The first round of the Major League baseball draft is scheduled to take place tonight at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. The Seattle Mariners who have the number six overall draft selection have a very important decision that could make or break their future as a franchise. There are guys in this draft that have the potential to make an opening day roster including LHP Brady Aiken, LHP Carlos Rondon, and RHP Tyler Kolek.
Both Mariners GM Jack Zdunencik and scouting director Tom McNamara have done an exceptional job in the draft for the past ten years. Although the franchise is not still where they want to be, they are in great position right now with a 31-28 record. In recent draft reflection, Zdunencik and McNamara have put together a great nucleus of prospects for the future with their first round picks.
Here are all of the Mariners first round picks since 2004:
2013 D.J. Peterson, 3B
2012 Mike Zunino, C
2011 Danny Hultzen, LHP
2010 Taijuan Walker, RHP
2009 Nick Franklin, SS
2009 Dustin Ackley, OF
2008 Josh Fields, RHP
2007 Phillippe Aumont RHP
2006 Brandon Morrow, RHP
2005 Jeff Clement, C
The most intriguing thing about the Mariners is that they quickly transitioned from an old team to a young team which came from their drafts. This shows the importance and significance of the draft and the Mariners are now one of best teams in the AL West again and finally find themselves in a division battle only sitting games back from first place.
According to the newstribune.com, when asked by the media in a pre-draft meeting about his draft success in Seattle, McNamara replied:
“I was taught a long time ago that you take the best player, whether it’s a pitcher or a position player,” he said.
“Sometimes, you look at your system. We’re human. Of course, you look: ‘Hey, we could use some arms at the lower level,’ or, ‘We could use speed.’ But you need to be careful. You don’t want to sidestep the best player out there and draft for need. We’ll take the best player, or the best pitcher, out there — whether it’s a high school or college player.”
To preview this year’s draft, the Mariners have the sixth pick, but assuming free agent Kendrys Morales doesn’t sign elsewhere, they won’t choose again until the 74th overall pick, which closes the draft’s opening day.
The Mariners forfeited their second-round pick by signing Robinson Cano, who received a qualifying offer from the Yankees. The Mariners would get a pick back if another club signs Morales before the draft.
With their first selection they’ve been linked to a number of players, including high school catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson, prep shortstop Nick Gordon and Hartford left-handed pitcher Sean Newcomb. So hopefully McNamara continues his success and keeps building a winner in Seattle.