Saturday, May 25, 2013

2013 MLB Draft Primer Notes

There is no doubt that the MLB annual draft of amateur talent is not as sexy as the NFL or NBA versions, which are full of college players all ready well known to much of the sporting public. But with the advent of live televised coverage of the first two rounds of the baseball draft on the MLB Network the last few years it is easier to follow along.  June 6 is this year's draft opening night.

And for we Red Sox fans this year's draft is the "reward" for the terrible finish to the 2012 season.  The Red Sox will pick at #7, which is the first time they have picked this high in 20 years.  At that time the Red Sox took high school outfielder Trot Nixon.  Only one other time in the entire history of this draft, which dates back to the 1960's have the Sox drafted higher than 7, a #3 which was pitcher Mike Garman.  And since the Red Sox front office and the fans hope to not draft this high again for a long, long time it behooves the Sox cash in on this year's #7.  Later on we will discuss some of the names most associated with the Sox number 7 pick so far.

This is the order of the top ten picks in 2013:

1. Astros

2. Cubs

3. Rockies

4. Twins

5. Indians

6. Marlins

7. Red Sox

8. Royals

9. Pirates

10. Blue Jays

Based on the consensus of a number of different rankings and mock drafts, here is a list of the expected top baker's dozen players to be considered in the top ten picks.  Not necessarily in order, but instead in three groupings of players:

" The Top Three"

1. Mark Appel     RHP   Stanford Univ.
2. Jonathan Gray  RHP   U of Oklahoma
3. Kris Bryant         3B     U San Diego

Next Five College Players

1. Colin Moran       3B      UNC
2. Sean Manaea*   LHP    Indiana State
3. Ryne Stanek      RHP   Arkansas
4. Braden Shipley  RHP   Nevada
5. DJ Peterson      3B/1B   New Mexico

Top Five High School Players

1. Kohl Stewart     RHP     Houston, TX
2. Clint Frazier        OF      Loganville, GA
3. Austin Meadows  OF     Loganville, GA
4. Trey Ball            LHP     Indiana
5. Reese McGuire     C       Washington

There have been another name or three mentioned near the end of the top ten, but this is the consensus top dozen.  The reason there are thirteen names in our top dozen is the same reason there is an asterisk by the name Sean Manaea.  He is a hard throwing lefty who absolutely dazzled the Cape Cod League last summer. He left there in the running to be the overall top pick in this draft.  But his junior season at Indiana State had not matched the Cape results, and then came whispers of  hip soreness.  Then as the scouts flocked to his start last week, he was scratched with "left shoulder soreness".  At this point, unless he can pitch again before the draft he may plunge down the draft, maybe out of the first round.

As far as the top three, nearly everyone expects Appel and Gray (or Gray and Appel) to be the first two picks, with the Cubs gladly taking whoever Houston does not.  Despite the long standing need for pitching in Colorado, Bryant is such an outstanding power hitter that the Rockies will take him. There is only one seemingly plausible scenario that could upset this apple cart.  There are more and more rumors that Houston may try to cut a deal ( technically illegal, but still done) with someone other than the top 3 to save some slot money for later in the draft.  UNC 3B Colin Moran is the most oft mentioned candidate.

But as we try to narrow down on the Red Sox options we will assume the top three are out of their reach.  But rest assured if any of these three make it to #7 by some fluke, the Red Sox will say thank you very much and grab them.  In addition to the Top 3, there are two other names on the list who generally are considered lower than #7 picks, unless a team looking to cut a below slot deal takes them earlier than expected. The two are Reese McGuire and DJ Peterson.  The Sox are not expected to be the team to cut that type of deal with them.  And assuming the Red Sox do not risk their high pick on the injured Manaea ( which is a low probability, but not entirely out of the question, I think), that leaves us with seven names for the Sox to consider.

Colin Moran
Ryne Stanek
Braden Shipley
Kohl Stewart
Clint Frazier
Austin Meadows
Trey Ball

There have been two schools of thought floated by the draft gurus about Boston.  One is they want a college pitcher, almost no matter what, because high school picks are riskier and a college pitcher taken this high could be big league ready in two years or so.  The other school of thought is this once in a  generation ( hopefully) high pick must be cashed in on the highest ceiling prospect no matter of risk.  Kind of an all in attitude. I personally subscribe to this approach.

Our list of seven includes only two college pitchers, and in his latest mock draft, Keith Law of ESPN has Boston taking Ryne Stanek.  Without the injury, Stanek has followed a similar path to Manaea.  He was considered in the top four picks, but a so-so junior season has raised some questions.  The scouts say he has overpowering stuff, but has command issues and some mechanics that need some refinement as well.   One report I read recently said he may have a bullpen future (although most say a #2 or #3 starter is his ceiling) and the scout compared him to Daniel Bard.

Braden Shipley is intriguing due to the "freshness" of his arm.  He was a shortstop until last year when he began to pitch as a sophomore in college. He is described a extremely athletic and throws around 96.

