Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray and Kris Bryant are commonly listed as the top three prospects available in the 2013 draft, and I don't deviate from that analysis. However, two of those players (Appel and Bryant) have hired Scott Boras. Should the Rockies decide to choose outside that trio with their third pick due to Boras or other reasons, there are still at least three exciting prospects to choose from.
6) Braden Shipley, 6'3", 190, RHP, Nevada
You could almost call Shipley the collegiate Kohl Stewart, since they share a similar build and athletic profile. Shipley's plus athleticism gives him a repeatable delivery, live arm, and promising change-up. A recruited shortstop, Shipley is new to pitching, but that doesn't mean there isn't considerable tread on his tires. Nevada has ridden his right arm hard (he has 3 130+ pitch outings this season), and his results suggest he's starting to tire. Despite a need for rest and diminished workload upon signing, Shipley doesn't presently carry any known injury concerns. He has a bulldog mound demeanor and has a bonus of a history succeeding at altitude.
5) Kohl Stewart, 6'3", 190, RHP, St. Pius X High School (TX)
Stewart is the last pitching prospect that appears to have attainable #1 potential, but you have to "bet on the come" a little given his situation. A dual sport player considered by some football blogs to be Johnny Manziel's replacement at Texas A&M, Stewart hasn't focused on pitching as much as you would expect the top HS arm to have done so , which lends considerable projection to his profile.
I prefer pitching prospects to be of the mold of Stewart: Taller athletic builds (6'3, 190 in Stewart's case), athleticism to foster repeatable mechanics and arm speed on all pitches, a competitive nature and willingness to attack the strike zone pitching off his fastball. Stewart has flirted with 97 mph according to reports this springs, and once he focuses completely on pitching, he should touch that number more regularly, with a firm breaking pitch and plus slider thanks to arm speed.
I have read no significant signability issues, and should Stewart go as high as pick 5, I would think the slot value should safely land him in your system. However, there is a risk with highly recruited dual sport guys, as fotball gives prospects like Stewart an out if baseball isn't going so well for him. Yes, he would be forced to forego a portion of his signing bonus, but college football does offer free boarding/education, and a chance to regain lost earning potential in a new sport (especially as a quarterback at a major program). I have little doubt Royals fans are starting to sweat this with Bubba Starling, but football guys have options away from the diamond and those concerns must be measured before selecting a dual sport athlete (see Wilson, Russell).
4) Clint Frazier, 6'1", 190, CF, Loganville High School (GA)
I see several similarities between Frazier as a prospect and Andrew McCutchen, and that's ultimately Frazier's upside in my eyes. Like McCutchen, Frazier is a compactly built power threat driven by rare bat speed and a strong core.
Frazier takes knocks for his athleticism for reasons I cannot understand. He was a 6.4 60 guy with a 98 mph outfield arm at Perfect Game events, and whether it's the build or the red hair that has led to these baseless suggestions, Frazier shows all the tools to be an elite centerfielder at the major league level. He plays with intensity and seems to have a high baseball IQ, making him the closest HS prospect to the majors.
My next post tomorrow will rank the top three prospects in the draft.
Make sure to follow David Oh No on twitter at @davidchood. He is best reached there for questions.