2013 MLB Mock Draft: John Sickels and Matt Garrioch, Version 1
The 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft begins on June 6th. We'll have lots of coverage here at Minor League Ball in the MLB Bonus Baby Section.
Matt Garrioch and I recently worked up a Mock Draft to kick things off. Given that it is only late March, many things will change between now and draft day. Rumors will abound; players will move up and down draft lists; someone will get hurt; someone will have a huge hot streak and raise his stock; someone will get cold at the wrong time.
In other words, don't take any of this seriously yet. This is intended to whet your appetite, not genuinely predict what will happen 10 weeks from now. We also threw a couple of changeups in there to keep things interesting.
1) Houston Astros (Matt Garrioch): The Astros have the #1 overall pick for the second consecutive year. Last year they took a prep shortstop but they may look at one of the college arms this year as they are trying to contend as quickly as they can. Mark Appel has shown that edge he didn't last have last year. Jonathan Gray has been hitting 100 MPH and dominating for Oklahoma. Sean Manaea hasn't been the guy he was on the Cape last year, but it's early. There are good options but no clear option. For Houston, I have to think about where they are and where they play. The short porch in left field makes me imagine seeing Kris Bryant hit 40 HR's for them. Then again, Clint Frazier could flick his wrists and hit it out of that park. That could be a great fit. Clint Frazier, OF, Georgia HS
2) Chicago Cubs (John Sickels): The Cubs have a rapidly improving farm system, but the weak point is pitching, especially high-impact, high-ceiling pitching, so Stanford's Mark Appel makes too much sense not to pick here. He's having a great spring that answers questions about his ability to dominate, he's a potential ace and rotation anchor, he'll be ready for the majors soon, and signability won't be an issue. You aren't supposed to draft for need, especially this early, but if Frazier goes to the Astros, Appel to the Cubs is simply the logical choice for both talent and team reasons. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford University.
3) Colorado Rockies (Matt Garrioch): The Rockies have had so little luck developing pitching, I just can't justify drafting a pitcher here. My thought process may be different if there was a clear pitcher ahead of the rest. Jonathan Gray might be that guy by draft time or maybe Manaea or Stanek get going again but I think a bat is the way to go. The best prep bat on the board is Dominic Smith, who has been compared to Todd Helton by one draft expert. Although that could be a good fit, it's a bit too early for him. Austin Meadows is the higher rated prospect by many and could be an option here. If I were running a Rockies draft I'd take Kris Bryant, OF, University of San Diego.
4) Minnesota Twins (Sickels): Many options present themselves here. The Twins could use upside pitching and there is plenty of that available, with Sean Manaea, Ryne Stanek, and fast-rising Jonathan Gray of the University of Oklahoma all attractive. Toolsy prep outfielder Austin Meadows slots here well on talent, but the Twins are already loaded with outfield prospects and I don't think his talent level is sufficiently higher than the other options to make him the obvious choice. Home state prep outfielder Ryan Boldt also has high-level tools but looks more like a mid-first round pick to me. How about an up-the-middle talent, a catcher or shortstop? A long-term replacment for Joe Mauer is needed, and Oklahoma high school slugger Jonathan Denney has the booming bat and defensive ability to fit here if they don't go with a pitcher. Jonathan Denney, C, Oklahoma HS.
5) Cleveland Indians (Garrioch): As John stated, there are a lot of good options here. This draft is less about best player available and more about who fits in your system and who you like more. While there are a few arms that would look good in a rotation with Trevor Bauer in a couple years but I think I have to take the top prep outfielder available. Austin Meadows, OF, Georgia HS
6) Miami Marlins (Sickels): The rebuilding Marlins could use just about anything in their farm system. Last year they went with a college southpaw from Oklahoma State in Andrew Heaney. We will stick with that theme and pick another lively college arm, Jonathan Gray, from the Sooner state. Gray has been shooting up draft boards with a stellar spring and could easily pass Ryne Stanek and Sean Manaea. Jonathan Gray, RHP, University of Oklahoma
7) Boston Red Sox (Garrioch) The Red Sox have a fairly well rounded farm system. They don't have any glaring needs and to me there are five players remaining in this tier that are comparable talents. Manaea and Stanek could be impact arms from the college level. Kohl Stewart from the prep level. Dominic Smith could put up crazy numbers in Fenway if he reaches his ceiling but we've seen what polished left handed hitters can do in Fenway. For that reason, I would take Colin Moran, 1B, North Carolina, the best college hitter not named Kris Bryant.
