Draft Day One Recap

Dave · June 5, 2008 at 9:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

We’ve made our opinion on drafting a college reliever in the first round known, so let’s move on to the rest of the picks the M’s made today. Here’s a quick recap of the players taken and a preliminary opinion on what their futures may hold.

First Round: Josh Fields, RHP, Georgia

Fields has good velocity and a big hook of a curveball despite being undersized, and when talking to people about him tonight, the name Troy Percival came up several times. Of course, the name Blaine Boyer came up just as often as a reminder that a 95 MPH fastball and a 12-6 curve doesn’t make you a guaranteed all-star. In reality, his command problems shouldn’t be that big of a deal, because 9th inning walks aren’t a serious problem if no one is hitting you. His ceiling isn’t that high, but he should be in Seattle in 2009, so that’s something.

Best Case Scenario: Troy Percival
More Likely Outcome: Taylor Buchholz

Second Round: Dennis Raben, OF, Miami

I’ll just quote Scout Friend on this one: “Fifteen years ago, Ben Grieve was the #2 pick in the draft with this exact same package. Grieve had a shorter stroke and more bat speed, but Raben’s pretty much a Grieve clone. That kid got a lot of crap for not living up to the hype, but he had a pretty decent career, and where you guys took him, that’s a good value.”

Best Case Scenario: Pat Burrell
More Likely Outcome: Ben Grieve

Third Round: Aaron Pribanic, RHP, Nebraska

Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way quickly; he’s a tall and fall guy who doesn’t get the most out of his leg strength and doesn’t repeat his delivery very well. That said, he’s got the classic pitchers frame, good arm strength, sits in the 91-94 range with his fastball, has a useful slider and change, and he doesn’t have much wear and tear on his arm. He’s not your typical college pitcher – there’s untapped talent here. He’s got some similarities to Tony Butler, and if the coaching staff can clean him up a bit and improve his secondary stuff, I think he could be a solid major league arm.

Best Case Scenario: Kyle Lohse
More Likely Outcome: Phil Dumatrait

Fourth Round: Steven Hensley, RHP, Elon

Not as big a fan of this one, unfortunately. Hensley is a short-armer whose velocity is more 87-91 and telegraphs his breaking ball with a wildly different arm action. He might as well just yell curveball during the wind-up. He’s going to take a good amount of work to make it.

Best Case Scenario: Francisco Cruceta
More Likely Outcome: Rich Dorman

Fifth Round: Brett Lorin, RHP, Long Beach St

This is a Bob Fontaine special right here. A couple of years ago, he snagged Kam Mickolio in the 18th round as a guy that few teams had seen much of, but the M’s saw sitting at 95 late in the year when most teams had taken him off their follow lists. Lorin fits the Mickolio mold, though obviously, the M’s felt the need to take him off the board earlier. At 6’7 and 245, he’s a huge kid, and his size has always intrigued scouts, but he’d been a career disappointment. He went to Arizona, struggled, transferred to Long Beach St and couldn’t find a home there either, even after working with pitching guru Troy Buckley. Barely used and almost never effective, Lorin was basically an afterthought for most teams. But he pitched the best baseball of his life the last two weeks with M’s scouts in attendance, and they believe that with a few tweaks, they can get his velocity up to 94. If they’re right, this could be a steal.

Best Case Scenario: J.J. Putz
More Likely Outcome: Dennis Sarfate

Sixth Round: Jarrett Burgess, RF, Florida Christian HS

The first non-collegian taken by the M’s, he attended the same high school as Denny Almonte, last year’s second round pick. Burgess doesn’t have Almonte’s raw physical skills, but he’s a better hitter. Of course, considering that Scout Friend asked me last week if Almonte was “the worst draft pick ever”, that’s not saying much. Generally, when you take a high school position player this late, you’re gambling that you can sign him, because you’re not going to be offering him that much money. It’s possible that Burgess ends up in college instead of joining the M’s.

Best Case Scenario: Someone Good
More Likely Outcome: We Never Talk About Him Again


71 Responses to “Draft Day One Recap”

  1. planB on June 6th, 2008 11:22 am

    Yeah, it’s like watching a friend compete in a triathalon. He’s a terrible runner, okay swimmer, but a great cyclist. Only he cramped up swimming, almost drowned, and staggered out of the water dead last. Still, you’re excited to see if can catch the field on the bike, ’cause he really can fly. He jumps on the bike, and rides straight into a fire hydrant.


  2. Mike Snow on June 6th, 2008 11:33 am

    Is it just me, or is the tall pitcher fetish working overtime in this draft? All I know about any of these guys is the data that shows up on the mlb.com draft-tracker, but it seems like Fontaine is picking a steady stream of 6’7″ RHP, 6’8″ RHP, 6’5″ LHP, 6’7″ RHP, and so on.

  3. Gomez on June 6th, 2008 11:35 am

    Fontaine doesn’t just like pitching, he likes big guys who can pitch.

  4. Jeff Nye on June 6th, 2008 11:47 am

    Well, the “big pitchers” thing pretty much permeates baseball. I don’t think it’s Fontaine-specific.

  5. Mike Snow on June 6th, 2008 11:51 am

    It’s pretty widespread I realize, it just seemed like it was manifesting itself even more strongly than usual.

  6. bakomariner on June 6th, 2008 12:01 pm

    Dave, any words on the players picked today?

  7. RealRhino on June 6th, 2008 12:23 pm

    Should we be concerned that only 3 of 21 picks so far are from HS? Are we looking for short-term solutions to what look like long-term problems?

  8. pygmalion on June 6th, 2008 12:33 pm

    Should we be concerned that only 3 of 21 picks so far are from HS? Are we looking for short-term solutions to what look like long-term problems?

