gray appelThe 2013 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away. Crunch time.

  • Baseball America’s Jim Callis is confident that the Astros are planning on selecting Jonathan Gray with the top pick. From there, he is confident that the Cubs will take Mark Appel. Indeed, the latest BA mock draft has the top two picks playing out exactly that way. The Cubs met with Jonathan Gray earlier this week, and I’d say it’s a fair bet that they have met/will meet with Appel and San Diego Kris Bryant, as well. No reason not to have plenty of ducks in a row come Draft day.
  • In that mock, Sean Manaea – a vogue choice for the Cubs’ pick back in January – has fallen all the way to the end of the first round, thanks to performance and hip concerns. It’s now becoming a legitimate possibility that Manaea could be on the board when the Cubs pick in the second round. But, here’s the problem: as a junior, Manaea could go back to school if he’s not offered a substantial signing bonus. So, even if he’s there for the Cubs, they’d be hard pressed to pick him there and risk not signing their second round pick.
  • Of those top two arms, three of four anonymous executives on the scouting side told Jim Callis they would prefer Appel to Gray, mostly due to his superior set of overall pitching skills. One of the four said he’d prefer Bryant to the pitchers.
  • Connor Glassey at BA looks at the oldest and youngest draft prospects (among the top 250 overall prospects), and it is interesting to see that Mark Appel, a college senior, is not in the top 10 oldest. He’d actually fall all the way down at 15th, which is low for a college senior among the top 250 overall prospects. That’s because, for a college senior, Appel is on the younger side (he doesn’t turn 22 until mid-July). Interestingly, Colin Moran – the UNC third baseman who’s been rumored to be a potential surprise pick at the top of the Draft for the Astros – is the third youngest collegiate player in the Draft.
  • Glassey’s piece is most notable, however, for the list of 17-year-old high school players who feature on the top 250 list. There is some data to support the idea that, all other things equal, younger high school draft picks tend to fare better over the long haul than older ones. So, familiarize yourself with that list, and cross your fingers that the Cubs get a couple of ‘em. Last year, Duane Underwood – the Cubs’ second round pick – was one of the youngest high schoolers in the Draft. Carlos Correa, whom the Astros took first overall was also one of the youngest. It’s a subtle distinction between 17.5 years old and 18, but history indicates that it matters.
  • MLB has revealed the procedural deets on the Draft, and it’s a fair bit different from last year. This year, the first two rounds will be on Thursday, June 6 (starting at 6pm CT). Rounds 3 through 10 are on Friday, starting at 12pm CT, and rounds 11 through 40 are on Saturday, starting at 12pm CT. Day One will be televised on MLBN, and Day Two will be broadcast on MLB.com. I’m not sure about Day Three – last year, they simply provided audio of the conference call. Either way, you’ll find everything covered here at BN.
  • Cheryl

    I know the majority say its either Appel or Gray but I think they’d be better off taking Bryant first and a solid pitcher with their second pick. If Gray or Appel expect to play for a winning team within one to two years it may not happen until 2015 at best. There’s too much that needs to improve on the cubs. Soriano will be gone; the outfield needs to be redone; catcher is weak; etc. The player they draft will be coming into a minor league system and a major league team in transition. Who handles that best – a position player or a pitcher?

    • Jp3

      They’ll both be going to a minor league team to start so that’s a wash I think. A bat like Bryant projects in a couple of years but a pitcher would jump on the big club almost immediately (middle of next year) I guess. Are you worried about Appel or Gray’s psyche if they are on a team with a bunch of losers? They’ll be fine, Shark, wood, Feldman until tonight pitch well every 5th day even though their team sucks.

      • Cheryl

        Sounds good. Yes I was a little worried how they’d react.

  • nkniacc13

    with Stanford likely not making the field of 64 that wont make a difference on who you select but it would mean atleast 1 less start

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