2014 MLB Draft Open Thread (Rounds 1 & 2)

Jay Yencich · June 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

So today’s the day, or “a day” (ugh), or perhaps you just weren’t paying attention up until now. Luuuuucky. With the sixth overall pick, sometime this afternoon the Mariners will be selecting some guy who might be their top prospect going into next season. Then later, with pick 74, they’ll pick some other guy who is probably an okay baseball player too. Better than you, at least. From there, we’ll drift into players that most of us have never heard of and go on until there are forty rounds of selections. Remember that there used to be fifty, and that there was also a January draft until 1986 and prior to that there was a brief August draft. You can never have too many. Or you could, and so they stopped.

Here are the basics of what you need to know. The draft will go on with large intermissions from today (Rounds 1 & 2 w/ comps), through Friday (3-10) until Saturday afternoon at some point (11-40). Friday and Saturday, coverage will begin at MLB.com at 10 am, but today, coverage complete with talking heads in conversation begins at 3 pm with actual selections coming at 4 pm. Because if there’s anything America loves more than the events themselves, it’s an hour of speculation and mental foreplay. I don’t know why this doesn’t extend to everything. The Thanksgiving Day parade should be preceded by predictions of marching order and possible rogue balloon entrants who were seen rising in the final months. Movie previews should have retired actors, directors, and screenwriters projecting what might happen based off of the summaries they read on IMDB. When I’m eyeing some gal at a reading or show or bar, I want a gallery of pick-up artists, therapists, and survivors of good and bad relationships giving odds on the possible outcomes of our striking up a conversation.

Here are some bullet points pertaining to what you might need to know:

* This draft class is partially the result of the new CBA’s allotment of fixed draft pools. Basically, the players exiting college right now were high schoolers in the last year before the new rules kicked in, and that year there was a lot of wild spending on prep players as a sort of last hurrah. This means the college ranks are a bit thin right now, but will normalize in years to come.

* The strength of the draft is largely in pitching, both high school and college. There have been a few Tommy John casualties as there often are (Hoffman, Fedde) and others whose mechanics still give pause (Freeland), but the top portion of third-party draft boards features a lot of pitching right now. We don’t know that the actual selections will play out like this. Maybe teams will be more eager to replenish with injuries rampant in the minor leagues this year, maybe they will be more shy about selecting more pitching. It’s possible too that because the hitting class is considered weaker, that hitters may be overvalued and teams will be more inclined to burn that pick early on hitting, knowing that they could get comparable pitching later. These are factors we all end up considering the day of.

* The mock draft consensus has been unusually consistent over the past few weeks in that the M’s are still projected to take top HS bat C/3B/RF Alex Jackson. Nothing has [yet] come up at the last minute to dissuade anyone from that. But bear in mind that this isn’t a lock either. There were mutterings of the Marlins perhaps trying to work a deal with him at #2, and no one rightly knows what the Cubs are up to at #4. If he slips past those two, he’s probably ours, but that’s a big if.

* Say that he doesn’t. In that case, the most likely pick seems to be Hartford left-hander Sean Newcomb, who seems to me like a less-developed James Paxton. There are other possibilities as well. This org looooves their shortstops, so if Nick Gordon gets past the Twins, he is also absolutely in play for us. If one of the top prep arms (Aiken, Kolek) or Rodon drop down, which seems improbable, they are also in play. The players that have linked to the M’s before but seem less likely at this moment are LSU right-hander Aaron Nola (high-floor, three good pitches), who may be in play earlier, and NC State shortstop and Rodon teammate shortstop Trea Turner (elite speed, good defense, swing like an uprooted tree wielded by a wimpy tornado).

* The Mariners, on account of sucking last year, were awarded a competitive balance pick at the end of the supplemental second round, which means that they’ll be making the last selection of the day at 74. The current administration has never not picked a position player in the second round, but who knows what happens here? Our normally allocated second round pick went to the Yankees because of Cano and Morales’ not-signing elsewhere.