8) Kansas City Royals (Sickels): In 2011 the Royals wanted a college pitcher but ended up with local talent Bubba Starling, a toolsy but raw high school outfielder. Last year they got the college arm with Kyle Zimmer. A few weeks ago, a great pick here would have been Arkansas Razorback Ryne Stanek, who is from the Kansas City area, thus combining local talent and a high-ceiling arm that could move quickly. However, Stanek has struggled with his command in his first few outings and is no longer an obvious choice this early in the draft. Manaea is plausible here, or perhaps a high schooler who separates himself from the pack. That could be Louisiana prep outfielder Justin Williams, or slugging California high schooler Dominic Smith, or an up-the-middle player like shortstop J.P. Crawford or catcher Reese McGuire. However, given that the Royals are in a "win soon" mode, a college arm still seems pretty likely to me. Let's make this interesting, avoid the obvious choices like Manaea and Stanek, and go with helium man Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt, on the theory that he remains dominant all spring and will provide a quicker return than Manaea. (NOTE: I wrote this on Thursday and Ziomek promptly had a bad start Friday night. Serves me right for trying to be interesting I suppose).
9) Pittsburgh Pirates (Garrioch): Pittsburgh has a unique situation since they didn't sign Mark Appel last season. They have the signing allotment for two first round picks and with that, they can work on a unique deal with someone. If they weren't dumb enough to trade their comp pick for Gaby Sanchez, they could have really did something..but I digress. With this allotment, they should be able to work a deal with someone with a little extra leverage. If I believed he would be available at #14, I'd wait but I don't believe he'd be there. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Texas HS
10) Toronto Blue Jays (Sickels): The Blue Jays generally have an upside/tools orientation and there is a lot to pick from here. Manaea is somehow still available under this scenario and he offers huge upside for a college pitcher, but there are a lot of toolsy preps still on the board as well. Although trades have thinned the system, I really can't see the Jays breaking their general philosophy in the hopes of a fast return. Two-way Indiana prep Trey Ball seems like the type of athlete that would attract Toronto. Trey Ball, OF/LHP, Indiana HS.
11) New York Mets (Garrioch): A month ago, I would have never suspected both Sean Manaea and Ryne Stanek would be here for the Mets. That works in the favor of the Mets. Most picks at this level need to be top of the rotation guys and are counted on heavily. This isn't the case here. The pick will be behind other Mets pitching prospects Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. That takes pressure off and may allow Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas to reach his potential.
12) Seattle Mariners (Sickels): I can't let the big lefty slide any further than this. Sure, he's somewhat raw for a college guy and needs time to work his issues out, but the upside as a potential number one starter is too much to ignore at this stage of the draft. Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State University
13) San Diego Padres (Garrioch): The Padres have done very well in drafts recently but I may favor them because they have frequently taken players that I like. At this point, my personal favorites are Dominic Smith, Ian Clarkin and Reese McGuire. I'm leaning toward going off my board and taking a player that is a middle of the diamond player with impact potential. J.P. Crawford, SS, Florida HS
14) Pittsburgh Pirates (Sickels): For a draft that is supposed to be thin, there are still a lot of intriguing names on the board here. My instinct is that the Pirates will go with a prep player here, and two bats that stand out are Dominic Smith and Justin Williams, both left-handed power hitters with outstanding offensive potential and good buzz. I'll go with Dominic Smith, 1B, California HS and hope that the Pirates don't have problems buying him away from Southern Cal.
