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2013 MLB Draft: Day one winners and losers

Jun 7, 2013, 2:27 AM EDT

Mark Appel AP

It’s a tradition here at Hardball Talk to pick the winners and losers from the draft, even though we’re years away from having any idea who came out on top. And we’re not ones to mess with tradition, no matter how silly it may make us look in the end. Let’s rock.


Mark Appel: Appel turned down $6 million in a predraft deal with the Astros that would have made him the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft and then declined a $3.8 million offer from the Pirates after being picked eighth overall. This year, it seems likely that the Astros and Appel were able to find common ground prior to the draft; the Astros had too many alternatives with the first overall pick to have drafted Appel without knowing what it’d take to sign him. Count on it being at least a bit more than the $6 million Appel turned down last year. That doesn’t truly make him a winner — he might already be in the majors collecting service time right now had he done a deal with the Astros last year — but it’s certainly the best-case scenario for Appel given the choices he made.

Marlins: The Marlins are so far away from contending that it was kind of a surprise to see them take the most polished college bat in the draft with the sixth overall pick, particularly in light of their typical high school preference. In fact, when they selected North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran, he became their first college position player taken in the top 30 since Mark Kotsay in 1996. Moran isn’t going to offer the power one tends to look for from third base, but he projects as an excellent OBP guy and perhaps an ideal No. 2 hitter. The Marlins also got pretty good value with high school left-hander Matt Krook at No. 35 and college right-hander Trevor Williams at No. 44. Their final pick of the day, right-hander Colby Suggs, is a college reliever who could help next year.

Pirates: High school outfielder Austin Meadows figured to be off the board by pick seven, but he was still sitting there for the Pirates at No. 9. They’re not going to need him in center field, but he has plenty of power potential and a terrific arm for right field. That No. 9 selection was the Pirates’ compensation for failing to sign Appel last year. With their own first-rounder, they got the top prep catcher available, Reese McGuire.

Yankees: With three picks at the end of the first round, the Yankees could have gone for it and drafted Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea, a top-five talent with injury questions. However, to sign Manaea, the team may well have had to skimp on the other two picks and draft lesser talents. Instead, the Yankees played it straight up, taking three guys at Nos. 26, 32 and 33 who should all sign for around slot. Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo has power and questions about his defense and Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge has big-time strength that hasn’t quite turned into as many homers as hoped, but the best pick was probably the last: high school left-hander Ian Clarkin possesses the makings of an excellent three-pitch arsenal.


Giants: GM Brian Sabean’s Giants teams have had quite the knack for finding undervalued pitchers in the draft. The offensive track record, on the other hand, is very bleak indeed, with Buster Posey, who most everyone viewed as a stud, surrounded by a number of busts like Tony Torcato, Todd Linden and Wendell Fairley. So, there’s certainly no reason to give Sabean the benefit of the doubt when he drafted shortstop Christian Arroyo 25th and third baseman Ryder Jones 64th on Thursday. Neither high school player made’s top 100 for the draft. Arroyo placed 97th on the list of ESPN’s Keith Law, while Jones was absent. Sabean thinks he’s sees something others don’t, but he probably felt that way about Jackson Williams, Emmanuel Burriss and Arturo McDowell, too.

Nationals: Because of the Rafael Soriano signing, the Nationals didn’t make their first pick until 68th overall. When they did finally make their first choice, they took a guy in Jake Johnasen who had a 5.40 ERA in 88 1/3 innings for Dallas Baptist University this year. For what it’s worth, Law had Johansen ranked 66th in his top 100, so he doesn’t see it as an overdraft. Still, as a big right-hander with inconsistent mechanics and a poor track record, he’s quite the project.

Nepotism picks: With the sons of Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte and Torii Hunter and Jamie Moyer all available, there was reason to suspect an MLB team might reach for a name, much as the Dodgers once did for Preston Mattingly and the Brewers did for Cutter Dykstra. Alas, the names all remain on the board as we head into round three. The only sons of major leaguers picked  so far were Orioles’ first-rounder Hunter Harvey, the son of former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, and Riley Unroe, the Rays’ second-round selection. His father, Tim Unroe, got 95 at-bats in the majors from 1995-2000.

Jon Denney: Denney, a high school catcher committed to Arkansas, was expected to go in round one and actually showed up at the draft, waiting for his name to be called. It never was, not after 73 picks.

Kyle Serrano: Serrano might have scared teams off with his commitment to play for his father, Dave Serrano, at the University of Tennessee. The 17-year-old right-hander was thought to be a likely late first- or early second-round pick.

