Draft Update

Dave · May 20, 2005 at 7:07 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Big news out of Arizona this morning, thanks to Baseball America. The Diamondbacks have eliminated all but four players from contention for the #1 pick in the draft: Justin Upton, Luke Hochevar, Mike Pelfrey, and Craig Hansen, a college reliever.

So, barring an extreme change, the D’Backs won’t be selecting Alex Gordon number one overall. This makes sense considering their organization’s depth at his potential positions, but it does go away from the “best available talent” philosophy. It’s hard to argue that you’d rather have Craig Hansen than Alex Gordon, all things being equal.

But that’s not for us to quibble. So, essentially, the M’s simply have to hope that the Royals pass on Gordon, and they’ll get a shot at selecting the player I believe is the best in the draft.


34 Responses to “Draft Update”

  1. Dead Ball Tim on May 20th, 2005 7:18 am

    Another guy named Alex who plays third base. hmmmm… Is his agent named Scott?


  2. MarinerDan on May 20th, 2005 8:09 am

    How likely do you think it is though, Dave, that the Royals DON’T select Gordon? I know they were looking for an impact third basemen when they made the Beltran trade (and ended up with Teahen). Are they happy with Teahen, so much so that they would consider not drafting Gordon? Or do you think it is likely that Gordon will have signability issues with which the Royals don’t want to deal?

  3. Dead Ball Tim on May 20th, 2005 8:09 am
  4. Colm on May 20th, 2005 8:29 am

    I don’t recall hearing the name of Troy Tulowitzki, the Long Beach State shortstop who is named in the article as the Mariners’ third choice. Any inside skinny from Dave?

  5. Mike Bannan on May 20th, 2005 8:34 am

    When is the draft?

  6. Dave on May 20th, 2005 8:35 am

    Tuluwitzki is listed in the “honorable mentions” category of the Draft Board. I’m not a huge fan, personally. He’s a solid player across the board without any exceptional skills. He may be able to play a decent shortstop, but no one loves his glove. He has gap power, but doesn’t project as a middle of the order hitter. He has some plate discipline, but isn’t an on base machine.

    Tulowitzki profiles as a .270/.330/.450 guy in the majors, and while he’s relatively low risk, there’s not much of a chance he turns into a superstar, either. I’d compare him to Khalil Greene of the Padres. Nice player, a guy you’d like to have, but probably not worth the #3 overall pick.

  7. Aaron on May 20th, 2005 8:51 am

    Does that list of four essentially translate to, “Arizona will take Upton with the first pick,” or is there still a reasonable chance that both the top players will fall?

  8. Tim in Japan on May 20th, 2005 9:12 am

    #3 I think the age of 11 is about when girls peak vs. boys. I remember in 6th grade the tallest kid in my class was a girl, and she played sports with the boys and held her own too. The boys aren’t really producing a lot of testosterone yet at that age.

  9. marc w. on May 20th, 2005 9:31 am

    I’m somewhat shocked to see Craig Hansen in the D’backs final four.
    If they don’t take him, and I doubt they will, how far will he far? Mid first round? Or is his stock rising that much? He sounds polished, but I can’t imagine spending a top 7-10 pick on a closer.
    Is he better than Huston Street was last year?

    On another subject, do you have any info on the draft-and-follow guy the M’s just signed this week, Michael Saunders? Looking at draft position and bonus it doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but BA did consider it ‘significant’ so I thought I’d ask…

  10. Dave on May 20th, 2005 9:34 am

    The M’s actually signed Saunders last week. He’s a left-handed bat who they like offensively that doesn’t really have a position yet. He was a 3B in high school but spent the year in JC playing outfield. It will be interesting to see if he can make Everett’s roster this summer and where he’ll end up playing.

  11. bilbo on May 20th, 2005 9:34 am

    I have heard rumors that if Drew signs with Arizona, it will be part of a package deal to have another of Boras clients taken #1. I know this article discounts that theory, but what else are the Diamondbacks going to say?
    Dave, while Az might not take Gordon, I don’t see where he slips past KC. The exception being if they decide to “go cheap”. Irrespective of the BA article, do you think this is likely?

    The pessimist in me sees Az taking Upton, KC taking Gordon, and the M’s screwing the pooch with there pick. (ie- Tulo) It just wouldn’t be the M’s if anything else happened! ;-(

  12. bilbo on May 20th, 2005 9:36 am

    oops, I mean “their” pick.

  13. Chris Begley on May 20th, 2005 9:41 am

    Bearing in mind that you cannot trade draft picks in MLB (an idea I think is ludicrous), have there ever been any shenanigans whereby someone is traded in exchange (on the QT of course) for a promise not to select an Alex Gordon?

  14. Colm on May 20th, 2005 9:51 am

    I presume, although it is not stated directly, that if the D’backs pick up, say, Hochevar, and the Royals nab Alex Gordon, then the M’s would and should sign Justin Upton in a heartbeat.

    Does anyone have any idea if the Royals prefer Upton over Gordon?

