The Seattle Mariners had another rough MLB Draft in 2010 under the general management of Jack Zduriencik, with the exception of Taijuan Walker and James Paxton
Looking back now, the former Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik made some terrible decisions especially when it came to the MLB Draft. His first MLB Draft in 2009 for the Mariners might have been the worse when we drafted Dustin Ackley second-overall and we all know how that turned out. The MLB Draft is arguably one of the hardest professional league drafts to succeed in, but it is not an excuse for lack of success.
2010 was another difficult year for the Seattle Mariners, but the team’s first pick was not until the supplemental first-round. For a little context, the first-overall pick of the 2010 draft was Bryce Harper who was chosen by the Washington Nationals. Some other notable first-round picks include Manny Machado, Chris Sale, and Christian Yelich.
The Seattle Mariners’ first pick was the 43rd overall pick which is a part of the supplemental first-round. With that pick, the Mariners selected Taijuan Walker out of Yucaipa High School, who was just 17-years-old. Walker did not have the most successful career as a Mariners starting pitcher, but he was a fan favorite, and still sort of is as a free-agent.
Taijuan Walker pitched for the Mariners until 2016 and was traded to Arizona and later returned to play for the Mariners last season. The team gave him a chance and did pretty well, so he was flipped to the Blue Jays for a postseason run. Walker is currently a free-agent and fans are eager to sign him back and return to his “home team.” After eight seasons where he has been battling injuries throughout his career, he owns a 3.84 career ERA. He has struck out 528 batters over 581.2 innings.
Although Taijuan Walker did not turn out to be the star pitcher that they hoped he would be, he still pitched pretty well and has time to prove himself still. He is still only 28-years old right now so he has a future still ahead of him. Walker turned out to be a decent draft pick so credit to Jack Zduriencik who miserably failed in the 2009 draft. Although, after Walker was selected, Nick Castellanos was picked 44th, and Andrelton Simmons was picked 70th.
The rest of Seattle’s picks did not pan out at all though, except for James Paxton in the fourth round. Paxton was selected 132nd overall so you could almost consider him a steal. Like Walker, Paxton battled tough injuries. Paxton did however pitch very well with the Seattle Mariners from 2013-2018 before joining the Yankees in 2019.
Paxton was an interesting case because he was a first-round pick in 2009, but decided to stay another year in college which actually hurt his draft stock. Paxton is also a free-agent like Walker, but his value is much higher than Walker’s. Paxton has a career 3.58 ERA and struck out 829 batters in 753.1 innings.
Outside of Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, Seattle did not make any other good draft selections. The Mariners had a chance to select J.T Realmuto in the third round instead of Ryne Stanek. Jack Zduriencik missed out on Corey Dickerson in the eighth round and selected Jabari Blash right before Dickerson.
The Mariners also selected:
- Marcus Littlewood (67th)
- Ryne Stanek (99th)
- Stephen Pryor (162nd)
- Christian Carmichael (192nd)
- Mickey Wiswall (222nd)
- Jabari Blash (252)
- Luke Taylor (282nd)
- Tyler Burgoon (312nd)
The players listed above did not make an impact for the Seattle Mariners or quite frankly the MLB as a whole. We could play what-ifs of any MLB Draft especially for the Mariners, but the matter of fact is the team has made some mistakes before. There is nothing we can do about it but to learn from our mistakes and be grateful for draft picks that turn out to be stars.
Jack Zduriencik’s time in Seattle was terrible comparing his moves to our current GM Jerry Dipoto, so fans have to enjoy the path Dipoto is creating. Kyle Lewis and Evan White are the most recent examples of Dipoto’s wins from the MLB Draft, and we hope to see a couple more in 2021. Sodo Mojo will continue to review past Seattle Mariners’ draft selections, so stay tuned for more.