Baseball is a bit different than other sports as the MLB Draft is held during the season. This allows teams to get rookies playing professional ball quickly and adjusting to life on the road.
This years class has some terrific talent and for those casual fans wanting to know what player their favorite club could take in June, here is a closer look at the top prospects available this year and a better understanding of why they are first round talents.
Most baseball experts believe Jonathan Grey of Oklahoma will become the first player off the board. The Sooners big right-handed pitcher has struggled a bit towards the end of the year, but he has a strong presence on the mound with his 6'4” 240 pound frame and strong command of three pitches. Grey has been compared to Roger Clemens, who also pitched in the Big 12 and for a team looking for starting pitching help, this youngster could be ready to play in the Majors in less than one year.
Another solid college pitcher that is likely to get a call early in the first round is Mark Appel of Stanford. This young man was drafted 16th overall in last years draft by Pittsburgh, but after a lengthy contract dispute, Appel returned to school and has pitched outstanding this year for the Cardinals. With an 8-4 record, 1.97 ERA, and striking out over ten batters per nine innings pitched, this big right-handed stud is near ready to play in the Majors and could see some time with whatever club takes him this year.
While several pitchers are ranked high in this years class, they are some good hitters that will make their mark, including Kris Bryant from San Diego University. This youngster was already drafted in the first round after his senior year in high school, but decided the college life was a better choice at the time and it's hard to fault the kid. Bryant has blossomed into the power hitter most scouts believed he would with 30 homers this year, but he is also hitting over .330 on the year and has turned himself into a potential top five choice this year.
The 2013 MLB Draft is not all about the college player as several big time high school stars are expected to get the call in round one.
Kohl Stewart is the top high school player in this years class, but he is also a terrific football player and expected to attend Texas A&M next fall, but some big league team will take a shot at drafting the young pitcher in hopes of getting him to sign a contract to play baseball. Stewart is 6'3” and nearly 200 pounds and a player that is also a terrific outfielder with decent power at the plate.
While the baseball draft is not an exact science, scouts and General Managers have gotten much better at evaluating young players with summer leagues and camps. The biggest adjustment for hitters is switching to wooden bats, but with leagues like the Cap Cod and Alaska Summer League, most of these young men have already seen action against top talent and that gives every team a better understanding of what these young players can do on the diamond.