In the last 2 days, the Seattle Mariners have drafted 16 players. I almost wrote that they now have 16 players but, surely, some of these players will not sign with Seattle. The Mariners have merely drafted the right to negotiate a contract with 16 new players who won’t likely reach the big leagues for at least another 2 years. I’ve just explained to myself why most people don’t find the MLB draft interesting.
I still think it’s interesting and that’s why all of you readers have gotten about 5 posts about it. Suckers. It’s definitely more interesting than watching Blake Beavan tonight. I’m ready for Erasmo or Hultzen to come up anytime. Oh, right, this is supposed to be about the draft. By most accounts the M’s had a good draft day. Of course, we’ll be able to actually tell you in 5 years if this was a good draft but for now I’ll say that the M’s had a good process in who they picked according to most scouts. They may have to pay over-slot on a number of guys which would mean that a few of them may not sign, since the M’s don’t want to suffer the new penalties that go with going over their allotted budged for the draft. That’s all a bit confusing, but the main gist of it is that the M’s have an amount, set by Major League Baseball, that they’re allowed to spend on their top 10 round picks. This amount is the sum of the monetary value that each draft slot the team owns, is given. If they go over that amount then they will suffer penalties (as severe as losing draft picks for next year). I could go into more detail but I’d rather talk about the actual players. I’ll give you a few sentences on each player and tell you if I think they’ll sign over-slot or under-slot, starting with first round pick and moving down.
1st round (3rd overall) – Mike Zunino (C), University of Florida
Matthew gave a bunch of links and wrote a bit about Zunino last night. The consensus about Zunino seems to be that fans would have loved to have one of the high-upside teenagers (Buxton and Correa) but since they weren’t available, this was the best pick. There aren’t hardly any concerns about Zunino having to move away from catcher, and while his bat isn’t at a superstar level it’s quite good. This was a good pick. If Zunino signs over-slot, it won’t be by much. Most think he’ll be right at slot.
2nd round (64th overall) – Joe DeCarlo (SS), Garnet Valley HS, Pennsylvania
I wonder when the last time the M’s drafted someone from Pennsylvania was. DeCarlo may stick at shortstop but could also be a candidate for third base. He’s a pretty big guy (6-0, 205) who will probably grow some more since he’s only 18. He’s got a good swing and is thought to have some power with that size. This is the 4th year in a row the M’s have taken a shortstop with their 2nd pick. I think that DeCarlo is more of a signability pick, as BA ranks him as their 287th prospect. I imagine he will go under-slot. He’s committed to Georgia but I’d be surprised if he didn’t sign. Another thing to keep in mind is that, with the new rules on the money and signing bonuses, high-schoolers may be taken higher because they are more likely to go to college if they’re selected later and not given as big of a bonus.
3rd round (98th overall) – Edwin Diaz (P), Caguas Military HS, Puerto Rico
Diaz is right-handed pitcher with a mid-90’s fastball. He has hit 98 MPH a few times. He’s tall and skinny (6-3, 163) and is more of project pick. He will need to develop better off-speed pitchers and his mechanics seem to be a little weird but his upside is high. He’s ranked as the 75th prospect by BA (just to let you know, those rankings are just a few scouts opinions. Don’t pay too much attention to them) and will probably sign just over his slot, if not right at it.
3rd round (126th overall) – Tyler Pike (P), Winter Haven HS, Florida
This pick was compensation for not signing last year’s 3rd rounder. Pike, a lefty, may have the most signability concerns of these first 3 picks, but this is one of my favorite picks for the M’s. He’s a lefty with a high 80’s to low 90’s fastball and a good change-up. His velocity may go up as he grows. He will have to work on his breaking pitch but many scouts call him crafty. He was rated as the 94th prospect by Keith Law, and will likely go overslot. He is committed to Florida State but if he signs, this will be a good pick.
4th round (131st overall) – Patrick Kivlehen (3B), Rutgers
Kivlehen has an interesting story. He played on the Rutgers football team for 4 years and then tried out for the baseball team. He quickly went on to be the Big East Player of the Year. If the Mariners do have a trend in drafting college players, I’d say it’s that they draft based on results rather than projected upside. That’s not to say that the college players they pick don’t have upside but it’s surprising how many of those guys have won conference players of the year. Maybe it’s just me, and every team does this but it doesn’t seem like this. I like this approach. Anyway, Kivlehen can hit. He had better numbers than Zunino this year. I don’t know anything about his defense but surely he’s athletic since he was a defensive back at Rutgers. That or he was just a really crappy defensive back. I would guess Kivlehen will go right around slot, if not under.
