2013 MLB DRAFT: FIRST ROUND ANALYSIS
As the 2013 MLB draft unfolds, Baseball America has you covered. We will update this page throughout the night with information on every player drafted in the first round. If you want even more draft analysis, this post will get you prepared for the next three days of action, and we’ll have you covered here at BaseballAmerica.com from the first round through the 40th.
1. HOUSTON ASTROS
MARK APPEL, RHP, STANFORD (@MAppel26)
Area Scout: Bryan Byrne
PICK ANALYSIS: The Astros played things close to the vest and kept their pick secret until the final minutes before it actually happened. This helped keep things exciting for the rest of the first round. Appel has Houston roots and with the pick, you have to wonder if the Astros are working on some sort of package deal with another high-profile pitcher advised by Scott Boras, Indiana State lefthander Sean Manaea, if he gets to the Astros second pick at No. 40. After not signing with the Pirates as the eighth-overall pick last year, his decision to return to Stanford paid off, as he got his degree and improved his draft position.
SCOUTING REPORT: Appel picked up where he left off last year, after he turned down $3.8 million from the Pirates as the eighth overall pick. As a senior, he fine-tuned his stuff and graduated with a degree in management science and engineering. He shows everything scouts look for in a frontline pitcher. He’s 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds with a clean delivery, and he is a solid athlete who played basketball in high school. Appel’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and gets as high as 98 mph, and he holds his velocity deep into games. His slider is a plus pitch that generates swings and misses with its sharp, late break. Under Stanford pitching coach Rusty Filter–who was Stephen Strasburg’s pitching coach at San Diego State–Appel has gotten a little more downhill with his fastball and has improved his changeup as a senior, and it should be at least an average third offering. Appel has improved every year at Stanford and dominated as a senior, and he should move quickly through the minor leagues.
WHERE HE FITS: Appel immediately becomes Houston’s top-rated pitching prospect, but likely slots in behind last year’s first-overall pick, shortstop Carlos Correa.
2. CHICAGO CUBS
KRIS BRYANT, 3B/OF, SAN DIEGO
Area Scout: Alex Lontayo
PICK ANALYSIS: The Cubs have made it known they’re looking for pitching, but they’ll have to get it later in the draft, as they instead chose to go for the draft’s best slugger in Bryant.
SCOUTING REPORT: Bryant has shown huge raw power since his high school days in Las Vegas, and has blossomed into college baseball’s premier slugger. He posted a 1.081 OPS and nine homers as a freshmen, then a 1.154 OPS and 14 long balls as a sophomore, but he has taken his game to new heights as a junior, posting a 1.357 OPS and 25 home runs (seven more than any other Division I player) through 49 games. Opponents have pitched him very carefully, but he has remained patient, posting a 56-31 walk-strikeout mark. Bryant’s best tool is his plus-plus righthanded power, allowing him to launch towering shots over the light standard in left field or hit balls over the fence to the opposite field. He has adopted a wider base and a simpler approach at the plate this year, and he has impressed scouts with his ability to turn on inside fastballs or go the other way with sliders over the outer half. His plate discipline and ability to consistently barrel up a variety of pitches make him a safe bet to be at least an average hitter, and many scouts think he’ll be better than that. Bryant’s arm gives him another above-average tool. His athleticism gives him at least a chance to stick at third, although he’ll need plenty more repetitions to master the position. Some scouts project him as a prototypical right fielder. He has average speed and can be faster under way, and he has shown good instincts in right and center.
WHERE HE FITS: As talented as Bryant is, he’s entering a crowded Cubs’ system and will likely slot behind Javier Baez, Albert Almora and potentially Jorge Soler.
3. COLORADO ROCKIES
JONATHAN GRAY, RHP, OKLAHOMA
Area Scout: Jesse Retzlaff
PICK ANALYSIS: No surprises here, as the first three players on the BA 500 went in the top three picks. The Rockies always need pitching and it’s difficult to sign them as free agents, so this makes all kinds of sense.
SCOUTING REPORT: Gray’s metamorphosis from a live-armed but chubby high schooler to a potential No. 1 overall choice is reminiscent of Stephen Strasburg’s. His stuff calls to mind Gerrit Cole, another top overall pick. Drafted in the 13th round out of an Oklahoma high school in 2010 by the Royals and in the 10th round out of Eastern Oklahoma State JC in 2011 by the Yankees, Gray steadily improved before exploding in his second season with the Sooners. After maxing out at 94 mph in high school, he now works comfortably at 94-97 and can hit 100 mph while looking like he’s just playing catch. Gray’s fastball also features heavy life. He shows the ability to dial it down to 92-94 in the middle innings before turning it back up toward the end of games, a la Justin Verlander. He has refined his slider into a wipeout pitch with depth and bite, and he can make hitters look silly with an improved changeup that bottoms out at the plate. Gray has firmed up his frame to a solid 6-foot-4 and 239 pounds, and he has his delivery and his pitches more under control than ever. He has maintained a high level of performance all spring, carrying an 8-1, 1.20 record with a 104-16 K-BB ratio and a .166 opponent average through his first 12 starts. If the Astros pass on Gray with the No. 1 selection, it will be an upset if he gets past the Cubs at No. 2.
WHERE HE FITS: Jonathan Gray likely becomes the Rockies’ top prospect, just edging out David Dahl.
4. MINNESOTA TWINS
KOHL STEWART, RHP, ST. PIUS X HS, HOUSTON (@KohlStewart1)
Area Scout: Greg Runser
PICK ANALYSIS: Things are still playing out accordingly, as we had Stewart as the top high school arm available. A quarterback recruit to Texas A&M, he is a lock to sign at this high in the draft. The Twins are trying to load up on power arms and Stewart gives them a potential ace.