My personal board, which is weighted for likelihood, looks like this:

1) Jackson [Weight transfer and timing may be an issue, but talent matches our needs well]
2) Newcomb [Lacking secondaries, but low mileage and org had success teaching curves]
3) Conforto [Fits our positional and power/OBP needs well, but I’m worried they’d rush him]
4) Freeland [Love the command, finish unnerves me]
5) Gordon [Great defensive actions, good offensive ceiling, but best at short]
6) Nola [The same basic pick the M’s have made four of the last five years]

If I’m not weighting my selections, I like Touki Toussaint a lot and think that this organization would be a good match to develop him to near his ceiling, but no one has put him this high and pitching still scares a lot of people. I also have an avowed interest in Michael Gettys because he really does have elite physical tools, but do I trust the Mariners to succeed in developing someone with a hitting ability this raw? No. I do not.

There’s reading material abounds. You can go through my earlier preview or read through Marc’s interview with Chris Crawford. Read Tony Blengino’s insights into what really goes on in the draft room! Or you could sift through some thousands of mocks and players profiles all over the internet in the hours leading up to the event because you’re a wizard and/or own a time machine.

I won’t be here for this draft. Just like the last one, I have somewhere to be that coincides with the start time. But rest assured that wherever I am, I will be reacting with proportionally inappropriate emotion.


25 Responses to “2014 MLB Draft Open Thread (Rounds 1 & 2)”

  1. Jay Yencich on June 5th, 2014 3:59 pm

    I hope we draft a future Mariner.

  2. Westside guy on June 5th, 2014 4:00 pm

    Thanks Jay! I look forward to seeing which guy that’s better than me is picked by the Mariners.

  3. bookbook on June 5th, 2014 4:22 pm

    This habit we’ve had of drafting future Pirates has got to stop.

  4. naviomelo on June 5th, 2014 4:31 pm

    For the record, that second paragraph was hilarious!

  5. naviomelo on June 5th, 2014 4:49 pm

    Alex Jackson it is!

  6. Slats on June 5th, 2014 4:50 pm

    Welcome to Seattle Alex Jackson!

  7. joser on June 5th, 2014 5:07 pm

    When I’m eyeing some gal at a reading or show or bar, I want a gallery of pick-up artists, therapists, and survivors of good and bad relationships giving odds on the possible outcomes of our striking up a conversation.

    I have all of this going on in my head already.

  8. Ichirolling51 on June 5th, 2014 5:07 pm

    Well, his nick name will be an easy one to figure out… ACTION JACKSON!!! Or is that one already taken?

    On a more serious note, since Kendrys Morales did not sign before the draft, thus we didn’t get an additional pick for him. So when he signs after the draft would we get a 1st round or comp pick in next years draft?

  9. asuray on June 5th, 2014 5:15 pm

    “On a more serious note, since Kendrys Morales did not sign before the draft, thus we didn’t get an additional pick for him. So when he signs after the draft would we get a 1st round or comp pick in next years draft?”

    No. We get nothing.

  10. joser on June 5th, 2014 5:16 pm

    And on top of everything else I despise about Selig, he also pronounces the state Or-REE-gohn.

  11. nwade on June 5th, 2014 5:36 pm

    “Action Jackson”?? C’mon, its gotta be either “Allie” or “Lexie”.
    (“…Yeah, like Shiggy!”)

  12. joser on June 5th, 2014 5:42 pm

    It’s a Winn-winn situation!

    But c’mon, this is the city with the Space Needle, so it should be Jetson Jackson.

    On another note, the Cubs apparently drafted Nuke Laloosh (as played by John C. Reilly) as a catcher (skip ahead to the :40 second mark)

  13. joser on June 5th, 2014 5:54 pm

    Also, just for posterity’s sake, here’s the MLB.com profile for Jackson

  14. stevemotivateir on June 5th, 2014 6:18 pm

    Is it a stretch to believe the M’s will have Peterson, Wilson, and Jackson in Mariner uniforms at some point next season?

    I’m not campaigning for that to happen, I just question their ability to stay patient and take player development more seriously.

  15. Ichirolling51 on June 5th, 2014 7:17 pm

    Did Selig just say 20,014 draft? Lets not get ahead of our selves now.

  16. californiamariner on June 5th, 2014 9:03 pm

    I’m not going to pretend to know much about Alex Jackson, but from what I’ve heard over the last few weeks leading up to the draft, I like the pick! While Jackson is probably at least 3 years from the big leagues, he has the potential to soon be considered the Mariners #1 prospect. The experts might already have him #1. If you don’t count Walker and Paxton, there’s not too much competition for the top spot. Peterson and Wilson weren’t as highly touted coming into the draft.

