M's Sweep BoSox

Lopez mobbedThe M's came home from their up-and-down road trip and arguably faced their most important homestand of the year. It's 12 games long (their longest of the year), and with two off days built in, it would give them the chance to get the rest that they desperately needed. Furthermore, the Pirates and Reds were coming in, two teams they should have no problems handling. The timing of this homestand was the luckiest break for the M's all season, and it was imperative that they capitalized. If they did, they would at least hang tough in the AL West, if not gain some ground on the Angels. If it didn't go well, the M's pennant dreams could be kissed good-bye.

Ok, so there are three games left in the homestand, but as long as the M's grab one game out of three with the Blue Jays, the stand will be a huge success. They won two out of three against both the Pirates and Reds, and they just had potentially their best series of the year against the Red Sox. In game one, they flat-out outplayed Boston. Then, in game two, they matched the BoSox offense blow for blow, with Richie Sexson's opposite-field muscle shot being just enough (thanks to knock-out performances from George Sherrill and J.J. Putz). Finally, yesterday the M's played their grittiest game of the year. Matsuzaka had no-hit stuff, and the M's mustered only a few measly hits. However, as luck would have it, they were strung together just right to produce one run. On the other hand, the Red Sox didn't have many problems getting runners aboard, but getting them home was another story. For the M's pitching staff, each inning was like a bull ride on Boston's offense, and each inning they somehow held on for eight seconds.

Red Sox fans can point to a plethora of reasons that their team should have won yesterday's game. Since when does that offense strand so many baserunners? The strike zone wasn't good at all. Jose Lopez got a good piece of that Joel Pineiro fastball, but if it was just out of Manny Ramirez's reach, is there any doubt that ANY other left fielder would have caught that ball? What was Terry Francona thinking not pinch-hitting for Julio Lugo in eighth with the potential winning run in scoring position, and then pinch-hitting for him in extra innings? Admittedly, the M's caught plenty of breaks in the game, and given that their hasn't been a bigger celebration at second base since "The Double," I think even the M's players had a sense that they really had stole one from the best team in the AL.

However, since 1995, the M's haven't been the luckiest team in baseball. They won over 90 games in 2002 and 2003, and didn't make the playoffs either year. They won 116 in 2001, but they couldn't get out of the ALCS. For a stretch starting with Ryan Anderson and ending with Travis Blackley, seemingly every Mariner pitching prospect had massive arm problems. It's nice to see the M's catch a few breaks. Honestly, it's been a long time since the M's have gotten this lucky. Not only did they steal yesterday's game against the Red Sox, but somehow the Royals swept the Angels, beating them 1-0 yesterday in a game in which the Angels got 10 hits! That win was even more improbable than the M's one.

Seriously, this homestand could not be going any better. For six straight days the M's have played for crowds of at least 35,000, and outside of the 16-1 drubbing against the Reds Friday night, they have played some of their finest ball of the year. It's the kind of stretch that can't help but infuse a little energy in the team and the fans.

When October rolls around, I still don't think the M's will be playing. However, they are going to be one of the last teams eliminated. The brutal stretch of games they had to play thanks to the snowed-out series in Cleveland looked like a bunch of nails in this season's coffin (if not bolts), but the M's weathered the storm and have come out of it a tough, rugged team. For all the grief that Hargrove takes for his placid (to put it nicely) approach to managing, it's working with this group of guys, probably because energy is being provided by the youthful exuberance that Betancourt, Lopez, and others are bringing to the ballpark every day. In '04, '05, and the start of '06, the whole team looked like zombies as they played the game. Now, there's fire, passion, and joy in the way that they play. That all boiled over as Lopez was mauled at second base yesterday, and it was a great sight to see. This team really believes it can do anything, even though pretty much everybody else (including myself) doesn't believe that. It's a situation vaguely reminiscent of 1995, though I stress vaguely. Still, even a faint shadow of '95 is something worth getting excited about.

