We should find out when the MLB Draft will actually take place this week but one thing we know is the Mariners will hold the 6th overall pick. But today, we look at potential second-round option instead.
The Mariners will have the 43rd pick in the MLB Draft this year. While most of us assume Seattle will go with the best college player available with the sixth pick, GM Jerry Dipoto did drop an interesting nugget on the year’s first episode of The Wheelhouse Podcast.
Seattle is hoping to land an up-the-middle bat with their first but there are a few issues with this. The only two players who can stick up the middle are Nick Gonzalez and Austin Martin, both of whom figure to be top 5 picks. After that, there isn’t a catcher, shortstop, second baseman, or center fielder who would not be a reach at 6.
Now Dipoto is likely hinting that Seattle is hoping either Martin or Gonzalez falls to 6 and not that he will take one with his first pick no matter what. But a stated objective cannot be ignored. Dipoto wants a bat that can play up the middle (like all GM’s do) but likely won’t get an opportunity to get one until pick 43.
This is where Casey Martin, the shortstop for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, could come into play. The 5’11”, 175 lbs Martin is a bit undersized and has major holes in his swing. He tries to pull too many pitches to get to his above-average power, leading to contact issues.
But there are very few athletes who can match Martin in this draft. He boasts 65-70 grade speed with above-average power and a strong arm. His defensive inconsistencies may be too much to overcome, but Martin could play anywhere on the field, including second base and centerfield.
Martin has the power and arm to handle third base, but moving him to a corner would put more strain on his bat to generate better OBP skills than he currently has.
A potential 25/25 utility man is an amazing weapon for any team and if Martin can post OBP in the .340 range, he could turn out to be one the brightest stars in a good draft class. Martin will likely be scooped up by a team in the late first as a team like the Dodgers have had a good track record with similar types of players. But if Martin starts to slide, offering over slot value in an attempt to push him towards pick 43 wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Martin will almost certainly be gone somewhere in the mid-’20s but Mariners’ fans should learn his name. Martin has multiple All-Star game upside and if Seattle is confident they can fix his contact issues, he may be a target as high as the 6th pick, although it is highly unlikely.