Draft Rumblings

Dave · June 5, 2007 at 9:53 am · Filed Under Mariners 

We’re now two days away from the MLB amateur draft. This is about the time when teams start getting a pretty good idea of who is going where ahead of them and solidifying the organization’s opinions on who to select. Consequently, this is when better information about who is going where starts to leak out, so even though the Mariners pick 11th, we’re starting to get some reliable rumblings on what they’re expected to do.

Most everyone in baseball believes the Mariners are going to select a pitcher. They’ve followed some hitters, notably Beau Mills of Lewis and Clark State in Idaho, but in the end, they’re almost certainly going to take a pitcher. The pervailing consensus is that the organization is also heavily leaning towards taking a college arm, as they want someone who can get to the majors very quickly. Much like with Brandon Morrow last year, they’re hoping to draft a kid who can spend a few months, at most, in the minor leagues. The team continues to be in win-now mode, and that is going to spill over to the first pick in this year’s draft.

The problem, however, is that this is a pretty lousy draft for college pitching. David Price and Ross Detwiler are the two top arms coming out of NCAA schools, and there’s essentially no chance that either one is there for the M’s at #11. Price is going #1 to Tampa, and Detwiler is expected to go in the 3-8 range, and it’s nearly impossible to see him getting past Arizona at #9.

So, that leaves the Mariners to set their sights on Daniel Moskos, a 6’0 lefty from Clemson who has pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen in his college career. He was a reliever as a freshman, the Tigers closer as a sophomore, and pitched out of the bullpen for Team USA last summer. He made nine starts for Clemson this spring, but also came out of the bullpen in 17 games, and those nine starts represent the entirity of his experience in the rotation since high school.

I saw Moskos pitch for Team USA last summer, and he’s exactly how the scouting report reads – a max effort lefty with 92-96 MPH velocity on a four seam fastball, a nasty slider that makes him death on lefties, a show-me curveball that isn’t much of a pitch, and a change-up that has enough sink to be useful against right-handers. The main knocks scouts have on him is his unathletic body, as there’s no room for him to add any strength on his frame, and his high effort delivery which puts a good amount of strain on his arm.

When pitching in the rotation for Clemson, Moskos’ velocity was down (as it is with any reliever who moves to the rotation, really), and he was sitting at 88-92. As a reliever, he can get the fastball up to 97 and is much more of a strikeout pitcher. The stuff drops off significantly as a starter, and he’d profile as a #4 or #5 starter if stretched out and placed into a major league rotation.

As a reliever, he’s got the potential to be a quality setup man, not all that different from George Sherrill, honestly. If that sounds like the type of guy you want with the 11th pick in the draft, well, Thursday might be your lucky day. Most signs point to the M’s selecting Moskos if he’s available at #11.

If someone pops Moskos in the top ten (and it’s possible, as the Mariners aren’t the only team looking for quick help on Thursday), then things get a little murky. The M’s want to draft a college arm, but after Price/Detwiler, you’re really stretching to find anyone who belongs to be taken before the 20-30 range. Casey Weathers is a reliever out of Vanderbilt who is going to stay in the bullpen and could get to the majors quickly with his 96 MPH fastball and slider combination. But there’s no chance Weathers moves to the rotation. Beyond Weathers, you’re looking at a guy like Nick Schmidt, who has very little upside and no outpitch. Think a left-handed Joe Blanton.

The talents who should be taken in the 11-15 range are mostly high school pitchers, including 6’7 RHP Philippe Aumont. If the M’s get over their desire to have someone get to the majors quickly, there are some high ceiling arms who could be major league ready starters in 3-4 years. However, all signs point to the organization lacking the patience to develop an 18-year-old pitcher, and the odds are on them selecting someone who they can potentially get to the majors in September.

So, my guess is that Moskos is the pick on Thursday, with Weathers and Schmidt as fall back plans, and Aumont as the longshot.

I’ll put something up again tomorrow and Thursday morning with the latest rumblings.