Griffey Descends, Ascends, Transcends

Ken Griffey Jr.The triumphant return of Ken Griffey Jr. more than lived up to the hype. He descended on Seattle, ascended on the home run list, and transcended the field in the Emerald City.

The return of Griffey was glorious, perhaps made sweeter thanks to the long wait. The standing ovation that Randy Johnson received when he came back as a D'Back was nice, and the ovations for Dan Wilson and Edgar Martinez on their farewell nights were quite memorable too, but none of those were like the ones that Griffey received this weekend. Even now, in the midst of his eighth year since playing for the Mariners, he remains a Seattle icon. It was more than an applause out of appreciation; there was a sense that the prodigal son had returned.

Though the exuberant reaction from the masses was touching, what particularly struck me was Griffey's speech in the pre-game ceremony Friday night. He stepped up to that mic completely blown away. It was obvious in his face. When he finally did speak, the words came straight from the heart, and what became apparent is that not only is Seattle still in love with Griffey, but that Griffey is still in love with Seattle. He talked about how pretty the mountains were, and how great it was to drive past the ballpark (even with the roof open!). Then, Griffey poignantly called Seattle home. After that pre-game ceremony, all that was left was to play ball. Unfortunately, the Mariners didn't show up on Friday, losing 16-1, and the Reds didn't show up on Saturday, with the M's beating them 9-1. Even more unfortunately, the man of the weekend, Ken Griffey Jr, was yet to hit a home run.

There was just no way Junior wouldn't go through the weekend without a home run. This is the guy that homered in his first Kingdome at-bat, homered in the final Kingdome game, stole a home run in the final Kingdome game, is credited by his teammates for kick-starting the miracle September 1995 pennant chase, and of course scored the biggest run in franchise history on "the double." In classic Griffey fashion, he didn't disappoint this weekend either. He started today by homering to left center, just out of Willie Bloomquist's reach. It wasn't a classic Griffey blast, but age is catching up with him.

However, he was just saving his best for last. The home run was the only blemish for Miguel Batista, until Griffey stepped to the plate for the third time. Batista served up a pitch belt high on the inner third of the plate, and Griffey didn't miss it. His sweet little uppercut swing connected with the pitch squarely, sending the ball soaring deep into the right field bleachers. Even Griffey couldn't help but drop the bat and admire it for a second, as the prodigious blast put him past Mark McGwire on the all-time home run list. He had put the M's in a 2-0 hole late in the game, but that didn't stop the crowd, over 45,000 strong, from once again rising to their feet and cheering on their displaced hero. This weekend was truly all about Ken Griffey Jr. The M's weren't done though, and ended up coming back and winning in dramatic fashion with a suicide squeeze by Willie Bloomquist, and another clutch performance from J.J. Putz. Given that the Mariners have become more synonymous with pitching and small ball than home runs since Griffey's exodus, the game's outcome seemed almost poetic.

For seven and a half years I have stayed off the bring Griffey back bandwagon, but after this weekend I have to join it. As a left-handed hitter with an OPS over .900, he clearly has value to the team. However, Griffey's return would mean so much more. There's a really special connection between him and the city that has not died one bit despite seven and a half years separated. At the time Griffey needed to go, but now it looks like a window of opportunity for his return is beginning to open up. Griffey just has to finish his career as a Mariner. It would be best for the Mariners, and best for Ken Griffey Jr.

Tar Heels vs. Beavers: The Sequel

OSUIt's rare enough to see a team repeat as champions in any sport at any level. However, it's even rarer to see a re-match in the championship game/series between the champion and runner-up from the previous year, which college baseball has this weekend between North Carolina and Oregon State. Considering the Beavers weren't sure they'd even make the tournament, this particular re-match is even more improbable.