15) Arizona Diamondbacks (Garrioch): Prep pitching is not an asset at the very top of this draft but more of an asset when it comes to depth. Depending on whether Trey Ball goes as an OF or a LHP, Ian Clarkin, LHP, California HS could be the first prep lefty off the board.
16) Philadelphia Phillies (Sickels): How about a young power-hitting impact outfielder for the Phillies? Justin Williams would fit the bill. There is buzz that he could go much higher than this, he seems like the type of package that would attract Philadelphia, and the system could use a hitting boost. Justin Williams, OF, Louisiana HS.
17) Milwaukee Brewers (Garrioch): The Brewers don't have a lot of young talent. They are aging at the big league level and their next level of prospects is underwhelming. After Jungmann and Bradley, I don't think they will go for one of the college arms. A safe bet to be a major leaguer and one that could be above replacement level on glove alone is Oscar Mercado, SS, Florida HS.
18) Chicago White Sox (Sickels): The White Sox often march to their own drummer draft wise, but with a new GM in place it remains to be seen if the philosophy will change. Rick Hahn was already in the organization as one of Ken Williams' top assistants, of course, so maybe nothing much will change. Samford University outfielder Phil Erwin offers one of the best bats at the college level and is off to a good start this spring. On the other hand, the system is short on pitching and could use some starters. Lively high school arms are still available here, but there are also college options who could move rapidly. I think I'll go with fast-rising University of Jacksonville right-hander Chris Anderson, who has pushed into first-round consideration with a plus fastball/slider combination. Chris Anderson, RHP, University of Jacksonville
19) Los Angeles Dodgers (Garrioch): The Dodgers have went a different direction under their new ownership but due to the new basic agreement spending restrictions, I don't see it changing their philosophy in the draft. Jon Crawford could join his Florida teammate quickly if they would go that direction. Ryan Boldt is a name worth considering here as is currently injured Austin Wilson. Reese McGuire could be an intriguing pick here, as they really have no catching depth but that could actually hinder him if they would rush him just because they lack depth and that urge would be there. I think I will go with a local high school arm in Dustin Driver, RHP, California HS
20) St. Louis Cardinals (Sickels): I'm thinking that the Cardinals go the college route here and Phil Ervin seems like a good choice, being sabermetrically-sound but also possessing considerable upside as a power hitter. Minnesota prep Ryan Boldt also seems plausible, being toolsy but also having more polish than the typical high school outfielder from the upper Midwest. A college pitcher could also be attractive (Bobby Wahl? Marco Gonzales?) but I'm going to go with a bat. Phil Ervin, OF, Samford University.
21) Detroit Tigers (Garrioch): The Tigers often have a way of getting a talent that is better than their pick. They were the type of team to go overslot in the past, so I think they will be willing to negotiate with a potentially difficult signing since he has slipped due to injury. Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
22) Tampa Bay Rays (Sickels): I'm thinking that the Rays go to the prep ranks here, although a toss-up between a hitter or pitcher. Tennessee prep Jordan Sheffield is a very attractive arm, but Washington high school catcher Reese McGuire seems like the best fit given his balance of offense and defensive skills, not to mention the possibility that he could go 15 slots earlier than this. Reese McGuire, C, Washington HS.
23) Baltimore Orioles (Garrioch): The way the Orioles are currently set up, going with a high school player here is a waste. The talent they have in Bundy, Machado and Gausman are ready now and should be solid for the next 5-7 years. If they would take a prep prospect it may take that long for impact, so I'd go with a college arm that could add to the impact of my young core now or very soon. Jonathan Crawford, P, Florida
24) Texas Rangers (Sickels): The Rangers have no fear of "short" high school right-handers, as long as they are athletic and have live arms. Jordan Sheffield fits the bill there, standing at 6-1, 175 but possessing a low-to-mid-90s heater and two promising secondary pitches. Ryan Boldt would be another option if they want to add another toolsy outfielder to the group they drafted last year. Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tennessee HS. (NOTE: There was some confusion earlier about Sheffield's size, but I have confirmed that Sheffield has NOT grown suddenly taller. His listed height of 6-1 in the original comment is accurate, if not an inch too tall)
25) Oakland Athletics (Garrioch): Oakland nailed their first pick last year. This year, their isn't a guy that really jumps out at me here. Ryan Boldt is a 5 tool guy but nothing elite. Zach Collins has a lot of power but has struggled in some events since last fall from what I have heard. Jeremy Martinez interests me here but a guy that will likely start coming on more radars soon and has the bat to be in the first round is Drew Ward, 1B, Oklahoma HS.
