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MLB Draft Tracker: Astros take Mark Appel No. 1

The 2013 MLB draft begins Thursday night at MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J. Dave Perkin, a former major league scout and Baseball America contributor and SI.com's draft expert, will have analysis of each first round pick. To check out Dave's third and final Mock Draft for 2013, click here.

NOTES: There are 33 picks because of various compensation rules. The Pirates failed to sign Stanford righty Mark Appel after drafting him last year and are thus given a pick one slot below where he was taken in 2012.

Under a new system this year tied to compensation for lost free agents, teams would gain a first-round draft pick if a player to whom they had made a qualifying contract offer rejected that offer. The Yankees therefore received two picks at the end of the first round as compensation for losing Rafael Soriano (to the Nationals) and Nick Swisher (to the Indians) in free-agency.

Three teams -- the Nationals (for signing Soriano), the Brewers (for signing Kyle Lohse) and the Angels (for signing Josh Hamilton) do not have first round selections because they signed players who had turned down qualifying offers from their old teams. The Cardinals, Rangers and Rays gain additional picks for losing Lohse, Hamilton and B.J. Upton, respectively. The Braves lost their pick for singing Upton but added it back when Michael Bourn signed with the Indians. For a more detailed breakdown of the rules behind this new system, click here.

 
1
Mark Appel
RHP Stanford
R/R6-5215
   
Appel's sizzling 94-97 mph fastball attracts a lot of publicity, but he gets most of his outs -- and strikeouts -- via his late breaking, swerving 86-88 mph curve and terrific drop dead 84-87 mph change. Appel will need to get more movement and deception on his fastball, because when it is left out over the plate his heater straightens out and can get whacked. Appel is perhaps the only player in draft history to be the frontrunner for the first pick 2 years in a row; selected 8th last year, he turned down an offer by the Pirates and returned for his senior year in 2013. .
 
2
Kris Bryant
3B/1B University of San Diego
R/R6-5225
   
In his three years at USD, Bryant has established himself as of the greatest power hitters in D-1 college history. His 31 homers in 2013 are remarkable, given the recent changes to aluminum bats. Tall and rangy, Bryant draws Richie Sexson comparisons from scouts. Profiling best as a first baseman, Bryant's whippy swing enables him to drive the ball out of any portion of the yard. His only weakness is a tendency to chase breaking balls in the dirt when behind in the count.
 
3
Jonathan Gray
RHP Oklahoma
R/R6-4239
   
A tight end sized power righty, Gray may have the best fastball in this year's draft. His heater sits at 94 to 97 mph and can touch up to 100. Gray adds a vicious 83-88 mph slider and a serviceable low 80's change. Using a Goose Gossage-type delivery in which he drives his entire body plateward, Gray will begin his career as a starter but may profile best as a shutdown closer.
 
4
Kohl Stewart
RHP St. Pius X High (Texas)
R/R6-3190
   
Stewart doubles as one of the premier high school quarterback prospects in the nation. On the mound, he presents a model pitcher's frame and top-of-the-rotation stuff: A 94 mph fastball complemented by an 87 mph slider and 82 mph change. Stewart will need to correct his habit of pulling his front side open too quickly and throwing across his body.
 
5
Clint Frazier
OF Loganville High (Ga.)
R/R6-1190
   
Frazier is the most dynamic player in this year's draft. He combines blistering speed, a lightning quick bat and a powerful arm. Frazier's lack of size may hurt him, since smaller high school position players are usually at a disadvantage in the draft. If he 6-foot-1 or above, Frazier would be a slam dunk as the number one selection. At the plate, Frazier's bat speed is terrific, but he needs to stop letting his front hip fly open, which often causes him to roll his hands over and hook the ball foul.
 
