Pick 78: Mariners select Landon Knack, RHP East Tennesee State
The Mariners may have saved enough money by selecting Elder about 30 picks early, but Knack is a senior who lacks leverage but has some serious upside. In fact, Knack could be an interesting option for teams much early than this selection who is looking to save some money in their bonus pool.
Without the leverage of returning to school, Knack is going to get less than his stuff suggests he is worth, which for our purposes could both help the Mariners sign Tucker and possibly save them more money to dip into the prep ranks one more time.
But if Seattle takes Knack, they aren’t getting a shlub. They are getting a pitcher with a 93-95 MPH that touched 98 in the shortened season and a sharp slider that grades as above-average. The changeup shows good promise as well, and can even flip a change of pace curveball early in counts to steal a strike.
Formerly a two-way player, Knack spent the summer focusing on pitching and getting in better shape and the results were immediate. In 4 starts in 2020, Knack posted a 51/1 K: BB ratio over just 25 innings pitched, a number that is sure to have Jerry Dipoto drooling. Selecting Knack here could save the team $300,000 or more and allow them to use that money later in the draft.