SCOUTING REPORT: A premium football recruit as a quarterback, Stewart passed for 8,803 yards and 87 touchdowns in three high school seasons before committing to play two sports at Texas A&M. It’s unlikely he’ll ever play for the Aggies because he’s the top high school pitcher in the draft. He may not get the No. 1 overall pick buzz of righthanders Jonathan Gray (Oklahoma) and Mark Appel (Stanford), but one scouting director said, “Stewart’s pure stuff is as good as theirs, and he’s more athletic than they are.” Scouts love the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder’s arsenal, athleticism and competitiveness. They say that he has better present stuff than Jameson Taillon did when the Pirates took the suburban Houston righthander No. 2 overall in 2010. Stewart has boosted his fastball from 88-93 mph last summer to 91-96 for much of the spring, though his velocity tails off at times in the later innings. His life and command with his heater make it even more dominating, but his best offering is a power mid-80s slider with tilt. He has improved his curveball and shows feel for his changeup, and he’ll display four above-average big league pitches at times. He has a clean delivery and should get even better once he concentrates solely on baseball. Stewart has been limited at times this spring because of minor shoulder (a carryover from football), hamstring and thumb ailments, but none is a major concern. Neither is his signability, because he’ll get picked early enough to be paid handsomely and teams don’t believe he’ll go to Texas A&M to sit behind reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Some clubs could shy away from Stewart because he’s a Type 1 diabetic, though Brandon Morrow went fifth overall in 2006 with the same condition. Stewart should go in the same range this June.
WHERE HE FITS: The Twins system is absolutely loaded and he would rank as either the fourth or fifth best prospect in the system.
5. CLEVELAND INDIANS
CLINT FRAZIER, OF, LOGANVILLE (GA.) HS (@CJF19)
Area Scout: Brad Tyler
PICK ANALYSIS: The Indians have traditionally been linked to college players, but have gone big with high-profile high school players recently.
SCOUTING REPORT: Frazier brings premium bat speed, solid athleticism and an all-out style, making him a strong contender to be the first high school player drafted this year. However, scouts do not put him in the same class as last year’s top prospect, fellow Georgia prep outfielder Byron Buxton (now with the Twins). While he’s modestly sized, Frazier has fast-twitch athleticism and strength in his hands, wrists and forearms. He generates tremendous bat speed and plus-plus raw power that should play at any level. He hits 'em far and hits homers with regularity. While Frazier has a compact swing, scouts expect him to swing and miss a decent amount with his aggressive approach and modest feel for hitting. He’s an above-average runner whose speed plays better offensively than in the field. Frazier’s defense in center field remains raw; he lacks instincts and tries to outrun his mistakes. He has shown above-average arm strength in the past, but scouts say he has played through pain this spring and his arm has played as average or worse at times. Thanks to his bat and power, Frazier should hit enough if he has to move to a corner and fits in the first 10 selections.
WHERE HE FITS: Frazier will rank as Cleveland’s best power prospect and will slot in behind Francisco Lindor in the Indians’ system.
6. MIAMI MARLINS
COLIN MORAN, 3B, NORTH CAROLINA (@CMoran18)
Area Scout: Joel Matthews
PICK ANALYSIS: Everything is still playing out pretty true to form with no real surprises so far. Moran is a polished hitter who should move quickly to Miami.
SCOUTING REPORT: A few teams liked Moran as a high schooler out of Rye, N.Y., but his strong commitment and ties to North Carolina, as well as rough defense at third base, prompted him to go undrafted in 2010. The nephew of 1985 No. 1 overall pick B.J. Surhoff and younger brother of Mariners farmhand Brian Moran, he stepped into the middle of the Tar Heels’ lineup in 2011 and was BA’s Freshman of the Year. He missed part of his sophomore season with a broken hand after punching a wall but was healthy and productive in the Cape Cod League last summer. He’s had his best season as a junior, entering May atop the Division I leaderboards in runs and RBIs. Moran combines outstanding control of the strike zone with size, strength and power. He covers the plate, lays off pitcher’s pitches, has excellent hand-eye coordination and drives the ball to all parts of the ballpark. Scouts consider his hitting ability more advanced than his power, and he projects to have profile plus power for third base. He has improved greatly with the glove. His good hands play both in the field and at the plate, and he combines plus arm strength with accuracy. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder’s biggest weakness is his below-average speed, but most scouts still consider him athletic enough to stay at third. Most also expect him to come off the board in the first 10 picks.
WHERE HE FITS: With Jose Fernandez graduating to the big leagues, Moran will fit as the second-best prospect in Miami’s system, behind Christian Yelich.
TREY BALL, LHP, SCHOOL (@South_Paw24)
Area Scout: John Pyle
PICK ANALYSIS: The Red Sox had their pockets picked, but Ball has premium upside as an athletic lefthander with a fresh arm.
SCOUTING REPORT: Coming into the year, the industry was split on whether Ball had a brighter future as an outfielder or a pitcher. That’s no longer a question, as he has excelled on the mound to the extent that he could go in the first five picks overall. He has surpassed Indiana State’s Sean Manaea as the top lefthander available by showing better stuff and more athleticism. Ball’s fastball dipped to the upper 80s when he wore down toward the end of the showcase circuit last summer, but he has maintained a 91-94 mph heater all spring despite cold and wet weather. He still carries just 180 pounds on his 6-foot-6 frame, so he has plenty of room to add strength and velocity. His athleticism is equally impressive, as he does a fine job of maintaining and repeating his delivery for such a young and tall pitcher. His father restricted his use of a curveball before his junior season, but Ball already shows aptitude for spinning the ball and has an above-average breaker. He learned to rely on his changeup, which he throws with deceptive arm speed and nice fade. He has a fast arm and a clean arm action, and in a rarity for a high school arm, he has no obvious red flags. While Ball is a likely top 10 choice as a pitcher, the Padres would consider drafting him at No. 13 as an outfielder if he’s available and he would go in the second or third round if he were strictly a position player. He’s a plus runner with lefthanded power potential, though he has seemed a little anxious at the plate this spring and his bat speed is a tick down from its previous level. He profiles best as a right fielder but would have a chance to play center, and scouts rave about his makeup as well. A Texas recruit, he won’t come close to stepping foot on campus.
