2013 MLB Draft: Wild Cards & Sleepers
While we broke down our top 50 2013 MLB Draft prospects in detail today, The BB staff had some favorites and sleepers they wanted to mention.
Terrian “Trey” Arbet: I have a semi man crush on Arbet, I love the athleticism he brings to the middle of the field. I don’t think he gets enough pub nationally honestly. The swing gets a little long at times, but he offers up a nice all around profile.
<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/1244fCwWF3c” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Luke Lanphere: Lanphere may be the best right hander in So Cal that hardly anyone has heard of. Minor League Ball had a list of top California preps that went some 80 deep and he wasn’t on there. The full package he offers up, body, stuff, projectability etc is top notch, and from what I understand his make up is excellent too. I caught his last start of the regular season and he was working at 88-90 and touched up to 93. His four pitch mix includes a breaking ball that drops in as low as 66, buckling the knees of high school kids gearing up for the heat. He, like Bickford (and Morgan Earman) helped his stock pitching on one of the undercards at the CIF Championships and pitched well, working at 89-91 touching 93 and using all four of his pitches.
<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ctsOwdGh0cY” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Scotty Frazier: Frazier is a guy I’ve kept my eye on since high school since he pitched at my alma mater (Upland High School), we actually played for the same coach, who has been there more than 25 years. I don’t think anyone has concerns about the stuff, he regularly runs the fastball up around 95/96 and Antonio Alfonseca can count the amount of extra base hits Frazier has allowed this year so far on one hand (6). The main concern with Frazier is the command, if a team can get this figured out, they could find a draft day steal.
<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/7hapLWxBI3o” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Chris Rivera: Like some of the two way guys mentioned in the top fifty, we will need to listen to see what position is mentioned when we hear Chris Rivera’s name mentioned on draft day. He’s a slick defender at short stop with plus arm strength, and many have speculated a move to catcher could be seen down the road (I saw a few innings behind the plate in winter ball). I also like Rivera on the mound where he has a smooth delivery that runs the fastball into the low nineties and a nice breaking ball that he throws with confidence.
<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/in9rXKQI1jo” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/Ji5oc6we_SM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Akeem Bostick: Bostick is an intrigue guy, more than a personal cheeseball. I haven’t seen him live at all, but I’ve had some video come my way and Bostick is definitely a guy to keep an eye on. He’s a football player too, committed to Georgia Southern as a 6’6” wide out, he’s drawn some comps to Taijuan Walker who played baseball and basketball in high school. Based on the video I’ve seen, Bostick has a more advanced breaking ball than Walker at the same level. Walker was more physically developed with a thicker lower half.
Connor Jones: The prep RHP is off our board because of his Josh Bell-esque announcement that his Virginia commit is unbreakable. And while there’s no reason to doubt him, Jones is one of the most intriguing arms in the draft and a personal favorite. Much is made of the bent-knee, slightly hunched delivery he sports, a product of his National Pitching Association throwing program, and an approach which dovetails perfectly with his decision to put himself in the capable hands of UVA pitching coach Karl Kuhn. Jones’ performance last summer at PGAAC and UA was superlative, as he attacked hitters with a college caliber arsenal of sinking FB, tight slurve, and solid change. Rapid velocity gains of up to 10-mph since his sophomore year garnered attention, but it’s the plus sink, at a consistent 91-93, that holds it. He’s a cerebral guy, whose attention to nutrition and conditioning evokes Dylan Bundy and occasional vulcan pronouncement (thanks to his interest in kinesiology) conjures Bauer. See you in 2016.
Andy McGuire: SS with a bat I think should be mentioned right behind the best in the class, like Dom Smith, Denney, Frazier, Meadows, and McKinney, and maybe with them. It’s a strong right-handed swing, direct to the ball, that generates excellent backspin when he barrels one. It’s a stretch to see him as a SS, but he’s not bad there, and his above average footwork, arm and hands should make the transition to 3B an easy one. He’s hit well this spring and has been the rare reason to monitor high school stolen bases as he’s racked them up, lending optimism that he’s fully recovered from both the hip condition he had to grind through last year and the surgery it took to repair it. There’s a possibility that he could feature 60 grades on the hit and power at maturity while playing an above average 3B, so the fact that pundits like Baseball America and Keith Law are reporting 4th to 6th round projections is confounding, a sentiment which Law has echoed. Looked to as a leader by his peers, I think he’s a potentially special player, but that draft position practically ensures he ends up honoring his Texas commit.
