It usually takes a long time for MLB draft picks to pan out, but there are a few players in this year's class who can help their teams relatively quickly.
The time it takes for stars to reach the majors usually causes fans to ignore the draft completely. A struggling team cannot look to the event to fill needs the way squads can in the NFL or NBA.
However, there are plenty of recent examples of prospects who spent little or no time in the minor leagues before making their debuts, like Stephen Strasburg and Mike Leake.
While these players are still far from reaching their potential, they have the skill necessary to play at the sport's highest level within the next couple of seasons.
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
After being one of the top players in the draft a year ago, Mark Appel declined to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates and returned to school. Since then, he has done nothing but continue to pitch well to keep him near the top of draft boards.
He already has three plus pitches between his fastball, slider and change-up, and all of them can be thrown for strikes. Usually pitchers at this level rely on two offerings, but Appel's control of each will help him beat hitters at a high level.
Additionally, he has a lot of experience after taking the ball for virtually every big game for Stanford over the past three years.
Appel has a great mentality on the mound and has proven himself as a starter. This will help him go far as a professional.
Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
While Appel might have a more complete arsenal at this point, Jonathan Gray will get by on his fastball for a long time.
The pitch not only reaches 100 mph, but he has kept that speed late into games. Whenever he needs to reach back to get a big strikeout, he comes through with the devastating fastball with enough movement to give hitters little chance of succeeding.
Of course, pitchers cannot get by on just a fastball at the professional level. Fortunately, Gray also has displayed a nice slider and a developing change-up.
If these two offerings can become even averages pitches, they will make the fastball that much better and help Gray move through the minor league levels quickly.
Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
Compared to some of the other pitchers in the class, Ryne Stanek does not have anywhere near as much upside. Instead of projecting as a future ace, he would be lucky to be a No. 3 or No. 4 starter in a major league rotation.
Still, what makes Stanek so appealing is that he does not need much help to be ready for the top level.
The Arkansas pitcher has four pitches, including both a slider and a curve, which will help him beat good hitters. While his change-up still needs a lot of work, his feel for his pitches will take him a long way.
If he can show a little more control, the talented pitcher could end up being in a rotation by the 2014 season.
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