Keith Law, ESPN super-scout, has been talking 2013 draft lately. I happened to hear him on two podcasts today; he spent a few moments talking specifically about Mark Appel (at approximately the 40′ mark). Appel has been discussed around here of late. If I had to bet on who the Cubs will end up with at #2, he would be atop the list.
Law thinks that Appel and University of Oklahoma righty Jonathan Gray make up the clear top tier in the draft. Interestingly, Law thinks that Appel could start in AA and be a September callup this season, finding his way into the regular rotation in 2014 after service time shenanigans are exhausted.
I think he’s pretty close to ready… He’s got the fastball, he’s shown that slider that was just kind of good last year, is now really an out pitch for him. He’s been much more aggressive. In fact, the biggest criticism I’ve heard of him so far is that he’s much much better pitching in the comforts of home, at Stanford, than he is on the road. To me, if that’s the worst thing you can say about a pitcher, than he’s probably pretty good. With the experience level and the command and the entire repertoire, I don’t think he needs a lot of time in the minors at all.
In discussing other candidates for the top of the first round in an interview with Law, Kiley McDaniel said he thinks the consensus top tier includes Clint Frazier (CF, HS), Sean Manaea (LHP, Indiana State), and Kris Bryant (3B, San Diego). That tier is closely followed by Colin Moran (3B, North Carolina) and Austin Meadows (CF, HS). The two of them agreed that it was a weak draft for college positional players as well as high school pitchers.