6
Colin Moran
3B North Carolina
L/R6-3215
   
Old-timers will detect striking similarities between Moran's swing and that of Duke Snider. Moran's sweet lefty swing is preceded by an elaborate leg kicking, hand pumping load mechanism. He may need to simplify and quiet down his swing to fulfill his vast promise as a pro hitter. Moran is a quality fielder and projects as a solid average major league defensive third baseman.
 
7
Trey Ball
LHP New Castle High (Ind.)
L/L6-6180
   
Ball is a superb athlete and has displayed speed and a picturesque swing at showcase events. However, due to his exceptional projectability and lefthandedness, his future figures to be on the hill. Ball offers a sinking 89-91 mph fastball with arm side movement, a 76 mph curve and a 78-83 mph change that flares away from righthanded hitters at the last instant.
 
8
Hunter Dozier
SS Stephen F. Austin
R/R6-4220
   
With a few notable exceptions (Cal Ripken and Troy Tulowitzki) shortstops of Dozier's size usually switch positions once they reach pro ball. Dozier will likely wind up at third base but a corner outfield spot is possible, given his powerful arm. At bat, Dozier crowds the plate and hits out of an odd looking Jeff Bagwell-type crouch, but he flashes excellent bat speed and power, particularly to right center.
 
9
Austin Meadows
OF Grayson High (Ga.)
L/L6-3200
   
Meadows has an ideal frame along with terrific speed. The trajectory and carry of his throws are inhibited by poor arm mechanics. At bat, Meadows has a syrupy smooth swing but will need to make a series of subtle alterations, including driving his weight off of his back leg and incorporating his lower half.
 
10
Phil Bickford
RHP Oaks Christian High (Calif.)
R/R6-4185
   
From the summer of 2012 to the spring of 2013, Bickford has shown the most marked improvement of any top high school pitcher. A fastball that peaked in the high 80s last year made him a prospect worth following, but he is now a premium prospect, firing a 93 mph fastball that can touch 95 and adding a severe 78-80 mph curve. Bickford offers the ideal template for a high school righty: a tall, projectable frame and plus stuff.
 
11
Dominic Smith
1B Serra High (Calif.)
L/L6-0195
   
Smith is the purest hitter of anyone on the high school side of this year's draft, despite a loop in his swing and a habit of opening his front side too quickly. Defensively, he has the arm but not the speed or instincts to play the outfield, but he profiles as a Gold Glover as a first baseman. Clubs have only one question regarding Smith: Will he produce the requisite power for a first baseman?
 
12
DJ Peterson
1B/3B New Mexico
R/R6-1205
   
Of all the top college position players in this year's draft, Peterson is probably the best bet to produce as a pro because his hitting mechanics are exemplary. His short, compact swing produces power comparable to Matt Williams or Pete Incaviglia. Peterson is an acceptable defensive third baseman and should stick at the hot corner, at least in the beginning stages of his career.
 
13
Hunter Renfroe
OF Mississippi State
R/R6-1216
   
Largely dormant in his first two college seasons, Renfroe's bat has come alive. Utilizing more separation and eliminating a hitch, Renfroe's loose, easy, powerful uppercut swing has produced towering homers and freakish statistics in 2013. Having dabbled as a righthanded pitcher and catcher previously, the fullback-sized Renfroe now projects as a rightfielder in pro ball, sporting a sensational arm that can throw out any runner at any base.
 
14
Reese McGuire
C Kentwood High (Wash.)
L/R6-1190
   
McGuire is a near perfect catching prospect: He sports a strong, athletic, projectable frame, possesses outstanding catch-and-throw skills and flashes a promising lefthanded bat. If a ball club is convinced that McGuire will hit big league pitching, he could be selected near the very top of the draft.
 
15
Braden Shipley
RHP Nevada
R/R6-3190
   
Shipley has been compared favorably with Kyle Zimmer, last year's No. 5 overall pick. An athletic pitcher who is a converted shortstop, Shipley's lack of career innings may actually work in his favor, because his arm may be fresher than other prospects. Shipley uses an easy motion to deliver a 92-95 mph fastball that touches 97, adding a sharp 78-79 mph curve and an advanced low-80's change.
 
