Draft Stuff

Dave · June 3, 2009 at 8:41 am · Filed Under Mariners 

We’re now just six days away from the first day of the draft, where the M’s will pick five times in the first three rounds. For the last few months, everyone’s just been collecting reports on different guys, but when you get within a week, we start finding out which teams are likely to do what. This year is no exception. Here’s what I’m hearing about the M’s picks as of right now.

First Round, #2

Dustin Ackley – 90%
Aaron Crow – 9%
Field – 1%

It will be a pretty big upset if the M’s don’t take Ackley. He’s the second best prospect in this draft, and there’s not really an argument for anyone else. He’s a good fit for the M’s organizational needs and their home park, and he’s the kind of player that can get to the majors quickly. There’s a chance that the M’s could go with Crow if they really want an arm who could be in the rotation in 2010, but bet on Ackley at #2.

First round, #27
Supplemental Round, #33

I’m lumping these two together because these picks are going to be made in conjunction with one another. If they take Ackley at #2, the M’s would really like a high upside arm at #27. However, most of the premium pitchers will be off the board before then, so their best bet to snag a quality pitching prospect will be to grab the inevitable tough-sign guy who slides. However, in order to sign that kind of player, they’ll have to go over the slot recommendation for the #27 pick, and that’s where the #33 pick comes in.

Depending on who you talk to, the M’s have already cut a pre-draft deal or are working on a pre-draft deal with HS catcher Steven Baron, whom they will select with the 33rd pick. Baron will sign for less than the #33 slot recommendation, which gives the M’s extra cash to throw at the #27 pick. Baron’s a catch-and-throw guy with top notch defensive skills and a questionable bat – he showed better than expected power at a HS event last week, but there are still significant questions about how well he’ll hit with wood. On talent, he’d go in the 50-100 range.

So, these two picks are basically a package deal. The odds listed below are for the different packages you might expect the M’s to end up with at #27/#33 under this scenario.

25% – Tanner Scheppers and Steven Baron
20% – Matt Purke and Steven Baron
20% – James Paxton and Steven Baron
10% – Kyle Gibson and Steven Baron

Those four are the pitchers most likely to fall to #27. Scheppers and Purke are asking for more money than any team is willing to give them right now, while Paxton and Gibson have been hurt by some low velocity readings in their end of season starts. Odds are pretty good that at least one of those four will be on the board at #27, which would give the M’s a chance to pull off the current plan. However, they might all be off the board, or the M’s could decide they’re not interested in the specific guy who does fall, at which point they’d likely turn to the backup plan, which right now appears to be AJ Pollock, a shortstop-turned-center fielder from Notre Dame whom the M’s would convert back into a second baseman. If they went with Pollock at #27, they’d probably take a more conventional player at #33, and then select Baron at #51.

There’s also the scenario where they don’t take Ackley at #2, which then puts them in the hunt for Brett Jackson at #27 or #33.

20% – AJ Pollock and Field (leaning towards a pitcher – Drew Storen or Kyle Heckathorn?)
5% – Brett Jackson and AJ Pollock

Second Round, #51

Trying to tie down names to the later picks is basically a fool’s errand, because there are so many variables in play ahead of the second and round third choices. Baron is a pretty likely pick if the M’s don’t take him at #33. If they do, they might save money again with another lower ceiling guy who will sign quickly in order to make sure they have enough cash in the budget to sign both Ackley and whatever pitcher they took at #27. If they’re not looking to save money with the pick, I’ve heard Nick Franklin (HS switch hitting middle infielder with some power) attached to the M’s.

Third Round, #82

No one has any idea, even the M’s. We’ll find out on Tuesday night.

Here are the MLB.com reports for each player listed above:

Dustin Ackley, 1B/CF, UNC
Steven Baron, C, HS
Aaron Crow, RHP, Indy
Nick Franklin, SS/2B, HS
Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri
Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennesaw State
Brett Jackson, CF, Cal
James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky
AJ Pollock, CF/2B, Notre Dame
Matt Purke, LHP, HS
Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Indy
Drew Storen, RHP, Stanford

For continuous coverage of draft rumors through next Tuesday, your best bets are Baseball America and the ESPN draft blog updated by Keith Law and Jason Churchill .


68 Responses to “Draft Stuff”

  1. blamo on June 3rd, 2009 4:40 pm

    I understand the strategy behind drafting Baron at #33 and don’t really have a problem with it, but if Schepperes et al do have major signability concerns why not just draft BPA at #27 and #33 and only sign one of the two?

    Trading a #27 and #33 for a #10 and #100 seems great but only if the #10 is guaranteed to sign, which it doesn’t sound like it is the case.

  2. joser on June 3rd, 2009 5:00 pm

    It’s such a shame (but somehow typical) that the M’s end up with so many high draft picks in a year when the draft is considered one of the weakest in recent memory. Ah well.

