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TCB Draft Board: April

Mark Appel faces stiff competition in the form of Oklahoma righty Jonathan Gray, who continues his march up draft boards.

Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

Okay, I'm late putting this one together. It's been almost a week since Tim posted the details of our monthly draft discussion.

Two newcomers to our board: The first is Braden Shipley. The right-hander out of the University of Nevada has put together a solid junior season to this date, going 7-2 with a 2.49 ERA, 78 strikeouts, and 27 walks in 86.2 innings. He sits in the mid-nineties but has been clocked as high as 97, boasts a low-80s changeup, high-70s curve, and a nice 6'3", 180-pound frame.

The second newcomer is Lakewood (Calif.) High School's J.P. Crawford, a toolsy, rangy shortstop prospect who has won a lot of people over with his plus athleticism, good defensive instincts, and projectability. He's seen his stock rise as more scouts have been drawn to his fluid motions on the field - at an early season game I went to, there was not a single scout present. At his last game, there were no fewer than two dozen.

Over 318 at-bats, Appel has allowed just 14 extra base hits, and only one home run.

Jonathan Gray continues his steady charge up the draft board after debuting at #5 last month, but he can't surpass Mark Appel at #1 just yet. Appel holds on to the spot in the middle of a senior season in which he's gone 8-3 with a 1.56 ERA, 106 strikeouts, and just 15 walks over 86.1 innings. Appel has faced 318 batters and allowed just 14 extra base hits, including only 1 home run.

1 (1)

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. (conroestro)
2 (5) Jonathan Gray (RHP, University of Oklahoma)
Gray has forced himself into the 1-1 discussion by virtue of a masterful junior campaign. The 6'4", 240-pound righty has added a plus slider and a changeup to his fastball, which hits triple digits with good command. (Anthony Boyer)
3 (2) Clint Frazier (OF, Georgia HS)
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. (conroestro)
4 (4) Kris Bryant (3B, 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 (6) Austin Meadows (OF, Georgia HS)
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)
6 (3) Sean Manaea (LHP, Indiana State University)
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)
7 (7) Jonathan Denney (C, Oklahoma HS)
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 (NA) Braden Shipley (RHP, University of Nevada)
Mid-90s fastball that's been known to touch 97, a changeup that projects to be above-average, a fantastic curveball in the high-70s, and a nice, projectable 6'3", 180-pound frame, Shipley has shown improved command this season and has pitched his way into our top ten. (Anthony Boyer)
9 (NA) J.P. Crawford (SS, California HS)
Toolsy lefty who destroyed the 2012 PG National Showcase. Top-notch athleticism. If he can maintain that athleticism while his body fills in and he adds strength, the sky is the limit. Some rawness to his game, but it comes easily to him. Good arm strength and instincts at shortstop - a rarity in this draft. Gets the barrel on the ball and makes hard contact. Balanced at the plate. Extremely projectable. (Anthony Boyer)
10 (8) 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 changup that runs in on right-handed hitters, but it is only an average pitch right now. (subber10)

Dropped Out: Colin Moran, Kohl Stewart

It's interesting to note that several actual tiers have developed in our voting: Appel and Gray are in front by a wide margin, followed by Frazier and Bryant. Meadows and Manaea were neck-and-neck in the third tier, and then there's a significant dropoff before Denney. Shipley and Crawford were separated by each other by just a point, but with only half the points that we awarded to Denney. Ryne Stanek brought up the rear with fewer than one-tenth of the points we awarded to Appel.