expect it happening.
Some places had Sean Manaea as the number one player in this draft after an excellent year in the Cape. He was drawing comparisons to Chris Sale because he was from a small school, left handed, and has a similar throwing motion. He has had a noticeable drop in velocity this year and has been sitting in the low 90's, and his slider has looked less sharp this year as well. His last few starts have showed some positive numbers, but his sharpness is still not there. He is still going to go in the top 10 picks more than likely, thanks to his upside, but no one is putting him in the top five as of now.
Bobby Wahl was drafted by the Indians out of high school in the 2010 draft. They really made a big pitch to try and sign him, but he was set on going to school. He was widely viewed as a potential top ten pick before the year began, and one of the top five college arms in this draft. Some sources said if he was put in the pen he could help a major league team this year. Now many of these same places wonder if Wahl is not bound for the pen long term. In a very similar refrain to the other pitchers, inconsistencies have hurt his stock to the point where I doubt he would go in the first round. On the surface his numbers this year actually look excellent, but when you dig deeper, his walk rate is what concerns scouts, along with a general lack of sharpness. He can get away with being slightly off in college, but even in the minors players would tee off on him.
So that is the three up and three down for this part of the draft season. Some players are seizing on the opportunity to move up boards, while others still have plenty of time to rebound. As the draft approaches be sure to check Indians Baseball Insider, your best source for all things Indians and the draft.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I really liked Stanek and think he could still be a mid rotation starter.
I hope we get Meadows, Grey or Manaea.
I have said it before and I will say it again. The worst thing to be in baseball for a team is average. I am very happy we get a top 5 pick.
I will say I saw Wahl pitch last year and I wasn't very impressed. He's talented but I didn't come away thinking he'd be a first half of the first round guy.
Tyler Skulina, Kent State, generated some interest on the message boards a month ago. He was good last year, but he's really under-performed this year. So speaking of someone who could have snuck into the 1st round this year, his stock has really dropped and he could be there for the Indians in the third round. I think he'd make for a nice upside selection there if available. He's quite talented, if not a little unrefined with the delivery. Hope the Indians are doing some homework on him.