Prospects2Pros has just started its Major League Baseball mock draft, and so far, there have been some surprises and some obvious selections. Part two will go from picks 14-26, from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Yankees. Here we go.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates: Trey Ball, Pitcher/Outfielder, New Castle High School, Indiana
The 2013 high school draft class may be one of the more intriguing classes in recent memory. With Austin Meadows, JP Crawford, and Clint Frazier all off the board, the Pirates may finally decide to go after their first high schooler since Jameson Taillon. Ball is a two way player. As a pitcher, he has a good array of developing pitches, like a changeup, slurve, and curve, along with a low 90’s fastball, but he also plays the outfield. He has the potential to be a five tool player as an outfielder, with great hitting skills, solid power, decent speed, and excellent defensive capability. What he lacks is a definite position. If the Pirates do end up drafting the Indiana native, they could put him in the same outfield as Andrew McCutchen, and former high school star Josh Bell, but as a pitcher, he could find himself in the same rotation as Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. It will be interesting to see where he goes come the draft.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: Kohl Stewart, Pitcher/Third baseman/Outfielder, St. Pius X High School, Texas
Like Trey Ball, Kohl Stewart is still looking for a natural position, but unlike Ball, Stewart seems to be heading towards a set position early. Because he has the ability to throw a mid 90’s fastball, it seems that he will likely be a pitcher in the future. While Arizona’s farm system is rife with top pitchers, a guy like Stewart might be hard to pass up. The Texas A&M commit is also a football star, though, and like 2011 first round pick Archie Bradley, might ask for a big deal in order for him to go pro. The only other knock on Stewart is that he is a Type 1 Diabetic, like former first round pick Dylan Covey. If Stewart is handled carefully though, there is a chance that the diabetes may be just a minor setback in a long career.
16. Philadelphia Phillies: Austin Wilson, Outfielder, Stanford
Philadelphia hasn’t had the greatest track record in developing their prospects. Granted, you could argue that Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard turned out to have solid careers, but for the most part, Philly hasn’t had a real dynamite prospect as of late. Austin Wilson may buck that trend. The Stanford outfielder famously turned down an offer to play ball for the St. Louis Cardinals, and while some scouts still view him as a hard sign, it may be justified as his draft eligibility returns. Wilson may not be the fastest outfielder around, but what he lacks in speed he makes up for in hitting and defense. This is especially important as Citizens Bank Park is one of the more pitcher friendly parks in baseball. While Stanford outfielders seem to be discriminated against for no particular reason (See Carlos Quentin) Wilson may be able to end the discrimination with his play.
17. Chicago White Sox, Reese McGuire, Catcher/Third Baseman, Kentwood High School, Washington
Chicago’s minor league system is the second worst in baseball in terms of top prospects. With only last year’s top pick Courtney Hawkins in the top 100, the Pale Hose are in desperate need of a retooling. To start, the team should go for what is probably their worst position, catcher. Like their northwestern rivals, the Twins, the Sox could take a good look at this year’s deep prep catching class, especially Reese McGuire of Kentwood High School. While still developing as a hitter, McGuire has a major league ready arm and certainly has been wowing scouts on the summer circuit. He will take plenty of time to develop, but by the time he’s done, he will definitely overthrow Tyler Flowers as Chicago’s starting catcher.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Dominic Smith, First Baseman, Serra High School, California
If the Dodgers were to take Dominic Smith in the first round, they’d be going local for the first time in a long time. Smith, who plays his baseball fourteen miles away from Dodger Stadium, is one of the better contact hitting first baseman in the draft. Smith is defensively adept, as well, but his ability to hit for average is what has propelled him to a mid to late first round pick. Smith has years to go, but he will certainly answer the question of “Who will be James Loney’s replacement?”
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Marco Gonzales, Pitcher, Gonzaga
The Cardinals haven’t drafted a high schooler in the actual first round since Shelby Miller, and while Ian Clarkin is a pretty convincing choice, don’t expect St. Louis to be making any changes to their draft strategy soon. What St. Louis really needs in their system right now is a left handed pitcher, and Marco Gonzales fits the bill. He obviously has more experience as a pitcher than Clarkin, but like Chris Anderson, his ability may be in question because he pitches in a lesser baseball conference. Nonetheless, the Zags pitcher rose his stock after an outstanding summer with Team USA, and with his array of pitches, all of which are on the cusp of Major League, he makes an outstanding case to be in the top 20. St. Louis might also have use for him as a hitter, as his sophomore hitting stats included a .325 batting average.