WHERE HE FITS: The Red Sox have a good farm system, but Ball would fit somewhere in the top 5, and you could go either way about whether he’s better than another lanky southpaw, Henry Owens.
HUNTER DOZIER, SS, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE
PICK ANALYSIS: This is the first off-the-board pick. Dozier has a good bat, but we ranked him as the No. 39 pick in the draft and expected him to creep into the back of the first round. The Royals probably have a cost-saving deal in place to add another big player later in the draft. Dozier becomes the first player named Hunter to be picked in the first round, but there could be three more.
SCOUTING REPORT: Stephen F. Austin produced just one player selected above the 13th round in the first 48 drafts, and now Dozier should easily surpass Bryson Myles (sixth round, 2011) as the highest pick in school history. Scouts describe him as a Jeff Kent-style player in a Drew Stubbs body. Dozier has adjusted his approach this spring, abandoning a crouch and standing more upright, allowing him to use his hands better in his swing. He’s also doing a better job of managing the strike zone and with a month to go before the draft, he was hitting .404 and ranked fourth in NCAA Division I in doubles (22), homers (14) and slugging (.770). Dozier carries a lot of strength in his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, and the righty slugger has exceptional power to the opposite field. He could hit 20-25 homers annually in the big leagues. Dozier also moves well for his size and may be able to stay at shortstop for a while, though he’ll lack the quickness to play there in the big leagues. He has close to average speed and moves well enough to be an asset at third base and possibly at second. His arm isn’t in question, as he showed a 91-93 mph fastball in relief appearances a year ago.
WHERE HE FITS: Dozier will rank in the middle of Kansas City’s top 10.
9. PITTSBURGH PIRATES
AUSTIN MEADOWS, OF, GRAYSON HS (LOGANVILLE,GA.) (@Austin_Meadows)
Area Scout: Jerry Jordan
PICK ANALYSIS: The Pirates wanted David Dahl last year and Meadows is a similar player.
SCOUTING REPORT: Meadows entered the season as the No. 1 prep hitter in the country before being passed by his neighbor, Clint Frazier. It’s not necessarily because Meadows had a bad spring, though. The physical lefthanded hitter has a 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, maintaining his athleticism even though he added 10-15 pounds since last summer. Scouts consider it good weight, so it may be a challenge for Meadows to remain in center field down the line. He has modest arm strength but is athletic enough to play all three outfield spots. Scouts have significant confidence in his bat, which projects to be formidable. Meadows has a smooth, easy swing that he repeats and he covers the plate well. His mature approach stands out at the prep level, and he has the leverage to hit for corner-profile power. Some scouts do question his loft power thanks to a flat bat path and a relative lack of looseness, and some others consider him a bit low-energy for their taste. Still, he combines athleticism with one of the safest bats in the draft and should go out in the first 10-12 selections.
WHERE HE FITS: Meadows is an impact talent who fits in the middle of the Pirates’ top 10, likely ahead of Josh Bell.
10. TORONTO BLUE JAYS
PHIL BICKFORD, RHP, OAKS CHRISTIAN HS, WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF.
Area Scout: Jim Lentine
PICK ANALYSIS: Bickford had as much late helium as anybody. The Blue Jays were continuously linked to high-upside high school players and Bickford fits the bill.
SCOUTING REPORT: Bickford intrigued scouts with his projectable 6-foot-4, 195-pound body and 88-92 mph fastball last summer at the Area Code Games, and his velocity has jumped this spring, as has his draft stock. He pitches comfortably in the 90-93 mph range and regularly runs his fastball up to 95-96. He has a clean arm action and a three-quarters slot that gives his fastball good life, and he commands it well to both sides, prompting some scouts to grade it as a 70 pitch on the 20-80 scale. He’s a short strider with an upright finish, and sometimes his slot drops below three-quarters, causing him to pitch uphill. Bickford’s secondary stuff lags behind his fastball. He shows glimpses of a fringe-average slider, but he needs to do a better job staying on top of it. He tinkers with a changeup but seldom uses it because he can dominate high school hitters with his fastball. Bickford pumps strikes and works quickly, and his upside could get him drafted in the back of the first round, but many scouts are more comfortable with him as a second-rounder because of his underdeveloped offspeed stuff. Bickford could be a tough sign away from Cal State Fullerton.
WHERE HE FITS: The Jays are loaded with high-upside pitchers, but Bickford should fit into Toronto’s top 10.
DOMINIC SMITH, 1B, SERRA HS, GARDENA, CALIF.
Area Scout: Drew Touissant
PICK ANALYSIS: One of the best pure hitters in the draft class, the Mets continue to go with high-upside players in the first round.
SCOUTING REPORT: Smith has been a big name in the Southern California prep ranks for years, and he has justified the hype by continuing to perform at a high level as a senior. He has an innate feel for his barrel, a relaxed approach and a pretty lefthanded stroke, causing most scouts to project him as a plus hitter in the big leagues. He still wastes at-bats and chases at times, and he can get caught on his front foot, but he has the bat speed and hand-eye coordination to get away with it at this level, and he has the aptitude to make adjustments. As he spends more time in the weight room and learns to stay back and use his lower half better, he figures to hit for plus power. Smith’s other plus tool is his defense at first base, where he has soft hands, quick feet and great instincts. He can touch 90 mph off the mound, and his arm plays well at first base. It doesn’t work as well in right field, where he is more of a fringy defender with below-average speed. But he can be a Gold Glove defender at first base with enough offensive potential to make him an all-star. The game comes easily to him, and he is so smooth sometimes that he can almost look nonchalant, but scouts rave about his makeup and work ethic.
WHERE HE FITS: Smith’s hitting potential may outweigh Gavin Cecchini’s overall upside, he’s that good of a hitter. Either way, Smith should rank in the top three in the Mets’ system when he signs.
