The MLB Amateur Draft is next Tuesday and Wednesday. The Mariners have the fifth overall selection in the draft. To this point, we’ve spent very little time covering the draft, with the exception of the Andrew Miller article and discussion I wrote a few months ago.
Part of the reduced draft coverage was because I’ve been extremely busy the last few months, but it’s also due to the fact that absolutely no one knows what’s going to happen on Tuesday. Seriously, nobody has any idea. Everything that has been written the past few months could be, and probably will be, thrown out the window by the time the draft rolls around. Stuff I’m writing now could be invalid by the time you read it. There’s just no certainty in this draft at all, and so I’ve avoided speculating about the different possibilities.
Now that we’re only a few days away, though, here’s a look into what could transpire in the first five picks on Tuesday, and what that might mean for the Mariners.
#1: Kansas City Royals
While some have speculated that Dayton Moore’s hiring as the GM means that they’ll take Andrew Miller #1 overall, that conclusion is based on a flawed premise – Moore will have no say in the Royals draft. He won’t officially become GM until June 8th, and he will remain with the Braves through that day. Muzzy Jackson and Daric Ladnier will run the draft for Kansas City, meaning the uncertainty following that pick remains.
The Royals, like everyone else, believe Andrew Miller is the best player in this draft, but aren’t convinced he’s that much better than the other arms, and they’re trying to work out a predraft deal with someone. It could be Tim Lincecum, though that’s unlikely. Luke Hochevar is another name that has been floated, but if you’re looking for a predraft deal, a Scott Boras client probably isn’t your best bet. At this point, literally no one knows what Kansas City is going to do. My best guess is they cut a pre-draft deal with a safe pick after years of getting burned by high-risk draftees.
Dave’s WAG: Brandon Morrow, RHP, Cal
#2: Colorado Rockies
The Rockies have been linked to two names almost exclusively the past few months; Andrew Miller and third baseman Evan Longoria. While nothing is set in stone, this appears to be the easiest pick to project. Miller would fit in perfectly with what the Rockies are trying to do, and he’s the consensus top talent in the draft. It’s highly unlikely he gets past Colorado if KC passes on him. If the Royals tab Miller, they turn to Longoria with an eye on trying him as a second baseman.
Dave’s WAG: Andrew Miller, LHP, North Carolina
#3: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
While it’s been easy to pick on Tampa Bay, they’ve drafted extremly well the past few years, and are now a very well run club, under the eyes of Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker. They’re going to make a good pick. They’ve been tied to a whole host of names, but the one that makes the most sense, given the teams needs and their current management team, is RHP Brad Lincoln. He’s polished, he’s effective with good stuff and command, and he needs little projection. He’s a perfect fit for the Rays.
Dave’s WAG: Brad Lincoln, RHP, Houston
#4: Pittsburgh Pirates
Like KC, no one has a good feel for where Pittsburgh wants to go. They’ve been tied to Kyle Drabek, mostly due to his father’s success in that city, but they also have a long history of taking college pitching and passing on high-ceiling talent in favor of minimizing risk. This is the organization that took Bryan Bullington over B.J. Upton, after all. Lincoln would be their dream player, and if he goes, they’re probably not happy. Lincecum, Hochevar, and Scherzer are the top arms remaining if the top three goes as I’m guessing, but all are higher risk prospects than Pittssburgh likes. Greg Reynolds, however, fits the mold of what the Pirates are after, even if he’s a big reach at #4; he throws strikes, went to Stanford, and has projection. If they continue to go for lower risk college arms, I think Reynolds is the guy.
Dave’s WAG: Greg Reynolds, RHP, Stanford
#5: Seattle Mariners
The M’s are going to draft a college arm, there’s no doubt about that. The only question is which one. With Miller and Lincoln unlikely to slide to #5, the M’s will probably be picking from the Lincecum/Hochevar/Scherzer/Morrow group. They’ve been tied to Hochevar quite a bit, but no one knows how much of that is real or just a smokescreen.
While Bavasi has a history of preferring high-reward players, Bob Fontaine is running the draft, and he’s a bit more conservative by nature. Fontaine’s also a big proponant of pitcher’s body types, and Lincecum doesn’t fit the mold of what he generally prefers. I don’t see the M’s going for the UW star, but instead picking between Scherzer or Hochevar, unless Morrow falls.
Dave’s WAG: Max Scherzer, RHP, Missouri
Now, keep in mind, all of this is heavily subject to change. It’s normal for one of the consensus top talents to fall due to late concerns about signability (Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Jered Weaver, Luke Hochevar, etc…). It would be weird if something didn’t happen in the next four days that shook up the top of the draft.
We’ll find out more in the next few days, and we’ll keep you up to date with what we’re hearing. But, the main thing to keep in mind about all the draft rumors floating around right now is that no one has any idea what’s actually going to happen on Tuesday.