5th round (161st overall) – Chris Taylor (SS), University of Virginia
The other knack the front office has had is drafting guys from the same college or area. Sure enough, Taylor was shortstop on the team with Danny Hultzen, John Hicks, and Steven Proscia (all now current M’s farmhands). Taylor is a very good defensive shortstop with plus range and a strong-arm. There are concerns about his bat. He doesn’t have much power, although he’s hit a good amount of doubles. If he can hit adequately, his defense will carry him. I would guess that he would sign at about slot.
10 more picks to cover after the jump! Thanks for coming this far! 6th round (191st overall) – Timmy Lopes (SS), Edison HS, California
Another shortstop but don’t worry about that. Some guys will move off the position and quality depth at a tough position is a good thing. Lopes seems like another good defensive guy who has good contact ability with the bat. It’s thought that he might move to 2nd because of a lack of arm strength. Trying to sign a high school pick this late in the draft may be tough and they may have to go overslot to do it.
7th round (221st overall) – Taylor Ard (1B), WSU
A pick from the northwest! Sadly, it’s a Cougar… Just kidding! Ard has a lot of power and hit for a good average this season (.332 avg, 12 HR). He was all Pac-12 this season and all Pac-10 last season. His defense at first sounds good, but it’s not likely that he’ll be able to play anywhere else. He doesn’t walk a ton but if he hits for average then that can be overlooked. Ard has been drafted twice before and hasn’t signed but I think he’s likely to sign close to slot this time, maybe a little bit over. Notice how there haven’t really been anyone who projects to be under-slot.
8th round (251st overall) – Nick Halamandaris (1B), HS, California
If you like power prospects, these last 2 picks are for you. Halamandaris is a bit off the radar but then again, he’s committed to Cal next year and it might be hard to pull him away from that. Nick seems to be athletic, being a 3-sports star, so maybe he could move off of first-base. Power is a thing the Mariners need and it’d be cool if one of these guys worked out. I have my doubts about this guy signing though, although I’m not basing that off anything but my own speculation.
9th round (281st overall) – Jamodrick McGruder (2B), Texas Tech
We have a winner for the best draftee name! Congratulations, Jamodrick. McGruder has a great K/BB ratio (45/55), OBP (.500), and speed tool. He stole 39 bases this season (watch this, it becomes a trend). The drawbacks are his defense is questionable and he doesn’t have power. Otherwise, this pick has a lot of upside. I would guess right around slot on this guy.
10th round (311st overall) – Grady Wood (P), Western Oregon
This is the first college pitcher the M’s took and only the third pitcher overall. All those people who have been clamoring that the M’s overvalued pitching and draft too much of it were off base first of all, and will be pleased with this draft. Anyway, Wood has been very successful at Western Oregon. He has good control, although his stuff won’t blow anyone off the charts. He will probably sign under-slot and that will help with some of the other picks.
11th round (341st overall) – Kristian Brito (1B), HS, Puerto Rico
Brito has huge power but he’ll be a project. He may be a below-average hitter, but Baseball America rates his power a 70 on the 20-80 scale. If he can get that to translate into games. I’m hopeful he signs and haven’t seen a college commitment from him so that could be a good sign. We’re past the 10th round so I can stop babbling about the slot. For the record, Brito is the second guy they drafted from Puerto Rico. This speaks to them being down there looking at Correa. The more I think about it, the more I believe the M’s would have selected Correa if he were available. Again, that’s just my own speculation.
12th round (371st overall) – Michael Faulkner (CF), Arkansas State
As Larry Stone tweeted, Faulkner was drafted one spot before a player with the first name William. That’s weird and awesome. Faulkner is another very fast guy. He stole 41 bases and his defense is said to be very good but his bat may have to pick up a little bit for him to be an all-around player.
13th round (401st overall) – Blake Hauser (P), VCU
Hauser is rated in the top 200 by BA so maybe they’ll have some trouble signing him. If he does sign, Hauser is a bullpen arm who could make it through the system pretty quickly. His fastball is in the mid-90’s and he has a slider. People say he throws his slider too often and it isn’t a plus pitch so there’s that to look out for. This is a good pick if he signs.
14th round (431st overall) – Brock Hebert (2B), Southeastern Louisiana
Hebert is another speedy guy. He had 36 steals and a .474 OBP. The M’s don’t really draft for need but it seems like they’re trying to find a lead-off guy. Brock was hit by 15 pitches in 60 games. That didn’t even lead the team! That’s more HBP than the M’s have taken all season.
15th round (461st overall) – Darrio Pizzano (OF), Columbia
The brains of the bunch had a good year for Columbia. I can’t speak to his defense but he had a slash line of .360/.471/.547. Just keep doing that and you’ll be in the majors in no time!
I made it through all of this! Now you know a little bit about these guys. I probably won’t cover anything too much tomorrow because those guys don’t work out very often but if anything notable happens I’ll pass it along. Hopefully, these guys sign and we get them into the system soon. It was a fun day! Go M’s!