With the MLB Draft coming up very soon, the Seattle Mariners will have some questions to answer as they decide on their first pick with the 21st overall pick in the draft. They could take a chance on Kumar Rocker, take Dylan Lesko if he falls, or draft a hitter. Taking a position player would be my preference at 21, but I know that Seattle likes to take pitching prospects early, but Drew Gilbert seems to fit the M’s the best of the position player prospects in the first round.
There are many different mock drafts out there now, and most have Gilbert at least available to the Mariners at their pick or going close in that range. MLB.com has Gilbert going 28th to Houston, CBS has Gilbert going 24th to Boston, and Prospects Live has him going 19th to Oakland. So Gilbert is likely to be in play for the Mariners at 21, and there are more than enough reasons to like the skills he brings to the table.
What Drew Gilbert brings offensively
For starters, MLB Pipeline gives Gilbert a 55-hit tool and a 45-power tool, which includes plus raw power according to others. He also is at least a better-than-average runner, earning a 55 grade. The reason that I like Gilbert offensively is that he has been a good hitter in college at a big-time school in the SEC. This year he slashed .362/.455/.673 with 21 doubles, 4 triples, and 11 homers.
The reason that I believe Gilbert fits the Mariners system so well is because they have currently had problems with players being on the fringes of the big league team who can hit. Dylan Moore is having a nice year, but is hitting under .200. Justin Upton is struggling, Abraham Toro is hitting under .200, and Sam Haggerty is not getting a shot to play very often. I would love for the Mariners to be able to call up a prospect who can hit. Plain and simple. They need more hitters.
I also believe that he could be the only hitter the Mariners look at with their first-round pick because he seems to fit the mold of controlling the strike zone. There is some high praise from Prospects Live, and it sounds exactly like the player that Jerry Dipoto loves. Here’s what they have to say.
"“His best trait is without question his sublime approach and discipline at the plate. He draws a decent amount of walks, but really keeps his strikeouts down and never surrenders an at-bat.”"
Drew Gilbert provides just that, and he also provides a lot of swagger. The flair that this kid plays with is great, and fun to watch. This tweet from Joe Doyle shows some of his flair but also highlights his great numbers, and high exit velos at times.
What Drew Gilbert brings defensively
According to MLB Pipeline again, Gilbert is an above-average center fielder with a plus arm. That will play certainly. The ability to actually play center field matters here because even though Julio Rodriguez has been incredible in center this year, he probably won’t be able to do it forever. If the M’s can have Gilbert coming through the pipeline and either share time in center or move Julio off of center field in 4 to 5 years, that would give the Mariners two good defenders next to each other.
Since he is already 21 years old and turns 22 in the winter, Gilbert could be a fast mover. Zach DeLoach is 2 years older than Gilbert, and already in AA as a lesser prospect. Gilbert also is not getting drafted in a year when the minor league season is canceled. It is totally possible that Gilbert plays in Modesto this summer, starts in Everett next year, and could be positioning himself to get promoted to AA by the end of his first full season in 2023. That would be fun to see.
Even though Gilbert is just 5’9″ and only weighs 185 pounds, the lefty shows good potential to me, and I would be thrilled if the Mariners selected him in the first round. He is a really intriguing prospect and one that I believe the Mariners could actually take in the first round. We won’t know until draft day, but stay tuned for more Mariners draft content as the draft gets closer and we start to learn who the Mariners select to be the future of the franchise in Seattle.