Casey Shane: This RHP strolled onto my radar at PGAAC and I’ve been a fan since. Shane has one of my favorite deliveries. There’s some twitchiness as he gathers himself, and then he draws up his left knee and swings himself right through a great balance point into a nice long stride as his arm comes through at a clean ¾, and quickly. It’s a loose arm, and a fresh one, and there’s a little projection left that could help him settle in at 92-94 with the two-seamer, a potential bat breaker with sink and tail. The 4-seamer is another potential plus, as it’s got a nice little hop at the end. If he can command that to the top of the strike zone it’ll be a swing and miss offering. The slider has pretty good cutting action, but it’s his fourth pitch right now, as the change is a nice fader that he sells amazingly well for his experience level. Could be an above average pitch if he maxes it out. I don’t hear Shane’s name with any consistency, despite excellent performance this spring. Baseball America has reported him as coming into the year with some extra weight and fluctuating velocity, but those are the norm for prep arms, and like McGuire it would be odd to overlook his track record and selling points to the degree that he drops past the second round.
Two intriguing arms first came into my view this spring via Steve’s video: Top of draft stud Jonathan Gray, and power-armed prep righty Carlos Salazar, apt, because Salazar has the same raw ability to be where Gray is in another three years. The build is reminiscent of Jose Fernandez’, with thick legs and a broad core and chest, and it’s no surprise that he can bring it in the mid-90s routinely, touching 98, though the hop in his delivery is bound to get him a reliever tag from many. Admittedly, the delivery isn’t ideal, but it’s not a trainwreck. Nothing is uncorrectable and he’s not doing anything to hurt himself except throw a baseball. What piqued my interest in Steve’s video though, was the curve, which was a tight, downer pitch that made hitters righteously uncomfortable by the looks of it. Add in a change that gets generally favorable reviews and we’re looking at a guy with potential for three pitches and an innings eater build. Yes, there’s a chance that he’s just Felipe Paulino redux, but that’s a profile I’ll roll the dice on every time.
I’m torn as to picking a fifth guy, as there are several intriguing names I could choose from, such as Travis Demerritte, Brian Navaretto, Cavan Biggio or Chrises Okay and Oakley. The best draft commodity of the bunch has to be Oscar Mercado, a person of interest if for nothing else than his excellent play at short. Mercado has slid this draft due to a so-so year with the bat and the lingering perception that he’s lacked energy, to the point that that Florida State commit is looking more and more likely to be honored. Mercado has hit in the past, and I’m a believer in the contact ability. He’s added muscle more quickly than I expected, while preserving his wiry build, though it hasn’t accounted for any additional power this year, and may never produce more than gap power. Still, you’re getting as close to a surefire shortstop as there is on offer here, who shouldn’t get the bat knocked out of his hands. That’s worth buying out of college.
Jacoby Jones: The LSU infielder/outfielder has impact potential. His raw tools scream at you. Runs. Throws. Hits for tremendous power in batting practice. Saw him make gold glove plays to his left and right on consecutive plays. The bat is a project… but this is the kind of project I’ll always sign up for.
Nick Zammarelli: I would be remiss not to mention a Rhode Island kid whose stock has been on the rise all Spring. I saw Zammarelli last year and I wasn’t wowed. He transformed his body over the Winter and the tools are now pretty loud. I came away very impressed with the leverage and pop in his swing.
Carlos Asauje: The D-2 shortstop really impressed me on the Cape. Yarmouth-Dennis shifted him all over the place and he played hard and showed a knack for hitting where ever they used him.
Tom Milone: Another local product I need to get a pump in there for. Milone is a great athlete for a Northeast prep kid. The area scouts all loved him. He makes some very loud contact and plays the game hard.
L.J. Mazzilli: The UConn 2B made some strides this year… again. Short, simple swing with bat speed and surprising power for his size. I’m higher on the glove than others. Mazzilli is a ballplayer and I like him even better as a Senior sign than I did last year.