Pick 43: Carson Tucker, SS Mountain Pointe (AZ)
It would be a lot of fun to mock guys like Nick Bitsko, Mick Abel, or Pete Crow-Armstrong here, but if any of them actually fell to the second, they would almost surely be scooped up by Baltimore, who has the highest pool and two picks between the Mariners selections at 6 and 43. But that doesn’t mean Seattle can’t get a good prep prospect in the second by promising a slight overpay.
Carson Tucker, younger brother of Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, is a fast-rising prospect who currently has enough helium to land himself into the Top 35 of this draft. The 6’2″, 180 lbs shortstop has average or better tools across the board with the exception of power. But Tucker has shown above-average raw power and has impressive bat speed.
There is room to add strength to his wiry frame, which could push his game power into a solid 50-grade. There are some swing adjustments that will need to be made, but Tucker shows an ability to pepper the gaps with line drives, giving him a good chance to be an average bat with the possibility for more offense down the line.
Though he has just average speed, Tucker has soft hands and quick feet with enough arm to stick at shortstop, though a change to second could be on the table. A good athlete who was getting better as the spring went on, it now appears unlikely that he’ll make it to the University of Texas, though the Mariners may have to go slightly over-slot to land him, likely somewhere in the $2 million range (pick 43 slot value is $1.73 million).
64. Bryce Elder, RHP Texas
If Seattle is going to go over slot with their second pick, they’ll need to save money somewhere down the line. However, if they only need to save around $300,000 to sign Tucker, they don’t necessarily have to find that money with their Competitive Balance B pick. They could spread the savings over several picks, or spend one of their last two picks on a college senior they like.
But we are going to keep things simple here and have them save the money they need by selecting a fringe fourth-round talent as a top 65 pick. Bryce Elder has been the Friday Night Starter for the Texas Longhorns the past 2 seasons and while he doesn’t light up the radar gun, he does still carry some upside.
His arsenal includes a heavy, sinking fastball that sits in the low-90s along with a good, sharp slider as his primary out pitch. He backs up the sinker/slider combo with an above-average curveball and the ability to create extra spin, giving each of his offerings multiple looks. The changeup is a bit too firm but flashes average, giving Elder the potential to have 4 average offerings.
He carries a high floor as a middle reliever, but also has a good chance to land in the back half of a solid rotation as a groundball inducing, innings eating, Mike Leake type of arm.