    There are others who know more about this than I do, but I don’t think that it is accurate to think that choosing college = choosing the short term over the long term. Historically, it has almost always been better to choose college players, except when there is an obvious prodigy out there (a Griffey or an A-Rod). And with pitchers this was even more extreme. Recently, the gap between HS players and college players has narrowed, but from what I’ve read they still aren’t equal. And HS players are a lot harder to sign, especially in the late rounds where they are weighing baseball scholarship + possible higher drafting later + college education vs. minor league contract. It is awfully tempting to just go to college and hope to improve enough to rise up the draft ladder or at least get a decent education for free, rather than toil for minor league money for a few years without much to show for it afterwards.

  9. RealRhino on June 6th, 2008 1:35 pm

    I thought Callis at BA concluded that in general, college draftees are less likely to be busts but also slightly less likely to become stars.

  10. JH on June 6th, 2008 1:40 pm


    I´m not sure where you´re going with this, mostly since you´re projecting an argument onto my comment that I never made. There are several reasons the system´s in poor states. Pitching depth is the most dramatic, but the positional prospects are in a pretty sorry state, too. There´s enough high-risk upside to pull them out of the discussion of worst systems in baseball, but there´s really only 2 players in the system who are good bets to become major league regulars. One of those still has a lot of work to do to show he´s more than a tweener. The draft could have given us another potential impact talent. It didn´t. I think that´s kind of a shame.

    Everyone knows why the system´s bad. That doesn´t change the fact that it´s years away from potentially contributing to a winning major league team.

  11. Gomez on June 6th, 2008 1:58 pm

    You’re saying that the system is poor. I am saying that the system has a lot of good talent, only that much of said talent is in the lower ranks. I don’t agree that a system that contains the talent we have (Aumont, Ramirez, Pineda, Saunders, Triunfel, etc. etc.) can be considered ‘bad’.

    If you sincerely believe the Mariners have one of the worst systems in baseball, then please cite some examples of what you’d consider the other worst systems in baseball, so that we can compare and contrast the talent bases.

  12. terry on June 6th, 2008 2:19 pm


    This question is more of an aside. What is your opinion of Baseball America’s content (and the content of the similar sites) concerning scouting reports. Are they generally trustworthy or should they generally be taken with a grain of salt?

  13. JH on June 6th, 2008 2:20 pm

    Hm…my post includes the line: ¨There´s enough high-risk upside to pull them out of the discussion of worst systems in baseball…¨

    Gomez responds with:
    ¨If you sincerely believe the Mariners have one of the worst systems in baseball…¨

    You really need to work on understanding what people are saying before you respond to things they never said.

  14. JH on June 6th, 2008 2:41 pm

    To be clear, I´m not saying the system lacks talent. The problem is that very few players in the system have anything resembling current major league skills, despite all the tools in the system. Clement is major league ready. Saunders has been impressive, but his swing is still long and whether he´ll really be more than average to slightly below at an outfield corner is up in the air. Valbuena has made the most of pretty average tools and could become a decent major leaguer, but he´s blocked by Lopez at least through 2010 so it´s tough to call him a potential impact guy.

    Beyond that, Halman´s still one of the rawest players in baseball, Triunfel´s far more tools than skills, Aumont only has one major league pitch at present, and Ramirez´ pitchability grades very low. As a group of organizational top prospects, that really doesn´t compare well with other teams, even though they´re people I´m very glad to see in the system.

    Good organizations have multiple players with star potential AND good prospects within a year or two of contributing. The Mariners have high-risk star potential, but nothing close to a future core until we see how those tools play out in the next few years. Given a system profile like that, it would really have been nice to add more impact talent in the draft to give the organization as many options as possible in the future.

  15. Jeff Nye on June 6th, 2008 3:15 pm

    What’s with the weird apostrophes?

  16. Gomez on June 6th, 2008 3:41 pm

    Good points, JH, that make your stance a lot clearer to me.

    It’s a shame, in watching Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria, Max Scherzer, etc. come up and contribute to their respective teams, to know that we had such a guy in our system in Adam Jones and that we traded him away, though that’s done and not much we can do now.

    That said, I’m hard pressed to figure out who the Mariners could have taken with their initial pick that would have added high-end impact talent. I think, ultimately, there is little at best that the Mariners could have done short of adding more high-risk high-reward talent. They definitely could have picked better in the initial rounds, though… far better.

  17. marc w on June 6th, 2008 4:26 pm

    66 – Cole, Melville would add ‘high-end impact talent’ though it’d be high-risk too.

    Friedrich would’ve been a decent pick more in the mold of the ‘close to contributing’ side of the equation, though I’m not going to argue he’s ‘high-end impact talent.’

  18. JH on June 6th, 2008 4:38 pm

    65: I´m typing on a Spanish keyboard, using the draft to distract myself from he hurricane rains hitting Western Guatemala this week. If these keyboards have a straight aposrophe, I haven´t found it yet.

  19. JH on June 6th, 2008 4:46 pm

    66: I would´ve been very happy with any of Christian Friedrich, Zach Collier, or Connor Gillespe personally, but as Dave said earlier when someone asked the same question there were dozens of guys with more upside available at pick 20. Clearly the scouting department wasn´t in love with any of them, though.

    I love the Raben pick, personally. It´s about time the organization drafted someone like him.

  20. Jeff Nye on June 6th, 2008 4:48 pm

    Oh, gotcha. I was just trying to figure out if it was something weird with my browser or whatever.

  21. bratman on June 6th, 2008 7:45 pm

    I think Raben is getting bonus coverage on ESPN right now … Miami versus Arizona 11th inning. FYI

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