Mick Abel is one of the best prep arms in this draft class and his fairly local roots make him a fan favorite. The issue with selecting Abel with the 6th pick is that he simply isn’t one of the 6 best players in the country and may not be willing to take enough of a discount off his bonus number for Seattle to take him at 6.
For the Mariners to feel good about drafting Abel, they would likely need to save at least $500,000. Abel, who has a full scholarship to Oregon State, has the leverage to refuse to take a below slot deal. You cannot take that chance with the 6th pick and Seattle will have to know for sure they can swing that deal before selecting Abel.
Talent-wise, Abel would likely fall outside of the Top 5 Mariners prospects in our ranks, though he may become the pitcher with the second-highest ceiling in the organization and a safe floor as a back-end starter.
To use a scouting term, Garrett Mitchell has “loud tools”. With the potential to be a true five-tool player, Mitchell is one of the best college bats in this class and one of the truly elite runners as well.
The decision to go to college was a good one for Mitchell, who was able to improve his swing at UCLA to improve both his hit tool and power. He flashes plus power in batting practice and the hope was that 2020 would serve as a stepping stone to transfer that power into games. Unfortunately, the season was canceled before it got going, leaving the in-game grade a bit up in the air.
But Mitchell’s swing, approach, and speed make him a good candidate to hit for a high average and post above-average on-base numbers. Mitchell also improved as a base-stealer at UCLA and should have no issue stealing 30+ bases on a regular basis.
But despite his plus speed, Mitchell is only an average centerfielder. Thankfully, he has the arm to play in right, where he should be above-average and the bat to profile well there. Mitchell won’t need long to get to the big leagues, and that could be interesting to a team looking to accelerate their rebuild.
There is a chance that I am the highest on Crochet of anybody doing these types of ranks. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a tall lefty that topped out at 100 MPH during fall ball. During his first two seasons at Tennessee, Crochet bounced between the rotation and bullpen and sat 92-95 MPH with a nice changeup. But in the summer and fall, Crochet was sitting 97 MPH and hitting 100 in outings.
Finding a lefty with that type of heat and solid-average control is hard to do, even in an era where fastball velocity is becoming more and more standard. But Crochet also backs up the fastball with a great changeup that he throws with deceptive arm speed. He also has a solid, above-average breaking ball that can get swings and misses.
Crochet reminds a bit of James Paxton and with the raw stuff and upside Crochet has coming from the left-side, I can’t help but be high on him.
In my opinion, Zac Veen is the best prep player in this draft. The 6’4″, 200 LBS. Veen is a physical specimen that is still growing and is only going to get stronger. Veen swings from the left side and has a beautiful swing that makes scouts drool. He generates excellent bat speed and the power grade has continued to steadily improve over the past 2-years.
A popular comparison for Veen is Dodgers OF Cody Bellinger. But Veen has very little chance of sticking in center field and not much of a chance to be more than an average corner defender, putting a lot of pressure on his bat. It is hard to imagine Seattle going with a prep bat at 6, but if they do, Veen is the only one that makes a whole lot of sense.
Prior to the shutdown, there wasn’t a hitter on the planet hotter than Nick Gonzales. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see him inside anybody’s top 10 list. But while most have him as a consensus Top 5 pick, I wouldn’t put him in that class. Don’t get me wrong, Gonzales has an exciting bat and is a safe bet to be an every day big leaguer, but I have some questions.
I am concerned that the power surge we saw early in 2020 is a product of inferior competition and a hitter-friendly environment. I am concerned the swing isn’t conducive to more than fringe-average power at the big league level. I also have doubts that Gonzales can hang at second base and don’t see the athleticism to make an easy transition to left field.
Gonzales isn’t an “up-the-middle” defender and lacks the power and arm to profile at third base. Gonzales has a fair shot to be average defensively and with the potential, he has to hit for a high average and knock 35-40 doubles around the park, that is why I still have him as my 6th overall prospect. But I have enough questions that he wouldn’t be my #1 goal for Seattle with the 6th pick.