MLB Draft 2013: Prospects Ranked 1-3 and Recommended Pick

Jonathan Gray isn't the #1 prospect on David Oh No's list, nor the recommended pick, but Gray as a Rockie might be the best case scenario. - Kyle Laferriere-US PRESSWIRE

Most analysts agree that the top tier of prospects available in the 2013 draft include three players, which means the Rockies are guaranteed the choose from at least one of those players. David Oh No ranks these three and gives his recommendation to the Rockies.

The reward for Rockies fans who watched the worst season in franchise history could come on Thursday, as the Rockies draft third overall in the first round, the second highest pick in franchise history. This draft class is fairly weak overall, but that does not mean the Rockies can't come out of it with an elite player.

Here is my ranking of the best three players available.

1) Mark Appel, RHP, 6'5", 215, Stanford:

If you're scratching your head on this one based on my comments from last year, that's fair. But by all accounts, Appel has answered last year's criticism and improved almost across the board. The obvious pros on Appel are his size/athleticism combination, three plus pitches and pitchability with all three, and his closeness to the major leagues. Appel has answered concerns over his strikeouts and has generally impressed every media outlet with his performances this season. I rank Appel number one overall because I see likely #2 ceiling (outside #1 chance) as early as mid 2014, and Colorado could send him to Tulsa upon signing...

...which still won't be easy. Appel is not bound by the signing deadline (being a college senior) and can hold your bonus pool hostage if demands aren't met. Colorado's slot value at pick 3 is $2 million less than Houston's slot value at pick 1, so if Appel's asking price is Houston's slot, Colorado would have to make major financial concessions with its remaining picks. Colorado could still hold firm to slot and make Appel turn down $5.6 million, but it could come at the detriment to negotiations further down the draft.

Additionally, Appel's age works against him statistically, as college seniors have a sketchy track record within the first 100 picks, and the drafting team must hope that Appel is a unique situation and therefor a statistical outlier. Appel's at the top of my board, but should he be available at pick 3, I would have serious pause selecting him without some assurances on the financial package he seeks, and given the Boras factor, that's not likely to happen.

Scouting Report, Keith Law (5/9/13)

Bullpen Banter Prospect Video, Steve Fiorindo, Innings 1-3, Innings 4-6, Innings 7-9 (4/9/13)

High-Speed Pitching Mechanics, Driveline Baseball (4/9/12)

2) Jonathan Gray, RHP, 6'4", 240, Oklahoma

Gray's advantages over Appel would seem to make him the obvious number one pick: he's younger, throws harder, and doesn't have the Boras factor. Yet Gray's track record is shorter, he trails Appel on pitchability, and is a bit further from the major leagues. Several media mock drafts have made Gray the number one overall selection, and I expect that to happen as well, assuming that Gray even provides a bit of savings off Appel (narrowly, though, I should add). I believe Gray has the best odds at becoming a bonafide staff ace, but his floor may be lower than Appel's.

Gray has always had a strong arm, but wasn't consistently hitting the upper 90's until this season, and it gives concern that his stuff may check up some every fifth day as opposed to once a week. His positive test for Adderall doesn't move the needle for me, nor do I expect it to move the needle for a team like Colorado. I think you have a guy that looks like another Roger Clemens that won't blow up your slot amount, and those traits will overweigh the Adderall issue.

Should Colorado find him in their lap, we can go through the profile more, but since I put almost a 0% chance of him slipping the top 2 picks, this will suffice for now.

Scouting Report, Keith Law (5/9/13)

Bullpen Banter Prospect Video, Steve Fiorindo (5/9/13)

Game Video, Baseball Prospectus (4/5/13)

Game Video, Jeff Zimmerman (5/17/13)

3) Kris Bryant, RF, 6'5", 215, San Diego

Yes, right field. Bryant has rotated between third and the outfield for San Diego this season, and should Colorado select Bryant they should send him to Modesto to roam the outfield from day one.

For me, the pick is Kris Bryant in every scenario but two; he is taken before pick three, or Jonathan Gray is available at pick three (which likely means Bryant went early anyway). I ranked Appel number one, but given the signability issues listed above, I don't think he's a feasible option and would command too much of the Rockies' draft budget. I also have my doubts that Boras would want his pitching clients to be selected by Colorado, making the price sticker or above. So, Bryant is my guy at this pick and I think it makes for the best solution for both parties.

For the Rockies, they are getting a guy that should take full advantage of the offensive environment at Coors Field to both boost his power numbers and suppress his whiff potential to product .270-.280 averages with 35+ home runs and OBP over .400 in his prime. For Bryant, the Rockies represent his likely pick ceiling, meaning they stand to offer more in bonus, and their offensive environment should help him produce enough to maximizing his earning potential on his next contract.

Bryant's selection will likely be touted as a "Helton-replacement" move, but this does a disservice to Bryant's athleticism. As a 6'5 200 lbs. HS-er, Bryant ran a sub-7 60 yard dash, and flashed an outfield arm around 90 mph at Perfect Game showcases. For San Diego this season, Bryant has even filled in some in centerfield and has been 7-11 on stolen base attempts. He's not a plodder and moves very well for his size, and reports about his outfield ability have been upbeat.

Bryant has the range to handle right field at Coors Field with plenty of arm, and doesn't have the build to worry about filling out too much to lose range. He already has present 70 grade power at 6'5, 215 lbs. so he can keep his body in shape for playing the outfield without sacrificing offense. Bryant is polished enough to be sent to Modesto upon signing, and I believe he could be in line for a major league call-up at some point in 2014.

Scouting Report, Keith Law (5/9/13)

Bullpen Banter Prospect Video, Steve Fiorindo (5/31/13)

Game Film, PerfectGameBaseball (4/11/13)

Tomorrow, I will go over various scenarios that could arise on Thursday, changing the course of action the Rockies take.

Make sure to follow David Oh No on twitter at @davidchood. He is best reached there for questions.

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