2013 MLB Draft Notables

Mike Stobe

A look at some of the notable players taken in the early rounds of the MLB First Year Player Draft

*The following post(s) originally ran on May 23, May 31 and June 6 , 2013 at The Dynasty Guru. Check it out for more specific keeper/dynasty league content.

I know the draft has come and gone, without much fanfare here at Fake Teams. That doesn't mean we weren't paying attention though. In fact, I put together write ups on the Top 10 (based on a Board, not based on the actual event) as well as a few other notable names on both the pitching and hitting side. I'm going to post that content here in case anyone missed it over at The Dynasty Guru. It's a lot of words, so for your own health, don't try to take it in all in one sitting.

Once again, some of this information is based on an old board, and some information is going to be a bit dated. That said, all of these guys have fantasy relevance in deep leagues and leagues with minor league farm systems. I hope the information is useful.

Mark Appel - SP - Stanford

Appel is a fairly known quantity at this point. He was in play for the first overall pick last year before sliding to eighth overall and deciding not to sign with the Pirates. Appel has seen an improvement in his stock since last season when he as a bit passive as a pitcher and saw his superlative stuff get hit a bit more often than it should. He'll show a fastball in the mid 90s and can touch 99 MPH on occasion. He'll show two plus secondaries; in his change and his slider. He shows the ability to command his pitches well, and should move quickly as a minor leaguer and pitch toward the top of a rotation.

Jonathan Gray - SP - Oklahoma

Gray's calling card is an 80 fastball that can touch triple digits. He's sit in the mid 90s and has held his impressive velocity deep into games. He's slider is a plus pitch already and still has room to improve. Gray has dominated college baseball this season and has become a worthy challenger to Appel for the first overall selection. Gray does throw a change, though it's not as advanced, it could be an above-average pitch in time. He might have a slightly higher ceiling than Appel, but carries more risk in regards to the variation of his outcome.

Kris Bryant - 3B - San Diego

Bryant is the top bat in the class, and as mentioned by Jim Callis on Kiley McDaniel's most excellent podcast (Marginal Prospects) has outhomered some 200+ teams this season. Bryant has legitimate plus to plus-plus raw power and isn't a straight hacker. He's got an idea at the plate, though there's plenty of swing and miss in his game. The question, as with many power hitting prospects is the utility of his hit tool. Bryant might not be long for third base either, and could end up in the outfield or even at 1B putting even more pressure on the bat.

Kohl Stewart - SP - St. Pius X HS (TX)

Stewart is the top prep arm available in the draft, and is likely to go in the top 5 picks. He brings 4 average-to-above pitches to the table, including a low-to-mid 90s fastball that can touch 97 MPH. He throws both a curve and a slider, with the latter as the more explosive option. He does throw a change up that features little movement but is solid right now. His control and command both need work, but that's not uncommon for a prep pitcher, and cleaning up his delivery/mechanics could go a ways towards fixing that issue.

Austin Meadows - CF - Grayson High School (GA)

At 6'3/200, Meadows looks great in a uniform. He's a strong kid who projects to have big power as he fills out his frame. The hit tool also projects as above average right now, and he currently has the athleticism to stay in center, though that comes with a weak throwing arm. If he fills out as expected, he'll have to shift to left field, as the arm won't allow him to play right. He's a potential above-average hit, power and speed guy, but there are a lot of pieces that have to click to make that work.

Sean Manaea - SP - Indiana St.*

I put an asterisk next to Manaea as this is likely to change given that shoulder tightness kept him out of a scheduled start recently, and he's also faced ankle and hip injuries this season. To his credit, those injuries haven't kept Manaea from many starts, though they have changed his effectiveness. Manaea hasn't been the same pitcher he was when he exploded in the Cape Cod League, hitting 96 MPH and showing a plus slider. Both pitches appear more average right now, with the fastball ranging from the high 80s to low 90s from the left side. To his credit, it's still a good pitch due to the deception in his delivery. The slider and change are more average pitches, not bat missing offerings though.

Clint Frazier - CF - Loganville HS (GA)

Frazier is the other high school center fielder from Georgia that's getting a ton of buzz this year. At 6'1/190 you might think he has room to grow, a la Meadows, but in fact he's pretty maxed out physically. He does have some impressive tools though, including extremely impressive bat speed generated by quick hands and good hip rotation. He hasn't completely harnessed this incredible bat speed though, often getting fooled by weak off-speed pitches. It might be that facing more advanced competition helps him, as the increased velocity will mean he's not so far ahead of the pitches. While he's in center field for the time being, a corner outfield spot is his most likely definition. As a fantasy play, I like Frazier more than Meadows, but more on that later.

