2013 MLB Draft Positional Rankings: HS Pitchers

Bob Levey

This is where most of the upside in the draft comes from, and this year features so many lefty's

Everybody loves a young high school pitcher. There's always so much you can dream on and there's so much projection to drool over. But, that's also the downside and the fear with them. There's so much that can go wrong like injuries and the very real possibility that they don't progress.

This draft class is very interesting in that regard. There are quite a few "polished" pitchers for this group. By polished, I mean relative to the classification, not compared to the college arms. Although, they lack the top of the rotation upside like the other riskier pitchers that are also available in this class.

The highlight of this class though is that there are a ton of lefty's in this group. It's just not common to see this many left-handed pitching prospects at the top of a draft class.

1. Kohl Stewart, 6-3, 190, RHP, St. Pius HS (TX)

His delivery needs a lot of work, but he's far and away the best high school pitcher in this year's class. It's going to be tough to sign him away from his football scholarship, but if the team who drafts him is lucky enough to lock him up, they're getting a guy with four pitches – two of which have plus-plus potential, in his fastball and slider. Normally I like to make comparisons, but someone already made an early Josh Beckett comparison for Stewart and I like it enough to leave it alone. -jsams

2. Robert Kaminsky, 6-0, 190, LHP, St. Joseph HS (NJ)

With a simple sidestep delivery and great deception out of his high 3/4 arm slot, Kaminsky blends a low-90s fastball with a nasty plus/plus curveball, which has velocity, spin, and depth, and which he can change the shape of and spot to both sides of the plate. Flashes an occasional change, which should develop into at least an average pitch as he progresses into professional baseball. Jerry Ford, the president of Perfect Game, called Kaminsky the "closest to the big leagues of any high school pitcher I have seen." At just 6'0", 190, Kaminsky doesn't look like he'll grow much more, if any, which is the biggest knock against him. But as far as pure stuff goes, it's been said by many sources that he can hang even with some of the top college arms. -Anthony Boyer

3. Ian Clarkin, 6-2, 190, LHP, Madison HS (CA)

Once considered the top lefty pitching prospect from the High School ranks, Clarkin has lost some of his luster with some and is not considered the consensus top prep lefty. We have him as such, but you'll see him ranked differently elsewhere. He has a smaller frame which limits his projection, but he has a low-90's fastball with good movement and a changeup with really nice fade and sink. He also throws a curve that has flashed plus potential. -subber10

4. Phil Bickford, 6-4, 185, RHP, Oaks Christian HS (CA)

Bickford doesn't have the cleanest mechanics, but he has a very interesting fastball that has some of the best life in this prep class. You add in plus velocity since he can run it up to 96, you have a plus fastball that you are pitching off of. His fastball is so effective that he really hasn't had to use his slider and changeup much to this point but they flash potential to be above average pitches. He's an athletic and projectable pitcher, so there's a lot to like. -subber10

5. Jake Brentz, 6-2, 195, LHP, South HS (MO)

Brentz has very little pitching experience, but his athleticism and delivery make him one of the most intriguing arms in this class. He doesn't have the most projectable frame, but he's already touched 96. This guy is a true boom or bust pick. He could become an absolute stud with time, or he could never develop and not even be a useful Major League player. -jsams

6. Trey Ball, 6-6, 180, LHP, New Castle HS (IN)

Trey Ball is the top two-way prospect this year as an outfielder with some pop and a lefty with a very large and projectable frame. His frame is drool worthy but his stuff isn't quite as eye-popping. There's plenty to dream on, but it's going to take a long time to get there and a lot has to develop. It's possible, but not a guarantee. It's reasonable to see all of his stuff ending up as just average except the curve could be a plus pitch. He's very athletic and could be much better, but it requires improvement in multiple grades. -subber10

7. Casey Shane, 6-4, 200, RHP, Centennial HS (TX)

High school pitchers are notorious for having their projection reliant upon the development of a changeup. Most focus on fastball and a primary breaking ball with the changeup taking a very distant back seat. Casey Shane is not that type of pitcher. His changeup is one of the best in the high school ranks and already grades out as above-average and could be a plus pitch. He also throws a low-90's fastball with very good movement. His breaking ball needs work but could be an above-average pitch. He also has a nice athletic frame which bodes well for him repeating his good mechanics which features a good leg drive. -subber10

8. Kyle Serrano, 6-0, 185, RHP, Farragut HS (TN)

I really like Serrano's delivery and potential for three above-average pitches down the road. He's already somewhat polished for a HS pitcher, with his dad being a coach and all, but that's what also makes him an extremely difficult sign – his dad is a coach at Tenesse, where Serrano is committed to. -jsams

9. Matt Krook, 6-2, 190, LHP, St. Ignatius College Prep (CA)

Matt Krook has good frame and a very strong arm that could allow for his fastball to get a little better than his current 94 velocity. His mechanics aren't bad and his althleticism allows me to think he should develop into a clean mechanical pitcher. His throws a curve and changeup but along with command, are inconsistent and project to be average to above-average. -subber10

