2013 Draft Review: Jon Gray and Ryan McMahon lead promising group of young prospects

So far the 2013 Draft reviews are mostly positive with a pair of potential future all-stars at the top and a bevvy of promising prospects taken even as late as the ninth round.

First round, 3rd overall pick: Jon Gray, RHP | Current level: Double-A Tulsa (No. 1 PuRP)

When the Chicago Cubs were making their choice for the second overall pick in 2013 and I heard an inkling of a hard "k" sound emerge from the microphone -- even before the entire name of Kris Byant could be uttered -- I'd jumped to my feet and shouted, "Yes!"

We got him.

Jon Gray fell to the Colorado Rockies despite being arguably the best available player in the draft and the one that sits higher on most top prospect lists at this time. He signed for under slot money, and then proceeded to destroy Grand Junction and Modesto to the tune of 13.5 K/9 and a 0.75 ERA in his first professional season.

After telling me how badly he wants to make an impact in major league games this season, Gray got off to an inauspicious start in 2014, giving up three earned runs in his first game and six in the next in which he failed to even get out of the first inning.

He seems to have mastered those early jitters, though. Since giving up a combined nine runs in his first two starts, Gray has given up only five runs in his last six starts. In those six games, Gray has a 0.79 WHIP, a 1.26 ERA, and is striking out 8.07 batters per nine innings as opposed to his 1.5 BB/9 rate and opponents are hitting a paltry .173.

His ability to miss bats while staying in the strike zone -- combined with his self-awareness (he passed up being drafted by the Yankees in 2012 to go back to college and hone his game) --  is very encouraging and if he keeps putting up these types of numbers he may be called up in July or August instead of September.

For now, when it comes to Colorado Rockies prospects, the Gray Wolf is the leader of the pack.

Second round, 42nd overall pick: Ryan McMahon, 3B | Current level: Low-A Asheville (No. 5 PuRP)

Ryan McMahon was the talk of Rockie Town in April of 2014. His ridiculously hot start grabbed headlines and attention on a team that contained two other highly touted bats in David Dahl and Raimel Tapia. Showcasing power and patience at a level he hadn't done even while being exceptionally productive his rookie season, McMahon blasted nine home runs in his first 22 games for Asheville.

He has fallen back to earth, as was to be expected, and his season slash line sits at a healthy .275/.360/.577 good for a 160 wRC+.

Robert Emrich of MiLB.com spoke with McMahon recently about his slump and if recent signs suggest he may get back to being dominant at the plate again soon.

"I feel like I'm getting my swing back to where I want it," he said. "Instead of yanking off balls, I'm staying through balls. I'm doing all the stuff I should be doing. I started trying to yank the ball over the fence instead of just hitting it back up the middle, like I used to."

Success can be a funny thing that way, but McMahon's highest rated ability has always been his mind (in my book, anyway) and if he can really make these kinds of adjustments this quickly it bodes well for his future at the higher levels. Hitting, by it's nature, is a study and the Rockies found an excellent student with their second pick in 2013.

He is also one of the best minor league guys to follow on Twitter (@rymac_15).

After "missing out" on the highly touted third baseman and monster hitter known as Kris Bryant, the Rockies may have drafted a future All-star at that position anyway. Still, McMahon is a few years away and not likely to make any significant impact on the big league club until 2016 at the absolute earliest.

Supplemental Round, 70th Overall pick: Alex Balog, RHP (No. 20 PuRP)

Big and sturdy right-handed pitcher Alex Balog was the Rockies third pick in 2013 and has had an uneven beginning to his pro career. After getting roughed up in Grand Junction for a 9.30 ERA, his still electric stuff earned him a spot in Asheville's starting rotation.

He told me this spring that he felt he had figured out his mechanical error that was causing him to leave pitches up in the strike zone. Well, whatever he saw the coaches saw as well and in eight starts this season, Balog has a perfectly exceptable 3.38 ERA.

Another encouraging sign is that he has yet to pitch less than 5.1 innings this season and only has two games in which he has given up more than three runs. He remains a promising long-term option at starting pitcher, especially if his mechanics and approach can continue to be refined to match his naturally good stuff.

Third round, 77nd overall pick: Sam Moll, LHP | Current level: N/A (No. 17 PuRP)

Moll is an interesting prospect. In ten games for Asheville last season he posted a 1.80 ERA and 8.70 K/9. Being left-handed is always a nice bonus as well.

Sam has been dealing with injuries thus far in 2014 and has remained in spring training. According to my friend and yours, Greg Stanwood, he was likely slated for an assignment to Low-A Asheville but may end up in Tri-City when extended spring training ends.

Fourth round, 109th overall pick: Jordan Patterson, RF | Current level: Low-A Asheville (No. 23 PuRP)

Patterson had a nice season in Grand Junction last year showing off an ability to hit for contact and power while playing multiple outfield positions, first base, and stealing 10 bases. His above average arm, excellent attitude and big frame just add to the intriguing package that is Jordan Patterson.

Unfortunately, Patterson has struggled early in 2014 in moving up to Low-A Asheville. His 77 wRC+ is disappointing, especially considering he is older than several of his peers. Radio report suggest his defense is still above average but Patterson will need to hit better if he wants to continue to move up the system.

Sixth round, 169th overall pick: Dom Nunez, C | Current level: N/A (No. 19 PuRP)

Dom Nunez is a fascinating prospect who struggled mightily at the plate in Grand Junction last season while also being shuffled around from catcher to short stop and second base and finally back to catcher. He feels most comfortable behind the plate, and was very young for the league last season so this year should be a much better indication of where Dom Nunez stand in the organization.

He has yet to play in 2014 and is likely headed for a repeat year at Grand Junction or maybe even an assignment to short-season Tri-City when they start up.

Eighth round, 229th overall pick: Terry McClure, CF | Current level: N/A (No. 28 PuRP)

Terry McClure was the youngest guy in the system last year and still showed some signs that he can play as a pro. His blinding speed isn't going away and like Nunez, this season should give a much better indication as to his potential. As a seventeen year old, he got on base at a .348 clip and played a good center field in every game I saw him play.

He has yet to play in 2014 and is likely headed for a repeat year at Grand Junction or maybe even an assignment to short-season Tri-City when they start up.

Ninth round, 259th overall pick: Patrick Valaika, SS | Current level: High-A Modesto (No. 21 PuRP)

Infielder Patrick Valaika has taken advantage of his opportunities and is moving up in the system, recently being called-up to High-A Modesto. Valaika was hitting .370/.407/.575 for a 173 wRC+ in Asheville this season before his call.

It will be interesting to see how he responds to this in-season move, as he may show himself to be one of the more underrated guys in the system.

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