So You Still Want Me to Write About the 2016 Draft
What are YOU doing here?
Well, as long as you’re here, what’s up with the 2016 draft?
It’s still far less rewarding than entering the Thunderdome for most.
Okay, smart-ass, be serious.
The baseball community hasn’t been actively talking shit about the draft this year, which seems positive by omission. The draft lacks the star power up top that other recent drafts have had, but then since we aren’t picking until eleven and there’s no consensus, it’s not likely to be a bad thing. What we’ve been seeing is that the college ranks aren’t as loaded as they have been in recent years. This is strange insofar as one of the major selling points of establishing pools and punishments for overage was that it would improve the quality of college baseball and attract attention to it (pause for laughter). Instead, this year has shown the emergence of various compelling HS prospects and it’s generally thought that teams will pursue those, provided that they’re signable. I don’t remember too many prospects explicitly stating an ironclad college commitment (which isn’t always ironclad), but even so, one would imagine that the level of depth is such that teams might try to prioritize HS first and then build out from the available college ranks from there.
When is this happening?
For a longer period of time than is preferable.
Use your words.
(groans again) Day one is Thursday and we’re starting up at four pm Pacific with rounds one and two. Three through ten will kick off on Friday at 10 am Pacific and then we get the more traditional phone call and potential visits with Tommy LaSorda from rounds eleven to forty starting at 9 am on Saturday.
What picks do we have?
#11 (1st,) #50 (2nd), then #87 (3rd) and intervals of thirty thereafter. No compensation round picks this year.
What are our needs?
Stop drafting for need.
STOP DRAFTING FOR NEED, BASEBALL PLAYER DEVELOPMENT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. GOOD DAY, SIR.
… Okay, what’s the present position of the Mariner’s system depth?
It depends on the position. There’s a second wave of starting prospects down at the low low levels along with Yarbrough in double-A. We’re thin around the infield with few exceptions (Peterson has swung the bat well of late, Drew Jackson is all right). We seem to have really built our CF depth over the past calendar year, but corner outfield depth could also easily be improved upon outside of Tyler O’Neill. We’re fortunate in that most of the teams and individual players have been performing well after last year’s dismal showing. I’m secretly probably more excited about the return of Patrick Kivlehan than I ought to be.
And how does that match up with the draft?
A cursory glance over the various lists would suggest to me that the main areas of depth in this draft are outfielders and pitching. Outfielders, we actually need. Pitching is less dire, but attrition means that you always need it regardless. There aren’t many exciting SS prospects to speak of and among those, one just failed a drug test and the other is 6’5”, but then Marte hasn’t yet had the early season curse that most new Mariners shortstops have had. On the whole, it looks like a draft that matches well in that we can draft the BPAs and have it simultaneously help our existing needs.
What do you think we’ll do?
It’s really hard for me to say. I don’t know that I ever really had a firm notion of what McNamara did and didn’t like. With Mattox, I could shorthand it as “toolsy but never played baseball” and with Fontaine, it was “college players who were injured or had transferred schools.” Mac seems to go against the perceived strengths of the draft sometimes and where I thought initially that he was going to prefer college and left/switch bats, the latter part of his tenure under Zduriencik went otherwise as we often pursued transcendent RH power as embodied by Tyler O’Neill and less fortunately, Gareth Morgan and Corey Simpson. Whether that was in response to shifting demands from the Brain Spiders on High or no, I can’t easily say, but Mac’s drafts have at least been the most pleasant since I’ve been following which could be comparing dirt to sweet nourishing gruel as far as I know. As for DiPoto’s own priorities, I think he established a bit of a college preference in his GM tenure in LALA Land and I would think that Andy McKay as the head player development guy would perhaps steer us away from guys who have personality issues, which is not to say we’re pursuing all grit, all the time (Bloomquist was brought in by the D’Backs FO, after all), but I don’t know that picks like Peterson or Jackson would necessarily be in vogue.
…wait, why do you say that?
I view this as a side effect of baseball and other such pursuits attracting type-A personalities, but there have been rumors that neither of those guys was especially receptive to coaching in the past. When you’ve been good your whole life doing your own thing, it works, but when you run into struggles and are still insistent on your tried and true methods, it can be a problem. This is not to say that receptivity is an excellent alternative— Mike Zunino is likely a victim of trying to please too many people and history is full of mediocrity that has served too many masters — but as long as the message is coherent and thoughtful from top-down, it’s probably preferable to stubbornness.
So what names have you seen linked to us?
Precedent and the fact that we drafted him out of HS tempts me to go with Louisville’s Corey Ray as an OF. Ray is good, but like a lot of guys there isn’t really a consensus about whether he’ll play in center or not. Blake Rutherford, a 19-year-old California prep, is a sort of Jim Edmonds type that could be fun. I don’t have tremendous confidence that Mickey Moniak, Kyle Lewis, or Nick Senzel, who is a Tennesse 3B who could move off, will drop to us. Where pitching is concerned, a number of mockers have linked us to Boston College RHP Justin Dunn. He has four pitches, very good velocity, and less mileage on his arm on account of being previously a reliever.
So what do you want the Mariners to do?
Draft a future Mariner.