Though the same two programs will take the field in Omaha Saturday night, they aren't the same teams that battled last year. Gone from the Tar Heels are Daniel Bard and Andrew Miller, both of whom were first-round picks last year (Miller, in fact, is in the Tigers rotation now). The Beavers lost several key players too, but that's not to say that either team is lacking talent. 14 players between these two teams were drafted this year, so at least a couple future major-leaguers should be taking the field this weekend. Each drafted player with a brief scouting report is listed below:

NORTH CAROLINA


Josh Horton, SS, Athletics (90th overall) -
Horton was the 11th player on my "25 the M's Should Be Looking At" list, thanks to his good defense and excellent plate discipline. He fits the A's offensive philosophy beautifully, and given Bobby Crosby's struggles since taking over for Miguel Tejada, Horton has a chance to be the A's starting shortstop in a couple years.

Luke Putkonen, RHP, Tigers (121st overall) -
Putkonen has all the measurables at 6'6" with a low to mid-90s fastball. However, though his stats were solid this year, they don't match the talent. He's got the ability to be a major-league starter, but he's going to have to develop a ton to reach that potential. Given the great young staff the Tigers already have, Putkonen's best chance to make the big leagues in Detroit is likely in the bullpen.

Andrew Carignan, RHP, Athletics (180th overall) -
Vandy's Casey Weathers (picked eighth overall by the Rockies) was the best closer in college baseball this year, but Carignan wasn't far behind him. Other relievers were picked ahead of Andrew, but they aren't better ones (outside of Weathers). He has already tied Huston Street's record for most saves in the College World Series, and with a little luck this weekend he could break it. Pretty soon, Carignan could be challenging Street for his major-league closing job too.

Reid Fronk, LF, Blue Jays (215th overall) -
On this heavy-hitting team Fronk didn't really stand out, but Toronto should be glad that they didn't overlook him. There's nothing that really stands out about him, but no glaring weaknesses either. He's just a good outfielder, plain and simple. He could be in the majors within the next three years in a reserve role.

Benji Johnson, C, Braves (528th overall) -
Johnson showed impressive power as a sophomore, but didn't flash as much this year as a junior. It didn't help that he didn't play every day this year either. Even if he proves to have good power, he's not that great of a hitter and I don't think he'll ever be a contributor at the major-league level.

Robert Woodard, RHP, Padres (627th overall) -
Woodard has been shelled in the College World Series, but for the season and his career he's a much better pitcher than he's shown. He's never going to be a strikeout artist, but he's smart on the mound and he's got good command. I don't know how he'll ever crack the Padres budding young staff, but he's a solid bet to develop into a number four or five starter.

OREGON STATE


Eddie Kunz, RHP, Mets (42nd overall) -
Kunz is the closer for OSU, and he's done a really good job in the role. Though he's good, I'm not sure why the Mets picked him this high. He is a pretty solid reliever, but he's not as good as UNC's closer, Andrew Carignan, who went later in the draft. Kunz gets his share of strikeouts, but what makes him effective are all the grounders he gets. Hitters just don't get home runs off Kunz.

Mitch Canham, C, Padres (57th overall) -
He was 13th on my "25 Players the M's Should Be Looking At" list, and he's the heart and soul of the Beavers. There's not much blocking his path to the majors in San Diego, and I would expect him to be challenging for playing time with the Padres in two to three years.

Darwin Barney, SS, Cubs (127th overall) -
Barney is a solid hitter with a little power, and good speed and fielding. His hitting will likely keep him from ascending through the minors real quickly, but in three or four years he could be on the Cubs in a reserve role.

Daniel Turpen, RHP, Giants (254th overall) -
Turpen has experience starting and relieving, which is nice, but his flexibility is his best trait, which isn't nice. Turpen's ERA was pretty good, and the 10-1 record he posted is excellent, but he really posted rather mediocre numbers otherwise. The odds are against him ever being a contributor in the big leagues.

