Draft Preview: Focusing In On Certain Players
The 2013 MLB draft begins exactly three weeks from today and the Pittsburgh Pirates pick twice early on, 9th and 14th overall. By now, we are hearing mock drafts almost daily, especially from some of the bigger names in the industry, so we are getting a slightly better idea of who the Pirates might pick. A lot has changed since the beginning of the season and three weeks in the draft business is still a long time. For the schedule this week, I’m changing from the usual style of all the best college names, to focusing in on just the players that seem to be mentioned the most around where the Pirates pick. The rest of the players are briefly mentioned at the bottom.
Check out some of the recent draft coverage from the last few days, including Baseball America’s first mock draft, Keith Law’s new mock draft, the recap of last week’s coverage and an article on the odds of the Pirates drafting a future major league hitter.
Stanford at California: Mark Appel is coming off his worst start, but even with that, he has put up strong numbers all year and will be off the board before the Pirates pick. Outfielder Austin Wilson could be a strong option with either pick. He went 1-for-4 on Tuesday night and he is hitting .333 in 23 games, with five homers and 23 RBI’s. He missed over a month with a muscle strain in his arm, but has hit well since his return. While he will be a corner outfielder in the pros, he is athletic enough to play center field regularly for Stanford.
North Carolina vs Virginia: Colin Moran and NC start their series tonight, playing three games this weekend against Virginia. He had an unusual game this mid-week against Appalachian State, going 0-for-3, with two strikeouts. He has made impressive contact all season long, showing a high average and occasional power. The third baseman has been linked to the Pirates numerous times.
Nevada at Fresno State: Braden Shipley will go in the top ten this draft unless he really struggles to close out the year. He hasn’t been mentioned linked to the Pirates, but he is always in that range. He will face another first round pick this weekend, outfielder Aaron Judge. An interesting match-up for both of them.
New Mexico at San Diego State: DJ Peterson has been moved up the charts recently and now has been linked to the Pirates. The righy/righty first baseman has put up big numbers in a hitter’s paradise this year, including 22 doubles and 16 homers. The series starts tonight and Peterson will have a strong test. He faces off against Michael Cederoth, who looks like a top five pick in next year’s draft. Plus it is a road series, so it will be interesting to see how he does away from home and against an elite pitcher.
Indiana State vs Bradley: Sean Manaea had top five talent written all over him early on, but an ankle injury, hip injury and loss in velocity has made him a wildcard. He may or may not start this weekend against Bradley. He is scheduled for tonight, but they may skip him this week to keep him fresh for the conference tournament next week. He is a strong possibility for the Pirates, unless his velocity loss recently is due to an arm injury.
Arkansas at Auburn: Ryne Stanek is another pitcher the Pirates could be looking at. He was rated with Appel and Manaea as the top pitchers in this draft, always mentioned top five until consistency problems hurt his rankings. Now he has possibly dropped to the Pirates range, though he won’t likely last far enough past the ninth pick, that they could take him in the 14th spot.
Mississippi State vs South Carolina: Hunter Renfroe could be a possibility with the 14th pick. A corner outfielder with a good bat and above average power. He’s a decent fielder, with a good arm and he has some speed. He is hitting .381 in 48 games, hitting 15 homers, while posting a 1.208 OPS. He had a rough game on Tuesday, going 0-for-4, with two strikeouts.
High School Names
Austin Meadows has been mentioned in the Pirates range recently, though he was always in the 1-6 range before his drop a couple weeks ago. He hasn’t put up the power numbers you would like to see from a player with his skill/size, but he is an athletic kid, who could possibly play center field and hit .300 with 20 homers, maybe more homers if he adds the power that seems to be hidden inside his big frame. His regular season has ended. He hit .535 with a 1.563 OPS, 14 doubles and four homers in 71 AB’s.
JP Crawford went 3-for-3, with three runs and three singles during a 23-0 trouncing in his team’s last game a week ago. He plays a doubleheader tonight. He is the best shortstop in this draft class, good enough to stick at the spot and strong enough with the bat and speed, to hit at the top of the order. Most have him going just below where the Pirates pick.
Dominic Smith has as much power as any hitter in this draft. The first baseman is a lefty bat and has been mentioned in the Pirates range all season. Smith is hitting .472 in 53 AB’s, with six homers and a 1.637 OPS. He has a doubleheader today. In his last game, he went 0-for-3, though he did score once and drive in a run.
Clint Frazier is unlikely to drop to the Pirates, though Keith Law does have him going between the Pirates two picks in his latest mock draft. The Georgia outfielder played a doubleheader Tuesday. He went 0-for-3 in one game, walking twice and scoring two runs. In the other, he went 1-for-3, with a solo homer and a walk. His regular season is over. He batted .485 in 114 plate appearances, with 17 homers and a 1.695 OPS.
Reese McGuire has been mentioned with the Pirates many times and according to Law, Neal Huntington has scouted him twice himself. McGuire hit .417 during the regular season, with 17 extra base hits. The athletic catcher has strong defense and a decent bat that should add power. His team is currently in the playoffs and their next game is Saturday.
Trey Ball, the 6’6″ LHP from Indiana has been linked to the Pirates more than anyone else in this class. If he goes to the Pirates it will be as a pitcher, though he is also an athletic outfielder, with a good bat. In his last game, he hit a three-run homer, then was intentionally walked the next time up. He is undefeated on the mound this year.
Kohl Stewart will go before the Pirates pick, the only HS player you can say that about for certain…as of right now. No one thought the Pirates would get a shot at Frazier or Meadows, so nothing is really definite. His last start three days ago didn’t help his cause, though he is still recognized as the best HS pitcher in the class. On Monday, he threw a complete game win, allowing just one run, but he walked six batters in his seven innings. It was the first earned run he has allowed all year and in his first seven starts, he had issued ten total walks. Stewart has given up 13 hits and struck out 59 in 40 innings.
The Rest of the College Schedule
Jonathan Gray pitches at Kansas this weekend. He will be off the boards before Pirates pick, very possibly first overall.
Kris Bryant hit his 30th homer of the season yesterday. His team is off this weekend. His is a guarantee to be off the board before the Pirates pick.
Marco Gonzales pitched yesterday on short rest because his team has the weekend off. He threw three no-hit innings, walking one and striking out three, throwing 39 pitches. He now looks like a late first round pick.
Jonathon Crawford and Florida will take on Georgia this weekend on the road. He will still likely go in the 20-25 range despite season-long struggles, though he hasn’t been linked to the Pirates for a while. Crawford starts tonight.
Bobby Wahl and Ryan Eades are currently ranked lower than the Pirates picks, but the Ole Miss(Wahl) and LSU starters are both still likely first round picks and they face off against each on Saturday night at LSU. It’s sure to be a game filled with scouts.
Chris Anderson from Jacksonville takes on East Tennessee State on the road. He has been rated as high as tenth overall, but has now settled in about 10-15 spots lower. Anderson hasn’t been strong in the second half of his college season.
Kevin Ziomek and Vanderbilt, take on Alabama at home this weekend. He hasn’t been mentioned in Pirates range recently, topping out around 15th overall a few weeks ago.
Phillip Ervin and Samford take on Davidson tonight in a doubleheader and tomorrow in a single game. He has been picked in mock drafts recently in the 20’s, but has been mentioned anywhere from 15-50.
Aaron Judge takes on Nevada. See above.
Eric Jagielo from Notre Dame is a recent name added to the watch list. He went 1-for-3 during a mid-week game, hitting a single and drawing a walk. He plays a decent third base, has good size and a polished bat. Not huge upside, but has a high floor. Should go mid-to-late first round.