  17. Sports on a Shtick on June 5th, 2014 9:47 pm

    Excited reading about Gareth Morgan. Lots of potential in the 6’4, 220-pound Canadian outfielder.

  18. dc24 on June 5th, 2014 10:18 pm

    Really liked our two picks! Especially excited about Morgan too. Definitely a couple of guys that will take a few years, but I’m fine with that.

  19. joser on June 6th, 2014 12:00 am

    Is it a stretch to believe the M’s will have Peterson, Wilson, and Jackson in Mariner uniforms at some point next season?

    It’s a stretch for Jackson, certainly. He’s a highschool player. Joe Mauer was drafted out of highschool (at #1) in 2001; he didn’t see the majors until 2004. Bubba Starling was drafted out of highschool in 2011; he has yet to play a game in the majors. Byron Buxton was drafted in the spot ahead of Mike Zunino in 2012, but whereas Zunino moved from university ball to the majors in a bit over a year, highschool draftee Buxton has yet to play above A ball (he’s also injured, but was slated for AA this year and would probably only have seen a September call-up at best if he’d stayed healthy).

    The position players able to advance rapidly from highschool to the majors are few and far between, and we remember them because they tend to be prodigious talents. While I’d love to think the M’s drafted another Trout or Harper (or Griffey or ARod), none of the scouts seems to think Jackson is quite in that category and it’s asking a bit much of him — and getting just a little ahead of ourselves — to think he’s going to follow in those footsteps.

    It’s less of a stretch for Peterson, but there’s no certainty there either considering he hasn’t taken a swing in AA yet. He’s tearing up the California League, but lots of people do that; still, I imagine a promotion is imminent… and then we’ll see how quickly he adjusts to pitchers who throw good pitches that aren’t fastballs in parks that don’t play like they’re on the moon.

    And developmentally speaking, Wilson is behind him.

    So, next year? Well if everything goes really smoothly, Peterson might be threatening Smoak’s job in Spring Training next year, Wilson might be opening the season in Tacoma, and Jackson is in… Jackson. I suppose in that scenario there’s a chance he gets a cup of coffee in September, but realistically I’d consider even 2016 to be a quick ascent and 2017 wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  20. stevemotivateir on June 6th, 2014 7:36 am

    ^Way to take that way too seriously! I was half kidding. Nobody actually expects to see all three in Seattle next year. You missed the general point, which was over the Mariners willingness to be patient with top hitting prospects. I don’t care what other teams do, or have done, my concern is strictly with M’s prospects. What’s abnormal for other teams isn’t always the case for the M’s. We’ve watched them force the issue with a few players now, whether it be with premature promotions, or hesitation to send them back down for more seasoning when needed.

    Peterson’s still in High Desert and he’s obviously the closest. He’ll likely be in Jackson soon and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in Tacoma at some next season. But how desperate are the Mariners? Are they going to show a dependency on inner-organizational options, or fill holes with cheap stop-gaps? The one thing I don’t expect is more long term commitments to free agents.

    We’ll have to wait and see. But I really hope they handle these guys properly. I’m not confident they’ll do that, though.

  21. Longgeorge1 on June 6th, 2014 8:36 am

    What has always bothered me about the M’s is not that they don’t draft good talent, they seem to do a poor job of developing the players that they draft. Guys like Ackley and Franklin were at least supposed to be major league hitters. Could we include Smoak as we have had him all of these years? Is there a AAAA league we could join?

  22. joser on June 6th, 2014 9:46 am

    Every time you knock them for not developing Ackley you have to credit them for developing Seager. So maybe there’s some systemetic problem that’s bad more often than it’s good, but it’s clearly not universally bad. Good hitters can emerge from it. And maybe the variability of individual hitters has as big of an effect as the system.

  23. Dobbs on June 6th, 2014 10:09 am

    joser, the problem is Seager appears to be the only one we can credit them with. Don’t other teams produce a bit more than one guy every how many years has it been?

  24. Jay Yencich on June 6th, 2014 11:20 am

    For the record, that second paragraph was hilarious!


  25. Mariner Melee on June 8th, 2014 8:56 am

    ” you have to credit them for developing Seager ” -joser

    Actually you don’t. Kyle Seager was terrible in his first call up, spent the offseason getting outside help on his swing, and then came back the Kyle Seager we know and love. This organization is terrible at developing bats. Period.

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