Mike Stutes, RHP, Cardinals (292nd overall) -
Though Turpen went before Stutes in the draft, Stutes is a better pitcher. His strikeout rate is good, though he did give up his share of walks and home runs. Stutes could stay a starter as a pro or be turned into a reliever. Either way he won't be a star, but he's got a decent chance to make the majors.

Joe Paterson, LHP, Giants (314th overall) -
Paterson, a starter for the Beavers, is kind of like a poorer version of UNC's Robert Woodard. Since he went higher than Woodard in the draft, the Giants obviously see him as a better version, potentially because he is left-handed. Best case, he's a "AAAA" starter, or a good left-hander out of the bullpen.

Anton Maxwell, LHP, Rangers (950th overall) -
Maxwell has been a decent pitcher his whole career with the Beavers, but nothing about his numbers indicate that he's got major-league potential. His best chance is as a specialty lefty.

Chris Hopkins, CF, Royals (1,297th overall) -
A senior, Hopkins has good speed, but isn't much of a hitter. He'll play in the minors until he decides to retire.

New And Improved Jeff Weaver?

Jeff WeaverTonight's game against the Pirates looked like a marathon waiting to happen. On the mound for Pittsburgh was Paul Maholm, owner of a 3-9 record and 5.01 ERA, and countering him was Jeff Weaver, owner of an ERA that was still over 10.00, and an opponents batting average that was still over .400. Two hours, seven minutes later I was left wondering if Jeff Weaver had really toed the rubber tonight.

Seriously, was that Jeff Weaver? Did he really just throw a complete game shutout? Did he really just throw 109 pitches, with 76 for strikes? Was that him consistently throwing fastballs in the low 90s? One thing is clear: that was not the Jeff Weaver that was sent to the DL.

To be honest, I thought Weaver's DL stint was mostly a hoax, the M's last-ditch effort to try to get any value out of the $8.35 million they invested in him. There was talk about working with his mechanics, but pitchers that have been around as long as Weaver just don't reinvent themselves in a month. However, after by far the worst stretch in his career, tonight he delivered perhaps his greatest performance ever. Maybe there was something to all the talk of messing with his mechanics. To give an idea of just how out-of-line Weaver's performance tonight was from the rest of his season, he went into tonight's game with a 44 rating according to my pitcher rating formula. Adding in tonight's game, his rating is now 58.

Obviously, Jeff Weaver isn't going to go out and pitch complete game shutouts for the rest of the year. It could even be argued that a spectacular performance like this was bound to happen, because he had to do something to get his season numbers closer to his career averages. However, watching him at the start of the year, how could anyone believe he would ever deliver a performance half as good as tonight's? Granted, he did face the anemic Pirates tonight, but nothing about the 2007 Jeff Weaver indicated he was capable of anything this good.

Whatever the M's did with Weaver while he was on the DL seems to have made a major difference. Before going on the DL his rating was 37; his three starts since returning garner a 97. Weaver can't keep up his current pace, but he was due for a bit of a hot streak after his horrendous start. The M's didn't get the ground ball pitcher they inexplicably expected (even tonight he had more flyouts than groundouts), but maybe they signed a reliable starter after all. His career rating is a 78, and if he can pitch at around that level for the rest of year the M's starting staff will be in much better shape than it has been. I'm tempted to say Weaver has turned his season around, though it's still too early to tell. He's clearly a much better pitcher since coming off the DL, and there's no doubt in my mind that he'll continue to be a better pitcher than he was at the start of the year. It's a question of how much better he'll be. So far, he's been an ace, but the odds of him keeping this up are astronomically thin. I'd settle for a solid inning-eater though.