20. Detroit Tigers: Oscar Mercado, Shortstop, Gaither High School, Florida
Given Detroit’s Win Now strategy, a pick like Oscar Mercado may raise question marks, but if a player has the defensive capability to play shortstop and stay at the position, then reaching for a guy like him may do Detroit some good. The Florida State commit’s primary strength is his defense, and while his hitting ability is still developing, he has the ability to be another Zack Cosart. especially with his speed. While the current trend for shortstops is that they have some power to them, Mercado may bring back the old throwback style of all glove shortstops with some hitting ability.
21. Tampa Bay Rays: Nick Ciuffo, Catcher, Lexington High School, South Carolina
With all the prospects that the Rays have gained through the loss of key players through trades and free agency, it’s easier to say what the Rays don’t need in this upcoming draft, but since teams still can’t trade draft picks, save for those won in the Competitive Balance Lottery and the Rule 5 Draft, the Rays need to pick someone. Easy enough, their biggest minor league need is a catcher after the trades of Stephen Vogt and Robinson Chirinos, and with such a deep class of prep catchers, the Rays could take anyone they wanted. Nick Ciuffo fits the bill as a Rays catcher. The old adage is if you’re a lefthanded hitter and a righthanded fielder, you’re pretty much set for life. Ciuffo is both of those, and while he is a project, if the Rays put him in the majors right now, he wouldn’t be too far behind Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton.
22. Baltimore Orioles: Jonathon Crawford, Pitcher, Florida
And the fall ends for the best player available. The Orioles have a top rotation in the making already, why not make it even better with Crawford? Possessing a top flight fastball and a solid slider, the Gators pitcher has already cemented himself in college history by throwing a no hitter. If that’s the case, then the best is yet to come. Crawford will wedge himself in with phenom Dylan Bundy and former rival Kevin Gausman in what looks to be one of the best up and coming rotations in the American League.
23. Texas Rangers: Billy McKinney, Outfielder/First Baseman, Plano High School, Texas
The Rangers have a surplus of outfielders, pitchers, and middle infielders. What they need are corner guys, specifically first basemen. In-state product Billy McKinney may primarily be an outfielder, but he has the defensive capability to also play first base. McKinney is also a solid hitter, and he is a positive personality. Drafting a native son might be the best save face the Rangers can do right now in the draft.
24. Oakland Athletics: Ian Clarkin, Pitcher, James Madison High School, California
We won’t know if the A’s have decided on switching up their draft philosophy from high floor collegians to high ceiling prep stars until June, but if the A’s are fully committed to a switch, then here’s their guy. Ian Clarkin is a lefthander from the San Diego area. Armed with a solid low 90’s fastball and two developing pitches, Clarkin will certainly give Oakland a top lefty pitcher, something they have desperate need of in the minors.
25. San Francisco Giants: Ryan Boldt, Outfield, Red Wing High School, Minnesota
Drafting Ryan Boldt would be perfect for the Giants, especially if he develops in proportion to the career statuses of San Francisco’s starting outfield, which consists of Andres Torres and Angel Pagan. Like former Giants draft pick Gary Brown, Boldt’s biggest strength is his legs. Boldt is also defensively capable, but he needs to develop his hitting if he really wants to solidify his status as a top pick.
26.New York Yankees: Ryan Eades, Pitcher, Louisiana State
The Yankees are on track to secure a higher draft pick in a stronger class next year, especially with age and injuries putting them on the same level as a high-budget AAA team. With the Steinbrenners wanting to cut payroll in order to go under the luxury tax threshold, drafting a guy like Ryan Eades makes sense. Eades has a mid 90’s fastball and a solid array of off speed pitches, in fact he could make a September roster depending on how he pitches. Eades has the makeup to be a solid starter, but scouts may still be concerned with a labrum injury in high school that required surgery. That, and his mechanics are his only question marks, but the Yankees cannot let him fall down any further.