  1. joegolfer - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    I heard that Cubs expected Astros to take Gray, then they would take Appel, and Rockies would take Bryant.
    When Astros took Appel, it threw them for a loop.
    I have heard Kris Bryant described as the safest bet in this draft, so that’s not bad. Tons of power. They can always move him to right field to utilize his strong arm.
    Seems like a winning pick.
    Rockies would have loved to have the power hitting Bryant play at thin air Coors Field.

  2. dan1111 - Jun 7, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    Moran should quickly fill the Marlins’ pressing need of having no one they can trade away to save money.

  3. buddaley - Jun 7, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    Does anyone know why Denney fell out of the first 2 rounds? Was it fears about his commitment to Arkansas?

    • rmcd13 - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      I imagine a guy who shows up to the draft isn’t going to be a hard sign.

  4. cubfan531 - Jun 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM

    I have my doubts about Clarkin signing with the Yankees. I’m not saying he won’t, but it’s kind of hard to imagine someone going from hating the Yankees so much he cried when the D-Backs won the ’01 World Series to signing out of high school with them. Doesn’t help issues that his dad is also apparently an avid Yankee hater. To be fair, he was the best available player at that pick. So, we’ll see what happens.

    Pretty intrigued to see what the Cubs’ 2nd rounder, Rob Zastryzny, becomes. Reports are that he’s a high 80’s/low 90’s finesse lefty report, but he was apparently clocked at 95 at the SEC tournament. Being as he was undrafted out of high school despite a 0.20 ERA his senior year, I’m inclined to believe the Cubs see him as a late bloomer who will sign cheap (as nobody really thinks Kris Bryant is going to sign for pennies on the dollar).

    • dan1111 - Jun 7, 2013 at 6:23 AM

      Yankee-hating (and in general, being loyal to your team and “hating” rival teams) is a fun part of baseball fan-dom. But playing professional baseball is a whole other thing. One’s commitments as a fan are generally trivial in comparison.

      In addition to the significance of being drafted and potentially playing in the majors, the slot value for Clarkin’s pick suggests he will probably receive a bonus of over $1.5 million. This is a double dream come true for most people. If he decides to forgo it, it will be because he/his parents/his agent think college is better for his personal and professional development, not because he “hates the Yankees”.

      Oh yeah, and he was 6 years old in 2001.

      • cubfan531 - Jun 7, 2013 at 6:59 AM

        He’s also got a commitment to his home-town college. Going back to school could wind up costing him money, but he could also shoot up draft boards. While not a real comparable in terms of stuff, Mark Prior turned down 1st round money from the Yankees, and wound up going 2nd overall after going to college in California. (I also hope Clarkin doesn’t wind up being a comparable in terms of career longevity). Clarkin just strikes me as the first major signing challenge of this draft.

        Of course, Clarkin won’t be nearly as bad as whatever team tries to get Jon Denny to sign in the third round or later.

      • dan1111 - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:35 AM

        @cubfan531, yes people turn down contracts to go to college all the time. But there are more significant reasons to do that than hating the Yankees.

        Mark Prior had a disappointing career, but as a Cubs draft pick he certainly wasn’t a bust. They got a lot of value out of him.

      • cubfan531 - Jun 7, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        Dan, I realize there’s reasons beyond hating the Yankees to turn down college, but this kid’s got his hometown college as his scholarship. I don’t blame the Yankees for going BPA, I just feel like this could very well wind up being a comp pick next year for an inability to sign him.

    • bigharold - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      “I have my doubts about Clarkin signing with the Yankees.”

      Perhaps, but if he’s 18 now in 2001 he was about 6. Obviously, a lot has changed for him since then. His statements since being drafted indicate that at a minimum he at least understands that what happens on the field is baseball. Everything else is business. I’ve no idea if the Yankees will eventually sign him but I’d wager his past hate of the Yankees will be the least influence on his decision.

  5. bendover09 - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    How can you judge these kids or team a winner/loser when they haven’t even stepped onto a baseball diamond. Theyre no where even near the maturing phase yet .

    • dan1111 - Jun 7, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      The post starts with a disclaimer that says exactly that.

      No one is taking this too seriously, but it is fun to analyze how the draft went and guess how it will turn out.

    • aiede - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      A college senior (or junior, even) has a pretty significant body of work that you can look at. They’ve spent a lot of time on baseball diamonds by that point, against some worthwhile competition. The list of winners of the Dick Howser Trophy (college baseball’s Heisman analogue) has a lot of names you’ll recognize: Teixeira, Prior, Weaver, Gordon, Price, Posey, Strasburg, etc.

      When it comes to the overwhelming majority of high school players, I do think you’re right.

  6. historiophiliac - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    Well, 5 of the first 73 were from the Frying Pan — not bad for a football state. I’m not sure what happened with Denney. I thought he’d go before some of the others. It’s kinda surprising that he’d be the one of ours left.

