Minor Developments: Class of '13

Rob Steingall

Let’s check in this week with the 2013 MLB draft class, and see how the top college draftees are currently performing.

It was an average New York-Penn League debut (2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO) for the top overall pick, Houston's Mark Appel, but things have only improved since that first outing. His first outing upon being promoted to Class-A Quad Cities was excellent (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO), as he pounded the zone with the upper-90s fastball he was well known for at Stanford. He should move quickly through the Astros system, and the thinking of many is that he’ll close the year in Double-A with an eye on the majors in 2014.
The pros were tough on Rockies pitcher Jonathan Gray during his debut in the Rookie Pioneer League (3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO). He settled down and had a much better result in his second outing (2.2, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO). He should gradually build up his workload moving forward. Gray can hit triple-digits on the radar gun, and potentially has an even higher ceiling than Appel, but is a far less polished product. Both top pitchers possess top of the rotation upside and are excellent stocks to own in deeper dynasty formats.
The Royals surprised many by taking shortstop Hunter Dozier with the eighth pick (he was a supplemental round talent at best, according to draft pundits), but he’s more than holding his own in the Rookie Pioneer League (.286, 11 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB). Despite what many believed was the draft’s biggest early reach, Dozier is no slouch with the stick, as his plus power and solid hitting approach make him an intriguing prospect. He may move to second or third base down the line, but could still have value as a solid fantasy contributor.
The Mariners must be pleased with the early results from third baseman D.J. Peterson, who is already showing good power in the Short-Season Northwest League (.276, 6 2B, 5 HR, 23 RBI). Peterson is blend between the two third basemen drafted before him (Kris Bryant and Colin Moran, who both have yet to debut) -- a hitter who possesses both an above average power and hit tool. He should stick at the hot corner.
A personal favorite of mine in this draft class is Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who has already slugged two home runs in his first five games in the Short-Season Northwest League. Renfroe shot up draft boards this spring on the heels of reports of his rapid development as a hitter, displaying great raw power and speed during his junior season at Mississippi State. He profiles as a corner outfielder due to his cannon arm, and could be a middle of the order hitter in San Diego.
Here are the current performances of the rest of the first round college players who have already debuted. Feel free to elaborate on their performances in the comments.

  • Braden Shipley, P, Diamondbacks (Class-A Northwest League): 3 G, 7.71 ERA, 4.2 IP, 2 BB, 6 SO

  • Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (Class-A South Atlantic League): 25 G, .305, 4 2B, 3 3B, 8 RBI, 9 SB

  • Chris Anderson, P, Dodgers (Class-A Midwest League): 4 G, 3.75 ERA, 12 IP, 7 BB, 16 SO

  • Marco Gonzales, P, Cardinals (Rookie Gulf Coast League): 2 G, 9.00 ERA, 3 IP, 1 BB, 4 SO

  • Jon Crawford, P, Tigers (Class-A New York-Penn League): 5 G, 1.59 ERA, 11.1 IP, 4 BB, 15 SO

  • Alex Gonzalez, P, Rangers (Class-A Northwest League): 6 G, 7.24 ERA, 13.2 IP, 5 BB, 11 SO

  • Eric Jagielo, 3B, Yankees (Class-A New York-Penn League): 10 G, .350, 2 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI

  • Phil Ervin, OF, Reds (Rookie Pioneer League): 22 G, .276, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 SB

  • Jason Hursh, P, Braves (Class-A South Atlantic League): 2 G, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 2 BB, 4 SO

Rob Steingall is a syndicated fantasy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/rsteingall) and email prospect questions to MinorDevelopments@yahoo.com