122 Responses to “Draft Rumblings”

  1. jdsc55 on June 5th, 2007 1:59 pm

    I actually played against Nick Schmidt in high school and throughout before that. In high school, he was one of those kids who could always just reach back and blow a 90 mph fastball by some high school kid (like me at the time) and never was forced to develop any other pitches. I really haven’t followed him too much through college, but from what I remember spending time with him, he wasn’t the most mature and had a tendency to throw temper tantrums if things didn’t go his way on the mound (ie. errors, missed plays, etc.)

  2. Dave on June 5th, 2007 2:01 pm

    Baseball-Reference just added every draft pick in the history of the draft to their site. thebaseballcube.com has it as well, just with more ads and slower load times.


    That’s a link to Rany Jazayerli’s 12th article in his draft study. You can find links to the other 11 from that article.

    Jim Callis’ older draft study

    Draft study from SOSH

    Philly’s draft study from Sons of Sam Horn is probably the best of the three. He did remarkably good and extensive work on the issue, and he didn’t go in with the preconceived biases that Rany did.

  3. scraps on June 5th, 2007 2:17 pm

    It’s meaningless to note the NBA’s higher rate of high draft picks making the league, since almost without exception the high draft picks start out in the league. The NBA has plenty of high-pick flameouts who never become regulars and wash out of the league within a few years.

  4. flash_33 on June 5th, 2007 2:38 pm

    I know this may not fit the conversation but I am quite happy to let the people of USS Mariner know that there is a kid from Sitka Alaska (Where I live) in the draft this year. Last year he was drafted by the giants in the 23rd round I believe. His name is E.B. Crow or Edward Crow. Sitka has won the last two state championships as well and are going to the state tourney again this year. Since this is a small town of 6000 I thought you guys might find it interesting. Anyone know where you can look up draft picks to see who’s entered in the draft?

  5. eponymous coward on June 5th, 2007 2:41 pm

    Yeah, pretty much. NBA first round draft picks got a GUARANTEED NBA contract (guaranteed MLB contracts as part of negotiations are still fairly uncommon for MLB draft picks, unless your agent’s Scott Boras and you’re a shortstop from Miami), and the NBDL (the equivalent of the “minor” leagues) didn’t show up until recently.

    Ditto NFL draft picks- though they don’t get a guaranteed contract, they don’t get shuffled off to the minors. Maybe the closest would be the NHL draft, where players will be drafted out of major juniors and then sent back to their team for a year… but even then, no other sport really has the minor league system baseball does.

  6. flash_33 on June 5th, 2007 2:49 pm

    To follow up, I forgot to say the even though he was drafted, he decided to re-enter after a year of community college ball in Washington. He is a pitcher and has been one of the best in his league.

  7. msb on June 5th, 2007 3:00 pm

    although ineligible for the draft, there is Yuni’s buddy, the ambidexterous pitcher now up in Everett …

  8. Ralph Malph on June 5th, 2007 3:07 pm

    Why do teams even care about the draft? Latin American talent is cheaper; and there, the best athletes around actually play baseball.

    Plus, according to Gary Sheffield, they’re more coachable.

  9. tait644 on June 5th, 2007 4:17 pm

    Dumb question: Why do teams even care about the draft? Latin American talent is cheaper; and there, the best athletes around actually play baseball.

    Why turn your back on 1/2 of the available amateur players? Sure, they may cost more, but they generally take less time to develop. As much of a bargain Triunfel may appear to be compared to Morrow, let’s not forget that we won’t see Triunfel in a Seattle uniform for another two seasons, at least…

  10. gag harbor on June 5th, 2007 4:32 pm

    108: I thought Sheffield called them “controllable”

  11. joser on June 5th, 2007 4:36 pm

    That ambidextrous guy sounds like Sid Finch except I guess he’s real. There was some high-school kid a couple of years ago in the midwest somewhere who was pitching L and R — he even had a glove made with two thumbs (one at each end of the fingers) so he could switch on the fly. But I don’t think he had the stuff to stick with either arm, or we would’ve heard more about him.

  12. Dour Dunc on June 5th, 2007 5:10 pm

    They’ve followed some hitters, notably Beau Mills of Lewis and Clark State in Idaho…

    Actually it’s LEWIS-CLARK STATE, but who’s counting?