Colin Moran - 3B - North Carolina

Recent news has Houston looking at Moran as an option at first overall (presumably because he's open to a discount), as opposed to one of Appel, Gray and Bryant. Moran has put together a phenomenal college season, though there is some question as to whether his swing is geared for the college game and not the pros. He has phenomenal knowledge of the strike zone, helping him to get hitters' pitches to swing at. He's not a huge power hitter, though it projects as above-average to plus down the line. There are questions as to Moran's ability to stick at third base, though not do to his glove so much as his range. He's a below-average runner at present. In the end though, we're talking about a likely above-average hit, plus power third baseman...not bad.

Austin Wilson - CF - Stanford

Wilson was unable to get on the field early this season due to injury, and has been impeded by those injuries even once he did return. Wilson's calling card is plus to plus-plus power, which is especially notable in that he's been able to avoid (at least in part) the "Stanford swing" that tends to focus on hitting singles to the opposite field. Wilson's hit tool is fringy right now, but there are a few mechanical tweaks that could be made to push it closer to average. He's a center fielder right now, but, like Meadows and Frazier listed above, will likely end up in a corner. He has the arm for right and could be an above-average defender there.

Hunter Renfroe - RF - Mississippi St.

Renfroe has gained a ton of steam in recent weeks, and now seems unlikely to escape the top 15 and could go in the top 10. He's another big power, weak hit tool type of player, though his hit tool has further to go than the guys listed above. That said, the ceiling on the hit tool isn't lower than the aforementioned big power guys listed above. Pitch recognition is a major issue for him, and he's developed to the point that you wouldn't expect more power to come along due to growth. But like Frazier before, there could be an improvement in power due to advancing his pitch recognition skills and the utility of his hit tool. Renfroe is already in RF and is likely to stay, as he moves well and has more than enough arm to play the position.

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D.J. Peterson - 1B - New Mexico

I've seen Peterson comped to Billy Butler, both in defensive and offensive ability and while I hate comps, it might be the easiest way to describe him. Peterson's posted monster power numbers in New Mexico, but there's the caveat of the high octane environment he plays in. In reality, he's got an advanced approach and short swing that will play well for average, and less so for power. That isn't to say he lacks power entirely, but he might be more of what we thought James Loney would be in that department than a perennial 30 home run threat.

J.P. Crawford - SS - Lakewood HS (CA)

Crawford is the best SS prospect on the board and he comes out of the prep ranks. He's not a lock to stay at shortstop as he lacks elite range, but his footwork is solid and he has enough arm. He's not exactly a power hitter, but he doesn't lack power either. He can sting the ball to the gaps. I think he has an Asdrubal Cabrera level in him on offense when it comes to total extra base hits. Solid, but not spectacular with some risk involved.

Billy McKinney - OF - Plano West HS (TX)

Not a gifted athlete or fielder, McKinney's bat will be his carrying tool. He might have the best prep bat in the country, with an advanced approach and good bat speed. He lacks power at present but the frame is there, as is the batspeed. That means it's almost all projection on the power, but patience should pay off as McKinney continues to fill out. I like him as a potential value pick in fantasy leagues depending on how high he goes in the actual draft.

Aaron "My name is" Judge - OF - Fresno State

At 6'7/240, with above-average speed, Judge doesn't fit your normal profile when it comes to outfielders. As you might guess given his size, Judge packs a punch, and that power has shown up in-game this year. As you might also guess, there's a ton of swing and miss to his offensive game, so there is a drawback to all that power. He's a good athlete and shouldn't be considered a lock to move down the defensive spectrum, though it remains a possibility. Judge is one of the few guys in this draft class with 35+ home run ability, and deserves a long look because of that. He is quite a risk however, and any league that has the luxury of waiting til the offseason to draft gets a little bit of an edge on a guy like Judge.

Dominic Smith - 1B - Serra HS (CA)

Smith has been on draftniks radars for quite a while, and with good reason. It's unfortunate that a bat like his is relegated to first base, but he plays the position well. He's got good bat speed and has the ability to keep the bat in the zone for a long time. There's some upside in his approach despite it not being a disaster at present. He's got the potential for plus pop down the line, as he already shows some loft in his swing.

Phil Ervin - OF - Samford

I've read that the Yankees are pretty hot on Ervin and if that comes to fruition, expect plenty of hype. What he is though, is an aggressive hitter who generates power from bat speed but still maintains good contact. I would really like Ervin if he can stay in center and while the jury is still out on that, he doesn't have the athleticism one might expect out of a center fielder. He could be a relatively quick mover, given that there's not a ton of projection here.