  15. Kirk on May 20th, 2005 10:27 am

    Dave, do you know Bavasi’s history with Boras? So far as I can tell, the M’s haven’t been afraid to draft Boras clients in the past.

    Do you think Drew is the #3 talent in the draft, close to, on-par with or even superior to Upton and Gordon?

    If Gordon and Upton are gone, how likely do you think it is the M’s pick Drew?

  16. Dave on May 20th, 2005 10:36 am


    I can pretty much tell you that what you’ve heard is wrong.

    I think there’s a decent chance KC passes on Gordon. While Baird has started to come around to a more statistical philosophy, their scouting director, Deric Ladnier, loves to draft upside. He could be swayed by a guy like Maybin, especially if he’s going to come cheaper than Gordon. But I’d say Gordon is KC’s likely pick.

    The M’s draft board has Gordon and Upton at the top. If either one fall, they’ll probably be the selection. If somehow both fell, I think Upton would be the choice, but that’s a guess.

    Bavasi and Boras are good friends. The M’s don’t have another pick til the 4th round, so they won’t be afraid to spend a significant amount of their draft budget on the #3 pick. I think the M’s are the one team where signability won’t be a huge factor.

    I think Drew is a pretty good step behind Upton and Gordon. I think he’s a bit ahead of guys like Maybin, Tulowitzki, and Clement.

    Right now, though, it doesn’t sound like the M’s are planning on Drew being in the draft. They’ll cross that bridge if they come to it.

  17. bilbo on May 20th, 2005 11:02 am

    thanks Dave! It is good to have our own insider that separates some of the rumors from the facts. I think we all are in agreement that if Upton or Gordon are available that they should, and probably would, go that way. The real question then becomes, what if they are both gone? Are they really locked in on Tulo, or would they look at the upside in a guy like Maybin?

    also, anybody with subscription to BA wanna share their first three picks (upton, gordon, tulo?)?

  18. Jim Thomsen on May 20th, 2005 11:22 am

    Dave: Do you have any feel for the current Mariners braintrust’s attitude toward “signability” players? Do you have sense that the organization may behave like others and pass on good players because they perceive or have been told that a non-negotiable high price tage is attached to them? In other words, if Upton or Gordon were available, do you think the M’s would be inclined to grab them simply on merit and deal with the other issues later?

  19. Dave on May 20th, 2005 11:28 am


    The M’s, like every team, will account for the financial aspect before selecting whoever they do. They’re going to get an idea of what each player wants, and it will factor into their decision. If they didn’t do this, it would be poor planning.

    So, yes, if Alex Gordon or Justin Upton say “I want a $10 million major league contract to sign” and the M’s get the feeling they are serious, they’ll walk away. And they’d be right to do so.

    However, neither Gordon or Upton are represented by Scott Boras, and neither one is making waves–so far–about breaking the bank. I don’t think that signing will be a huge issue for either player.

    But, any team who decides to “draft a player on merit and deal with the other issues later” is simply being foolish. The financial aspect has to come into play before you announce your pick, or you’re going to make a lot of uninformed selections.

  20. MarinerDan on May 20th, 2005 12:04 pm

    Dave —

    You are making the selection for the M’s. Upton and Gordon are gone. Who do you take and why? (I know you have Maybin ranked third, but do you think that is where the M’s should go given the risks, status of their club, etc.)?

  21. dw on May 20th, 2005 12:09 pm

    Dave, if you’re still around, any thoughts about Seth Johnston and Cameron Blair? Johnston is a Howser finalist (with Gordon), but he has an awfully low walk rate (17 BB) for the Big XII. Blair looks like a cheaper version of Gordon — might he be hanging around in round 3-4-5?

  22. gumbostu on May 20th, 2005 12:15 pm

    Sickels on his website, http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2005/5/18/14184/4818 has just previewed the not hitters in college. Does anybody know anything about this Ryan Zimmerman kid? It seems the Nationals like him alot and they pick right below us, is he that much of a drop off from Upton/Gordon offensively, it sounds like he’s a lot better defensively, and could transition through the minors very quickly.

  23. gumbostu on May 20th, 2005 12:16 pm

    ooops, I meant top hitters in college, not, “not hitters in college”

  24. Dave on May 20th, 2005 12:26 pm


    A lot of it depends on the financial aspect. If I think I can sign Stephen Drew relatively quickly (and he’s in the draft, obviously), then he’s probably my pick. If he’s looking like a tough sign again or Arizona inks him before the draft, then I’m exploring pre-draft deals. If I can get Maybin, Hochevar, or Pelfrey to agree to a near slot non major league contract before I pick them, that’s probably the way I go.

    I don’t have a huge conviction about anyone after the top two. It’s not a great year to pick third.

    I think Blair’s going to go in the middle rounds, 5-10 somewhere, to a team looking for a cheap senior sign. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oakland or Toronto took him and gave him a $5,000 signing bonus. He’s had a nice year, but he’s not a scout’s dream, especially in a 5’10/180 body.