  7. natslady - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Until the MASN thing gets solved, the Nats are a mid-market team financially–at best–and picking low. Hence, projects. Giolito, Rendon, now Johanson. Rizzo has confidence in his scouting eye, but even moreso in his trainers and his coaches/coordinators. Right now we are trying to get A.J.Cole back on track after being in another team’s system.

    The Nats acknowledged Johansen’s underwhelming numbers at Dallas Baptist, saying the pitcher has just scratched the surface of his potential. Assistant general manager Roy Clark said there are a couple of “easy fixes” that could take him to the next level.

    “We know he didn’t have good numbers. If he had good numbers, he wouldn’t have gotten out of the top ten,” Clark said.

    “We feel like that if we get him signed and turn this kid over to the best player development system in baseball in our opinion, we think we’ve got a gem.”

    Clark said among the fixes the Nats plan to try are increasing his tempo on the mound, breaking him from being too methodical in counts, and closing the extension of his delivery. Johansen, Clark says, tends to bring his glove too far around during his release.

    Kline said a big reason the Nats drafted Johansen is his development from high school to where he is now. When asked for a player comparison, he offered up a former World Series MVP.

    “His actions, arm action and delivery is very similar to Josh Beckett,” Kline said.

    Nathan Karns (shoulder) had his first two major-league starts and, though still raw, you can see the talent and determination. Also a nice “feel-good” story right when we need one.

  8. largebill - Jun 7, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Nepotism picks don’t happen until the 20th round. Griffey Jr & other higher picked kids of former players were not picked based on nepotism.

    • tigerfan22 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Largebill is right. Early rounds are used for legitimate prospects (Ken Griffey, Jr, as Largebill noted, Scott Hairston, 3rd round, Alex Avila, 5th round, not nepotism picks). The nepotism picks, or courtesy picks, are saved for the late rounds, when the number of legitimate prospects are few and far between and the amount of money for bonuses has dwindled.

  9. dirtyharry1971 - Jun 7, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Dont know how you cant put the jays under the losers column, after all thats all they do

    • Old Gator - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      They know how to construct a proper contraction and avoid comma splices, which is somewhat more than can be said for you.

      • Old Gator - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        PS heyblue – go ahead, I deserve it.

  10. chadjones27 - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Speaking of nepotism picks, isn’t the kid the Phillies took a distant cousin of someone currently in the Majors? Supposedly they found out they were cousins sometime around the draft.

  11. Old Gator - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    It’s kinda hard to handle the Feesh being described as winners this early in the morning. I need my hot steaming cup of shade grown in volcanic soil Galapagos Arabica, with a fresh croissant buttered and spread with tangerine rhubarb marmalade.

    Then I can go back and assimilate the bizarre notion of the Feesh described as winners. Not before.

    • bigharold - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      “…this early in the morning.”

      Posted at 10:49? Late night? Besides, .. I thought all you old baseball types started the morning with a healthy chip beef and scotch breakfast.

      • Old Gator - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Well, I do make my own creamed…heh, I mean, shit on a shingle, but I do it a little differently than most. Here’s how: I use one package of Boar’s Head sliced roast beef (Armor dried beef, the traditional filler, contains enough sodium to stun a former Soviet political prisoner), cut into strips and then cut into thirds, then sauteed in a bit of canola oil and a teaspoon of burgundy with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Meanwhile, one must needs make the roux: I use three tablespoons of butter, a teaspoon of bacon fat and two tablespoons of all purpose flour, a half cup of chicken broth and two cups of nonfat half and half. You know the drill, right? Stir the flour slowly into the melted butter and fat until smooth, then slowly add alternating amounts of broth and half and half – making sure the liquid is no cooler than room temperature – until a creamy texture is achieved. Add salt, pepper and a little more nutmeg if desired. Slowly stir in the roast beef mixture. Serve over a sunnyside up egg on toast.

        Healthy? For the soul, yes….

  12. baseballguru1 - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Pirates have to be one of the top teams with overall talent in the minors now. Pitching and hitting plentiful now!

    • mazblast - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      As a Pirates fan or over 50 years, the last 20 spent in baseball Hell, I have to quote an old Elton John song title here–

      “I’ve Seen That Movie, Too.”

      We’ve been here multiple times in the last two decades, and sometimes reruns (a concept invented by the producer of Groucho Marx’s “You Bet Your Life”, BTW) are no fun.

  13. stairwayto7 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Lets talk about draft winners or losers in 4 years!

  14. seattlenative57 - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    “…first college position player since Mark Kotsay in 1996 …”. Have you lost your mind? Go back and look at some recent drafts. You’ll find plenty of college position players taken in the top 30. What are you talking about?

  15. seattlenative57 - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    oops … my bad. Missed the word “their”. Sorry.

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