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Projecting the First Round: MLB Draft 2013 Outfield Prospects

“Locks” (6)

  • Stanford OF Austin Wilson
  • OF Austin Meadows
  • OF Clint Frazier
  • OF Ryan Boldt
  • OF Trey Ball
  • OF Justin Williams

These were among the easiest players to lock in as first round picks next June. I thought Wilson looked particularly great this summer on the Cape. The only thing that could potentially knock Wilson down a bit on draft day — well, not the only thing, but rather among the most likely — is the very same thing that caused him to tumble in 2010: bonus demands and signability. Meadows and Frazier are both outstanding prospects that really don’t need much extra pontification. There will be plenty of discussion over the next six months fixated on the Meadows v Frazier debate at the top of the draft, and I look forward to really delving into each player’s pros and cons. Boldt is just a step behind the big two for me at this point, and he gives off a distinct David Dahl vibe every time I see him.

Ball is a first round pick either as an outfielder or lefthanded pitcher, so he makes for an easy inclusion on this list. I originally had Williams heading up the Definite Maybes category, but the combination of raw power, keen batting eye, easy swing, and, perhaps most importantly, his relative newness to the game makes him a great bet to land in the draft’s first round. The logic is fairly simple: Williams already possesses first round tools and impressive baseball skills, all without the benefit of the same formal instruction and experience of many of his peers. It takes a little extra extrapolation than I’d like, but I don’t think it is crazy to believe Williams’ growth over the next few months will exceed that of any other top player in this class. He reminds me of a little bit of a bigger, stronger, more powerful Zach Collier, who went 34th overall in 2008.

Definite Maybes (5)

  • Fresno State OF Aaron Judge
  • Samford OF Phillip Ervin
  • OF Josh Hart
  • OF Terry McClure
  • OF Matthew McPhearson

I really, really want to put Judge in the lock category because I think he’s primed for a huge junior season, but couldn’t in good conscious make such a bold proclamation — because what I say here is soooo important, you see — due to his funky (the history of 6-7 outfielders in the pro ball isn’t all that extensive) scouting profile. I think Judge will be a first round pick because I value him as a first round caliber talent. I also realize that sometimes my personal tastes diverge quite a bit from big league scouting trends. That’s why he’s not a lock. I’m lightly a little bit light on Ervin a this point, but I think a lack of a carrying tool might knock him down a few teams’ boards. Hart, McClure, and McPhearson can all run with any player in this year’s class. Tracking which of the three rises up above the rest will be one of this spring’s most enjoyable draft subplots. All have plus speed (at minimum) and each knows how to utilize it to produce big results. I think both Hart and McPhearson look like future big league regulars in CF (as a fan of the team who just traded for Ben Revere, I’m really trying to talk myself into players with the speed/defense CF skill set), but it’s McClure’s added dimension of power upside that gives him the highest overall ceiling as of now.

*****

The list of outfielders who just missed the cut is long and chock full of big-time names. So long and chock full of big-time names, in fact, that I think it makes sense to break it down a little bit further. The first five college guys who missed:

  • LSU OF Jacoby Jones
  • Vanderbilt OF Conrad Gregor
  • Mississippi OF Hunter Renfroe
  • Kansas State OF Jared King
  • Cal State Fullerton OF Michael Lorenzen

I have Jones listed with the outfielders because of his strong showing in CF, a position where he has the potential to be an above-average defender in time. That’s the reason, for sure. It definitely isn’t because I forget to include him in any of the potential infield positions (2B, 3B, SS) where he might fit best. He looked pretty darn good at both CF and SS on the Cape, so I’m inclined to take a wait-and-see approach to his future defensive home. Same deal with his bat, a tool that he hasn’t shown to be big league quality through two years at LSU. Renfroe and Lorenzen are both toolsy outfielders with plus-plus arm strength and major pitch recognition issues. Gregor and King aren’t particularly toolsy outfielders, but each guy can really hit.

Five more college outfielders of note:

  • Georgia Tech OF Brandon Thomas
  • Virginia Tech OF Tyler Horan
  • Florida State OF Marcus Davis
  • Vanderbilt OF Tony Kemp
  • Pepperdine OF Aaron Brown

We’re deep enough into this list to streamline our focus. Or I’m getting lazy and want to finish this up before the end of the year. Either way, let’s quickly chat about Marcus Davis. Watch Davis, a junior college transfer, very closely this spring at Florida State. He’s going to hit. He might even hit a lot. Alright, good chat.

****

Finally, we’ve reached the lightning round name only portion of our program. These are the players that may not necessarily be the best current prospects, but, for a variety of reasons known only to me (for now…), they rank among my very favorites. High school guys first, then more college names to know…

  • OF Stephen Wrenn
  • OF William Abreu
  • OF Johnshwy Fargas
  • OF Jason Martin
  • OF Billy McKinney
  • OF Billy Roth
  • Wake Forest OF Kevin Jordan
  • Miami OF Dale Carey
  • Maryland OF Mike Montville
  • South Florida OF James Ramsay
  • Mississippi OF Tanner Mathis
  • Arkansas OF Jacob Morris
  • Vanderbilt OF Connor Harrell
  • Texas OF Mark Payton
  • Texas A&M OF Krey Bratsen
  • UCLA OF Brenton Allen
  • UCLA OF Eric Filia-Snyder
  • Stanford OF Brian Ragira
  • Washington State OF Jason Monda
  • Arizona OF Johnny Field
  • Michigan OF Michael O’Neill
  • San Diego OF Louie Lechich
  • James Madison OF Johnny Bladel
  • Rhode Island OF Jeff Roy
  • Florida Gulf Coast OF Sean Dwyer
  • Liberty OF Ryan Cordell
  • Jacksonville State OF Coty Blanchard
  • Southern New Hampshire OF Jon Minucci
  • Grossmont JC OF Billy Flamion
  • Polk State JC OF Daniel Sweet
  • Santa Fe CC OF Jamal Martin
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