1) Houston Astros- Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
The Astros passed on the top overall talent in last year’s draft (Byron Buxton), who also happened to be a prep outfielder from Georgia, in favor of the safer, cheaper Carlos Correa. There’s no reason not to spend big on Meadows this year.
2) Chicago Cubs- Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Manaea had a great showing in the Cape Cod League, and with an impressive campaign for ISU in 2013, he could jump to the head of the college class, leapfrogging the more heralded Mark Appel and Ryne Stanek.
3) Colorado Rockies- Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
The Rockies hit a home run with last year’s pick, David Dahl. Competing in the NL West, however, requires pitching depth. Colorado is slowly building a solid young rotation, and Stanek would be an excellent addition.
4) Minnesota Twins- Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
The Twins would love to have a shot at Manaea, but unless he has a terrible junior season, there’s no way he’ll fall to them at number four. Bryant would fill a need and is a solid value at this pick.
5) Cleveland Indians- Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA)
The Indians have some solid outfield pieces, but there isn’t a true superstar player close to making an impact in the big-leagues. Frazier could be that, even if he takes four or five years to reach Cleveland.
6) Miami Marlins- Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Often drawing comparisons to Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, Wilson could be a strong pick for a team that is so bereft of talent they’ll likely be picking higher than sixth in 2014. Stanford players haven’t been known for having strong draft-year campaigns recently, so if he doesn’t perform, look for Wilson to drop fast.
7) Boston Red Sox- Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
The Red Sox have never been shy about making a splash in the draft, and while new GM Ben Cherington appears to be less trigger-happy, the Sox have the cash to take a swing at Appel with their first pick. The real question is what kind of season will Appel put forth in 2013 after the disappointment of last year’s draft tumble and getting shelled by FSU in the College World Series.
8) Kansas City Royals- Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle HS (IN)
Think of the meteoric rise of two-way star Courtney Hawkins last year. Ball could be in for a similar ride. He’s better on the mound than Hawkins was, so he’ll likely end up there, featuring a great fastball and a frame (6’6” 175 lbs) conducive to more growth. With a commitment to Texas, however, he won’t come cheap.
9) Pittsburgh Pirates (compensation for Mark Appel)- Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph’s Regional HS (NJ)
He doesn’t have the best size (6’0” 190 lbs), but Kaminsky may have the best breaking ball of any pitcher from the high school ranks. His fastball also gets up there (94 mph) and he’s an incredible athlete. He’ll also come a lot cheaper than last year’s pick, Mark Appel, would have.
10) Toronto Blue Jays- Colin Moran, 3B/1B, North Carolina
If the Blue Jays appear to be in win-now mode, that’s because they are. Even after their prospect exodus, they still have a top-15 farm system. It would be boosted greatly by Moran, who had added versatility and arguably the top college bat.
11) New York Mets- Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)
The top catcher in the 2012 class, McGuire has a strong, athletic build. He’s an above-average defender and has great raw power.
12) Seattle Mariners- Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (FL)
Florida has been quite the hotbed for high school talent, with Mercado being the top talent from the Sunshine State in 2013. He’s built like Manny Machado and still growing, which might necessitate a move to third someday, but his bat will play there.
13) San Diego Padres- J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (CA)
Crawford may not have Mercado’s upside, but he’s a darn good prospect. Great all-around skills.
14) Pittsburgh Pirates- Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (TX)
Stewart has an electric arm capable of producing mid-90s heat. He’s also committed to Texas A&M to fight for the right to backup Johnny “Football” Manziel, so he won’t come cheap.
15) Arizona Diamondbacks- Bobby Wahl, RHP, Mississippi
Wahl has the size and the stuff. All he needs is a strong season in the best conference in the country and he could find his way into the upper half of the first round.
16) Philadelphia Phillies- Jonathan Denney, C, Yukon HS (OK)
Philly’s Director of Player Development Joe Jordan has a soft spot for the Dust Bowl region, and Denney is gaining a lot of momentum heading into 2013. He’s built a little like Bryce Harper and should have the same strengths (power, arm) and weaknesses (might have to move from behind the plate).