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Trey Ball - LHP/OF - New Castle HS (IN)

A two-way player, Ball was widely seen as an outfielder at the outset. Over the course of the year however, the winds have shifted and the consensus appears to be that Ball's future burns a bit brighter when he is toeing the slab. At 6'6/180, Ball has plenty of project left and southpaws are always attractive. He currently sits in the low 90s, but most see more velo in the tank due to his lanky build. What separates Ball might be his feel for his secondaries. He has good feel for the curveball and though it might fall short of plus at it's peak, he knows how to throw it right now. His change is advanced for a high schooler as some don't even throw the pitch. A good athlete, his mechanics are still sloppy, though that may come in time as taller pitchers can struggle to repeat their mechanics until later on in their careers. As it stands, he's a mid-rotation guy at his peak, though that can change as he fills out.

Devin Williams - RHP - Hazelwood West HS (MO)

I mentioned Williams on the podcast as my sleeper. There's something ineffable about him that I really like. He's 6'3/172 which means he has plenty of room to fill out. He already sits in the low 90s and recent reports have him hitting 96 MPH. He might not hit 96 with regularity, but it's not rare either. Williams throws a curve but it's largely inconsistent and has only flashed average. It's a pitch that could become plus in time, but will require substantial work. Williams has already shown the ability to make adjustments though, as revealed in a conversation I had with Mike Rosenbaum today on Twitter:

@cdgoldstein Watched him throw some last year, just has made monster strides since then. Walker/Archer hybrid.

- Mike Rosenbaum (@GoldenSombrero) June 4, 2013

Walker (Taijuan)/Archer (Chris) hyrbid is music to my ears. I love both players profiles, so it was starting to make sense why I liked Williams'. This paragraph has taken an extra 20 minutes to write because I've had to stop 3 times to mop up my drool.

Kyle Serrano - RHP - Farragut HS (TN)

Serrano is an interesting prospect because of his curve. It's arguably the best curve in the draft, as it is already a plus pitch. It's a two-plane yakker with good depth and bite. His fastball lags behind, as it gets decent velo (90-93 MPH) but lacks much movement; advanced hitters will be able to take advantage of it. Serrano's change up might be as good a pitch as his fastball. He sells it well with his armspeed and it's got some nice sink. Serrano is a pitchability guy who doesn't lack for stuff. He's more of a back end first round guy right now, but there's some sleeper appeal here. Potentially a guy who won't have a ton of hype that you can sneak in the second (or maybe third) round of a MiLB draft for good value.

Alex Gonzalez - RHP - Oral Roberts

Andrew mentioned Gonzalez on the Fake Teams podcast as a guy who could move quickly, and I agree. I threw Mike Leake out there, which was probably irresponsible as there aren't that many guys who can jump straight to the majors. That being said, that profile is something near what Gonzalez is projected to be. He's a likely mid-rotation guy with a solid but not overwhelming fastball, a good breaking pitch in the slider and a solid change. A well rounded pitcher to be sure, but not an impact arm. What helps Gonzalez's draft stock, and his pitches really, is his excellent command. He's able to put the ball where he wants it, and that's not to be overlooked. If you're someone who prefers security to upside/risk, this might just be the guy for you.

Hunter Harvey - RHP - Bandys HS (NC)

Harvey sits in the low to mid 90s and has reportedly touched 97 MPH with his fastball. At 6'4/245 he's got a great frame for pitching and the bloodlines to dream on (his father was closer Bryan Harvey). The curveball is impressive, featuring depth and bite and despite lacking control in general, seems to have a feel for the pitch. His change is somewhere between non-existent and a show-me pitch and will need to be developed (perhaps invented) at the next level. Harvey lacks even average control or command, often missing the zone and not hitting his spots when he does get it within the zone.

Braden Shipley - RHP - Nevada

Shipley is the rare draft prospect whose best pitch isn't his fastball. This is a draw and a drawback of course. Pitchers use their fastball most, so it's nice when it's their best pitch, but it's not a bad thing in Shipley's case. His fastball is an average pitch right now, maybe a tick above. It sits in the low 90s but he can reach back when he needs to and it has a bit of life. His change is his best pitch. It's extremely deceptive, with the arm moving at fastball speed. Shipley also has a curveball that flashes above-average but he doesn't have much confidence in. If he can learn to trust it, it could become a third above-average pitch down the line. He's got the ceiling of a number two starter but there's a ways to go to get there. The realistic probability is mid-rotation, but even that will require substantial development.

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