26) San Francisco Giants (Sickels): The Giants system has pitching but needs impact hitting, particularly more power. Mississippi State's Hunter Renfroe has outstanding power potential and is off to a hot start this spring. South Carolina prep catcher Nick Ciuffo would also be interesting, as would a prep arm for the Giants coaches to refine. However, I will stick with the need for an impact bat. Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State
27) New York Yankees (Garrioch): The Yankees are tough to gauge. Much of the talent in their farm system is in prospects in the 20-22 range. Do do they look to add to that developing core of prospects and take a college arm like Ryan Eades, Dillon Overton or Bobby Wahl or do they start another group of preps following that wave with Ryan Boldt, Jeremy Martinez, or Rob Kaminsky? The fact that Kaminsky is local that adds to his intrigue. Rob Kaminsky, LHP, New Jersey HS
28) Cincinnati Reds (Sickels): We keep talking about Ryan Boldt and we keep not taking him. As mentioned above, he is a premium athlete with considerable baseball skill and more polish than the typical high school player from a cold-weather state. A college pitcher would also make some sense here and Bobby Wahl is still on the board, but I think I have to go with Ryan Boldt, OF, Minnesota HS.
29) Tampa Bay Rays (Garrioch) The first comp pick goes to the Rays for losing B.J. Upton. Weird having the comp round start at 29. The Rays haven't drafted well recently, in my opinion. They have also struggled to find a catcher for as long as I can remember. I know it will take a while and the odds of a prep catcher making it is not a lock but with his bat and athleticism, I think he will make it. Chris Okey, C, Florida HS
30) Texas Rangers (Sickels): This is the comp pick for Josh Hamilton. We had the Rangers going with a high school pitcher earlier, so we'll move over to the positional ranks with this one, though still a prep. How about Cavan Biggio, a home state and bloodline player with hitting ability who might need to go this high to pass up college at Notre Dame. His position is uncertain but the Rangers won't have to rush him and he'll have the time to settle in somewhere defensively. Cavan Biggio, OF-INF, Texas HS.
31) Atlanta Braves (Garrioch): The Braves received this comp pick for losing Micheal Bourn. Right or wrong, I have always looked at comp picks as a way to replace what you lost. If you loose a big arm, take someone who has the chance to be that again. Kinda silly, I know, but it actually works here. The Braves love talent in their back yard and their is a player who could be that igniting top of the order bat in their back yard. He is a comp round talent, too. Josh Hart, OF, Georgia HS
32) New York Yankees (Sickels): Matt has the Yankees going with a high school pitcher at 27. Do I go for balance with a college hitter? I think another pitcher is more likely given the fact that the system needs more arms and a polished college guy to pair with Kaminsky makes sense. Wahl is still on the board, but I like the idea of another lefty and you can usually find good right-handers in subsequent rounds. One name with serious helium is high school left-hander Matt Krook out of California, getting strong first round buzz with excellent early spring performance. He'll probably go a lot sooner than we have him here; if Ziomek has more rough outings and Krook continues to thrive, you could put him way down here and jump Krook up all the way to the Royals at eight. However, for now we will say that the Yankees steal him. Matt Krook, LHP, California HS.
33) New York Yankees (Garrioch): The Yankees could really clean up on high school arms here. Before John took Krook, I was going to choose between two other risers that I like in Akeem Bostick and Tyler Danish but since he took Krook, I will look at other options. Maybe I'll take a guy who has slid some but has talent requisite of this spot. Jeremy Martinez, C, California HS