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This is my final ranking (not an industry consensus, though that is a factor) of the players eligible for the 2013 MLB Draft after spending the last year talking to scouts and industry insiders about the draft class. This is not predicting the order I think the players will go on draft day. For that, see the mock drafts linked above. After the rank, name, position and school for each player, I list their age on draft day (June 6th), their height/weight and bats/throws along with a realistic pick range that you can expect for them to go in the draft (barring unforeseen issues like late injuries, bad medicals or extreme signability, though I already note several tough signs that I know about below). I was going to list the advisors of all the players below, but decided not to help the NCAA ruin more things that used to be fun. See Draft Central or click on the players name for scouting videos and more content.
Draft Day Age: 21.89, R/R, 6'5/215, Pick Range: 1-3
The 6'5 righty flashes three knockout pitches (93-96 mph fastball that hits 98, slider, changeup) that all rate at least a 60 (on the 20-80 scouting scale) and all three will flash 70 at times. Appel made the adjustment this season to be more aggressive in his approach to pitching and has drawn the gaudy strikeout numbers his plus stuff didn't draw last season. That was the biggest question on him last season and the reason he slipped in the draft--not his signability. Appel main knock is that he lacks the top shelf athleticism, particularly in his upper body, to have the command and consistency to have the above average command (given his the momentum/maitenance he creates in his delivery to produce elite arm speed) and longevity to project as a true ace. The industry has him neck-and-neck with my #3 prospect, Jonathan Gray, but Appel is a notch better than Gray for me. Appel projects as a frontline arm, with a likely ceiling as a #2 starter and could reach that ceiling in just a few years.
2. Kris Bryant, 3B/RF, San Diego
Draft Day Age: 21.42, R/R, 6'5/215, Pick Range: 2-3
Bryant was a high profile tough sign out of high school that's really blossomed in his junior season at San Diego. He will go out as a third baseman and could play center field now as he's an above average runner underway. That said, at some point in the next five years, he will settle in as a right fielder as he'll ultimately lose a step and his plus arm will fit nicely. Some scouts compare the 6'5 slugger and his easy raw power to Nationals' OF Jayson Werth. Bryant's historic junior season (.346/.506/.880, 28 HR) is helping quiet concerns that his long limbs could lead to only having a 50 or 55 hit tool (.260 to .270 batting average) in the big leagues. Scouts grade his power anywhere from 70 to 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, converting to a projected 30-40 homers annually.
Draft Day Age: 21.59, R/R, 6'4/240, Pick Range: 1-5
The husky 6'4 righty took a big step forward this season, most notably with his velocity. Gray went from sitting in the low to mid 90's in 2012 and early 2013 to not throwing any fastballs under 95 mph in full 100 pitch outings and hitting 100 mph often. He backs up his 80 grade fastball with a plus to plus-plus slider and a solid changeup that's above average at times. Gray's arm action, delivery and command could are all a notch behind Appel and Gray's value is heavily tied to his velocity. Studies have shown velocity naturally wanes for pitchers, often about half a mph per year through seasons aged in the 20's, which could limit Gray's upside some when combined with the shift from six days of rest (college) to four days of rest (professional). In addition, Gray has only shown his elite velocity for just over two months, so it's unclear how well his body can handle the increased arm stress; Appel has had the sam fastball for years. With a recent positive test for Adderall in MLB's pre-draft drug testing, Gray's presumed sub-Appel asking price likely decreased a bit more with questions about his judgment.
