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2013 MLB Draft Top 20

Draft is close enough that I think it is high time to revisit some first round prospects to keep in mind. It’s not a real big board, but it might as well be. It’s a work in progress.

1. San Diego OF Kris Bryant
2. Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray
3. Stanford RHP Mark Appel

After that, I’m still very much undecided. Heck, even that third spot is still a bit of a mystery to me. The temptation to move up one of the prep guys — the guy in fourth below, most notably — is one I may just give in to between now and draft day. Turns out that current indecision leads to me getting all excited about upside, so let’s go with the top three high school prospects next…

4. St. Pius X HS (TX) RHP Kohl Stewart
5. Grayson HS (GA) OF Austin Meadows
6. Loganville HS (GA) OF Clint Frazier

I feel pretty good about the top six, but that’s about as far as I can go without getting the shakes when thinking about putting this thing together. Long-term readers of the site know I’m much, much more comfortable going 50 deep on a college catching prospect list than ranking the top ten overall prospects in the draft.

7. Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea
8. Nevada RHP Braden Shipley
9. Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek

I’m still of the belief that Manaea’s recent hiccup in stuff is a temporary concern and not a long-term worry. I admittedly don’t have a whole lot of evidence to currently back up my claim, but I may have some more to share on that in the coming days. Call it a semi-educated hunch for now.

10. North Carolina 3B Colin Moran
11. Serra HS (CA) 1B Dominic Smith

You know, I get why people are down on this year’s class, but, damn, I think the quartet of Bryant, Frazier, Moran, and Smith stacks up quite nicely with any four bats at the top of any draft in recent memory. I’m cheating by swapping out Meadows for Smith, but I’m using my own specific rule of “best bat” as a guideline. Meadows is an exciting prospect, no doubt, but Smith’s bat is easily 1 or 1A (to Frazier’s 1B) in this year’s high school class. So if that’s our top four, let’s see if there is any legitimacy to the aforementioned historical claim:

2012 (mine): Correa/Buxton/Zunino/Almora
2012 (draft): Correa/Buxton/Zunino/Almora

Very comparable group, I think. Bryant is a better prospect than Zunino, and the high school hitters all are closely bunched. Buxton, of course, appears to have separated himself quite a bit from the pack, but that’s a development that can’t really be taken into account when talking draft stock. After pondering it a bit more, I think the 2012 group is better, though I’m not sure if I can explain why. I guess Correa + Buxton > Frazier + Smith explains it some.

2011 (mine): Rendon/Starling/Swihart/Lindor
2011 (draft): Starling/Rendon/Lindor/Baez

Rendon vs Moran is an interesting draft case study, but I think I’d call it for Rendon. The remaining 2011 group has the edge in positional value, but if we’re talking bat only, I like the 2013’s.

2010 (mine): Harper/Wilson/Castellanos/O’Conner
2010 (draft): Harper/Machado/Choice/Sale

Harper alone makes me want to go 2010, so that’s what I’ll do. A better question would be which of the 2010 groups is better: Machado is a huge win for the real draft order, but Wilson and Castellanos give my list a little bit of intriguing depth. Then again, Choice has done almost exactly what was expected of him and Sale did have a better than you’d believe 2012 season, ugly 2013 suspension notwithstanding.

2009 (mine): Ackley/Borchering/Green/Tate
2009 (draft): Ackley/Tate/Sanchez/Green

This is a no contest win for 2013, right? Right. Moving on…

12. Mississippi State OF Hunter Renfroe
13. Lakewood HS (CA) SS JP Crawford
14. Kentwood HS (WA) C Reese McGuire
15. New Castle HS (IN) LHP Trey Ball
16. Stanford OF Austin Wilson
17. Fresno State OF Aaron Judge
18. Yukon HS (OK) C Jonathan Denney

Sorting out the three big bat college right field prospects is a fun chore. A breakdown of the three of them may be a good post for the future. I really, really, really like Reese McGuire (I’m stunned the comp hasn’t been made yet as far as I can see, but he reminds me so much of the good version of Jason Kendall), but prep catchers are the one position group where I buy into conventional draft wisdom. I’d stay away from them if at all possible, though I think McGuire, Denney, and Nick Ciuffo are all talented enough all-around ballplayers to take the gamble at the right spot in the round.

19. St. Joseph Regional HS (NJ) LHP Rob Kaminsky
20. Bandys HS (NC) RHP Hunter Harvey

I reserve the right to move some prep arms up after more study, but I will say for now that I think this class has a really intriguing collection of depth in this area. Again, that’s something that is probably true of all draft classes — it really is incredible to think about many teenage human beings keep popping up throwing at least 88-92 every single year — but it feels like a relative strength in this year’s draft. Maybe it is because there isn’t a ton of separation between the top tier guys and the pitchers who may still be around past round five or so.

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