Early top-30 ranking for 2013 draft

Updated: August 28, 2012, 4:14 PM ET
By Keith Law

The 2013 draft class is shaping up to be the weakest in years, thanks largely to the end of a long run of strong groups of high school arms. The strengths of this upcoming class right now are college pitching, especially the kind of second-tier arms who typically go in the middle to back of the first round, and high school catching, although several of those kids are committed to major Division I programs and might be tough signs.

Having spent the summer scouting the top players for next year's draft, I figured this would be a good time to give you a preliminary ranking. So here's a very early look at the top 30 prospects in the class, starting with one you all probably know quite well.

1. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Drafted eighth overall by Pittsburgh in June, Appel chose not to sign with the Pirates, who offered $3.8 million, instead returning to Stanford to try to reach the College World Series for the first time in his career as a Cardinal. Even maintaining his level of performance would return him to consideration for the top pick, but if Appel can get more say in his pitch calling -- avoiding bench-called nonsense like six consecutive changeups to guys who can't hit his fastball -- he can still improve his stock as a senior.