16
J.P. Crawford
SS Lakewood High (Calif.)
L/R6-2180
   
Lithe and wiry, Crawford is a splendid athlete who runs well, possesses a strong, accurate arm and exhibits flashy fielding skills. He'll probably stick at shortstop but also has the ability to play the outfield. Scouts are concerned with Crawford's bat; he shows quickness and line drive bat speed but his production is hindered by a gimmicky stance and a tendency to over-stride.
 
17
Tim Anderson
SS East Central CC (Mississippi)
R/R6-1170
   
Because of its rarity, athleticism is highly prized by scouts. Anderson is one of the premier athletes in this draft, flashing outstanding first step quickness and terrific speed. He has the glove and range to stay at shortstop but a lack of above average arm strength may signal a move to second base or centerfield. At bat, Anderson exhibits a short stride and a quick, compact swing, profiling as a line drive doubles and triples top-of-the-order hitter.
 
18
Chris Anderson
RHP Jacksonville
R/R6-4225
   
Anderson has emerged this spring as one of the top pitching prospects in the draft. Powerful and physically imposing, Anderson profiles as a durable mid-rotation starting pitcher with the ability to eat up innings. He fires a mid-90s fastball that peaks at 97 mph, adding a curve and hard slider. Anderson is clean mechanically, showing an advanced ability to use his lower half and drive toward the plate. He may benefit from fuller arm extension on both ends of his delivery.
 
19
Marco Gonzales
LHP Gonzaga
L/L6-1195
   
Gonzales is a near clone of the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia. A lefty with a mature frame and a compact delivery, he uses four pitches to tantalize hitters: a low 90s fastball, high 70s change, a 76-79 mph curve and a low 80s cutter. While not a flamethrower, Gonzales profiles as a mid- to back-of-the-rotation command and control starter who can chew up 6-7 innings per start and pitch to contact.
 
20
Jonathan Crawford
RHP Florida
R/R6-2205
   
Crawford emerged as a top prospect after sensational performances in last year's NCAA tournament, but his draft status may have tumbled after he struggled at the beginning of the 2013 campaign. Crawford profiles as a solid mid- to back-of-the-rotation starter and he offers a fine mix of four pitches: a low-90s fastball, mid-80s slider, mid-70s curve and a high-70s change.
 
21
Nick Ciuffo
C Lexington High (S.C.)
L/R6-1200
   
Powerfully constructed and fundamentally advanced for a high school catcher, Ciuffo rifles the ball from home to second in 1.85-1.90 seconds -- an above-average clocking. At bat, he is an excellent lefty pull hitter with a mechanically sound swing, but he shows an unusual habit of whipsawing his front leg as he follows through -- a possible injury harbinger.
 
22
Hunter Harvey
RHP Bandys High (N.C.)
R/R6-3175
   
Using a nearly straight up delivery, Harvey fires a low-90s fastball which can touch the mid to upper-90s; he adds an inconsistent 11-to-5 curve at 74-76 mph and dabbles with a low-80s change up. He works the fastball, buzzing it in on a hitter's hands or running it away on the outside corner. Harvey will need to correct a tendency to throw across his body and his mechanics could benefit from additional lower-half leg drive.
 
23
Alex Gonzalez
RHP Oral Roberts
R/R6-3200
   
One of the most reassuring aspects of any draft is that top prospects (Gonzalez, Dozier, Tim Anderson) can come from somewhat obscure college baseball programs. Gonzalez has been the bell cow of the ORU staff this year. He features a 90-94 mph fastball, a sharp 87 mph slider and mixes in a curve and change. Gonzalez profiles as a mid-rotation starter.
 