    I’m going to have to plead ignorance on Seth Johnston. I don’t know too much about him. I’ll see what I can find out.

  25. Dave on May 20th, 2005 12:27 pm

    Zimmerman is Bill Mueller with aluminum. The new Edgardo Alfonzo if everything goes right. I wouldn’t take him in the top 10.

  26. bilbo on May 20th, 2005 12:53 pm

    wow, I just read a ESPN transcript with Jim Callis that says that he believes KC will take Maybin over Gordon!

    Also, along the same lines, he says scouts compare his tools to Vlad Guerrero (and I have read other reports comparing him to Griffey). If that is the case, why isn’t he considered a consensus top 3 pick? (ie- why would the M’s consider a guy like Tulo over him?)

  27. Nate on May 20th, 2005 2:36 pm

    If it’s any help, the media/public sentiment in KC is that Baird has used up his excuses. Fans–what’s left of them–aren’t going to swallow a “signability” line very easily. Moreover, the payroll is lower than budget, and President Dan Glass (son of owner David Glass) has said that that extra money will make them less budget-conscious in the draft.

    KC might make a stupid pick–they certainly have a track record of doing so–but I don’t think it’ll be because of money.

  28. The Ancient Mariner on May 20th, 2005 2:42 pm

    So if those are AZ’s top four, do you think there’s any realistic chance they take a pitcher?

  29. Jerry on May 20th, 2005 8:55 pm

    Ancient Mariner,

    You have to hope that AZ goes for someone besides Upton. I think that a major factor in what the D-Backs do in the draft will be determined by whether or not they sign Stephen Drew. If so, I think that it would dramatically improve the chances of them going for one of the pitchers, regardless of what the team is saying in the press. Even if money is not a factor (and I would imagine it would be after signing Drew, who is a Boras client), Drew and Upton are similar players: both are SSs who some think project better in CF. Perhaps they would spend the money and get them both. But I have to think that signing Drew would make taking someone like Pelfrey or Hansen a little more likely.

    The other wild card is KC, as I still think that signability will be a concern for them. Its almost too bad that Gordon or Upton aren’t making crazy demands or are represented by Boras, because that would push them out of the Royals price range. Hopefully, KC will pick a guy besides Upton or Gordon. I think that this is a good possibility.

    Luckily, only one of these things have to happen for the M’s to end up with a great player. Everything that I have read from Baseball America suggests that the M’s have Upton and Gordon on the top of their board, with Troy Tulowitzki third. Lets just hope that one of these two teams take someone besides Upton or Gordon. I don’t really think that you can say one is better than the other, since they are such dramatically different players. I agree with Dave that Gordon is a great prospect, but Upton is a freakishly good athlete. If the M’s could land him and immediately convert him to CF, he could really fly through the minors. He has the best tools in the draft by far, is an advanced hitter, and is a guy who has a good shot to become a gold glove CFer. Both players are no-brainers, and the M’s probably won’t have a choice between the two. Hopefully, they get the chance to draft one of them.

    Although it is not a nice thing to think about now, at this rate the M’s will have the 6th pick in the draft next year. If nothing else, having a losing team makes the draft more exciting to follow.

  30. edwin on May 20th, 2005 10:50 pm

    My list is Upton, Gordon, then Maybin for the M’s. I will be dissapointed if they draft Tulowitzki or anybody else. I like the top 3, have a good feeling about them, and do not think picking a Boras client is a good choice. I do not want to wait until next year to possibly start following their career.

    My gut puts Maybin at the top of the list. We will see in a few years.

  31. The Ancient Mariner on May 20th, 2005 11:12 pm

    Yeah, Jerry, I know I have to hope, but I want to hear from someone who knows how realistic a possibility that is.

  32. Peter on May 22nd, 2005 10:08 pm

    Upton, Gordon, then Maybin

    Please not Tulowitzki


  33. bilbo on May 23rd, 2005 3:38 pm

    After reading thru this thread and doing a little more research, I won’t be devastated if the M’s pick Tulowitzki. (The assumption being that Upton and Gordon are off the board.) While I would prefer they go for the upside of a guy like Maybin, I can understand the love for Tulo.
    The guys at Baseball Analysts ranks him as the 2nd best hitter in college ball (behind Gordon) and have been enfatuated by him for some time. With no disrespect to Dave, scouts seem to love his defense, power potential and plus-plus arm. BA is very high on him and if you look at their tools rankings, he is right up there in most tools categories (best athlete, five-tool talent).


    If you are going to go the college route and Gordon is gone, then this looks like the next best thing. With that said, I still hope KC goes for Maybin and they end up with Gordon!

  34. bilbo on May 23rd, 2005 3:40 pm

    another interesting note I read stated that if Upton is a CFer then they rate him behind Gordon and Maybin! (I believe it was baseballanalysts, but I can’t find the link). The idea being that Maybin has a higher upside as a CF than Upton. I don’t know how true that is, but it makes things more interesting…