The first two days of the major league draft this week the Seattle Mariners picked nine pitchers out of eleven selections. Does that mean general manager Jerry Dipoto and his whole management team have decided to go another direction toward pitching?
Could the Mariners feel that the farm system is stocked with positions players among their top prospects, or the other idea the draft is full of quality pitchers? We will see what Jerry Dipoto says or doesn’t say.
The answer could be the combination of both as well. With the number one pick, last year of Logan Gilbert who is having an outstanding first year starting at low-A West Virginia than moving to high-A Modesto in May where he is dominating as well the Mariners drafted with the #20 overall pick George Kirby out of Elon University.
Of the Mariners top ten prospects, five are position players. The top prospect listed is left-handed Justus Sheffield who is struggling at Triple-A Tacoma right now. In a few days he likely will move down and who knows might not be in the top ten.
Outfielder Jarred Kelenic who started at low-A West Virginia like Gilbert is listed as the number two prospect started at low-A West Virginia moved recently to high-A Modesto too. He is having an outstanding season and he could be in the Mariners outfield by 2021 though right now he is 19. He is the major reason the Mariners traded closer Edwin Diaz along with Robinson Cano to the New York Mets during the off-season.
Right now Braden Bishop and Shed Long who is in the lineup at center field and second base are listed at 11 and 12 as Mariner prospects. The Mariners have outfielder Julio Rodriguez who has been hurt and is only 19 years old might be up in a couple of years as well as at number five right behind first baseman Evan White the Mariners number one pick in 2017. He is currently playing at double-A Arkansas. He is already considered a bonified defensive first baseman.
The four position player is #7, Kyle Lewis outfielder who was the team’s number one pick in 2016. He has struggled to stay healthy for the Mariners since being drafted. He is at double-A Arkansas along with several other top prospects well as White.
The fifth position prospect at #10 is Noelvi Marte from the Dominican Republic, an international signing who is 17 years old shortstop the Mariners signed last year. He just started playing this year in rookie ball. Known for his speed, power, and defense.
So Jerry Dipoto is hoping those guys already in the top ten prospects along with Braden Bishop and Shed Long will make up an outstanding team by 2021 or 2022 and beyond.
Right now, it is hard to know which of the eight pitchers will actually be on the team by then but certainly will give the Mariners a better starting rotation along with the everyday lineup. The Mariners could trade some of the pitchers picked today for needs at positions as well.
The Mariners will have money as well to go out and pick up a free agent or two at that point too. We will see whether philosophy has changed or not.