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2013 MLB Draft: TCB's Astros Draft Board - March

Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray enters the conversation for 1-1 as the TCB staff's board begins to figure itself out.

Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

As high school and college baseball teams begin conference play and things begin to shake out on the scouting front, we at TCB got together and discussed the evolution of our draft board. For those who don't remember our February board, there's been some movement. Namely, Mark Appel is shaking off the competition, and a few new names have entered the conversation - led by Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray, who has broken the triple-digit barrier and pitched masterfully against college competition so far this season.

As Spencer said in our email conversation while putting this board together, "it felt more like a board than a list of names this time around."

1 (2) Mark Appel (RHP, Stanford University)
From a scouting perspective, there's a lot to like about Appel. His arsenal includes a mid-90s fastball that can touch 99 at times, a changeup that has plus potential, and a slider that may very well be his best pitch, all while possessing sound mechanics and a huge pitcher's frame. On the flip side, up to this point he's lacked consistency with his location, movement with his fastball and change, and the overall dominating results that you would expect from a pitcher with his repertoire. If he can take another step forward this year in those regards, he should once again be considered going 1.1, with the wildcard being signability, even with the apparent lack of leverage. (conroestro)
2 (3) Clint Frazier (OF, Georgia HS)
Austin Meadows may be viewed as the top prep outfielder in the draft as of now, but expect his counterpart, Clint Frazier, to give him a run for his money this season, especially since there are fewer question marks regarding Frazier's bat. Frazier is a hard-nosed five-tool outfielder with a great arm, and a swing that generates a ton of bat speed. Some of the critiques at this point are that he relies on his wrists and doesn't use his lower body enough at this point, and that he has a developed frame that could cause him to move off of center field should he add more weight in the future. His stock could easily rise with a solid senior season this year. (conroestro)
3 (1) Sean Manaea (LHP, Indiana State University)
Manaea, who was undrafted out of high school, has seen his stock skyrocket after a dominating performance in last summer's Cape Cod League. He followed up a modest, if not solid, sophomore season (3.34 ERA in 17 starts, 115 Ks in 105 innings) with a 1.22 ERA in eight Cape League starts, with 85 Ks in 57.1 innings. His 85 Ks broke the Cape single-year record. Manaea's numbers have certainly helped him reach the top of the board, but his projectability is a huge plus, as well. At 6'4" and a little over 200 lbs., Manaea has the size and frame that you look for in a future ace. The real kicker, though: He's a lefty who sits roughly around the mid-90s with his fastball and has some knee-bending breaking stuff, especially to left-handed hitters. (leistomania409)
4 (6) Kris Bryant (1B/3B/OF, University of San Diego)
Bryant has a premium right-handed bat, without a premium position. He has power to all fields, and hits to all fields to go with a patient approach. He has the arm for third base, but as he continues to grow into his lanky 6'5" frame, he may need to move to first base or a corner outfield position. (subber10)
5 (NR) Jonathan Gray (RHP, Oklahoma University)
Gray has forced himself into the 1-1 competition by virtue of the masterful beginning to his junior season. The 6'4", 240-pound righty has gone 5-1 to start the season, allowing 27 hits, 9 walks, and 8 earned runs over 53.2 innings, all while striking out 63 batters. He's added a plus slider and a changeup to his fastball, which hits triple digits with good command. If he shows that he can perform consistently at this level, he could easily end up at the very top of a lot of draft boards. (Anthony Boyer)
6 (4) Austin Meadows (OF, Georgia High School)
The outfielder from Georgia is one of the most-hyped prospects in the draft at this point. That's because he blew away the workout circuit last summer, running fast and hitting the ball hard. Smooth left-handed stroke with some good power potential. At 6'3", 200 lbs., he may have some room to grow in his frame. Opinions on his future potential are mixed, though, with questions around his bat and whether he'll ever develop an elite future skill. (David Coleman)
7 (9) Jonathan Denney (C, Oklahoma High School)
A high school backstop with an extremely high ceiling, Denney could become this year's Carlos Correa. All he's done is continually wow scouts at national and international showcases. One of the stars of the Perfect Game 2013 World Showcase, where his glove and bat were continually praised. Polished defensively, with a strong, accurate arm and great footwork. His hitting mechanics don't have a lot of moving parts - a short swing with lift and power. (Anthony Boyer)
8 (5) Ryne Stanek (RHP, University of Arkansas)
A tall, lean pitcher that has some projection and needs some work on his mechanics. He works his fastball in the low-to-mid-90s, but his best pitch is a slider that comes in around the mid-80s and grades out as a plus. he also throws a changeup that runs in on right-handed hitters, but it is only an average pitch right now. (subber10)
9 (7) Colin Moran (3B/1B, University of North Carolina)
Moran's uncle, B.J. Surhoff, was a #1 overall pick in 1985 by the Brewers, and the apple didn't fall far from the tree. There are some questions about Moran's ability to stick at third base, but none about his bat. He led UNC in average, OBP, and SLG in his sophomore season, 2012, and he should be a very good contact hitter in the pros. His power may take a little longer to arrive, as it does with many young players. He doesn't have a sky-high ceiling, but should become a major league regular easily, particularly if he can improve his footwork enough to stay at third. (Anthony Boyer)
10 (NR) Kohl Stewart (RHP, Texas High School)
Generally thought to be the best pure high school arm in the draft, Kohl is also the only local talent in the top ten. A 6'3", 195 lb. righty from St. Pius X in Houston, Kohl throws a very easy 93-95 with a wipeout slider. He has has verbally committed to play both baseball and football (QB) at Texas A&M. Stewart, who touched 97 on the gun at the Under Armour Games in San Diego this summer, is believed to be a difficult sign. He also sustained an injury to his shoulder playing football, and is currently rehabbing. (illinibob)

Dropped Out: Reese McGuire, Trevor Williams