1) Houston Astros- Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
All the flirtation with Austin Meadows aside, Appel is hands down the most electric prospect in this draft. Selecting him to anchor their rotation for the next decade is exactly the kind of play that Houston needs to make here.
2) Chicago Cubs- Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Theo Epstein and Co. have quietly put together an impressive farm system in Chicago, but the one things it’s lacking is frontline pitching talent. Arodys Vizcaino and Pierce Johnson are nothing to sneeze at, but neither possesses Manaea’s stuff or ceiling.
3) Colorado Rockies- Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
Meadows is still the top high school talent and has done nothing wrong since our last mock, but he slips at the expense of both Appel and Manaea, who are off to phenomenal starts. The Rockies won’t complain, scooping him up at pick #3. The Rockies are the Majors best case study for successful franchise building with high schoolers (Nolan Arenado, David Dahl, Trevor Story, etc).
4) Minnesota Twins- Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
The Twins would love to have a chance at either Appel or Manaea, but if they keep showing up like they have been, neither will last past pick #3. There’s a pretty big gap between those two and all the other college pitchers, but Gray might be establishing himself as the next best thing. With a fastball that sits 94-98 and can touch 100 mph, plus a promising changeup/slider combo, he could wind up in the top ten come draft day.
5) Cleveland Indians- Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA)
Believe it or not, there are some out there who find Frazier to be a more impressive prospect than his cross-town rival, Meadows. Both players should go in the top ten, and Cleveland could be the ideal fit. The Indians haven’t had an outfielder with this much talent since Grady Sizemore was patrolling centerfield in the minors.
6) Miami Marlins- Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
After a series of trades, the Marlins are suddenly prospect rich. Don’t go thinking Zack Cox (acquired from St. Louis) is the third baseman of the future though. That position belongs to Bryant, the most seasoned, big-league ready bat in this class.
7) Boston Red Sox- Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
Who would have ever thought the Red Sox would be picking this high? While they have several talented candidates (Xander Bogaerts, Kolbrin Vitek, Garin Cecchini), Boston doesn’t have a first-division regular capable of manning the hot-corner before 2015. Moran would not only give them that, but he brings added versatility and could handle a move to first base or the outfield.
8) Kansas City Royals- Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt
The Royals are in win-now mode, as evidenced by the gaping hole atop their farm system that once was Wil Myers. They could go the HS route here, but count on them going after someone who can help them before the end of the 2014 seaosn. Ziomek has the polish, and more impressive stuff than you think, to get there.
9) Pittsburgh Pirates (comp for Mark Appel)- Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle HS (IN)
The Pirates haven’t had a good track record with the Midwest recently (see Stetson Allie, Bryan Bullington), but that likely won’t stop them from dipping into the well again to get Ball, the top lefty from the high school crop. He’s an incredible athlete who could probably be a high-round pick as a hitter, but his plus fastball has him ticketed for the mound.
10) Toronto Blue Jays- J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (CA)
After raiding their farm system this past offseason, it’s time for Toronto to start rebuilding their minor league depth. Crawford would be an excellent start. He offers exceptional all-around skills and is as safe a pick as any high schooler coming out in 2013.
11) New York Mets- Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (WA)
The top catcher in the 2012 crop, regardless of class, McGuire has a strong, athletic build and plenty of raw power. He’s also an above-average defender. The Mets should be so lucky.
12) Seattle Mariners- Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (FL)
Florida has produced some pretty talented shortstops over the past decade, and Mercado should be the next. He’s built very similar to Manny Machado, and like Machado he’s still growing. That might eventually necessitate a move to third base.
13) San Diego Padres- Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
Stanek hasn’t flashed the same stuff as he did in 2012, but he’s still plenty talented, regardless of the results. He’s got a plus fastball and a promising curveball/changeup combination.
14) Pittsburgh Pirates- Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (TX)
A fireballer in true Texas fashion, Stewart may be the hardest elite high schooler to sign, with a commitment to play football and baseball at Texas A&M. He won’t come cheap, but the Pirates have proven they have what it takes to convince guys like Stewart.
15) Arizona Diamondbacks- D.J. Peterson, 3B/1B, New Mexico
Say what you will about Peterson’s skill-set, but we know one thing: this kid can rake! He’s off to the best start of any college hitter in 2013, and if he keeps up he’ll find his way into the first round.
