With just nine days to go before the 2013 MLB Amateur draft begins, Baseball America has released their list of the top 500 draft prospects in this year’s class. This is the second time they have expanded their top prospect list recently, bringing it from 100, to 250 to it’s current point.
While they have expanded the list, the rankings for the two spots where the Pittsburgh Pirates pick have remained the same. Baseball America ranks Trey Ball at #9 and Dominic Smith in the #14 spot.
These aren’t the same as their mock drafts, where they first predicted that the Pirates would select North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran with the #9 pick, then take Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea with the next pick.
Manaea was due to drop in their next mock draft after left shoulder tightness caused him to miss his last start and his last chance to show scouts that the velocity dip he experienced the previous two weeks, wasn’t a concern. Manaea has also dealt with a hip injury and a sprained ankle this year.
In that second mock draft released four days ago, they then predicted the Pirates would take HS catcher Reese McGuire first, followed by Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe. McGuire has been linked to the Pirates all year, while Renfroe has usually been ranked a little lower, though he has made huge strides recently to move into the top 15 rankings.
If the Pirates were to make their picks according to the rankings, they would be taking a 6’6″ HS lefty in Ball, with a strong fastball, excellent change-up and a curve that has shown great improvement since he started throwing it just last year. He is also athletic enough to be selected within the top 100 picks(50-100 range) as an outfielder.
Smith is a power-hitting first baseman out of Serra HS in California. The lefty has a tremendous bat, with huge power potential. He can also play corner outfield and he has pitched this year.
The draft begins next Thursday night for the first two rounds, then continues the next day for rounds three through ten, so this top 500 list will be well referenced that second day as we start to hear some of the lesser known names called.