Prospects Looking At Promotions

Adam JonesThough the unofficial halfway mark for the MLB, the All-Star Break, is still a month away, minor league teams are about halfway through their seasons now. Since the low level leagues divide the season into two halves, conveniently around the draft, it's fairly typical to see players who have done quite well so far this year to get promoted throughout the system. So, here's a look at some Mariners prospects that are most likely to get promoted:

WISCONSIN (A)
Andrew Barb, RP - Barb, acquired in the Jamie Moyer trade, has served as the closer for the TimberRattlers and he's been sensational, with a sub-1.00 WHIP and striking out well over a batter an inning. Like Kantakevich, he has nothing more to prove at this level.

Joseph Kantakevich, RP - Another product of last year's draft class, Kantakevich has done everything that can be asked of a reliever, even pitching multiple innings at times. He's got nothing left to prove at this level.

Kyle Parker, SP - Parker, a UW product, was drafted last year and so far has stood out, thanks to a dazzling whip hovering around 1.00. Nothing else is especially great about his numbers, but especially given how weak the High Desert staff has been, he's done enough to deserve a promotion to see what he can do. The lower minor league levels are going to have to be cleared out some anyway to make room for all the pitchers drafted this year.

HIGH DESERT (A-Advanced)
Casey Craig, OF - Craig has served primarily as High Desert's leadoff hitter, and he's done a marvelous job. He has shown good speed, a little power, but most impressively great plate discipline and the ability to hit for average. Craig has been on a tear the last couple weeks and has raised his batting average to almost .350 on the season. Though he's playing in a very hitter-friendly park, plate discipline and speed are not impacted by friendly confines.

Michael Saunders, OF - Saunders is on pace for a 20-homer, 40-steals year, all while hitting .300 with an OBP around .400. As with Craig, his stats are buoyed by the hitter's paradise he plays his home games in, but at the same time nobody else on the ballclub has flashed power and speed like Saunders.

Adam Moore, C - I wasn't happy when the M's drafted yet another catcher last year, but that guy turned out to be this guy, Adam Moore. All Moore has done is flash 30-homer potential with good hitting and plate discipline. He looks like a good, old-fashioned slugger. However, his power numbers could be largely a product of the ballpark he plays in. Still, I'd gladly demote current Diamond Jaxx backstop Rene Rivera to High Desert to see if Moore could bat better than .200 with just a hint of power in AA.

WEST TENNESSEE (AA)
Travis Chick, SP - Chick got hammered in a brief stint in Tacoma, but he's flat-out dominated AA in a couple outings. He's not getting challenged right now, so it's time to move him to Tacoma.

Brent Johnson, OF - Johnson has quietly hit well at all levels, and he's continued that trend at West Tennessee. He hasn't shown much power, but he can definitely hit. He's right on the bubble, but I would push him to Tacoma to make more room for Saunders and Craig. Still, there's a playing time issue in Tacoma too, thanks to Jeremy Reed, Adam Jones, and Wladimir Balentien.

TACOMA (AAA)
Adam Jones, OF - The improvement Adam Jones has made in the last two and a half years is astounding, and he continues to get better seemingly every day. His strikeout rate is still worrisome, but he's batting .330 with a ton of extra base hits. On top of that, he's developing into an excellent defensive player. If the M's could find a decent deal for Jose Guillen, I would trade him, move Ichiro back to right field, and hand center over to Adam Jones. Jones has as much power as Guillen, and his defense is much better at this point.

Mike Morse, IF - It could be argued that Morse isn't a prospect anymore, but what can't be argued is that Morse is hitting very well for the Rainiers right now, and his versatility makes him even more enticing as a bench player for the M's right now. If I were in charge, I would bring up Morse and send down Bloomquist, because little versatility is lost and a legitimate right-handed pinch-hitter is gained. Jason Ellison could become the main pinch-runner, and maybe even get to play a little more in the outfield too.