10. Hunter Harvey, 6-3, 175, RHP, Bandys HS (NC)

The son of former big leaguer Bryan Harvey and the grandson of slow pitch softball hall-of-famer Stan Harvey, Hunter only recent emerged into the national scouting picture, since his father mostly kept him away from showcases. With a fastball in the mid-90s (clocked as high as 97) and a plus curveball in the mid-to-upper-70s, once Harvey's name was out, he drew a ton of interest. During the National High School Invitational, dozens of scouts drove two hours out of town to catch his start. -Anthony Boyer

11. Connor Jones, 6-3, 205, RHP, Great Bridge HS (VA)

Jones is a head scratcher for me. I do not like his mechanics. They seem rushed to me. It works great when he's pitching from the stretch, but it's a little much from the windup. Although, from a stuff standpoint, his fastball has good movement and I can really get behind that pitch. The rest of his stuff grades out as average pitches. -subber10

12. Garrett Williams, 6-2, 195, LHP, Calvary Baptist Academy (LA)

Garret Williams has a very deliberate delivery, and that's really the only way I can describe it. The highlight of his stuff is a big breaker curve that flashes some sharpness to it and could grade out to a future plus pitch. He also has some decent movement on his fastball, more sink than lateral movement. -subber10

13. AJ Puk, 6-7, 220, LHP, Washington HS (IA)

He's tall and lefty, that's enough to grab your attention at first. But, he keeps you around because of the big curve. It's inconsistent but when he spins a good one, it's sharp and has big break. His arm speed isn't consistent, but when his mechanics are working right, he almost has the simplicity of Madison Bumgarner to his delivery. He runs his fastball up to 93 and that could get a little better. -subber10

14. Hunter Green, 6-4, 180, LHP, Warren East HS (KY)

A scouting friend of mine described Hunter Green to me as, "The best prep athlete out of Kentucky high schools since Ben Revere." That's a tall order, but the 6'4", 180-pound lefty is certainly impressive. His fastball has been clocked as high as 95, but generally rests in the upper-80s/lower-90s. He's got an above-average changeup with good action on it, plus a curveball that's shown huge depth and hard spin at times. He also throws a slider that's been slurvy at times, but generally comes out short and crisp. His biggest step moving forward will be to hone his control. Sometimes it appears that he doesn't know what shape a pitch will have until after it's left his hand. That's led to inconsistency, which he'll need to rein in moving forward. Some days he looks like a first rounder; others, not so much. -Anthony Boyer

15. Devin Williams, 6-3, 175, RHP, Hazelwood West HS (MO)

Devin Williams is an athlete on the mound. Everything he does is raw, but the mechanics are surprisingly free of red flags despite them being rough around the edges. His fastball runs up to the mid-90's and his changeup shows a lot of promise. He's really climbed up draft boards over the last few months and teams that like athletes on the mound could fall in love with him early. -subber10

16. Carlos Salazar, 6-2, 205, RHP, Kerman HS (CA)

There's enough here to fall in love with, and if you do, you're going to have him a lot higher on your list than most. He has one of the better breaking balls in this prep class and that goes along very nicely with a fastball that has gotten up to 96 this spring. However, there are some faults with him such as a lack of changeup and poor command. He sort of lunges towards the plate and loses consistency as a result. -subber10

17. Chandler Eden, 6-1, 165, RHP, Yuba City HS (CA)

Eden doesn't really have a true above-average pitch, but a few have flashed plus. He has an easy delivery and what's been described as an "explosive" arm. The Oregon State commit is considered a tough sign, and college would probably make him a lot of money. -jsams

18. Ian McKinney, 5-11, 183, LHP, Boone HS (FL)

McKinney is the prospect I irrationally like more than anyone else, and by anyone else, I mean anyone. I probably think more highly of this kid than his mom and dad. At 5'11", he's small and not projectable whatsoever. The fastest I've ever seen him top out at is 90 MHP. Yet I think McKinney is going to find a way to be an effective pitcher. His delivery is easy and he hides the ball well. He has four pitches and can locate all of them well, especially for a high school pitcher. His slider and change are his two best pitches. I'm telling you, someone is going to get a steal here. -jsams

19. Jonah Wesely, 6-2, 210, LHP, Tracy HS (CA)

A big-chested 6'2" lefty out of Tracy, California, Jonah Wesely combines a nice running fastball in the low 90s, which he can cut, with a plus curveball which has been a devastating chase pitch at times, and which he spots extremely well, with sharp biting action. In addition to those two plus pitches, he's still developing his slider and his changeup, and may be well-suited to honoring his UCLA commit, but he has some really great - albeit raw - tools. Already physically developed. Compact arm action and a high 3/4s release; hides the ball well. Works quickly and aggressively. -Anthony Boyer

20. Stephen Gonsalves, 6-5, 190, LHP, Cathedral Catholic (CA)

Stock may be down on the tall and lanky lefty, but there is still a lot to like. He hasn't progressed like a lot of scouts expected and has fallen behind in the depth of leftys. He has an old school style windup and and an easy delivery. He reaches the low-90's with his fastball very easily. His curveball is inconsistent but flashes very nice late break. His frame indicates that he could be a late bloomer and the progress scouts wanted could still happen. -subber10

Honorable Mention:

Tyler Danish, Dustin Driver, Andrew Church, Blake Taylor, Clinton Hollon, Derik Beauprez

Next up: College Pitchers

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