4. Clint Frazier, CF, Loganville HS (GA)
Draft Day Age: 18.75, R/R, 6'0/190, College: Georgia, Pick Range: 1-10
Frazier has the rare tools combination of plus-plus bat speed, plus raw power, plus foot speed and at least a plus arm, all in a compact, mature 6'0, 190 pound frame. His Popeye forearms and electric quick-twitch tools aren't normally seen from smaller high school players that lack physical projection, and certainly not from a player with a flowing shock of red hair. Frazier simply doesn't have many player comparables (Gary Sheffield may be the best) and his uniqueness scares some clubs away from taking him in the top five as you can't point to a similar player that's succeeded since there aren't many comparables at all. Frazier performed very well on the showcase circuit with wood bats against top pitching and his swing mechanics can be inconsistent, particularly against sub-par prep pitching, as his timing is disrupted by below-average stuff and his own electric bat speed. He's still a bit raw in the outfield as he mostly played shortstop until this season, but has the foot speed to stick in center field with some work. His arm strength will be inconsistent at times and he had his shoulder cleaned up before his spring season.
Draft Day Age: 20.68, L/R, 6'4/220, Pick Range: 1-5
The late-developing New York-born 6'4 athlete has made progress defensively to allow him to stick at the hot corner professionally with sure hands, short-area quickness and 55 arm strength. His solid-average third base defense, consistent lefty contact stroke and already elite plate discipline (.385/.516/.646, 13 HR, 50 BB, 13 K) makes him easy to project as an elite prospect but without an All-Star ceiling. The knock on Moran is his below-average to fringy current raw power limits his upside. He has some physical projection left, but a lot of added bulk would improve his power and likely move him to right field or first base. Evaluators are comfortable projecting average power (15-18 bombs annually) and average defense down the road, but his raw power could play a bit more than that in games if his hit tool ends up reaching his .290 batting average, high OBP ceiling.
6. Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (TX)
Draft Day Age: 18.66, R/R, 6'3/195, College: Texas A&M (FB), Pick Range: 4-8
6'3 smooth athlete has scholarship to play QB at Texas A&M and has frontline starter potential as right handed pitcher. He's still somewhat raw with a delivery that will need some work, but it isn't a red flag and his smooth arm action is above average. Stewart has been up to 97 mph and will sit 93-95 mph at his best with a wipeout 65 slider on the 20-80 scouting scale as his primary out-pitch. He has understandable rawness with overall feel and sequencing issues due to lack of experience on the mound, but Stewart shows feel for a changeup along, an above average curveball and the ability to handle coaching. He missed the early part of the spring with a football-related injury to his shoulder, but it doesn't concern teams at all.
Draft Day Age: 21.29, R/R, 6'2/170, Pick Range: 5-8
The cousin of NFL wideout Jordan Shipley is top-notch athlete and the recently-converted infielder that flashes number two starter potential. He sits 92-95 and has dialed his fastball up to 97 mph this spring with an out-pitch changeup that flashes a 65 potential. His numbers/results haven't been quite as good as the stuff. Shipley has some expected rawness to his delivery and command. In addition, he didn't throw his occasionally above average curveball enough in games to keep hitters honest and work on improving the pitch. There's legitimate reason to believe this 21 year old with the raw stuff to match 2012 Orioles #4 overall pick Kevin Gausman has a good chance to improve and possibly quickly.
Draft Day Age: 21.43, R/R, 6'1/220, Pick Range: 6-13
College third baseman will move across the diamond eventually as a pro but Billy Butler and Jeff Bagwell's names come up as the stout, 6'1, 220 pound, right-handed hitting slugger is an above average athlete in the batter's box with a loose swing, very good bat control, 65 raw power, great feel to hit, above average plate discipline and the gaudy numbers this spring to prove it (.408/.522/.832, 16 HR) despite playing home games at altitude.
9. Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)
Draft Day Age: 18.26, L/R, 6'1/190, College: San Diego, Pick Range: 4-10
Smooth cold weather prep athlete offers ideal catcher's frame, plus arm, true catching actions, advanced lefty swing and rare feel to hit any kind of pitch with great bat control. Two things keeping him from being a top five pick are his below-average to fringy raw power and the very very checkered track record of 1st round prep catchers. That's due in part to all the mental aspects of catching that are so hard to project with 18 year olds.
