A Look At Last Nights Signing Deadline


A couple of days ago (Sunday to be exact) I put up a post discussing who would be likely to sign and who wouldn’t. Last night was the signing deadline and we got to see it all go down in grand MLB Draft fashion.

Coming down to the wire the Mariners did end up signing Danny Hultzen, Brad Miller, Carson Smith and Cavan Cohoes. I had put the over/under at 4 and I nailed it exactly. As I told Keith last night bet on the college guys and let the high schoolers surprise.

Let’s take a look at those that signed and one that did not.

The thing that is funny about the draft signing deadline is that sometimes it’s a couple of hours before we get to hear everything that has all gone down. Sure, we found out within about 15 minutes after the deadline that Hultzen signed. But, after that I went to be and woke up this morning to hear that Cavan Cohoes, the son of an American Military Serviceman in Germany, was signed.

I had heard just a few hours prior that Cohoes had signed with a Junior College (Chipola College) back in July (opposed to going to Ohio State). Chipola is a very popular JUCO with a great baseball program and has produced quiet a few draft prospects over the last few years. I thought this was A) a solid draft leverage move, B) a good short term move to make him draft eligible for next year and C) going to a solid development program for such a raw talent.

He is an incredibly raw talent and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the organization for a while. I’d be surprised if he saw full season ball before he is 20 but that’s just me. I’ve also heard that had he had the exposure of most he’d be an early day two draft pick, meaning he’d be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Which in the 9th round is a solid get and explains why I had thought it was foregone conclusion he’d go to College.

But, obviously things that we had thought were foregone conclusions aren’t as they appear.  This is no more true than with the Pittsburgh Pirates newest prospect Josh Bell. Bell sent a letter back in May requesting that his name be removed entirely from the draft. Now a few people speculated that this was just posturing by one of if not the THE top out field prep bat in all of draft. But, the majority thought that his commitment to Dallas Jesuit was very sincere with his mother actually being a teacher in the local vicinity at Arlington-UT.

This dropped Bell’s stock from being in the middle of the first round to the Pirates who took him with their 2nd round pick. Then last night he signed for $5mm this happening all the while we saw Kevin Cron, who wasn’t nearly as difficult a sign, head to TCU for school.

Now, I’m certain the Mariners could have had him for a bit more than 1.67 million – which is what his brother got from the Angels – but that’s a lot of money to just throw around and I saw a lot of people speculating has to whether or not he specifically was worth it.

Now I’m not an agreement with Geoff Baker’s article.

"I’d say Cron is looking like the odd man out here. He’s already committed to TCU and bats right-handed, meaning the big part of his game — offense — might not translate all that well to Safeco Field. His catching skills are said to leave plenty to be desired and the M’s already have Marlette and fourth-round catcher John Hicks on board.So, a right-handed power-hitting first baseman? I’m not seeing it with Cron and Seattle and guessing he might not either. A few years with the Horned Frogs and maybe he ups his draft slot. This was a bit of a gamble by the M’s, given signability concerns (so was Hultzen, for that matter) and I’m thinking that proves itself out and Cron doesn’t stick. – Baker"

Cron is done as a catcher. This is been pretty definitive by the majority of those that follow the draft and  being a right-handed power hitting first basemen IN Seattle wouldn’t matter much as his power isn’t going to be limited like most. His power graded out as 70 or 75 and a few even said possibly an 80. Safeco doesn’t stop that type of power.

What this was about was how much to give a power hitting first basemen. Dan Vogelbach, who was considered to be considered in the same breath as Cron, was a 2nd round draft pick and signed for 1.6 million. So that kind of set the bar for where the Mariners were going to go. Most likely it wasn’t anymore than $1.5m and I’d wager a guess it was actually smaller than that though I have no creditable source for that.

Personally I’d of given Cron the money to go the pro ball route. The Mariners need more “impact” talent in the organization and that’s what Cron supplied. But, obviously there were concerns and I respect what the front office was able to do with this draft.

Brad Miller, the shortstop out of Clemson,  also signed last night. There has been some talk about moving him off position but I personally keep him a shortstop the biggest concern is the accuracy of the arm and sometimes common mistakes from his lack of attention.

Miller showed a great ability to drive the ball and to get on base while at Clemson and I’m interested to see him get assigned. It would be most obvious to send him to Clinton with John Hicks, but Jack Marder and Steven Proscia both were assigned straight to High Desert and I tend to think that’s where Miller will end up.

Speaking of where people end up it’s likely that after signing that big contract Danny Hultzen will head to Arizona for pro instruct and taking care of that arm. He has already thrown 118 innings during the college season and that doesn’t include his time in the ACC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament. So you can imagine the Mariners are going to be pretty protective of his innings going forward.

I imagine that our first real chance to see Hultzen pitch will be the Arizona Fall League. In fact I’d be real surprised not to see him there. But, we’ll talk more about that come October. I expect that coming out of Spring Training next year he’ll be assigned to AA-Jackson. This is exciting for me as I’ll get an opportunity to see him a couple of times living the Southern League area. It’s exciting to think that by 2013 we could have both Paxton and Hultzen in the rotation.

The last name on the list of signees from last night is that of Carson Smith. I really like the Smith deal. People talk about the Carter Capps as a steal and the same with Jack Marder. But, in my mind Carson Smith in the 8th round is very good. I had him going about 3rd and possibly as late as the 4th round. The fact he dropped another 4 round is awesome.

One thing that makes Smith so interesting is the pure amount of ground ball’s he gets. Which according to a couple different sites (as college data can sometimes be unreliable) he posted over 60% ground ball rate. Standing 6’5 and throwing in the low 90s I expect to hear some Doug Fister comps and facilitated even more with the plus change-up. But the truth is he has better stuff than Fister and better velocity as he has touched 95 in games he’s started and when he was a reliever as a freshman/sophmore he was sitting 94-96 and touching 98.

Smith has the standard arsenal of a starting pitcher in the form of a fastball (he uses the two seam predominately but mixes the four seamer in there too), curve, slider and change-up. I expect him to start off in Clinton.

While there are of course the standard caveat of I wish they went for player A or player B. This is overall a really good mixture and the fact that they really only missed out on one guy in their top-10 is pretty good. It’s not great mind you but still pretty good.