Last weekend I got a chance to see Arizona State play two games against Western Michigan. As Mariner fans, this seems pretty irrelevant, but it’s actually extremely important to the Mariners. The Arizona State Sun Devils have three high level MLB draft prospects.
One of them, shortstop Deven Marrero, is considered by many scouts to be the best college position player in the draft. Mlb.com ranks Marrero as the third best player available in this year’s draft; and your Seattle Mariners just so happen to have the third overall pick.
So here is a look at the man who may be the first round draft pick for the Mariners. Marrero is a 6’1” 195, right handed shortstop with an excellent glove. He has a nice arm and range and phenomenal hands. He will definitely remain a plus shortstop at the next level. Marrero doesn’t have a lot of power at the plate right now, but he is a good contact hitter and knows how to use the gaps. Some scouts do project him to develop decent power however.
In the games I saw, Marrero didn’t look great, but it was the first two games of the year for him. He didn’t look great at the plate, his pitch selection seemed suspect, and he didn’t show much power. He did hit the ball hard consistently however. He also showed great defensive ability and made some nice plays, although he did make an error while being too aggressive on a soft groundball. His awareness on the base paths was also excellent.
The other two draft prospect, pitchers Jake Barrett and Brady Rodgers, are both probably late first round or second round picks. Rodgers doesn’t have any phenomenal traits except his control, but he has a lot of decent tools that could make him a decent big league pitcher. His control is demonstrated by the fact that he walked just nine batters as a sophomore last year in 98.1 innings pitched which came out to .826 BB/9IP. According to scouting reports, his fastball hovers around 90mph and his curveball, slider, and changeup are all decent pitches. Baseball America says that Rodgers has the upside of a 3 starter.
I got to see Rodgers pitch in ASU’s season opener. In six innings, Rodgers did not give up any runs and didn’t walk any batters. He also struck out eight batters. Part of these numbers were probably due to the weak Western Michigan team he was playing against, but Rodgers still looked impressive. I was sitting about 10 rows up directly behind home plate, and according to the 10 plus radar guns in the rows ahead of me, Rodgers’ fastball maxed out around 93 mph. He consistently got first pitch strikes and was excellent at staying ahead in the count. He also had great command with each of his off speeds and was not afraid of throwing them, even when behind batters. What was most impressive to me was the amount of swinging strikes he got.
I didn’t get to see Barrett pitch, but according to scouting reports, he is one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the draft with a fastball in the upper 90’s. A decent slider and splitter are also in his arsenal, but his spotty command and delivery may push him towards the bullpen.
We are still a few months out from the MLB draft, but it is never too early to start thinking about the future of the Mariners.