No. 1 in 2013 mock draft? That’s a clown question, bro

Other players might have better stats, but no one has a brighter future than Bryce Harper, our projection as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 I-75 League Draft.

Still just 19, Harper is a five-tool player who is still growing and still learning the game. The lefty swinger hits both righties and southpaws for average and for power. The Washington Nationals outfielder has a great batting eye that allows him to draw walks, and once on base, his pure speed and aggressive nature earns extra bases for him on a regular basis. Defensively, what he lacks in smoothness he makes up for with his ability to run down balls that others can’t. And, he has a bazooka for an arm.

Harper’s all-star break numbers: A .282 average, .354 on-base average and .472 slugging percentage. He has 15 doubles, eight homers and 10 stolen bases.

As for the rest of the draft? It has the early appearance of being a thin year in terms of highly rated prospects, after Harper. Here’s who we like to go in the first round in March, with their all-star break stats:

2. James McDonald, SP, Pittsburgh — Following the trend of “best available righty starter going early,” we like the Pirates’ breakthrough righty, at age 27, to be snapped up after Harper. McDonald boasts a 0.97 WHIP in 110 innings. His stats versus lefties and righties are scarily similar: .196 / .258 / .286 vs. LHBs, . 195 / .259 / .283 vs. RHPs. He’s never had anything approaching this kind of success before. Is he a one-year wonder? Perhaps, but a contending team may only need one year out of him to get it to a division title.

3. Tyler Colvin, OF, Colorado — After a dismal year with the Cubs, Colvin’s improvement has soared a mile high with the Rockies, blasting 13 homers in 187 ABs, including two in one game off Stephen Strasburg. Twelve of those 13 have come off righties, but otherwise he shows balance. He’s hitting over .300 (.305) and slugging over .600 (.626), the only available draftee with those credentials. The 26-year-old is seeing time both in the outfield and at first base.

4. Alex Rios, RF, Chicago White Sox — Rios has suddenly returned to his 2007-08 form, flashing power (12 homers) and speed (13 stolen bases) to go with average (.318) and a hefty OPS (.874). The 31-year-old is a former first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays.

5. Ryan Dempster, SP, Chicago Cubs — At age 35, Dempster would be our “most likely to plummet from this list” by the time the season ends, but based on what he’s done so far, a contending team would definitely snap him up for a fourth- or fifth-starter slot. Which is possibly a reflection of the lack of good starting pitching available. Dempster owns a 1.01 WHIP and a .204 batting-average against. He’s only pitched 86 innings, about 25 behind most full-time starters, but he’ll still be a worthwhile pick for 28 starts or so. He owns a 1.99 ERA and hasn’t allowed an earned run since May.

6. A.J. Pierzynski, C, Chicago White Sox — A lumbering 36-year-old is not usually a candidate for the first round, but there’s always somebody in need of a backstop, and Pierzynski is having a career year. His 16 homers is two off his career high, and his .527 slugging percentage is the first time in his career he’s cracked the .500 mark. He has the balance you can get by with at his position, where you’ll have to carry two anyway — dominant against RHPs (.899 OPS) and passable against lefties (.756).

7. Jarrod Parker, SP, Oakland — On the basis of his stats, Parker barely qualifies as a first-rounder, but the former first-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks is just 23 and has No. 1 starter potential. So far he owns a 1.25 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .216 off him. He keeps the ball in the park too, allowing just four homers so far in 85 innings.

8. Yu Darvish, SP, Texas — The Japanese import is walking far too many batters, with 53 walks in 102 innings. But he also has 117 strikeouts and opponents are hitting just .227 against him. At age 25, a team might be locking him up for his future potential.

9. Ryan Cook, RP, Oakland — The suddenly emerged closer of the A’s has mind-boggling numbers that merit a selection this early. He has allowed just 13 hits in 38 innings — 13 hits!!! That’s a .105 batting average against. (For comparison purposes, the best BAA of Mariano Rivera’s career was .165 in 2008.) He has allowed more walks (21) than hits, but he still owns a glittering 0.89 WHIP.

10. Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland — Another “there’s no good cards left, might as well take somebody with potential” selection. At .263 / .326 / .465, Cespedes has been good but not great. But at age 27, the Cuban still has tine to reach his expected potential.

11. Trevor Plouffe, 3B-OF, Minnesota — Who? Plouffe can play six positions and has belted 19 homers already this year. With a .253 average and .325 on-base average, hardly worth bragging about, Plouffe would be a good fit for a longball-hitting team in a small ballpark, as he’s slugging at a .546 clip. Also working against him: He’s imbalanced in favor of hitting lefties. He is a 2004 first-round draft pick and just 26. Candidate to drop from this list.

12. Wade Miley, SP, Arizona — The rookie lefty is one of the more highly regarded young pitchers in the game. His WHIP is 1.09 and BAA is .232. The 25-year-old has 14 starts and 3 relief appearances, totaling 100 innings, potentially making for a nice long reliever next year and a starter down the road.

13. Fernando Rodney, RP, Tampa Bay — With 25 saves, a .175 BAA and a  0.75 WHIP, Rodney will be the closer somebody needs, even if his stats fall short of Ryan Cook’s. You can look beyond his age (35) if you’re planning to go for it all in 2013.

14. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston — The Red Sox like Middlebrooks so much, they got rid of Strat favorite Kevin Youkilis. It’s not hard to see why, since he’s hitting nearly .300 (.298), and slugging .538.  Just 23, his defense is suspect, however, with seven errors in 46 games.

15. Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay — How many of us regret having passed on the chance to draft David Price before he had a lights-out card? Here’s another Rays lefty who is not likely to have great numbers at his current pace (1.45 WHIP, .252 BAA), but he’s just 23 and has a very bright future.

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7 Responses

  1. […] Thus, without further ado, we present the latest installment of a 2013 Mock Draft — a hefty overhaul from the midseason mock draft: […]

  2. I can promise that I’d rather jam a fork in my eye before I’d draft Ryan Dempster in the first round!

  3. Perfect sign Gary is feeling healthy…

  4. The Titans have no such regrets regarding David Price…

    • I promise I will not draft Ryan Cook…Gary. Thanks a bunch for the peerless prognostications.

  5. Love it! Let me add the possibility of Travis D’Arnaud (cuppa Joe possible, but torn PCL might derail), Starling Marte (sure call-up), Trevor Bauer (already up), Drew Smyly (always a few Timid Tabbie homers in the group), Yasmani Grandal (up), Danny Hultzen (likely cuppa), Kolten Wong (remote cuppa), Tyler Skaggs (remote cuppa). Gotta think the crusty veterans like Dumpster dance and Pierzynski drop– they always do. Also, is Chris Capuano rostered?

    • Chris Capuano is available, but as a lefty who has allowed 12 HRs to RHBs in 111 IP, I did not rank him as first-round material. Regarding other prospects, I only considered players who already have enough time in the bigs that you can reasonably expect they will get a card. Those other guys… we’ll have to wait to see what their numbers are at year’s end.

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