As far as the high schoolers, Kohl Stewart is a Texas schoolboy pitcher/quarterback who has a full ride to Texas A&M as a QB.  Most scouts feel despite the high regard for Appel and Gray, that Stewart is actually the best pitcher in the draft.  Jim Callis of Baseball America, for one says Stewart is the guy most coveted by Boston. ( But he mock drafts them as taking Frazier- Stewart to the Twins)

The two high outfielders ( and yes there are both from the same town in Georgia, but different high schools) Frazier and Meadows have both been considered top 5 type prospects.  Frazier in particular is considered to have off the chart bat speed.  Meadows has stumbled a bit in his senior year, and at this point Frazier is considered the better of the two.  Frazier is another name rumored to be on Houston's radar as a possible below slot signing at #1.

Trey Ball started his senior year with the scouts split 50/50 if he should be drafted as a power hitting outfielder or power pitcher.  His fastball has risen to around 93 this season and almost all now see Ball as a pitcher.  A Henry Owens who throws harder as one scout called him.

So if the top three go as expected, which other three will be off the board for Boston?  Let's check some speculation.

4. Twins.  Two rumored paths here most often.  One is the Twins will cut a below slot deal with Reese McGuire.  The other is the player the Twins really, really want here is Kohl Stewart.  The McGuire deal would be a boon to Boston, as most people feel if Stewart does not go here he will make it to 7. I am not sure the Twins will want to overpay to get Stewart.

5. Indians-  Two names also mentioned here Colin Moran and Braden Shipley.  The fact that Manaea and Stanek have slipped hurts the Red Sox because those two could have been the 4/5 picks pushing the entire list of 7( except Stanek) names down to Boston's pick.  I think Cleveland would be desperate for pitching, but Moran is the name heard most often.

6. Marlins. This could be a big break for Boston as almost all expect the Marlins to cut a deal with some one down the board, likely DJ Peterson, or even someone further down the board.  Shipley is mentioned here some, but I bet the Marlins cheap it out here

So at this point 12 days before the draft, I think the Sox are leaning towards Clint Frazier and it looks like he could be available.  If Kohl Stewart makes it to them, I think it would be a close, close decision between those two high schoolers.  Worse case the Twins take Stewart, the Tribe plucks Moran, and Marlins man up and take Frazier, I think the Sox would lean to Braden Shipley.

This has gone on longer than the first round may take, but any other names or changes that bubble up between now and June 6 we will discuss it here.


  1. I for one am excited to see who they get at #7. Whoever it is will probably be under more scrutiny then any other first round pick since Nomar. The Red Sox have had good luck under the old system of picking up top ten talent that other teams couldn't sign. Let's see if they can pick the right player now that they are in the top 10 themselves (and let's also hope that they're not in the top 10 for another 20 years!).

  2. With one week to go now before the draft here is an updated view on much of chatter about the first seven picks. Much of the speculation has the first five picks ( maybe even the first six) being pretty settled. They are:

    1. Astros Jonathan Gray or Mark Appel ( likely Gray)

    2. Cubs- Astros leftovers Appel or Gray

    3. Rockies- Kris Bryant, almost no one else mentioned at all

    4. Twins- Kohl Stewart, still some Reese McGuire talk, but Stewart here seems like the pick

    5. Indians- Colin Moran, unless someone expected to go ahead of him falls he is the guy Cleveland wants

    6. Marlins- Braden Shipley, there is less chatter about the Marlins picking someone down the board to save $$

    About 80% of the recent mock drafts have the Red Sox taking Clint Frazier who would be available in the above scenario. With this front six it would seem the Sox choose between Frazier, Austin Meadows, Trey Ball, and Ryne Stanek. Today Keith Law of ESPN came out with his latest mock draft and he had the Red Sox taking Austin Meadows the "other" high school outfielder from Loganville, GA. According to Law, he had heard that the Sox had Meadows, Frazier, and others in for a recent workout and Meadows performed much better than Frazier. At this point in time I do believe the Sox may come down to Meadows/Frazier.

    As mentioned in my original post, the only crack in the solid top three picks was the idea that Houston may take someone rated lower to save cash to spend in the next few rounds.( Because the draft has a set of amount of money for teams to spend depending on the picks they have). The whispers I referred to that it could be Colin Moran, UNC third baseman ( and also on his resume, he is the nephew of BJ Shuroff) have turned into shouts. Keith Law in his mock I mentioned above has Houston taking Moran first. He then has Appel, Bryant, Stewart. Gray, and Shipley going before Boston. BUT in a chat today Law opines that if Houston does not take Appel, the Cubs could very well take Gray instead and the Rockies would stick with Bryant. Law then suggests no one from 4 to 6 would want to deal with Scott Boras and Appel and he could fall to #7 and Boston. And Boston would definitely not let Appel fall any further.

