MLB Draft And The Mariners – A Look Back


Well… okay.. I’ve spent about 10 hours of my day yesterday reading a lot of unhappy comments. Deleting a few rants on my site and hearing other people say some ugly things elsewhere. I can’t disagree about a few of the objections that have been raise. I sat here for the majority of the second round muttering things steadily like going what? … um… excuse me? Then it quickly transition to a seriously WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?

Many of us fans are disappointed in a way because we had expectations. All the names that were on so many of our tongues evaporated and left us. A day that is held with high regard, Baseballs’ Christmas if you will,  that holds chance to not only restock a farm system, something our organization has done very well since the hiring of Jack Zduriencik, but it also provide hope for the future. The day is gone and so is the hope which has seemingly faded and left us with little to now show.

Most people are still stuck on Danny Hultzen being picked #2 overall, while others are too busy trying to put together the pieces of how the Mariners justified a 5th, 6th and 7th round of Tyler Marlette, James Zamarripa and Steve Proscia.

This would be a good time to step back and realize that we had some requests of the front office. That would be to get add some pitching and catching. At least that’s what you all said you wanted… Look back with me only one short month ago.

more after the jump…

The organization responded to your requests.

First with the pitching

starting pitchers like of Danny Hultzen, Carter Capps (I consider him a starter until the organization declares otherwise…though I expect him to be reliever myself), Carson Smith, Cameron Hobson, Kyle Hunter and some good high school prospects with projection in lefty Nick Valenza and right handers Gabe Saquilon, Richard White and Tanner Chleborad. Now there is the question of getting the high school kids to sign. But that’s another matter for another day…

They also added a few possible relief arms in Cody Weiss, Mike McGee and Joseph DiRocco. Not to mention future organizational filler studs such as Brett Shankin, David Colvin and Jordan Pries.

The point is that they added depth to something that is already a strength to this organization. Adding to the smattering of  Kim, Mieses, Walker, Paxton, Snow, Fernandez, Mauerer, Gillheeney, Source, Medina, Ramirez, Hensley, Carraway, Vasquez, Robles and Beavan.

Oh… you can also soon add the likes hard throwing hurlers of Vincent Campos, Francisco Valdivia and Richard Vargas (maybe to a lesser extent Yao Wen Chang too) soon to the Clinton roster. Then you have pitching prospects such as Dylan ‘Sharkie’  Unsworth, Luke Taylor, Charles Kaalekahi, Jordan Shipers yet to even make their short season debuts. Oh and we have a few good looking 17 year old prospects from last years IFA crop in Jose Torres, Osmel Morales, and Daniel Mata.  (for a complete look at the top-100 prospects take a look at this)

The point being that while this pitching crop being brought isn’t fabelous in terms of ceiling and star potential it’s a safety net with what is already in the system. The guys they brought in have high floors and provide a level of certainty to being big league pitchers something we don’t have a lot of right now.  Then they picked up a few high school guys that have some risk/reward potential.While it’s hard to like by it’s self within this context it’s more palatable.

Second: The Catching

No one can really argue about the lack of catching depth in the system anymore. Today the Mariners selected 5 catchers with their 29 picks. While previously at the start of the season our depth looked something like this:

1- Ji-Man Choi (kind of???) (19)
2- Steve Barron (19)
3- Carlton Tannabe (19)
4- Trevor Coleman (23)
5- Ivan Ramirez (17)
6- Andrew Giobbi (22)
6- Keanu (or Christian which ever he goes by) Carmichael (18)

Notice a theme here? Well, It now looks more like this

1- John Hicks (21)
2- Choi (19)
3- Jack Marder (20)
4- Tyler Marlette (18)
5- Baron (19)
6- Tannabe (19)
7- Ramirez (17)
8- Luke Guarnaccia (19)
9- Mike Dowd (21)
10- Carmichael (18)
11- Giobbi/Coleman (24/23)

Obviously John Hicks becomes the best catcher in the system. While you can make a case for the fact that both Hicks and Choi have defensive issues. Hicks has more polish and is advanced. Plus I like Hicks power more than I do Choi.

Also, I like 16th round pick Jack Marder quiet a bit. I like his bat a lot and I think with some work he could make a half decent catcher.

You wanted depth? You got it! Now of course Marder and Marlette are both questions to sign. Marlette with a commitment to Central Florida and Marder is only a sophomore who is coming off a year of transition where he picked it up towards the end.

I don’t think Marlette is going to be a problem, but I do wonder about Marder. Should be interesting.

Thirdly: Third

This is a weird fan base concern. I don’t have much concern here with the likes of Liddi making defensive improvements, Tenbrink a question mark here, then you have Mario Martinez who’s an amazing defensive third basemen if he can just get his bat in working order, Vinny Catricala, Ramon Morla, Stefan Romero. There is some depth here. Yes, it’s not the greatest. But it’s better than say … center field.

I even have a little hope for Matt Browning, who while old for High Desert,  is spraying line drives at 27%. I’m certain that with more playing time his numbers will pick up. Though I do wonder how well his tools play up at third base.

But, despite the guys that are already there they also added Steve Proscia, while he’s a bit more raw than some of the other guys they added a decent player to a position where there was already decent depth.  While he has below average lateral movement he makes up for it via quick movements and soft hands.  His speed and keen baseball IQ play up on the base paths as he has stolen 32 bases in 39 attempts over his 189 game career.  He has very good raw power and has slugged plus .500 every year at Virginia including this year with the new bats. There been some talk about his swing being too long and it shows a bit with 127 strike outs over 762 at bats coming out to about 17%. Though he has dropped his strike out rate in each of his three years at Virginia.

We could also briefly talk about Kenneth Straus but there isn’t a lot of information out there. What I know was he was considered by a few top-100 prep talent out of the state of Georgia in 2009. He hits left handed, has an average hit tool and about average raw power. There has been a few places that have talked up his glove. But again I haven’t found much.

Ultimately this is maybe the position where the Mariner fan that visits this site can feel as if an injustice has been done.

In Summation:

The Mariners really had a weird draft, there is no denying that. They left a lot of high ceiling talent to go in the other direction with guys their scouts were more familiar with. You can say that they didn’t take any risk and in doing so they took a lot of risk.

I mean no disrespect to a lot of the guys in the organization. I in no way think that I , some 27 year-old arm chair “scout” (more of opinionator) with a database, am smarter than any of those guys in all their experience with the draft. That said there was a few other teams that sure seemed to like the direction where I was going.  I’ll reveal all the details of my shadow and I’ll do some cost and compare come August.

I know how most people say you need at least 4 years to properly analyze a draft class but I think we can already sum up what 2009 did for us, while a couple of years could change our opinion a bit, that class is what it is. But, I really think it’s going to take a good 3-4 years to truly grasp the talent drafted by the organization in 2011.