24
Billy McKinney
OF Plano West Senior High (Texas)
L/L6-2195
   
McKinney profiles as a corner outfielder with an above-average, but, unlike Frazier and Meadows, not superlative tools. At bat, he does a wonderful job of attacking the ball in front of the plate despite a lack of a "load" mechanism (backwards weight shift). Lanky and projectable, McKinney displays a decent arm and slightly above average speed.
 
25
Christian Arroyo
SS Hernando High (Fla.)
R/R6-1185
   
With young star Brandon Crawford at shortstop, the World Series champions made a surprise pick here. Arroyo has only average speed and an average arm, so the Giants may be planning to move him to second base. Arroyo does exhibit a smooth line drive bat and excellent defensive skills, though.
 
26
Eric Jagielo
3B Notre Dame
L/R6-3215
   
Jagielo's astronomical .500 OBP this year has not been painless -- he's been plunked 15 times. Similar to Carl Yastrzemski, Jagielo begins his stance with an exaggerated high hand and bat position, which leads to a sweeping swing. He profiles as a sabermetric favorite, providing plenty of power and walks. Jagielo does not run well and his arm and glove grade out as average if not slightly below.
 
27
Phillip Ervin
OF Samford
R/R5-10205
   
Ervin has established himself as the premier multi-tool college outfielder in this year's draft, particularly since his more ballyhooed peers -- Wilson, Judge and Lorenzen -- have struggled at bat. Ervin is a ballhawking defensive centerfielder with excellent speed and a fine arm. His strength plus lightning quick reflexes provide Ervin with electric bat speed and he shows a knack for aggressively attacking mistake pitches.
 
28
Robert Kaminsky
LHP St. Joseph Regional High (N.J.)
B/L6-0190
   
Sturdy and compact, Kaminsky profiles as a mid- to back-of-the-rotation lefthanded starting pitcher. He tosses a 91-92 mph fastball and mixes in an excellent 80-83 mph slurve. Kaminsky uses a Tampa Bay delivery: start tall and drive downward. He'll need to correct a habit of getting under the ball and pushing it through the end of his delivery.
 
29
Ryne Stanek
RHP Arkansas
R/R6-4190
   
Stanek's quality stuff includes a mid-90s fastball plus a mid-80s slider and a mid-80s change, but his mechanics are alarming. Stanek pushes the ball from a low arm slot and uses a poorly balanced delivery that is stiff and awkward.
 
30
Travis Demeritte
3B Winder-Barrow High (Ga.)
R/R6-1185
   
Loose and lanky, Demeritte plays with graceful ease. He runs well, throws well and displays range and smooth fielding actions at the hot corner. At bat, Demeritte has a whippy swing in which he does an excellent job of snapping his wrists and driving his weight forward. A tad more leg drive and a shorter backswing may benefit Demeritte's progress as a hitter.
 
31
Jason Hursh
RHP Oklahoma State
R/R6-1200
   
Hursh has recovered nicely from Tommy John surgery. His main weapon is a darting, moving fastball that ranges from 92 to 95 mph. Hursh will need to improve and develop his secondary pitches, which include a slider and change. His mechanics have improved noticeably since the surgery; Hursh delivers the ball from a low three-quarters arm slot, showing a full and easy arm action.
 
32
Aaron Judge
OF Fresno State
R/R6-7255
   
The Dave Winfield-sized Judge has always teased scouts with his gargantuan tools, particularly his raw power. Judge can wow onlookers at a Home Run Derby but has struggled to produce in actual games. To reach his hitting potential, he will need more separation and better balance at the plate, plus he must eliminate a tendency to hitch his hands and flip his front hip open.
 
33
Ian Clarkin
LHP Madison High (Calif.)
L/L6-2190
   
Seasoned baseball fans will note physical and delivery similarities between Clarkin and former A's and Cubs star Ken Holtzman. Clarkin will need to sharpen the command of his 91-93 mph fastball, but his wicked 77 mph curve is perhaps the best breaking ball of any pitcher in the 2013 draft, college or high school.
 

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