Wladimir Balentien, OF - Balentien seems to have put power and discipline together this year for the very first time. Two years ago, he had lots of power with few walks, and last year lots of walks but diminished power. Maybe Wladimir is a one-year wonder, but there's plenty of reason to believe this is simply him developing. What's also overlooked is his versatility (he can play all three outfield positions), and his speed (he's on pace for over 20 steals this year). Much has been made about his strikeouts, but he's actually struck out less than the more-touted Adam Jones. It could even be argued that Balentien is more major-league ready than Jones at this point. I'd consider moving Raul to first base full time, benching Sexson, and seeing what Balentien can do. However, more realistically, Balentien will compete for a spot with the Mariners next year.

Jorge Campillo, SP - Though it was Ryan Feierabend that got called up for a few spot starts this year, it's Campillo that has been the best pitcher on the Rainiers staff all year long. He's no ace, but he doesn't give up many home runs, and he could be a reliable starter at the back end of the rotation right now. The only problem is that Campillo is not on the 40-man roster, which prohibits him from being called up without someone already on the 40-man getting released. However, if the M's don't protect Jorge somehow, I think someone will be smart enough to purchase his contract and give him a chance.

2007 M's Draft Recap

Here's the pick-by-pick breakdown of who the Mariners took:

1. Phillipe Aumont, RHP, Ecole Du Versant (HS) - At 6'7", 220 pounds, and only 18 years old with a mid-90s fastball that has good life, it's easy to see how good Aumont could be. However, like virtually every young pitcher, Aumont is still rather raw. Though I tend to shy away from high school pitchers, I do like Aumont's easy delivery, and the fact that his fastball is already major-league quality. In additon, he has a breaking ball that has the potential to be good, and as he fills out and learns how to pitch, he should throw harder with more command. At worst, Aumont is a right-handed Matt Thornton. At best, he's a top-notch starter. I would have personally taken Jason Heyward or Nick Schmidt with this pick, but Aumont was a solid option.

1a. Matt Mangini, 3B, Oklahoma State - This was a compensatory pick awarded for losing Gil Meche in free agency, and it's hard to argue with this selection either. Mangini batted .343 this year, though many were disappointed since he won the Cape Cod League batting title this past summer. His strikeout rate concerns me some, but not as much given that he has proven he can hit with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League. I would've gone with Mitch Canham here, but with that being said Mangini was a good selection.

2. Denny Almonte, OF, Florida Christian School (HS) - This kid definitely has a body that's going to fill out a bunch, and with that should come more power. However, despite his thin frame, he already has flashed good power. To be honest, I'm not sure how he generates power with his narrow batting stance and slight body, but he does. He's a switch-hitter too. Everything about Almonte makes him an intriguing pick to me, and another solid choice by the M's.

3. Danny Carroll, OF, Valley View HS - I couldn't find much on Carroll, but I've heard him described as a guy who "plays the game the right way," a guy who "always gets his uniform dirty." However, given that he was picked this high out of high school, I'm guessing he's got some talent too, maybe even some power potential. It's hard for me to really have an opinion on this pick given my limited information, but that stats say that fewer high-schoolers make the major leagues than college players, so it's best to draft high-schoolers in bunches if a team is counting on one to pan out. So, given that, I mildly endorse this pick.

4. Nolan Gallagher, SP, Stanford - There's no way anyone can endorse this selection. Gallagher came into the season with high expectations as Stanford's Friday starter (replacing last year's second pick overall, Greg Reynolds), and Gallagher fell flat on his face. He was pulled from the starting rotation completely and finished with an ERA around 7.00. People at Stanford are smart, so I'm not doubting that there are reasons to believe that Gallagher could develop into Stanford's best starter. However, he clearly isn't there yet. I don't know why the Mariners picked him so high. He's a major project, and certainly not as polished as basically every player getting picked at this point.

5. Joe Dunigan, OF, Oklahoma - After such a forgettable pick, the Mariners came back and made an excellent choice in Dunigan. At 6'2", 247 pounds, Dunigan is a chiseled specimen in the outfield, and understandably has lots of power potential. He's begun to realize his power potential, and I think there's a great chance that between Dunigan, Almonte, and Carroll, the M's have drafted at least one outfielder who will make the major leagues. That may not sound like much, but given that all were picked outside of the first round, that's actually quite a good job.