    Before his surgery he was regarded as the best catcher in the draft

    Doesn’t this exactly describe Clement? Now, granted, Bailey got TJ surgery and we know lots of players come back from that… including the guy the M’s seem to be planning to draft at #2. I have no idea what his prognosis is, but catchers get so much wear as it is, getting one pre-broken kind of scares me. Not to mention how much risk you want to take on drafting two TJ recoveries in the same draft. High risk, high reward, I guess.

    The thing about the draft is that at some point it all becomes a crap shoot. You try to do all the diligence you can, but there’s so many unknowns. First round guys flame out. And sometimes you find a Pujols in round 13, or a Smoltz in round 22. I just wish it didn’t take so many years to figure out how you did.

  3. joser on June 3rd, 2009 5:05 pm

    Looking ahead, I assume the same draft day rules apply this time? Don’t endlessly hit refresh and torch the server?

    I’m generally anti-Twitter, but this is one case where it kind of makes sense… except I suspect Dave would not enjoy chopping his blow-by-blow analysis into 140 character chunks…

  4. Slurve on June 3rd, 2009 5:20 pm

    If Purke or Scheppers fall to us to the 27th pick I would do backflips.

  5. jordan on June 3rd, 2009 5:24 pm

    Call me stupid (because I am.. haha) But I may have missed a post the explained the thinking, but how would we be essentially trading our 27 and 33 picks for a 10 and a 70? I assume the 70 is Baron with the 33rd pick, but where does the 10 come from?

  6. The Ancient Mariner on June 3rd, 2009 5:38 pm

    The “10” comes from drafting a top-10 talent at #27.

  7. jordan on June 3rd, 2009 5:44 pm

    Oh, because they fall due do signability… I don’t know how I didn’t catch that. The whole reason we take Baron, haha. Thanks.

  8. Breadbaker on June 3rd, 2009 6:43 pm

    The M’s have a budget and a strategy and a staff who previously loaded the Brewers with first class drafted talent that has had significant major league impact (remember: they were in the playoffs last year and we haven’t been since 2001).

    I think I’ll give them the benefit of any doubt. As long as they don’t blow the first pick on a closer.

  9. msb on June 3rd, 2009 7:12 pm

    oooh, a pre-game scoop from Tom McNamara … in a pitching-rich draft, there are three bats they like.

  10. Mid80sRighty on June 3rd, 2009 7:53 pm

    McNamara also said something to the effect that in baseball you don’t always draft the best possible player. Rather sometimes you have to draft more on need to restock the system.

  11. Bilbo on June 3rd, 2009 9:13 pm

    Complaining about the possibility of Baron at #33 is not ignorance but pragmatism. I understand perfectly well the idea of operating within a budget as I own a multimillion $ P&L but I also understand budgets are fluid and you have to be prepared to seize opportunities when they arise.

    If the M’s believe that Scheppers/Purke/whomever is worth top 5 money (4-5mm/yr) then they should do it and I would applaud them for it. If they have a similar opportunity at 33 then they should also do it. Now, if they don’t believe the difference between what is at 33 and Baron then I also don’t have issue with them saving some of the money it may cost for 27. But a team with Seattle’s resources shouldn’t make that decision based solely on the money otherwise they’ll never be anything more than a midling team.

  12. msb on June 3rd, 2009 10:21 pm

    Larry Stone talks to McNamara

  13. scottiedawg on June 4th, 2009 8:46 am

    Dave and Derek, I was just looking at a mock draft (which may or may not have been an informed one). It listed only 11 position players in the first 32 picks, and only 5 in the first 20. It seems to me that position players are not only more of a sure thing, but more valuable to have (Pujols, Longoria, Upton, etc over Greinke, Lincecum, Santana, etc)
    Your thoughts?

  14. joser on June 4th, 2009 12:46 pm

    How pitchers and position players end up weighting in the upper part of the draft varies enormously from one year to the next. Last year there were only two pitchers taken in the top ten; the year before there were six. The talent varies so much from year to year (and some years are stronger than others, and some teams are more willing to go over slot than others, and some teams value different things in the draft, all of which changes the overall strategies of what players get taken where) that I don’t think you can generalize / extrapolate like that.

  15. Sports on a Schtick on June 4th, 2009 4:19 pm

    Churchill says M’s might go with Crow to save money and get some pitching in the system.

  16. joser on June 4th, 2009 6:06 pm

    I’m not sure I like the idea of using the 2nd pick this year to take the guy who was the 9th pick last year. Has he gotten that much better? Is the draft class this year that much worse?

  17. The Ancient Mariner on June 4th, 2009 6:29 pm

    No and yes. I’d rather have Ackley, though.

  18. rightwingrick on June 9th, 2009 7:15 pm

    Not bad. You named Ackley, Baron, and Franklin! Nicely done.

    I thinked the M’s fooled everyone by not going for a pitcher in the top 4, which means they think:

    1) We have good young pitching one the way and other young pitching won’t accelerate our progress that much;

    2) this draft is deep in pitching and they think they will pick up some sleeper pitchers deeper in the draft; and

    3)we have almost no offense in the lower minors that fits the concept that Jack Z is aiming for.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.