3 MLB Draft Sleepers for Mariners Fans to Know
The MLB Draft is just a few days away and the rumors are pouring in. While most will focus on who the Mariners will select at 14, it is critically important they find value throughout the draft.
The Mariners have to nail this draft, so rounds 3-10 are crucial as they attempt to rebuild their farm system. But who are these players who can help improve Seattle’s farm system? Let’s look at a few names who could do just that.
Cal Raleigh: Catcher, Florida State
Cal Raleigh is an interesting prospect. He burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2016, when he .301/.412/.511 with 10 home runs as the Seminoles catcher. He crashed and burned in 2017, but has bounced back with a vengeance in 2018.
The Junior is slashing .335/.461/.600 with 13 HR’s and an incredible 51/39 BB: K ratio. As a prospect, scouts question whether the switch-hitter can hit big league pitching consistently enough to be an everyday starter.
Defensively, Raleigh is below-average but has made big strides behind the dish in 2018. For the Mariners to draft him between the 3rd and 5th rounds, they’ll have to believe the bat and that the defense will continue to improve.
Either way, GM Jerry Dipoto loves these type of college bats, and if the team goes pitcher heavy, snagging a performer with upside like Raleigh would be a good get.
Scouting Grades- Hit: 50 Power: 55 Run: 35 Field: 45 Throw: 50 Overall: 45 Ceiling: Offense First Catcher
Nick Sandlin, RHP Southern Mississippi
Very few pitchers have me as intrigued as Nick Sandlin. A projected 4th round pick, if the Mariners took him as high as the second, I wouldn’t bat an eye.
Sandlin, unlike most college starters, has a legitimate 4 pitch mix, with all 4 pitches grading at least average on the 20-80 scale. So what makes a guy like this a 4th round pick instead of a 2nd rounder? Honestly, I’m not sure.
Sandlin started his college career in the bullpen, where he dominated, posting back-to-back 2.38 ERA seasons, averaging over 10 K/9 in the stretch. Southern Miss moved him to the rotation for his Junior season, and Sandlin continued to do what he has always done: dominate.
In his 14 starts in 2018, Sandlin has struck out 134 hitters in 95 innings while walking only 15. Allow me to repeat that: A 134:15 K/BB RATIO IN 95 INNINGS.
So a guy with a legit 4 pitch mix, who has dominated out of the bullpen and rotation, who misses bats at an unreal level? What am I missing?
As far as I can tell, Sandlin gets dinged because he doesn’t look like he should dominate. He stands at just 5’11” while tipping the scales at a meager 170 lbs. He throws from multiple arm slots, usually slotting in the low 3/4 variety.
I love Nick Sandlin and think a lot of people are missing the boat on him. Hopefully, Jerry Dipoto won’t be one of 29 GM’s who regrets passing on Sandlin.
Scouting Grades- Fastball:55 Curveball: 50 Slider:55 Changeup: 50 Command: 55
Jake Mangum, OF Mississippi State
Look, I have a weakness for 2 things in baseball: outfield defense and speed. Jake Mangum checks both of those boxes. He also happens to be a very good college player with a nice hit tool to boot.
Mangum, a 6’1″ 185 lbs outfielder, has been a favorite of mine for a while. He plays a nice CF, and while he doesn’t have much over the fence pop, he does find a way to hit his share of extra-base hits.
The lack of power has seriously hampered his draft stock, as today’s game continues to go the way of the 3 true outcomes. But Mangum’s game of slash and burn can still provide a team value, as Mariners fans have seen with Dee Gordon.
Mangum does not possess the same speed as Gordon, but still has one of the best speed tools in this draft. While he takes walks at a good clip, he will have to continue to grow that phase of his game. I tend to believe he can.
Mangum has all the tools to be a nice 4th outfielder, but will still need to grow his game. The Mariners have a pretty good comp for Mangum already in their system in Ian Miller. Mangum has a bit more upside, but his current 5th-8th round value appears to be right on.
Next: Gonzales for O'Neill: A look back