17) Milwaukee Brewers- Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS (MN)
Boldt’s one weakness is hitting for power. Aside from that, however, he does everything incredibly well. Great speed, great defensive ability, and great arm strength.
18) Chicago White Sox- Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist HS (MD)
It’s still early in the draft season, but Maryland prepster Matt McPhearson might have the best speed of any player from any level. His bat has made great strides in the past year as well.
19) Los Angeles Dodgers- Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
Gonsalves has the size to draw comps to a lefty Lucas Giolito. Once he fills out his massive frame, he should sit comfortably in the mid 90s, complementing his heater with an improving curveball.
20) St. Louis Cardinals- Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida
Crawford isn’t a sexy pick, but since when do the Cards care about sexy? The Gators ace, who tossed a no-hitter in last year’s NCAA tournament, is at worst, a back-end starter.
21) Detroit Tigers- Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt
Ziomek is another guy who could be in for a huge year. He’s lefty, has a great pedigree, and has great stuff. Now he just needs to build consistency and blow away SEC hitters to earn a spot in the first round.
22) Tampa Bay Rays- William Abreu, OF, Mater Academy (FL)
Abreu hails from Albert Almora’s alma-mater, and could end up going in the top-ten like his former teammate. He has similar skills, but there are more questions about his bat than there were about Almora’s. Athletically, he’s a stud.
23) Baltimore Orioles- Dominic Smith, 1B/OF, Serra HS (CA)
Smith is built like Astros’ prospect Jonathan Singleton, and his skillset appears similar. The O’s have long lacked a presence at first base and if he reaches his ceiling, he might even force Nick Markakis from right-field.
24) Texas Rangers- Cavan Biggio, 3B/1B, St. Thomas HS (TX)
The son of shoulda-been-Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio, Cavan makes contact just like his dad. He doesn’t have too much power, but could develop into a 10-15 homer guy at the pro level.
25) Oakland Athletics- D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B, New Mexico
Few players had as impressive a campaign (.419, 17 HR, 84 RBI) as Peterson in 2012, and if he puts together another strong year, he could find his way into the first round as one of the safer picks available.
26) San Francisco Giants- Ian Clarkin, LHP, Madison HS (CA)
Clarkin should challenge Gonsalves as the top high school southpaw. His fastball is a tick below, but his curveball currently rates better.
27) New York Yankees- Karsten Whitson, RHP, Florida
Whitson hasn’t looked worthy of his top-ten stature from a few years ago, but reports out of Gators camp is that he’s looking every bit like the ace the Gators hoped they were getting back in 2009. He has the size and the stuff, all he’s lacking is the productivity.
28) Cincinnati Reds- Justin Williams, OF, Terrabonne HS (LA)
Williams will have to fight reports that he’s just a one-trick pony (power hitter), but his power is out of this world. He’s got great arm strength, and should settle nicely into a corner OF spot.
29) Washington Nationals- A.J. Puk, LHP, Washington HS (IA)
With a strong season, Puk could work his way into the upper half of the first round. He has the size (6’6”, 205) and the easy delivery that will have scouts drooling.
30) Tampa Bay Rays (compensation for B.J. Upton)- Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Elk Grove HS (CA)
The Rays have stock-piled high school power hitters the past few years, and Tellez is arguably one of this year’s best. He’s already drawn comps to David Ortiz and Ryan Howard.
31) Texas Rangers (compensation for Josh Hamilton)- Adam Plutko, RHP, UCLA
Plutko opened some eyes in 2012, emerging from the shadows of Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole and establishing himself as UCLA’s workhorse ace. The Rangers value the ability to go deep into games.
32) New York Yankees (compensation for Nick Swisher)- Edwin Diaz, SS, Martinez HS (PR)
Derek Jeter can’t play forever, and right now the Yankees lack a true heir to the shortstop position. Diaz has looked like the cream of the crop from Puerto Rico and could wiggle his way into the first round.