12. SEATTLE MARINERS
D.J. PETERSON, 3B, NEW MEXICO (@godj33)
Area Scout: Chris Pelekoudas
PICK ANALYSIS: The Mariners picked D.J. Peterson in high school. They wanted a power bat with this spot and Peterson offers one of the best all-around bats in the draft. While there are defensive questions, his bat will play anywhere.
SCOUTING REPORT: The Mariners drafted Peterson in the 33rd round out of high school in 2010, and he turned down a six-figure offer to head to New Mexico. That decision will pay off this summer, as Peterson figures to go in the top half of the first round as one of the class’ best all-around bats. Scouts gush about his hitting ability. He has short, hitter’s arms, tremendous bat speed and strength, and always hits the ball on the screws. His hitting mechanics are sound, with quick, strong hands, and he shows the ability to make adjustments on the fly. He has keen pitch recognition skills and already has a pro approach to his at-bats. While New Mexico plays at an elevation higher than Coors Field, scouts say Peterson’s power is legitimate. That’s good because defense will never be a big part of his game. He is a below-average runner with an above-average arm. He moves well for his 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame and should get a chance to stick at third base, but he’ll likely wind up in left field or first base. Peterson’s bat should allow him to move quickly.
WHERE HE FITS: Peterson’s bat is special. One scout this spring said it’s the best swing he’s seen in 25 years of coaching and scouting. The Mariners system is loaded, but Peterson is easily in the top four prospects for Seattle and has Paul Konerko upside.
13. SAN DIEGO PADRES
PICK VALUE: $2,678,000
HUNTER RENFROE, OF, MISSISSIPPI STATE (@Hunter_Renfroe)
Area Scout: Andrew Salvo
PICK ANALYSIS: The Padres were tied to high school players, but Renfroe’s tools and performance in the Southeastern Conference was too good to pass up.
SCOUTING REPORT: Primarily a catcher and pitcher in high school, Renfroe intrigued scouts with his top-shelf power and arm strength. The Red Sox drafted him in the 31st round, but Renfroe wanted to go to Mississippi State and wound up there. Mississippi’s single-season prep home run king, he arrived in Starkville raw and got just 26 at-bats as a freshman, then batted a modest .252/.328/.374 as a sophomore starter. He’s gained confidence and playing time with consecutive summers in the Cal Ripken League, where he hit a league-record 16 home runs last summer, prompting the Bethesda Big Train to retire his jersey. Renfroe has carried that confidence and improvement into the spring; entering May, he was in contention for both the old-school (AVG, HR, RBI) and slash-stats (AVG/OBP/SLG) triple crowns in the Southeastern Conference. He has polished his approach and gets to more of his well above-average raw power, though scouts still expect him to swing and miss plenty as a pro. He’s an asset defensively with a powerful arm and above-average speed. The 6-foot-1, 216-pounder fits the right-field profile well if he maintains his improved hitting approach, and he has hit his way into the first round.
WHERE HE FITS: With Casey Kelly and Rymer Liriano out for the year, Renfroe should slot in as the third best prospect in San Diego’s system, behind Max Fried and Austin Hedges.
REESE MCGUIRE, C, KENTWOOD HS, COVINGTON, WASH. (@Reese_McGuire21)
Area Scout: Greg Hopkins
PICK ANALYSIS: The Pirates are going with a high-upside duo by pairing McGuire with Meadows.
SCOUTING REPORT: McGuire was known by scouts early, playing in the 2011 Area Code Games as a junior before leading his high school team to a state championship in 2012. He was named USA Baseball’s Dick Case player of the year after he hit .400/.522/.514 for the gold-medal-winning 18-and-under team last summer. McGuire showed his athletic versatility with Team USA, playing third base and outfield, but he’s best as a catcher in pro ball. He is a natural behind the plate. He remains loose, even after adding strength to his 6-foot-1, 190-pound build. His receiving, blocking and arm strength are all above-average, and he has been calling his own games since he was 10 years old. He has a high baseball IQ and game awareness. The question will be how much McGuire will hit. He has a smooth lefthanded swing with strength and bat speed and shows the tools to be an above-average pure hitter with average power. The San Diego recruit runs better than most catchers. Even if he doesn’t reach his offensive ceiling, McGuire’s defense will allow him to be a big league backup, but if he hits he has all-star potential.
WHERE HE FITS: The Pirates system is deep, so McGuire will likely rank in the eight to 10 range in next year’s Prospect Handbook.
15. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
BRADEN SHIPLEY, RHP, NEVADA (@Shipley25)
Area Scout: John Bartsch
PICK ANALYSIS: This is a great get for the Diamondbacks. They wanted a college pitcher here and Shipley wasn’t projected to be available.
SCOUTING REPORT: While Nevada has produced big leaguers, the school has never had a first-round pick. That will change this year, as Shipley emerged as one of the draft’s biggest risers. Shipley was a two-way player in high school in Oregon and was recruited as a shortstop, but his arm was so good that the coaching staff gave him a shot on the mound during his sophomore year. Then he leaped up draft boards after being named the No. 1 prospect in the Alaska League last summer. Shipley’s fastball sits in the 93-95 mph range and gets as high as 98, and he already has feel for one of the draft’s best changeups. He doesn’t use his curveball much, but has a feel for spin, too. His breaking ball is a hard, downer pitch in the upper 70s, and he has experimented with a cutter. Shipley is a good athlete and makes difficult defensive plays on the mound look routine. Athleticism runs in his family, and his cousin Jordan Shipley was a wide receiver for the Bengals, Buccaneers and Jaguars. Shipley also pitches with a mean streak on the mound and is fearless when it comes to challenging hitters and owning the inner half of the plate.
WHERE HE FITS: Shipley will rank as the No. 2 pitching prospect in Arizona’s system, behind only Archie Bradley.
