The 2013 amateur draft starts on Thursday, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Riley Unroe | SS
Riley’s father Tim spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues as a utility man for the Brewers, Angels, and Braves in the late-1990s/early-2000s. Unroe attends Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Arizona, and is strongly committed to Southern California.
A true-switch hitter, Unroe has a lightning quick bat from both sides of the plate and average power potential. He uses his lower half well and can cover the entire plate thanks to strong hand-eye coordination. Unroe sets his back elbow up high and can get beat by good fastballs just because it takes him longer to get into the hitting position. That’s easy to correct, at least in theory. He’s on the small side at 6-foot-0 and 180 lbs., but he runs well and has soft hands in the field. Although he isn’t a lock to stay at short, Unroe does have a better chance than most. If that doesn’t work out, second base or center field could be options. Everyone who watches Unroe play loves him for his energy and off-the-charts makeup. It helps that he’s grown up around the game. There is more video on YouTube.
Ranked the 53rd and 90th best prospect in the draft by Baseball America and Keith Law (subs. req’d) in their latest rankings, respectively, Unroe could easily find himself going in the back-half of the first round if some team thinks he can stick at short long-term. I’m guessing at least one of the 30 clubs believe he can. The Yankees love love love up-the-middle athletes and guys with great makeup, so Unroe definitely seems like someone they could target with one of their three first round picks (26th, 32nd, 33rd). If he lasts until their second rounder (66th), they’ll probably be thrilled. Whether he’s signable at that point is another matter entirely.