The 2013 edition of the MLB Draft is officially over. 3 days, and 40 rounds worth of players were drafted, which means a lot of players go by the wayside. No one remembers who the Mariners took in the 32nd round in 2007 or anything like that, unless they become something. Occasionally you get a guy who was drafted extremely late and becomes one of the better players at the time, like Mike Piazza, who was taken in the 62nd round. But for the most part, guys taken in the double digits, and even earlier, never become anything. Most become career minor leaguers, or others may not even sign.
The volatility of baseball prospects make grading drafts impossible until years down the road to see how successful the draftees become. And even then, you have to have some kind of baseline of how many you would expect to come to fruition. So for that reason, coupled with the fact that I am not a scout or expert, I am not going to attempt to do that.
Instead, I just wanted to put up a quick post, essentially summarizing the draft, the direction the Mariners went, and maybe some general thoughts on the first few meaningful picks.
From what I can gather, the Mariners probably just went best player available, pretty much to a tee. That is what they said they would do, as most teams do. The problem is, it is easy to see some patterns in there that, depending on how you look at them, can give the idea that maybe they were targeting certain things.
Dave over at USSM discussed this idea, stating that it seems, in general, they go for guys who are close to the majors. He suggested that maybe scouting director Tom McNamara and company value “polish” over “pure upside.”
Obviously this pattern won’t always hold true, because it may not even be true at all. Maybe they just thought these guys were the best for some other reason. However, the fact that they took Danny Hultzen over Trevor Bauer, Dylan Bundy and even Jose Fernandez, largely because he was the safe pick and close to the majors — which by the way was a little off considering he is the only one of the four I mentioned to have not pitched in the bigs so far — suggests that they likely do value a high ceiling over a high floor.
Their first round pick, 3B/1B DJ Peterson fits this mold as well, although in a different way. He is widely believed to be one of the lowest risk players, while also being close to the majors. But he very well could have been the best player available on a lot of teams boards. He was often mocked to the M’s, or a team picking near them.
I for one am a fan of the Peterson pick. This is an organization that badly needs bats, and has a history of not being the best developers out there. I know, I know. People said the same thing with Dustin Ackley. But that doesn’t mean Peterson will face the same fate.
I already did a post all about Peterson, so I won’t get too much more into him. But having drawn comparisons to Edgar Martinez, I am excited about him. He may not be as powerful as some would like, but that can always improve, and he should hit in some form or another.
From there, we have Stanford outfielder Austin Wilson taken in the 2nd round. Wilson is a massive guy, but is still very light on his feet in the outfield. He doesn’t necessarily fit the high ceiling mold that we discussed earlier, but it still made sense to pick him. After getting a somewhat safe guy in the first, why not take a little more of a risk?
Wilson doesn’t lack talent or athleticism, but he hasn’t always put it to use. There have been concerns about his lack of production in college, especially since he played for Stanford, and there is a stigma against them and their hitters. But he did play well in the Cape Cod League, which restored some hope that he will be able to put it together.
There was some talk of Wilson going to the Mariners with their 1st round pick, so there is a “steal” factor here. But injury concerns, as well as what I outlined above caused him to fall. But if he ends up putting it together, he could be a 30-35 home run guy, which would be a welcome sight for the Mariners.
Their third rounder was Canadian High Schooler Tyler O’Neill, who was drafted as an outfielder despite player catcher and shortstop previously. He has drawn comparisons to Brett Lawrie, both for his hard-nosed style, and the fact that they are from the same area. I do not know too much else about him, other than it sounds like he should develop some power and could be a contributor in the future.
Those are the only guys I am going to go in depth on. Instead, I will just say that there were a lot of high schoolers, and left handed pitchers. Their 4th rounder, Ryan Hortsman, was thought more of as a 6th-8th rounder, but they saw something they liked. There seemed to be a pattern of powerful outfielders, middle infielders, and left handed pitchers.
We can’t know what will come to be from this draft. It seems like there are some interesting players who could become good, or even great players in the future. Whether it was on purpose or not, there was a lot of power potential acquired in the beginning rounds, flanked by some local kids and interesting lefties.
Overall, based on what little we know, it should turn out to be a solid draft, with a chance to be great if all three top picks end up hitting.