The major league draft is just two days away, and so while I don’t have the same amount of sources in the organization that I used to, here’s some rumblings I’ve heard in the last couple of days about what the Mariners might do with the 20th pick in the first round.
Aaron Hicks, OF, Wilson HS, Long Beach CA
Adam Jones, part two. Like Jones, Hicks has major league potential both as an OF and as a pitcher, but if the M’s draft him, it’s likely as a position player. He’s a classic five tool projectable 18-year-old with serious athleticism, and he’s probably not going to fall to #20, as a team with a pick in the #11 to #19 range will probably take a shot at his upside before the M’s get a chance to pick. But if he falls to their spot, there’s a good chance the M’s will be calling Hicks’ name.
Brett Lawrie, 3B, Brookwood HS, Langley BC
The M’s scout Canada as well as anyone, and Lawrie is the offensive version of last year’s first round pick, Phillippe Aumont. Teams have primarily had to get a look at him in exhibition tours, and he opened a lot of eyes (including several M’s officials) down in the Dominican recently with his power display. He doesn’t really have a position, having played 2nd base, 3rd base, catcher, and the outfield at various times, and no one really knows where he’ll end up long term. Best guess is third base or left field, but either way, it’s the bat that teams would be drafting. There aren’t many better high school hitters in this draft.
Anthony Hewitt, SS, Salisbury HS, Salisbury CT
If you love athletes, Hewitt is your guy in this draft. He’s built, he can run, and he can really turn on a fastball when he gets his bat on it. In terms of pure tools, he’s in the Hanley Ramirez/Alfonso Soriano category of players. If he develops, he could be a 30-30 shortstop. But, in terms of development, he’s a couple of years behind a normal first round pick, and he’s a long, long way from the major leagues. The gap between what he could be and what he is is Grand Canyon sized, and no one is sure he’s going to be able to hit professional pitching consistently. A ton of bust potential, but he might be a winning lottery ticket as well. Big risk, big reward.
Andrew Cashner, RHP, Texas Christian University
Last year, the M’s were focusing on selecting Casey Weathers, a power reliever from Vanderbilt, before Colorado popped him at #8 and Aumont fell to the M’s at #11. They still would like to add another power arm to the bullpen, and could use Cashner as the piece that would allow them to move Brandon Morrow back to the rotation. I’m still against the idea of using a first round pick on a relief pitcher, but the M’s aren’t, and Cashner’s definitely a possibility.