J.P. CRAWFORD, SS, LAKEWOOD (CALIF.) HS (@jp_crawford)
Area Scout: Demerius Pittman
PICK ANALYSIS: This isn’t the first time the Phillies have gone to Lakewood High for a top pick, as Crawford follows in the footsteps of Travis d’Arnaud and Shane Watson. There aren’t a lot of shortstops in the draft, so the Phillies are lucky to get one of the few premium optio
SCOUTING REPORT: Crawford has athletic bloodlines: his father Larry played nine years in the Canadian Football League, and Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford is a relative. He has become a much more fluid defender over the last two years, making him the rare prep prospect with a real chance to play shortstop in the major leagues. His long arms and game awareness give him good range, especially to his left and on balls in front of him. He needs to improve on balls to his right, but his above-average arm should allow him to make plays from the hole, and he has sure hands and good actions. He projects as a solid-average or slightly better defensive shortstop and an average hitter with fringy power. Crawford has good hand-eye coordination, which allows him to spray line drives to all fields, but he has a high set-up and a bit of a loop in his swing. He can turn on balls on occasion, but he needs to get stronger and smooth out his swing in order to get on top of good fastballs. Crawford is a solid-average runner who takes good turns and has baserunning savvy. He is committed to Southern California.
WHERE HE FITS: Crawford will enter the Phillies’ system at No. 2--ahead of Roman Quinn because of his better defensive ability and pure hitting ability. He could one day replace Jimmy Rollins.
TIM ANDERSON, SS, EAST MISSISSIPPI CC (@TimAnderson7)
Area Scout: Warren Hughes
PICK ANALYSIS: There’s a run on shortstops, which isn’t a surprise as there are so few in this year’s draft.
SCOUTING REPORT: It’s a banner year for Mississippi junior colleges, and Anderson has a chance to become the highest-drafted such player in a June draft. A Tuscaloosa, Ala., native, Anderson missed much of his high school baseball career due to basketball, first because of knee injuries as a sophomore, then because of a state title run as a junior that overlapped much of baseball season. He focused on baseball in junior college and hit .328 with five home runs in the Jayhawk League last summer. He has followed up by showing solid power this spring to go with his other prodigious tools. Anderson stands out in a draft class light on middle infielders. Scouts aren’t sold that he’ll stick at shortstop thanks to average arm strength. He has middle-infield actions and needs repetition at the pro level to see where he’ll stick. His athleticism and plus-plus speed would play in center field. Some scouts see power in Anderson’s bat and consider him a potential Brandon Phillips, while others see him as a faster version of Orlando Hudson. Either way, Anderson will be the first or second middle infielder picked and won’t be following through on his commitment to Alabama-Birmingham.
WHERE HE FITS: Tim Anderson could crack next year’s Prospect Handbook as Chicago’s top prospect. If he’s not, it will at least be a spirited debate.
18. LOS ANGELES DODGERS
CHRIS ANDERSON, RHP, JACKSONVILLE (@SeeAyy)
Area Scout: Scott Hennessey
PICK ANALYSIS: We were light on Chris Anderson, ranking him at No. 45 in the BA 500, but it’s not a reach here. I’ve been writing for weeks that after the first half of the first round, things really spread out.
SCOUTING REPORT: Big and physical at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Anderson should give Jacksonville its first-ever first-round pick. Like the Dolphins’ third-round product of 2012, outfielder Adam Brett Walker, Anderson is a Minnesota prep product, and he’s evolved from the team’s closer as a freshman to its Friday ace as a junior. His performance has improved significantly through his college career, as he has boosted his strikeouts, cut his walks and become more consistent across the board. Early in the season, under a heavy workload, Anderson showed scouts a front-of-the-rotation fastball, pitching downhill and touching 96 mph. He’s usually in the 90-94 mph range, holds his velocity and throws strikes. He got strikeouts early both with the fastball and slider, which flashed plus. He also throws a much-improved changeup. Anderson generates velocity more from strength than arm speed, and most scouts see him as an innings-eater in the middle of a rotation. His timing helps, as a consensus starter in a year short on college arms.
WHERE HE FITS: With Hyun-Jin Ryu and Yasiel Puig graduating, Anderson will rank in the top three in the Dodgers’ system.
19. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
MARCO GONZALES, LHP, GONZAGA (@MarcoGonzales_)
Area Scout: Matt Swanson
PICK ANALYSIS: Gonzales is as polished as they come and could join Michael Wacha in the big leagues soon.
SCOUTING REPORT: Gonzales has grown up around the game. His father Frank was a lefthander who played eight years in the minor leagues and is the Rockies’ short-season pitching coach this season. Marco was on the mound for four consecutive state championships in high school and will rank near the top of a few career records at Gonzaga after three years. He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds he’s polished and is a good athlete who has played both ways for the Bulldogs. His fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range. It can get flat at times, but he paints the corners with above-average command. But he’s getting drafted for his changeup, the best in this year’s class. It’s a deceptive offering with fade and scouts have no problem grading it as a 70 pitch on the 20-80 scale. He also mixes in an average curveball and cutter. Scouts love Gonzales’ makeup and he could move quickly through the minor leagues. With his frame, stuff and athleticism he has earned comparisons to Jason Vargas.
WHERE HE FITS: With one of the best farm systems in baseball, Gonzales will rank toward the back of the Cardinals’ top 10.
20. DETROIT TIGERS
JONATHON CRAWFORD, RHP, FLORIDA
Area Scout: Jim Rough
PICK ANALYSIS: The Tigers love power arms and love drafting out of the SEC.
SCOUTING REPORT: Most colleges recruited Crawford as an outfielder, but a Gators assistant liked his arm strength and got him to throw a bullpen during some down time at a high school showcase. Soon, Crawford had an offer to pitch for the Gators, and though he made just five appearances as a freshman, he emerged as a prospect that summer, racking up 51 strikeouts in 38 innings in the Northwoods League. He pitched his way into Florida’s weekend rotation as a sophomore, tossing a no-hitter against Bethune-Cookman in regional play and earning a spot on USA Baseball’s college national team last summer. The Gators and Crawford got off to slow starts this season, but scouts saw no dropoff in his stuff. He still has an electric arm with a durable, strong 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame. His fastball sits 92-96 mph at its best, and he holds that velocity deep into games. Crawford powers through a less-than-clean delivery and struggles to repeat his release point, so he fights his fastball command and doesn’t consistently deliver his plus slider in the 82-84 mph range. His changeup has progressed but remains a distant third pitch. Crawford looks like a reliever to some scouts, but the paucity of college pitching makes it likely he’ll go out in the first round and get an opportunity as a starter.
