One of the most important and fundamental events for all Major League Baseball teams is the MLB Amateur Draft. The draft never sleeps because there are always players to scout, players to evaluate, and events to watch. Perfect Game, one of the premier showcase and talent scouting organizations, released their first 2022 mock draft. They had the Mariners taking young Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada with their twenty-first overall pick in the first round.
Kevin Parada was considered to be about a top 50 or so prospect as a high school catcher in the 2020 draft. He wanted a big signing bonus and didn’t get it, so he went to Georgia Tech. He is now considered to be a top 10 prospect in the 2022 draft. He had a strong true freshman year at Georgia Tech, slashing .318/.379/.550 through 220 ABs. He also hit 9 home runs and 20 triples, with 17 walks to 41 strikeouts.
Here is what Perfect Game wrote about Kevin Parada to the Mariners in their mock draft
"Parada was one of the top talents to make it to a college campus back in 2020 and he certainly showed it early on hitting in the heart of the Georgia Tech order and putting together a more-than-respectable freshman campaign with plenty to build on going into the spring. His hit tool tracks back to his prep days where he showed he could hit against the best of the circuit’s arms and he’s got enough power to make him intriguing at any position, but he’s extremely athletic behind the dish and has the tools to make an impact back there at the highest of levels."
Based on what Perfect Game writes here for their mock draft, the Mariners could have another first-round catcher on their hands. They took Harry Ford in the first round last year, but he has the potential to move off of the position. Ford is more athletic than Parada, but Parada still has good athleticism for a bigger catcher. He is listed at 6’1″ and about 200 pounds. He moves well behind the plate and offers good potential there.
Some fans might say that taking Parada the year after Ford shows that they don’t like Ford anymore, but that is simply untrue. The draft is all about drafting the best player available, not drafting for need. It is not like the NFL or NBA drafts where these players will impact their organizations tomorrow. The earliest Parada could even think about making it to the big leagues would be probably 3 years after the 2022 draft. That would probably be the 2025 or 2026 season.
The Mariners would have Cal Raleigh, Harry Ford, and Kevin Parada if they ended up drafting him. None of these players would get in each other’s way for a long time due to their timeline for a call-up, as well as Ford’s adaptability. There is always risk associated with any player when drafting them, and we all know that not every player will reach their potential. Adding Kevin Parada to the organization would improve the depth at the catcher position going forward.
Here is what Prospects Live thinks about Draft Prospect Kevin Parada
"Parada was one of the more quietly heralded catchers in the 2020 draft class pre-draft. His bonus demands ultimately pushed him to Georgia Tech. It’s legit plus raw power that he’s shown he can get to in-game. He’s got extremely strong hands that help him manipulate the barrel, and punish balls deep in the zone with authority.Parada has a picturesque swing that uses all fields and doesn’t sell out for power. It’s organic strength and loft that comes naturally. Behind the plate, it’s a plus arm with better athleticism than you’ll find in most guys his size. Playing at Georgia Tech, Parada may get the opportunity to call his own games in 2022, a luxury not afforded to most college catchers these days. That advanced skillset, both mentally and physically, should help his draft stock.Parada’s profile is carried by the plus bat, but he’s an advanced defensive catcher who figures to stay behind the plate as he transitions into professional baseball. He may be the next great backstop to come out of Georgia Tech following Jason Varitek, Matt Wieters and Joey Bart."
Prospects Live has Parada as the 9th best prospect going into the draft as of now. He seems to be a prospect that could be a good hitting catcher, as well as one that is above average behind home plate. He has a good bat with good power potential as well and Parada isn’t going to move off of catcher. If the Mariners draft him, it would be a nice find because you can never have too many catchers.
If the Mariners find their next long-term catcher here, that would be an absolutely great pick for them. The three catchers from Georgia Tech listed above are all studs or have the potential to be. If the Mariners got their own version with Kevin Parada, then that would be a huge boost for the Mariners in the future.
This season will be a big one for Kevin Parada. He will have to have a similarly good offensive season to stay a legit first-round talent at catcher. The Mariners could certainly target him since they have taken multiple players from Georgia before, including Kyle Lewis and Harry Ford. Keep an eye out on each mock draft as they occur to see where he falls as the season progresses.
Here are a few other names the Mariners could target in the first round
Bryce Hubbart is a left-handed pitcher from Florida State University. He is just under six feet tall and listed at 190 pounds. He had a good freshman year at FSU and was named Third Team All ACC, as well as to the All ACC Freshman Team. He made 14 starts and posted a sub 4 ERA. He has a 4 pitch mix that could offer the Mariners multiple pitches to work with, since they like polished pitchers, especially college pitchers. He could be a potential target at pick 21.
Justin Crawford is the son of longtime MLB star Carl Crawford. His standout tool is his speed and athleticism. He has 80-grade speed that profiles well for him as a long-term outfielder. He carries additional risk as a high school player, but he would fit the mold of several players who have strong family bloodlines. He is a tall and lanky kid now, but that could change in the future as he is not even 18 years old yet. He could be another player picked in the Mariners range.
Kumar Rocker was on top of the world last year. Despite being one of the most well-known draft prospects in draft history, he was drafted 10th overall by the New York Mets. The Mets did not like his medical reports, so he went unsigned. He is going to play independent ball in 2022 and can be drafted again. If he can show a return to form, as well as a clean bill of health, he could be an option for the Mariners.
The MLB Draft isn’t until June or July, as the date has yet to be announced. Keep an eye out for plenty of mock draft coverage, prospect analysis, and Mariners articles concerning who they could take in the draft over the next 6-7 months.