Ben Williamson – 3B – William & Mary
If you look closely, Ben Williamson looks like another power-hitting corner infielder in the Mariners system, Tyler Locklear. The difference is Locklear shifted to first base due to some defensive limitations. Still, Williamson grades out above average to elite defensively, meaning he will likely stay at the hot corner.
But it isn't the glove that has me excited about this pick. The 22-year-old has elite "dominate the zone" traits, as evidenced by his 40 walks versus 22 strikeouts this year. He also provides double-digit power and speed potential from a premium position. Williamson also rode a spectacular 2023 to earn Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year honors.
Brock Rodden – SS – Wichita State University
Wichita State University has been a hotbed for up-the-middle talent for decades. Brock Rodden is the next in a long line of Shockers who earned All-American honors. Rodden is another advanced bat with a good feel for the strike zone (39 BB/26 SO), but his most compelling trait is his ability to rise to the moment.
Rodden also has some of the hardest exit velocities in the class, routinely cracking the century mark and even topping 118 mph three times in one game this season. Scouts believe he'll stick at shortstop, but with the talent in the Mariners farm system, we could see the 2023 American Athletic Conference player of the year find a home at second base.
Brody Hopkins – P – Winthrop University
Shohei Ohtani's success as a two-way player has created this tremendous buzz for any player who can or does pitch and hit. We will never see anyone reach Ohtani's heights, but that isn't stopping players from trying. The Mariners grabbed a two-way talent in the sixth round in Brody Hopkins, who could feasibly try his hand at both, but for now, the team lists him as a pitcher.
That is the right choice because the upside on the mound is enormous. According to Future Star Series' Joe Doyle, Hopkins ramps his fastball up to 98 with some heavy sink, the slider is a developing outpitch, but the real excitement should come from his comp. None other than Los Angeles Dodgers' flamethrower Dustin May.
Hopkins's offensive profile is a centerfielder with plus speed, solid power, and a lot of athleticism. He could join Modesto this season or finish the year toiling in the Arizona Complex League. Regardless, the uber-toolsy two-way player is one to watch.