2013 MLB Draft Prep: Two Months To Go

"Why yes, I think that is Theo Epstein over there." - Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

It's really hard finding time to track all the essential players in college now that the minor league season has started.

One of the criticisms some people have about baseball is that it's so bo-o-o-o-oring. The truth is, I love a good nap. I was enjoying a couple games (pro and college) this weekend, and dozed off to both of them. There is no problem there. I tend to get sleep-deprived anyway.

My draft prep begins in, of all places, Geneva, Illinois. While the Kane County Cougars were being swept by Houston's Quad City River Bandits, it sounds like Houston has been doing its homework. Despite the Cougars' incoming notoriety for being young and talented, it sounds like Carlos Correa (first pick in last June's draft) was the best player on the field in the four-game series. 2012 second-rounder Karsten Whitson (whose contract was in no small part available due to the saving on Correa's selection) was very solid as well. The can of worms has already been opened, and I'm not specifically going there this time, but if two talents grade out really closely, there are certainly benefits to getting the cheaper one signed and in camp.

MLB Trade Rumors has the Cubs' short list at six. While I'm not sure that's accurate, it seems reasonable. Stanford's Mark Appel fanned seven and walked one USC Trojan over 8⅔ innings in a 4-2 win. Theo Epstein took in the game, apparently. I don't see Appel slipping to the third pick.

Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray 'struggled' against Texas in a 2-1 win over the Longhorns. Gray fanned only eight, walked two, and made 116 pitches into the seventh. I didn't notice any in-depth velocity numbers, but it's the first time in a while that Gray fanned fewer than 10. Someone will have to really impress to pass one of these two. Or, Appel or Gray could back-slide, which is why a wise team researches six deep for the second pick.

In the Friday game against Loyola Marymount (CA), San Diego's Kris Bryant singled in four tries, fanning twice as a DH in a 4-0 loss. I can't help but think the Cubs will get a pitcher from the West Coast Conference on how he pitched to Bryant. Scouting works like that.

The two Georgia prep outfielders, Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, are still probably pounding 80 mile per hour fastballs. As to who the sixth option would be, maybe Sean Manaea? He fanned nine, walking none in a solid six-inning performance on Sunday to get credit for Indiana State's 7-5 win over Wichita State. The Sycamores' bullpen went all Carlos Marmol in the ninth, but there was no word of a mystery jump ball call costing the Shockers in this game.

Matt Grabusky posted a mock draft recently with the Cubs grabbing Gray with 1.2, Marshall's Aaron Blair at 2.2 (Blair fanned 11 and walked one in a start against Houston this weekend. I'd be cool with that pick). In the mock, the Royals' competitive balance pick was D.J. Peterson. The third baseman from New Mexico had his 12th double and 12th homer Friday night against Air Force in a 11-5 win. Perhaps Commissioner Selig will be able to say, "We have a trade" from the podium. Nine of the competitive balance picks can still be traded. Pittsburgh, Miami, and Detroit have traded theirs already, so 35, 39, and 74 aren't available for trade. Maybe Cleveland might want something in June for pick 70.

This is a bit abbreviated again, but how many ways can you say, "Appel or Gray if they keep producing."

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