Saturday, January 26, 2013

Names to Know for the 2013 Draft v. 5.0

To understand this article, simply look at the four previous versions in the series.  Each version contains player profiles of top draft prospects for the 2013 MLB draft.  Refer to each version below.

Version 1.0
Version 2.0
Version 3.0
Version 4.0

Mark Appel 

Measurables: 6'4, 195 lbs
Bats: R, Throws: R
DOB: 07/15/1991
Position: P
School: Stanford (Senior)

Pirates fans know all about Appel.  The pitcher from Stanford went from expected first overall pick by Houston to eight overall pick by Pittsburgh.  Appel chose not to sign with the Pirates, despite their offer of over a million dollars more than slot money.  Instead, he'll return to Stanford for his senior season and again should be a top 10 pick in 2013.  In fact, ESPN,, and Baseball America all have Appel as the best player on the 2013 draft board.

Appel's best pitch is his fastball.  The heater is a borderline plus-plus pitch. It can reach the high 90's and features decent movement.  Appel compliments his fastball with a slider and changeup.  The slider is a plus pitch, although it's a bit inconsistent.  The changeup flashes plus at times.  Another attractive attribute Appel possesses is his clean mechanics and athletic build. One issue is that Appel gets hit harder than his stuff would suggest at times.  Ultimately, Stanford's ace this coming spring has the potential to be also be an ace in the major leagues one day.

Jonathon Crawford

Measurables: 6'1, 205 lbs
Bats: R, Throws: R
DOB: 11/1/1991
Position: P
School: Florida (Junior)

Last year a Florida pitcher - southpaw Brian Jonhson - went in the first round of the MLB draft. This year, Johnson's teammate Jonathon Crawford, should follow in Johnson's footsteps and hear his name called in the first round come June.  In fact, Crawford could go in the first half of the top round as he's one of the better college pitchers in the 2013 draft class.

Crawford's arsenal includes a fastball and slider.  The heater sits in the mid 90's and can touch even higher.  The slider is often a plus pitch, although it can be a tad inconsistent.  To excel as a starter in the long run, Crawford will need to add a changeup and refine his pitchability.  Currently he throws very hard - a good thing - but he'll need to learn to change speeds to be most effective.  Generally, Crawford's possesses clean mechanics, but the delivery has a bit of a funk.  In the long run, Crawford has the ability to be a frontline starter, but he'll need to polish his ability to pitch to reach that potential.

Reese McGuire

Measurables: 6'1, 190 lbs
Bats: L, Throws: R
DOB: 3/2/1995
Position: C/3B
School: Kentwood High School (Washington)
Commitment: San Diego

As it stands currently, Reese McGuire is considered the top prep catcher available in the draft. That's especially impressive considering the depth of prep catchers in this year's draft class. Committed to San Diego, it's unlikely he'll ever make it to campus since he has a strong chance to be drafted in the first half of the first round come June.

McGuire is a strong, left-handed batter with a chance to have plus power in the future.  That's especially true if he fills out his frame. If he does that, McGuire might struggle to stick behind the plate.  If that happens, third-base is a legitimate option as McGuire has decent athleticism and a cannon for an arm.  Currently, that arm makes McGuire a very good catch-and-throw backstop.  Ultimately, if everything breaks right for McGuire, he could be a good two-way catcher at the major league level one day.

Justin Williams

Measurables: 6'3, 215 lbs
Bats: L, Throws: R
DOB: 8/20/1995
Position: OF/3B
School: Terrebonne High School (Louisana)
Commitment: LSU

The first that stands out about prep draft prospect Justin Williams is his size.  He's already a big boy at 6'3, 215 pounds.  As expected, that size gives Williams mammoth raw power, and he's already working on translating that raw power to game-usable power.  Currently, fully translating it from the cage into game situations is the biggest concern holding Williams back.  In addition, Williams will have to avoid strike out issues when he turns pro.

Defensively, Williams has a chance to stick at third-base.  Currently he's raw with the glove at the hot corner and odds are he'll have to move to a corner outfield spot down the road.  There, his arm could be an asset.  Overall, Williams, who's committed to LSU, offers a high ceiling thanks to his power potential.  A team that buys into that power and William's ability to translate that power into game situations could draft him in the first round, and closer to the top of the round than the bottom.