6. James McOwen, OF, Florida International - I mentioned earlier I couldn't find stats for McOwen, but it turns out I was looking at 2003 stats for FIU baseball. McOwen most certainly played this year, and played very well. He hit a ton of doubles, but not many homers, which is a sign of developing power. Looking at some scouting video he has a very nice stroke that allows him to cover the entire plate. Though there are many things to like about McOwen, there were others available at this pick that are flat-out better. I would love this pick if it were three or four rounds later. In the sixth round, McOwen is a bit of a reach, though there is reason to believe he will develop.

7. Nick Hill, LHP, Army - Hill posted outstanding numbers this year, but it should be noted that the Patriot League is a very pitcher-friendly league. I also don't know if there are any issues with him having to serve any time in the military before starting his career. I'm assuming the M's have already looked into that, and will be able to sign him. Still, given how pitcher-friendly the league Hill plays in is, I think this was another reach, though not as big of one as McOwen was.

8. Donnie Hume, LHP, San Diego State - Hume posted a nice WHIP this year, and also didn't give up any homers in a conference with a couple high-altitude stadiums. However, he also didn't strike a ton of guys out and his level of competition was not terribly high. I could see him developing into something along the lines of Sean Green or Sean White, but even that is pushing it. This was another pick the M's reached on.

9. Aaron Brown, RHP, Houston - At 6'6", Brown is an imposing figure on the mound, but he still looks like a bit of a beanpole. He's got a nice, easy delivery, but not a ton of command of any of his pitches. His statistics were mediocre at best this year, which is better than previous years. I'm guessing the M's will switch Brown to the bullpen and work on building his strength, both moves which should boost the velocity on his fastball, which right now sits in the 89-91 MPH range. He's definitely not starter material, but there is some upside. This was a decent selection.

10. Keith Renaud, RHP, Franklin Pierce College - The M's may have found a guy who slipped through the cracks here. Renaud both pitched and hit, though he's definitely a stronger pitcher. His fastball sits around 90 MPH, but it wouldn't be surprising if he gets a jump in velocity as he matures and focuses solely on pitching. His numbers are outstanding, and Baseball America even named him the best pitching prospect in upper New England. This was a very good pick.

11. Jeff Dunbar, C, UC-Riverside - For every savvy pick like Renaud, there's a bone-headed one like Dunbar. Despite starting every game for UC-Riverside this year, Dunbar barely hit .200, with few walks and no power to speak. Though he's had some better offensive seasons, he's never shown the ability to take a walk or hit for any power. Despite his major shortcomings hitting, he has played a bunch, so his defense must be stellar. However, his hitting is so bad that I don't see how he'll ever make it out of the low levels of the minor leagues. Dunbar is the type of guy the M's should be picking to fill out a minor league roster. In other words, he should've been picked 10 rounds later at the absolute least.

12. Ryan Moorer, RHP, Maryland - The M's rebounded some from the Dunbar pick with this one. Moorer posted a 5.43 ERA this year for the Terrapins, with few strikeouts and a lackluster WHIP. He did allow only 2 home runs in 68 innings pitched, which is promising. This is another guy that's destined for the bullpen, where hopefully he figures out how to strike a few more guys out and make a few more guys miss. I'm not holding my breath, but it could happen, and it's unfair to expect a ton out of 1a 2th-round draft pick anyway.

13. Shawn Kelley, RHP, Austin Peay - Though at a small school, Kelley posted big-time numbers as the ace of the Austin Peay staff. Outside of Aumont, Kelley is as good or better as any of the pitchers the M's drafted before him. He came on really strong this year, and I think he should have gone a couple rounds higher than this. This was a real nice pick.