Draft Day Age: 21.36, R/R, 6'2/210, Pick Range: 6-15
Renfroe was a raw athlete that added significant polish this year as his above average speed and glove combined with his plus arm and raw power to produce huge numbers in the SEC (.390/.484/.750, 15 HR). He's grown into his body after finally getting a few years to play baseball year-round against top competition after Renfroe was a multi-sport standout that didn't hit the showcase circuit very hard from a small Mississippi high school. This spring, he added his bat as his fifth and final above average tool by learning to lay off the breaking ball in the dirt, unlocking the potential of his above average bat speed and bat control that his plate discipline was obscuring. His hitting mechanics can be inconsistent as he will get on his front foot too early in his swing and his athleticism allowed him to succeed in the SEC but he'll need to make an adjustment in pro ball.
11. Tim Anderson, SS, East Central CC (MS)
Draft Day Age: 19.95, R/R, 6'1/180, College: UAB, Pick Range: 13-21
Anderson was an unknown Juco hoops player last season that came out late for baseball, was hidden in left field and went undrafted. This year he's a lock to go in the first round with multiple clubs in the middle of the first round showing a lot of interest in one of the three possible everyday shortstops in the class (Crawford, Mercado). Anderson has performed very well this spring and last summer in the Jayhawk League with all kinda of gaudy numbers and a low strikeout rate, despite understandably needing some polish to add to his dynamic quick-twitch athleticism. The tools are for real: plus-plus speed, potential average raw power that already shows up in games and to the opposite field, plus bat speed, above average arm strength and true shortstop actions. Some scouts speculate the industry was slow to come around on him due to an industry bias against Juco players and area scouts embarrassed they didn't even turn this player in last year.
12. Dominic Smith, 1B, Serra HS (CA)
Draft Day Age: 17.98, L/L, 6'1/200, College: USC, Pick Range: 10-19
It's rare to see a 6'1 high school first baseman without elite raw power to be ranked this high, but it's a weaker draft class at the top and Smith has advanced feel to hit and bat control from a silky smooth swing with above average bat speed and all fields power that could produce 20 homers annually in the big leagues. He has an enticing package of attributes: he'll be 17 on draft day, has a long track record of performance, a plus arm (up to 93 on the mound from the left side) that would fit in right field except that he's a potential Gold Glover at first base and is a bit limited laterally. The broad set of skills and polish makes Smith arguably the safest bet in the prep class to reach the big leagues.
13. J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (CA)
Draft Day Age: 18.40, L/R, 6'2/180, College: USC, Pick Range: 10-15
Not a surprise that J.P. is a cousin of Dodgers OF Carl Crawford as the lanky 6'2 shortstop is a big time athlete that can stick at short with silky smooth actions and above average hands and arm strength. Crawford is no slouch at the plate with feel to hit from the left side and projectable power, but he needs to make some mechanical adjustments (like lowering his hands when he loads them) to unlock his offensive potential. Crawford also have dynamic speed like Tim Anderson, with most scouts calling Crawford a 55 runner.
14. Austin Meadows, CF, Grayson HS (GA)
Draft Day Age: 18.09, L/L, 6'3/220, College: Clemson, Pick Range: 6-11
Meadows is a very well-known prospect that I've written about a ton and has been picked apart by scouts this spring as his hitting mechanics haven't improved, his arm is average at best and he added 20 pounds in the winter. The added weight has added another tick of power, with most scouts calling it 55 raw power, but he's also lost a step, as a 55 runner with good instincts that can stick in center field now but very well may have to move to left field. Meadows catches your eye with his above average tools, feel for the game and a pretty swing with power, but he was overrated entering the spring as a potential #1 overall pick.
15. Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle HS (IN)
Draft Day Age: 18.94, L/L, 6'6/180, College: Texas, Pick Range: 4-10
The 6'6, 180 pound lefty is ultra-projectable, sits 90-93, hitting 94 mph with more to come to his three above average pitches. Ball also moves well and has a smooth delivery, so while nothing is plus right now, a 6'6 lefty with projection, above average stuff and command is a clear first rounder. He's a great athlete who is a top couple rounds prospect as a hitter, but is a superior prospect on the mound. Scouts love to dream on projectable, late-developing cold-weather athletes like Ball and multiple teams are interested in the top 10 picks.
Draft Day Age: 21.35, L/L, 6'5/215, Pick Range: Rounds 2-10
The athletic 6'5 lefty had a coming-out party when he consistently sat 93-95 and hit 98 mph on the Cape, flashing a plus slider and changeup. Entering the spring, Manaea was a co-favorite with Mark Appel to go #1 overall. This spring, he's backed up a good bit, working 88-93 much of the season and recently his velocity was dropping off into the mid-80's in the middle innings. New mechanics, hip and ankle injuries, a heavy 2012 workload (157.2 IP) and bad luck are all to blame for the mysterious loss of stuff but the million dollar questions is if the stuff returns. That became a little less likely when Manaea missed his last few starts with shoulder soreness. Clubs haven't seen him pitch in weeks, can't get him in a workout since he isn't 100% healthy and due in part to advisor Scott Boras, clubs also won't be getting full medicals for their doctors to evaluate or a hard signing bonus demand. All these factors have him very likely sliding out of the first round into the signability nether regions of the top ten rounds, which are much less forgiving with the CBA's new draft pools. Boras has said Manaea won't change his signability from earlier in the spring and the best guess being that he was a projected top-5 pick is that Manaea will be asking for about $4 million. It looks like he'll go somewhere in the slotted portion of the draft (10 rounds) but it's anyone's guess if he goes off the board near the top of the 2nd round or falls into the 6th-10th round area.
17. Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Oral Roberts
Draft Day Age: 21.39, R/R, 6'3/200, Pick Range: 12-21
Gonzalez has slowly gained momentum after showing 91-94 fastball that hit 95 mph and a 84-87 mph slider that flashed plus on the Cape. The life on his fastball, bite to his slider and command to both sides of the plate have progressed this spring and "Chi Chi" is looking like a good bet to become a mid-rotation starter that likely fits in the middle of round one. Gonzalez has an average changeup that will flash above average at times with a smooth delivery and good command.
18. Josh Hart, CF, Parkview HS (GA)
Draft Day Age: 18.68, L/L, 6'1/190, College: Georgia Tech, Pick Range: 22-31
Hart is a well-known prospect from powerhouse Atlanta-area program (produced Royals RF Jeff Francoeur & 2012 A's 1st rounder 1B Matt Olson) with long track record of hitting and has matured to develop some gap power to go with plus-plus speed, above average arm and advanced glove. The bat speed and feel for hitting is real, drawing Kenny Lofton comparisons, but Hart's mechanics have gone backwards this spring. He gets too upright with an all arms swing, which appears fixable and hasn't affected his performance much due to his big talent. It didn't bother me much long-term and rumors he could go in the early 20's seems to indicate scouts aren't too worried either.
Draft Day Age: 21.86, R/R, 6'4/190, , Pick Range: 12-21
Unsigned as third round pick out of Kansas high school, Stanek has been high profile, successful and flashing plus stuff since he got to Arkansas. That's mysteriously not been the case this season as, late this season, his former plus to plus-plus slider has been average and his body language has been terrible. His average changeup and command were always a weaker points but have also regressed this spring and with his velocity down a tick or two late in the season (92-94 hitting 95 mph) he looks more like an innings eater or reliever than a frontline starter. In his last two starts, Stanek showed flashes of his old self and appears to have jumped back into mid first round contention.
20. Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington HS (SC)
Draft Day Age: 18.25, L/R, 6'1/210, College: South Carolina, Pick Range: 15-26
Ciuffo committed to the Gamecocks as a high school freshman, has been a known quantity to scouts for years, and is one of the more consistent players in the class. He's a vocal leader with a plus arm that is athletic enough with solid actions to stick behind the plate long-term, but won't be more than an average defender. Ciuffo also has above average raw power and flashes enough bat speed and bat control to get to that power in games with an average or so hit tool. Some clubs dinged him a little for a slight shoulder issue pre-draft but clubs aren't worried long-term about it.
21. Phil Bickford, RHP, Oaks Christian HS (CA)
Draft Day Age: 17.91, R/R, 6'4/200, College: Cal State Fullerton, Pick Range: 12-24
Bickford was a generic, young projection righty entering the spring, then all of a sudden the projection started showing up when he hit 97 mph in March and topped at 98 mph a few times later in the spring. He's still got a lot of room to fill out and sits 91-94 with a breaking ball that is inconsistent but flashes above average potential. What separates him from other prep arms like Hunter Harvey is Bickford's advanced feel for pitching and more mature delivery and approach to pitching despite being nearly a year younger than some prep peers. Clubs seem to be split on their evaluations of Bickford, with some clubs loving his projection, age, velocity and fastball command while others don't yet see a complete starter, have had trouble getting face time with the family and don't know what kind of bonus he's looking for.
Draft Day Age: 21.05, L/R, 6'3/215, Pick Range: 15-26
Jagielo has slowly improved his whole college career and made solid progress even this season with his defense to the point where he now has a real chance to stick at third base long-term after playing the outfield mostly before last summer on the Cape. His calling card is his above average to plus raw power from the left side that plays in games and isn't just to his pull side. Jagielo swung and missed a lot on the Cape and is never going to be a plus hitter due in part to a power approach. His defense also will never be more than average and his average arm doesn't give him much margin for error along with his below average speed and limited lateral quickness. That said, lefty hitting power bats that can stick in the infield are tough to find and Jagielo had a big spring for the Irish (.386/.502/.639, 8 HR).
Draft Day Age: 21.31, L/L, 6'1/185, Pick Range: 12-29
Gonzales is an athletic, smaller lefty that has above average command and out-pitch plus changeup to carry his more ordinary fastball and curveball. He sits 88-92 mph with his fastball and spots it well to both side of the plate. A number of scouts suggested he would be the first player in this class to reach the majors unless one of the top couple picks gets a token quick promotion. Gonzales' most famous outing came in an early season tournament in Arizona when he mowed down a strong Arkansas lineup in under two hours. Gonzales' command comes from his above average athleticism and he also is a prospect as a hitter with a solid lefty swing.
24. Phil Ervin, RF, Samford
Draft Day Age: 20.89, R/R, 5'10/205, Pick Range: 17-30
Ervin had coming out party on the Cape last summer and will flash five above average tools, but scouts pause due to his 5'10, 205 pound frame that doesn't look typical for a first round outfielder. The question with Ervin is if he's quick enough to play center field in the big leagues as he's an above average to plus runner, but he's been bothered by an ankle injury most of the spring and it wasn't bad enough for him to miss time so it never healed. What ended up happening is Ervin spent most of the season running 75% and not being able to push off the rubber for the low 90's fastball he normally shows. Ervin also doesn't let it loose during BP, so it's takes longer to see his above average raw power in the short looks that high-end evaluators get. His swing can get a little uphill at times but his numbers have always been good and he has the plus arm and raw power to profile in right field, where most think he eventually ends up.
25. Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville
Draft Day Age: 20.85, R/R, 6'4/220, Pick Range: 17-38
The late-developing Minnesota-born righty grew into 6'4, 220 pound frame this spring just like Wisconsin-born teammate RF Adam Walker did in 2012 before going to the Twins in the third round last year. Anderson hit 96 mph with plus slider early in the spring and looked like top 10 pick until his stuff backed up after overuse on poor team (17-34 record) where he's the only real pro prospect. Anderson showed a potential 55 changeup and solid average command at his best, which is good enough in this draft to still likely land him in round one, especially with his strong finish to the season.