We’re just days away from the 2021 MLB Draft and intrigue surrounds who the Seattle Mariners may elect to use with their 12th overall pick. If past drafts are any indicator, the Mariners will likely be looking towards the college ranks. All five of Jerry Dipoto’s first-rounders have been collegiate prospects, highlighted by Kyle Lewis and Logan Gilbert.
Seattle has gone with a pitcher the last three years, but with the farm system stocked with arms, the team may turn its attention to a position of great need, the middle infield. So, instead of going with another pitcher, enter UCLA shortstop Matt McLain.
At one point, McLain was considered to be within the top five of this year’s draft, but a slow start mixed with an injury that kept him out three weeks has dropped him some, landing him in the Mariners lap.
At 12, the Mariners could end up with a steal by drafting Matt McLain.
McLain’s main selling point is his bat, which actually flashed some power that hadn’t been seen much before. He hit nine home runs this season in just 47 games, also adding 14 doubles. And even when he was slumping, McLain was making contact as he struck out just 34 times all year, pairing that with 34 walks. Overall, he slashed .333/.434/.579 in his senior year, driving in 36 runs.
Outside of the bat, McLain still has a lot to offer. He’s got good speed, swiping nine bags in 10 tries this year, and also has a plus arm from the shortstop position. Where McLain’s weakness lies though in his overall fielding. He’s not necessarily a bad fielder, but he’s probably not going to be a Gold Glove candidate at this moment in time.
A handful of mocks have McLain landing in Seattle, and the fit would be perfect. Outside of Noelvi Marte, the Mariners are thin on middle infield prospects and McLain is athletic enough to probably move around the infield if need be. As a college bat, he’s going to be a lot further along in his development and could be on a fast track through the system if this is where Seattle elects to go.