WHERE HE FITS: Crawford will become Detroit’s best pitching prospect and will rank just behind Nick Castellanos.
2019 MLB Draft Chat: Discussing Our Latest Rankings (3/21/19)
We dropped our updated BA 300 draft rankings on Wednesday followed by a full first-round mock draft. We'll discuss both at 12 p.m. ET.
NICK CIUFFO, C, LEXINGTON (S.C.) HS (@NCiuffo14)
Area Scout: Brian Hickman
PICK ANALYSIS: The Rays have been looking for a catcher ever since they took Tim Beckham ahead of Buster Posey. Ciuffo is a prototypical catcher with solid catch-and-throw skills along with excellent makeup and toughness.
SCOUTING REPORT: Nobody helped themselves more at the National High School Invitational than Nick Ciuffo. Against premium competition, he showed good hitting ability, refined catching skills and an improved frame--standing at a chiseled 6-foot-1, 205 pounds with broad shoulders. Ciuffo stood out on the summer circuit for his bat and chance to catch, but scouts have been impressed by his improvements behind the plate. He is a good receiver with a strong arm and quick release. He plays with energy and has matured into a leader on the field for a nationally ranked team. He projects to hit for at least average power and draws comparisons to A.J. Pierzynski for his tools and competitive edge. He committed to South Carolina before recording a varsity at-bat and has excellent baseball aptitude, recalling at-bats against Stetson Allie as a freshman and breaking down opposing players for scouts. He’s not as athletic as Reese McGuire and doesn’t have the same power as Jonathan Denney, but he has the best all-around skills of that group and could go in the first round.
WHERE HE FITS: The Rays didn’t have a catcher ranked in their top 30 in last year’s Prospect Handbook. He should slide into the middle-to-back end of their top 10.
22. BALTIMORE ORIOLES
HUNTER HARVEY, RHP, BANDYS HS, CATAWBA, N.C. (@HunterHarvy35)
Area Scout: Chris Gale
PICK ANALYSIS: A little bit of a run here in the Carolinas. Harvey has made it clear he wants to sign, and area scout Chris Gale is very good when it comes to evaluating pitchers--his father Rich pitched in the big leagues and is a longtime pitching coach.
SCOUTING REPORT: The son of former major league closer Bryan Harvey, Hunter offers lots of projection between his stuff and frame. He is 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, with room to add strength. His arm is quick and generates a fastball that sits 89-92 mph. He reportedly hit 97 early in the spring, but has battled unseasonably cold weather and hasn’t shown that kind of velocity on a regular basis. He has a sharp breaking ball that’s inconsistent but projects to be at least an average pitch. Pitching in western North Carolina, Harvey doesn’t face great competition, so he dominates hitters with his fastball and rarely throws a changeup. He has flashed a good one and includes it in his pregame bullpen routine. Harvey has not made a college commitment and has been open about his desire to start pro ball, which could move him up draft boards.
WHERE HE FITS: With Kevin Gausman graduating and Dylan Bundy likely to do so soon, Hunter Harvey will soon be the Orioles’ top pitching prospect and has a similar build and upside to Gausman.
23. TEXAS RANGERS
ALEX GONZALEZ, RHP, ORAL ROBERTS
Area Scout: Jay Eddings
PICK ANALYSIS: This is great value for the Rangers. Gonzalez, who goes by Chi Chi, ranked as the No. 19 prospect on the BA 500.
SCOUTING REPORT: The best Oral Roberts pitching prospect since No. 1 overall pick Mike Moore in 1981, Gonzalez steadily has improved since the Orioles made him an 11th-round pick out of a Florida high school three years ago. He doesn’t garner a lot of national attention pitching for the Golden Eagles, but he could sneak into the first round and has a realistic ceiling of a No. 3 starter in the big leagues. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder usually deals at 90-94 mph with his fastball, and batters can’t square it up because he throws it with natural cut and sink to both sides of the plate. His true slider, which runs as hot as 87 mph, is one of the best in the draft and gives him a second swing-and-miss offering. He’s making progress with a changeup, and he can mix in an occasional curveball as a show-me pitch. Gonzalez pounds the strike zone, has a sound delivery and exhibits good mound presence.
WHERE HE FITS: Gonzalez will fit into the middle to back of the Rangers’ top 10.
24. OAKLAND ATHLETICS
BILLY MCKINNEY, OF, SCHOOL (@Billy_McKinney)
Area Scout: Armann Brown
PICK ANALYSIS: The Athletics have been more high school oriented lately and McKinney gives them one of the best pure hitters.
SCOUTING REPORT: McKinney has one of the sweetest swings in the 2013 draft, and he has hit his way into the first round with a strong spring. He generates excellent bat speed from the left side of the plate, and he barrels balls with ease thanks to his hand-eye coordination and disciplined approach. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has strength and should grow into solid power. The rest of McKinney’s tools are fringy to average, but his arm and speed play up because he goes all-out all the time. Scouts love his makeup and are confident that he’ll provide the offense required on an outfield corner. Texas Christian holds on to many of its top recruits, but the Horned Frogs will likely lose McKinney when he goes in the second half of the first round.
WHERE HE FITS: McKinney has a similar bat to the Athletics’ two first rounders last year, Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson and should rank somewhere in the middle of the Athletics’ top 10.
25. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
CHRISTIAN ARROYO, SS, HERNANDO HS, BROOKSVILLE, FLA. (@Arroyo_C)
Area Scout: Mike Metcalfe
PICK ANALYSIS: A bit of a reach here for the Giants. Arroyo is an undersized grinder, but the Giants like his ability to hit.
SCOUTING REPORT: If former Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius ran a draft room, he’d likely pick Arroyo very high. Brosius coached USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team last summer, when Arroyo led it to a gold medal as the shortstop, top hitter and tournament MVP. He carried that confidence into the spring, to the point that it turned off some scouts, who see a below-average runner and modest athlete who profiles best as a catcher. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Arroyo has surprising pop and grades out as a solid-average hitter if not a tick better. He wants to play shortstop and has excellent hands, a quick release and instincts that allow him to make all the routine plays and some spectacular ones. Still, few scouts see him as a shortstop in the big leagues. Those who don’t think he can catch see him as a tweener, not quick enough for second and not powerful enough for third base. Arroyo is a Florida recruit.
WHERE HE FITS: Arroyo will likely rank in the back half of their top 10 list next winter.
ERIC JAGIELO, 3B, NOTRE DAME
Area Scout: Steve Lemke
PICK ANALYSIS: The Yankees were hoping Jagielo would fall to him here and his lefthanded bat will play well at Yankee Stadium.
SCOUTING REPORT: Jagielo went 15 picks from the bottom of the 2010 draft out of high school in Illinois, and he should go roughly that far from the top this year. He combines the ability to hit for power and average like few players available. He finished second in the Cape Cod League last summer with 13 homers, showing pop to all fields as the ball exploded off his lefthanded bat. The knocks on Jagielo were a tendency to chase pitches and questionable defense at third base, but the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has addressed both this spring. He has shown more discipline, made more contact and done a better job of using the whole field. He now projects to hit for a solid average with at least plus power. While he’s a below-average runner and his agility and reactions still need improvement, scouts believe Jagielo will be able to stick at the hot corner. His actions, hands and arm all are fine for the position. He played all four corner positions for the Fighting Irish, not becoming a full-time third baseman until mid-2012. Jagielo has a chance to surpass Ken Plesha (17th overall in 1965) and A.J. Pollock (ditto in 2009) as the highest-drafted position players in Notre Dame history.
WHERE HE FITS: Jagielo will likely rank around the No. 5 spot in the Yankees’ top 10.
PHILLIP ERVIN, OF, SAMFORD (@Mr_MagicErvin)
Area Scout: Ben Jones
PICK ANALYSIS: Ervin gives the Reds a steal at 27 as a quick-twitch center fielder.
SCOUTING REPORT: Ervin wasn’t drafted out of high school, in part due to tearing a knee ligament as a football player. He has dealt with a less-serious injury this spring, a sprained left ankle. The problem pushed him to left field for a time and clouded some teams’ evaluations of whether he can stay in center field. For scouts that believe he can, Ervin presents one of the surest bets among college outfielders in the draft class. Ervin lacks the size and physicality of the likes of Stanford’s Austin Wilson or Fresno State’s Aaron Judge, but that’s an asset for him. He’s shorter at 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, has fewer holes in his swing, better hitting ability and above-average raw power thanks to his compact, strong swing. Ervin is a plus runner at his best, but scouts are mixed on his center-field ability. Those who like him see him as a solid-average center fielder early in his career and believe his speed plays better in the field than on the bases. He has enough arm strength to have pitched occasionally for Samford and could slide to right field eventually. Ervin’s blue-collar makeup and quiet confidence further endears him to scouts. Despite improved performance as a junior--he already had a career-high 11 homers and 31 walks--Ervin was thought to be sliding out of the first round, due in part to his ankle injury.
WHERE HE FITS: After Billy Hamilton, Ervin will rank as the system’s top outfielder, as his overall tools package is greater than Jesse Winker’s corner outfield profile.
28. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
ROB KAMINSKY, LHP, ST. JOSEPH REGIONAL HS, MONTVALE, N.J. (@Kaminsky21)
Area Scout: Sean Moran
PICK ANALYSIS: The Cardinals go back-to-back with undersized, bulldog lefthanders. Kaminsky is polished for a high school pitcher and joins an organization known for developing quality arms.
SCOUTING REPORT: At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Kaminsky is short, but scouts won’t call him small. He is put together with a strong frame and big, strong hands. His fastball sits comfortably in the 89-92 mph range and can bump 93-94. His command is solid and scouts like his competitive demeanor, as he isn’t afraid to pitch inside. He throws a nasty, downer curveball, a present plus pitch and arguably the best among high school pitchers in the class. He also shows feel for a changeup that projects to be at least average. His height doesn’t lend to much projection and can prevent him from pitching in the bottom of the zone, but he is the most advanced arm in the prep class. He didn’t give up an earned run for the first five weeks of his season and broke his school’s record for career strikeouts in early May. He is committed to North Carolina, but likely won’t make it to campus as he is projected to go in the later part of the first round.
WHERE HE FITS: Kaminsky might not crack the Cardinals top 10, but that’s more about their depth than his talent.
RYNE STANEK, RHP, ARKANSAS (@RStanek_55)
Area Scout: Rickey Drexler
PICK ANALYSIS: This is a good value for the Rays. Not all scouts love Stanek’s mechanics or arm action, but the Rays are exceptional at developing pitchers and should be able to tune him up.
SCOUTING REPORT: The 99th overall pick in 2010, Stanek turned down the Mariners to attend Arkansas, and as a sophomore he helped the Razorbacks reach the College World Series, beating two-time defending champion South Carolina. He touched 97 mph with his fastball in that outing while mixing in both curveballs and sliders and a changeup here and there. He entered 2013 with high expectations and started slowly before finding his form. His fastball ranges from 92-98 mph, with long levers and twitchy athleticism that help him generate arm speed. His slider has real power in the 84-87 mph range when it’s right, and he has improved the feel for his changeup. Stanek doesn’t have the prettiest mechanics as he has adjusted to try to throw more strikes, shortening his stride to help him stay on top of the ball. Scouts also believe he lacks deception because he doesn’t get consistent swings and misses with his fastball or slider despite elite velocity. He’s averaged less than 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings over more than 218 college innings. A tweak here or there could unlock Stanek’s frontline potential, but other scouts see him as a future closer or set-up man in the Daniel Bard mold.
