The beauty of this Top 5 is that all of the players are pretty interchangeable. If the Mariners walked away with any of these players, fans should be thrilled. Martin was the starting shortstop for the most consistently great baseball program in the country, the Vanderbilt Commodores. He played both third base and center field before the shut down this spring. And just like Nick Gonzales, there is a great chance Martin will be a good bat in pro baseball.
But what separates Martin from Gonzales is Martin’s athleticism. He’ll have no issue staying up the middle of the field and has a chance to be a solid defensive shortstop. But even if he has to move off the position, he will be a great second baseman and may even be able to handle center field.
Martin can help his team in a lot of different ways and isn’t reliant on his ability to max out his hit tool to be a centerpiece of a team going forward. If selected by Seattle, he would likely fall inside our Top 4 prospects with a good chance to see the Majors by late 2022.
Remember how I didn’t think Gonzales was a top 5 player in this draft? Meet the guy who kicked him out of that position. Every year players rise quickly up draft boards, both in the game and by goons like me. But Max Meyer might be my favorite prospect in this draft.
He posses the best fastball in this class and the best breaking ball. The heater sits 93-98 and he even flirted with 100 MPH fastballs late into starts. The slider is a thing of beauty that he can manipulate to do whatever he wants with it. Even the changeup, which would be considered a solid second offering for a first-round pick, is above-average and the pitch has continued to get even better every season.
Meyer throws a lot of strikes and has arguably the two best pitches in the entire class? So what is stopping him from topping most charts? His size. At 6’0″, 190 lbs, Meyer isn’t supposed to be generating this type of velocity and spin, and scouts worry that he won’t last long. But ask the Giants if they regret taking Tim Lincecum despite his relatively short career? You know what? Don’t bother. You already know the answer.
As good as Meyer is, there is no denying the complete arsenal that Asa Lacy brings to the table, including 3 well-above-average offerings and a 4th, above-average pitch to complement. And despite this polished arsenal, Lacy is still a bit raw in his delivery and approach.
Lacy has true, #1 upside and track record at Texas A&M to back it up. Lacy could very easily be the number 1 pick on draft day and nobody should bat an eye. There isn’t much to say about Lacy, who is truly a special arm who could supplant Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez as the best prospect in the Mariners system.
Spencer Torkelson is the best overall hitter in this draft class, combining the potential to hit .300 with plus on-base skills and 35-40 home run power to make him a dream first baseman. He is solid enough defensively to stick at first for a while, but he won’t win you a Gold Glove anytime soon.
He reminds a lot of scouts of Andrew Vaughn, the 4th overall pick of the White Sox last year and could see the big leagues as soon as 2022. Make no mistake, Torkelson is the best bat in this class and it isn’t really close. Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera comps shouldn’t be thrown out lightly, but I believe Torkelson has an outside chance to get there. Expect him to go with one of the first two picks on draft day, leaving little chance he may be available for the Mariners.
Emerson Hancock entered the college season as the projected number 1 overall pick and despite a slow start for the Bulldogs, I still think he has the highest upside in the class. He offers 4 well-above-average pitches and above-average command to go with solid athletic traits and a repeatable delivery.
Hancock has true, ace potential, and could be in the big leagues by Opening Day 2022. With a ceiling as an ace and an injury-free floor as a #3, Hancock is a great blend of upside and safety and Mariners fans should be doing backflips if his name is called with the 6th overall pick. Hancock would immediately slide into the #1 prospect slot on my personal ranks and give Seattle a legitimate #1 ace to pair with young arms like Logan Gilbert and George Kirby in the not too distant future.
Well, there you have it, the Top 10 players I believe the Mariners should be targeting with the sixth overall selection. Our goal is to expand this list to include at least our Top 30 names, with the possibility of introducing a Top 50 if the draft is pushed back into July.