    This is not the likeliest outcome, but do not forget that everyone and his brother thought Mark Appel was a lock at number one last year, until the moment Houston went to the podium and selected shortstop Carlos Correia. Then Appel for a variety of reasons fell to number 8. In a recent article one NL cross checker said the only college pitcher that he had seen who was more polished than Appel was Steven Strasburg. Sox fans can only hope Appel falls again this year.

    Law also mentions that Boston would pounce on either Bryant or Moran if they should fall. With a week to go I still think they go for Clint Frazier.

  3. As we sit here on Draft Day Eve this is the most agreed upon expected order of the first six picks:

    1. Astros- Jonathan Gray

    2. Cubs - Mark Appel

    3. Rockies- Kris Bryant

    4. Twins- Kohl Stewart

    5. Indians- Colin Moran

    6.Marlins- Braden Shipley

    This would leave the Red Sox with a choice of four names from our original presumed names: high schoolers Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows, Trey Ball, and college pitcher Ryne Stanek.

    Of course, since this is the expected outcome, it likely will not happen in just this order. The most likely candidates to blow up this top of the draft order are Houston, Minnesota, Miami, and to a lesser degree, Cleveland. Here's a look at where the top seven teams "may" stand.

    1. Houston- A large majority still feel it is a toss up between Gray and Appel with Gray a whisker ahead. There is still a contingent ( led by Keith Law of ESPN) that feel the Astros will cut a below slot deal with UNC 3B Colin Moran, which would push down at least one of the big three to fourth.

    2. Cubs- There is almost no way( maybe a less than 5% chance on Kris Bryant) the Cubbies do not take Gray/Appel

    3. Rockies- They seem to be locked on Bryant- they might be tempted by Gray/Appel if one is there

    4. Twins- It looks more and more like Kohl Stewart here unless they go for Reese McGuire in a below slot deal

    5. Indians- Moran seems to be their man as the Indians usually lean to college picks in the first. Shipley might be Plan B. Frazier's name also gets mentioned which could directly affect Boston.

    6. Miami- There has been much less talk about the Fish reaching down the board to go cheap--Shipley is the top target with Austin Meadows also mentioned often, which at least leads to outside possibility that Frazier and Meadows are both gone before #7.

    7. Boston- Stewart, Frazier, and Meadows seem to be their big three, in that order I believe. If these three should go 4, 5, 6 after the presumed big three, the Sox could choose from Moran, Shipley, Stanek, and likely Trey Ball.

    Two similar scenarios that allow Boston to draft Mark Appel:

    Houston takes Moran, as oft rumored
    Cubs stick with pitching and take Gray
    Rockies locked in on Bryant
    Twins stick with Stewart who they like better than Appel ( plus $$ considerations)
    Indians losing out on Moran ( and Bryant) take their Plan B to Moran: Shipley ( $$ again, too)
    Marlins wanting no part of Boras/Appel take Meadows
    Leaving the Boston to take Mark Appel ( of course in this order, Frazier is also still available)

    Another track is Houston grabs Clint Frazier ( this has been mentioned in some circles)
    picks 2 thru 4 the same as above Gray, Bryant, Stewart
    Indians grab Meadows with Frazier gone and the Marlins go for Shipley or down the board maybe DJ Peterson.
    Again leaving Appel for Boston.

    Improbable, yes but Appel expected to go at the top of last year's draft was picked eighth. The chance of a similar fall happening with Gray or Bryant is non existent in my opinion. Neither would get by Cleveland for example, and I do not think Bryant goes below the Rockies.

    So if the top 8 are, in some order, Gray, Appel, Bryant, Stewart, Moran, Shipley, Frazier, and Meadows the Red Sox will have a choice of at least the bottom two on this list if not 3 or 4 of these names. We will find out tomorrow night.

  4. With a hour or so to go, I am still going with Clint Frazier, if he is gone, and the Tribe may also be interested in him, the board is wide open including Dominic Smith a sweet hitting HS first sacker from California, or Colin Moran if he falls

  5. Twins take Kohl Stewart after the big three go off the board. The Sox will have a shot of at least one of Frazier, Meadows, Moran, Shipley

  6. Down goes Frazier....the Tribe take Clint Frazier at five, along with Kohl Stewart at 4 that removes the two top Boston targets. If the Marlins take Austin Meadows the Sox are looking at a mix of Shipley, Moran, or maybe Dominic Smith. If Meadows does not go to Miami I think the Sox grab him.

  7. After Miami takes Moran, the Red Sox select Trey Ball, one of the names on our list. But even though the Sox seem to like him I am surprised they passed on Austin Meadows, Braden Shipley, or even Ryne Stanek. Ball has been described as a Henry Owens type with a bigger fastball. We will see

  8. Austin Meadows was still available when they picked Ball. Ball is the most talented to way player in the draft as a LHP and as an OF. According to MLB network Ball is compared to Shawn Green as an OF, but probably going to be a pitcher. He's a 6'6" lefty who throws 93 with a good breaking ball.

    1. The Sox have a history of drafting two way players. Casey Kelly most recently and Frankie Rodriquez a ways back. Interesting to see what their plan will be with Trey Ball.