  13. CouchGM on June 5th, 2007 6:42 pm

    Grr. They SHOULD pay very close attention to what Cleveland, Oakland and a few others that draft behind them are doing, and steal their ideas. But precisely since that’s the smart thing to do, they will do the polar opposite.

    AHA! The Costanza Principle: I believe the M’s should practice the (George) Costanza Principle: Consider what you normally do, and do the OPPOSITE. “I’m George. I’m unemployed. I’m bald. I live with my parents…”

  14. CouchGM on June 5th, 2007 6:43 pm

    I read online that someone (sorry don’t remember) projects them to take Andrew Brackman. He’s already got tired arm…perfect!!!

  15. Avery on June 5th, 2007 7:24 pm

    From all reports I’ve heard, Moskos is going through a dead arm period right now since he isn’t used to starting. His FB has dropped to the 88-92 range but he has so much movement on it he’s still effective. Personally, I hope the Mariners don’t pick him mainly because of a lack of a starting pitcher track record.

  16. benjamin on June 5th, 2007 9:18 pm

    Came across this little tidbit that I thought I would share:


    John’s Top 12 Pitching Draft Prospects
    By John Sickels
    Posted on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 02:25:25 PM CDT

    My Ranking of the Top Pitching Prospects for the Draft
    Keep in mind that this reflects my personal opinion based on my own neural processing of available information, scouting reports, video, historical comparisons, and (in some cases with the college guys) personal observation. Your own mileage may vary a great deal. Talent and projection are the considerations here, not signability.
    A longer and more detailed list will be sent to newsletter subscribers tomorrow.

    David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt.

    Rick Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep HS, West Orange, NJ

    Jarrod Parker, RHP, Norwell HS, Norwell, Indiana

    Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri State University

    Madison Bumgarner, LHP, South Caldwell HS, Hudson, NC

    Josh Smoker, LHP, Calhoun HS, Calhoun, GA

    Nevin Griffith, RHP, Middleton HS, Tampa, FL

    Dan Moskos, LHP, Clemson

    Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS, Groton, CT

    Blake Beavan, RHP, Irving HS, Irving, TX

    Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Ecole du Versant, Gatineau, Quebec

    Casey Weathers, RHP, Vanderbilt

    Feel free to critique the list if you like, but I want to be honest about my opinion and not just replicate what everyone else is already saying. I rate Griffith a lot higher than most people, and I prefer high school lefties Bumgarner and Smoker to Moskos.

  17. TaylorD7 on June 6th, 2007 10:52 am

    Dave, say we do take one of the RPs, where would they come out in the future 40? And, say we took one of the higher upside high school SPs, where do they rank?

  18. boxc on June 6th, 2007 12:43 pm

    ESPN.com’s Keith Law reported in his blog that

    “• Seattle is leaning heavily towards Nick Schmidt at No. 11, with Casey Weathers as their alternative. Either way, they hope to bring whoever they take to the big leagues this year.”

  19. Dave on June 6th, 2007 12:46 pm

    Keith’s got the names backwards. Schmidt is the backup plan. They’d take Weathers ahead of Schmidt and Moskos ahead of either one.

    I’ll have a full draft board in the morning.

  20. Bilbo on June 6th, 2007 9:34 pm

    which leaves me rooting for Moskos to drop or Weathers to be taken as well if Moskos is gone (or someone else they would take but it doesn’t seem like that will happen). At least there is some hope of those two being a starter someday, although in this organization I highly doubt it.

    Argh! Here is to the M’s being sold away from the BCS.

  21. Dave on June 6th, 2007 10:12 pm

    Weathers has 0% chance of becoming a starter. No one’s even considering him as a starter.

    There’s a slightly smaller chance that Moskos gets a shot as a starter, but it probably wouldn’t be with the M’s – they’d take him as a reinforcement for the pen this year, and the replacement power arm for Morrow next year.

  22. Bilbo on June 6th, 2007 10:28 pm

    Sorry, I meant Schmidt or Moskos as possible starters. Weathers scares me the most.

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