Looking at most teams' drafting patterns lately, you'll see a trend. Up-the-middle talent and high-ceiling pitchers are the formula, at least for the Mariners, who invested high capital in teens who play shortstop. They've drafted or signed Cole Young, Felnin Celesten, Michael Arroyo, Tai Peete, and our #2 ranked prospect, Colt Emerson.
Emerson made a name for himself, playing well in the showcase circuit and with Team USA, where he hit .360 as the starting third baseman that won the U-18 World Cup. The Mariners exceeded the slot value, dishing out $3.8 million to coax the Auburn commit to the professional ranks.
The 18-year-old brings solid tools across the board, with the hit tool the strongest (60-grade). Emerson hits the ball hard, uses the entire field, and has an advanced approach, as evidenced by his .374/.496/1.045 slash line across two levels. He did most of his work in Modesto's run to the California League championship, anchoring the Nuts' top lineup.
While Emerson is currently a gap-to-gap hitter with a plus-hit tool, scouts believe his bat has more pull-side power, probably 20 homers at the big league level.
Defensively, the arm is solid (55 grade), and the fielding is above average (50 grade). Emerson played shortstop in high school. However, with the abundance of shortstops in the Mariners' farm system and a lack of high-end third base talent, we'll see Emerson slide over to the hot corner as he climbs the ladder. Look for the talented teen to start the year in Modesto and quickly slide up to Everett with his fellow 2023 first round draftees (Tai Peete, Johnny Farmelo).