16) Philadelphia Phillies- Michael Lorenzen, OF, Cal State Fullerton
Lorenzen is a gamer, pure and simple, and he also possesses an incredible bat. His fielding, speed and raw power are all pluses. The Phillies need some young blood that is also capable of reaching the Majors sooner rather than later.
17) Milwaukee Brewers- Carlos Salazar, RHP, Kerman HS (CA)
Watch out for Salazar. His stuff is so electric, he could very easily find his way into the top ten come draft day. Possessing a mid-90s fastball, a potential plus changeup and excellent command, he’ll definitely not make it out of the top 20.
18) Chicago White Sox- Jonathan Denney, C, Yukon HS (OK)
Let’s face it, the White Sox farm system is just not very good. It’s hard to find anyone, aside from Courtney Hawkins, who doesn’t have a gaping hole in his game. Furthermore, there are about six or seven catching prospects in this draft class that would be an upgrade from what they have. After McGuire, Denney is the best, offering great raw power and a cannon arm.
19) Los Angeles Dodgers- Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist HS (MD)
McPhearson has as much pure speed as anyone in this draft class, and if recent history is any indication, it requires little beyond that to warrant a first-round selection. His bat has come along, but make no mistake, he’ll be drafted for his God given ability to run like the wind.
20) St. Louis Cardinals- Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS (MN)
The Cardinals rarely go the high school route in the first round, but when they do they usually make a great pick. Boldt has all the ability in the world, and resembles 2012 first-rounder David Dahl in many ways.
21) Detroit Tigers- Rob Kaminsky, RHP, St. Joseph’s Regional HS (NJ)
If Kaminsky were a few inches taller, he’d be in the running as the top high school arm. Instead, he’s a 6-foot-nothing, 190 pound fireballer. What he does have, besides a great heater, is a plus breaking ball that rivals anyone in the high school class.
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.
23) Baltimore Orioles- Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
Gonzales doesn’t get a lot of love, but he took a 19-4 record into his junior season in 2013. He’s smallish (6-1, 185) but much like Dylan Bundy, he doesn’t pitch like it. His fastball sits 89-93, but he controls the pitch like few in this class. He’s also got a potential plus changeup, something the O’s seem to be very keen.
24) Texas Rangers- Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
The Rangers develop pitching as well as anyone, and while Gonsalves has a few question marks, he’s got as much potential as any pitcher in this class. Blessed with great size and a blazing fastball, he could develop into a frontline starter down the road.
25) Oakland Athletics- Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tullahoma HS (TN)
Sheffield is another prospect who’s rocketing up the charts as of late. He’s had a couple of standout performances on the showcase circuit, and everyone has taken notice. He features a mid-90s fastball that has touched 98 mph and an incredibly promising curveball.
26) San Francisco Giants- Trevor Williams, RHP, Arizona State
The next up-and-coming staff ace from ASU is one Trevor Williams. Williams doesn’t have the best velocity, but he makes up for it with three potential above-average secondary pitches. Most impressive, he throws strikes consistently and works fast.
27) New York Yankees- Dan Slaina, RHP, Notre Dame
There’s no way around it, Mariano Rivera isn’t going to play forever. Slain could either make a perfect replacement, or be groomed as a starter and brought along slowly. Either way, he’s likely to make his big-league debut for someone before the end of the 2013 season.
28) Cincinnati Reds- Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State
With the Bulldogs expected to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, teams will get a long, good look at Renfroe and we expect them to like what they see. A similar player to FSU’s James Ramsey, Renfroe has great raw power, but he’s also a much better athlete and should be a much better defender.
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 (comp for B.J. Upton)- Rowdy Tellez, 1B/OF, Elk Grove HS (GA)
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 (comp for Josh Hamilton)- Kent Emanuel, LHP, North Carolina
If anyone could make a big-league starter out of Emanuel, a soft-tossing lefty, it would be Texas. Luckily, few are as efficient as Emanuel and it won’t be hard to stretch him out. He’s a inning-eater through and through.
32) New York Yankees (comp for Nick Swisher)- Edwin Diaz, SS, Martinez HS (PR)
Like Rivera, Jeter won’t last forever. Right now the Yankees lack a true heir to the throne at shortstop. Diaz has looked like the cream of the crop from Puerto Rico and could sneak his way into the first round.