WHERE HE FITS: Stanek could slide into the back half of the Rays’ top 10 in next year’s Prospect Handbook.
30. TEXAS RANGERS
TRAVIS DEMERITTE, SS, WINDER-BARROW HS, WINDER, GA.
Area Scout: Derrick Tucker
PICK ANALYSIS: The Rangers have gone to the Georgia well early and often. They love athletes and Demeritte gives them a profile third baseman with a quick bat. While he ranked No. 56 on the BA 500, this isn’t an overdraft.
SCOUTING REPORT: Scouts voted Demeritte a preseason first-team All-American at third base, a position he played last year for East Cobb as it won the World Wood Bat Championship in Jupiter, Fla. Demeritte struggled throughout that event until going 3-for-3 with a double in the championship game. While he’s a shortstop, pitcher and leadoff hitter in high school, scouts see Demeritte as a profile third baseman. He hit 19 home runs in his first two seasons and committed to South Carolina last summer, so scouts were a bit put off by Demeritte’s slow start to the season. He’d heated up as the season progressed as his natural athleticism came into play. He has whip in his bat and some quick-twitch in his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame. He generates excellent bat speed and has a chance to hit for above-average power if he better develops his approach and feel for hitting. He’s quick enough for shortstop now but fits better defensively at third base, and some scouts think he could handle second. His overall speed is just average, and scouts consider his arm above-average. He’s his team’s No. 1 starter and has posted gaudy numbers this spring, but teams that like Demeritte are buying an infielder with offensive upside.
WHERE HE FITS: Demeritte likely won’t crack the Rangers’ top 10, but that is because their system is loaded with high-upside talent.
JASON HURSH, RHP, OKLAHOMA (@Jason_Hursh)
Area Scout: Gerald Turner
PICK ANALYSIS: Last year, the Braves took Alex Wood and he’s already gotten to the big leagues. Hursh has something in common, in that he’s already a Tommy John survivor.
SCOUTING REPORT: The Pirates failed to sign four high school arms in 2010 who should go in the top five rounds of the 2013 draft. Hursh, a sixth-rounder out of a Texas high school, is the best prospect of that group, which also includes Austin Kubitza (seventh round, now at Rice), Dace Kime (eighth round, Louisville) and Kent Emanuel (19th, North Carolina). Hursh pitched just 30 innings as a freshman in 2011 and missed last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. His velocity returned last summer, when he hit 103 mph according to the (notoriously juiced) scoreboard at the National Baseball Congress World Series. He has continued to light up radar guns as a redshirt sophomore, throwing 92-98 mph and sitting in mid-90s with little effort. Add in heavy life and late tail on his fastball, and it’s one of the most devastating pitches in the draft. Hursh still is developing feel for his secondary pitches, as he flashes an average slider and a decent changeup. He can live off his fastball, but hitters will sit on it until he develops a reliable No. 2 offering. There are durability concerns due to his 6-foot-1, 197-pound frame and his medical history, though he has improved his delivery and arm action since getting hurt.
WHERE HE FITS: Hursh will likely fit in the middle to back of the Braves’ top 10.
32. NEW YORK YANKEES
AARON JUDGE, OF, FRESNO STATE (@TheJudge44)
Area Scout: Troy Afenir
PICK ANALYSIS: Judge is a beast with some of the best power in this year’s draft. This is a great get here and it’s no surprise to see the Yankees take college players with their first two picks after being high school heavy early the past few years.
SCOUTING REPORT: With a build that’s rare for baseball at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds, Judge earns physical comparisons to NBA player Blake Griffin. He was a three-sport athlete in high school and got most of his college offers for football as a tight end. But he loved baseball and headed to Fresno State--where both his parents went--even after the Athletics drafted him in the 31st round out of high school. Judge puts on jaw-dropping batting practice displays, but some scouts worry that his power won’t translate to games. He hit four home runs as a sophomore and had eight so far this season as he got bigger in his stance and made adjustments. Judge profiles as a .250 hitter and is going to strike out a lot, which comes with the territory for tall power hitters with long arms. A team can live with the strikeouts if he hits 30-plus home runs a year. While his swing is more about strength and leverage than bat speed, he has light-tower power. Judge is a solid-average runner with an above-average arm and will be a solid defender in right field.
WHERE HE FITS: Judge will have the best power in the Yankees’ system and will slot into the middle of their Top 10.
33. NEW YORK YANKEES
IAN CLARKIN, LHP, MADISON HS, SAN DIEGO
Area Scout: David Keith
PICK ANALYSIS: This is a nice portfolio approach for the Yankees, getting a polished hitter in Jagielo, a huge power guy in Judge and now a polished, high-upside lefthander in Clarkin, who could have gone as high as the 13th pick.
SCOUTING REPORT: Clarkin punctuated his strong performance on the 2012 summer showcase circuit with six strong innings in the gold medal game to lead USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team to the IBAF 18U World Championship in Seoul, South Korea, in September. He got off to a strong start this spring with a good showing at the Southern California Invitational in February, establishing himself as the top prep pitcher in the region. Clarkin has feel for pitching with three quality offerings. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph and bumps 93-94, and he pitches inside aggressively, but sometimes his fastball command falters. He flashes a plus downer curveball with sharp bite, and he can locate it to both sides of the plate when he’s on. He also has shown the makings of an average (but inconsistent) changeup with good arm speed and fade. Clarkin needs refinement, but his three-pitch arsenal and competitiveness give him a chance to be a quality major league starter down the road. He is committed to San Diego.
WHERE HE FITS: Clarkin will become the Yankees best lefthanded pitching prospect and should fit in the middle of their Top 10.