Today is the home opener for my hometown team. Said team picks 16th in the 2013 MLB Draft. Putting those two thoughts together equals the following thought experiment. Don’t consider this a real deal big board, but rather a quick and dirty look at which players I like best as a fan and not as a nobody internet draft guy. Not a huge distinction between the two, but just enough that I’m not comfortable calling this anything but unofficial. So, here’s my official unofficial top twenty for the 2013 MLB Draft, in no particular order.
This first tier is full of no-brainers. I’d be weak in the knees if any of these pitchers were still on the board at 16:
Stanford RHP Mark Appel
Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray
Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea
Nevada RHP Braden Shipley
Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek
RHP Kohl Stewart (St. Pius X HS, Texas)
Same goes for any scenario that gets one of these five bats to the mid-teens:
OF Austin Meadows (Grayson HS, Georgia)
San Diego OF/3B Kris Bryant
OF Clint Frazier (Loganville HS, Georgia)
C Reese McGuire (Kentwood HS, Washington)
C Jon Denney (Yukon HS, Oklahoma)
Give me one of those eleven prospects on the draft’s first night and I’d consider it a major, major win for my favorite team. Realistically, I think there’s a shot that one or more of the three S pitchers (Stanek, Stewart, Shipley) falls. Stanek’s inconsistent spring, Stewart’s health questions, and the chance the excitement over Shipley’s newness as a top ten prospect wears off are all reasons each could slide. Admittedly, that last one is a stretch, though I think it is fair to wonder if the hype that Shipley is getting by the industry leaders is a reflection of what big league clubs are saying (good news for Shipley if so) or something else altogether. I think it’s the former, and not just because I was hyping him up back in February. He’s really good, and I’d love to get him at 16.
Of the position players, it seems clear that Meadows, Bryant, and Frazier are all locks to be long gone. That leaves the two prep catchers. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if both were still on the board at 16. This wouldn’t occur because of teams doubting their talent, but rather because of the spotty at best history of first round prep catchers. Fair or not, I think teams are wary of young catching in a way they aren’t like at any other position. For the record, I remain in the shrinking group that still prefers McGuire to Denney.
We now have 11 players I’d be ecstatic to land at pick 16. The next group is a lot more fluid, so I expanded it a bit to find the best possible fits in terms of physical talent, performance, and projection.
Stanford OF Austin Wilson
North Carolina 3B Colin Moran
SS JP Crawford (Lakewood HS, California)
OF Ryan Boldt (Red Wing HS, Minnesota)
1B Dominic Smith (Serra HS, California)
Jacksonville RHP Chris Anderson
LSU RHP Ryan Eades
LHP Ian Clarkin (Madison HS, California)
RHP Hunter Harvey (Bandys HS, North Carolina)
I only need five more names to get to 16, but I’m cheating here and bringing the total up to an even 20. If healthy all year, Austin Wilson wouldn’t be in the conversation as a realistic pick at 16. Heck, a productive return to the field – he’s rumored to be back this weekend, so stay tuned for that – could make this mid-first round talk for Wilson seem silly in a month. If he does fall on draft day, I doubt he falls all that far. The mid- to late-first round is the perfect spot to take chances on prospects that are fading due to reasons having nothing to do with ability. The Phillies have had great success going this route (Hamels, Drabek, Savery…well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad), so it wouldn’t be totally out of character to see Wilson as a possibility if he slides.
Colin Moran is my pick for this year’s trendy prospect to bash (no power, stinks on defense, Ackley’s failings somehow apply to him) in the weeks leading up to the draft, but I’m willing to ride with him as a future above-average big league regular. The bats of Crawford and Boldt alone may not be thrilling, but they each bring enough to the table to profile as everyday players at positions that aren’t easy to fill. Smith is the opposite: pretty darn thrilling bat, but more or less locked into first base. I’m not alone in judging bat-first prospects very harshly, so it should say something about Smith’s upside with the stick that I’m good with him being the Phillies first pick, Either Chris Anderson or Ryan Eades would work for me as both have deep, effective repertoires. Clarkin (seriously love his CB) and Harvey (three above-average pitches and crazy athleticism) also each have front of the rotation stuff. There are other names I could get behind at 16 – Trey Ball, Matt Krook, Oscar Mercado, to name three – but these 20 are currently my most coveted draft prospects.