14. Brandon McKerney, RHP, Washington - It's nice to see the M's stay local, but McKerney was not a good pick. His ERA was over 6.00 out of the bullpen, and there really is no redeeming quality in his statline. Only a die-hard Huskies fan could find this pick acceptable.

15. Keith Meyer, RHP, Duquesne - I seriously wonder if the M's just checked out for about 10 minutes or so, because the followed up picking McKerney by picking an even worse pitcher in Keith Meyer. Meyer posted a 7.00 ERA out of the Duquesne bullpen, and there is no statistic that holds any promise for the guy's future. In fact, Duquesne hadn't had anyone drafted since 2004, so why were the Mariners even considering someone mired in middle relief on this college team? This pick makes even less sense than the last one.

16. Colin Buckborough, RHP, Stamford Collegiate (HS) - Buckbourogh is a pretty impressive physical specimen that will continue to grow and develop. High school players picked this late don't usually sign, so this is likely a player that is going off to college somewhere that the M's hold little hope of actually signing.

17. Ryan Rodriguez, RHP, Nevada - Rodriguez was a workhouse for the Wolfpack this season, and put together a very fine year in every statistical category. Though he didn't play in a power conference, he should have gone higher. I think he has potential as a starter, which can't be said of many pitchers taken this late.

18. Guy Welsh, 3B, UNC-Greensboro - Playing in the Southern conference, Welsh showed good hitting ability and solid plate discipline. More power would have been nice, but if he had hit more homers he would not have been available at this pick.

19. Roberto Mena, SS, Tampa - I tried to find more information on this guy, but the University of Tampa website wouldn't cooperate at all. He's from a small school and he didn't show up in the hitter's database I built while finding my 25 Guys the M's Should Be Looking At list, so I'm guessing he's not much of a hitter but has flashed some fielding ability. That's purely a guess though.

20. Stephen Penney, RHP, UC-Riverside - This guy fits the mold of an M's pitcher in the Bavasi era. He's tall (6'7"), he strikes out quite a few batters, and he doesn't give up many homers. He wasn't a starter or a featured reliever really, and on top of that his ERA was 5.40. However, the strikeouts, homers, and size are all encouraging, so he was worth a selection at this point.

21. Travis Mortimore, LHP, Wayne State College - Can you guess the pitcher's description? He's tall (6'5"), his ERA was over 5.00, but he struck out lots of batters and didn't give up many home runs. He was a starter for Wayne State, but if he has a future as a pro it's most likely in the bullpen. His 77 strikeouts and 18 walks in 58 2/3 innings pitched are quite impressive, even at a rather low level. There's definitely a pattern to the type of pitchers the M's are picking in the later rounds of this draft, and I like it. Looking at all these tall pitchers with high strikeout rates and low walk rates, I can't help but think that one of them will develop into someone who can help the Mariners.

22. Bryan Harris, RHP, Cal State Fullerton - Harris didn't pitch all that much this year, but when he did he was quite effective. His ERA was actually around 3.00 this season with a good K rate and only one home run allowed. He was a reliever, so it's clear where his future is, but that being said I'm a little surprised a pitcher this effective on a program as strong as Cal State Fullerton's fell this far. He's a senior, so he's definitely signing. This is yet another good pick by the Mariners.

23. Broadie Downs, RHP, Modesto JC - At 27 years old, Downs is significantly older than most draftees, and I can't find many stats on him. Honestly, he's pretty much entering his athletic prime now, so he's going to have to move in the system in a hurry if he's going to be a big-leaguer. 23rd rounders don't exactly tend to move quickly though; usually there is a reason they are being picked this low. There's too many red flags around Downs to consider him a legitimate prospect. He looks to me like a pitcher who will fill out minor league rosters for a few years.

24. Matt Renfree, RHP, Nevada - His ERA was approaching 5.00, and his WHIP wasn't great, but (surprise!) he is 6'8", he did strikeout a bunch of batters, and he did not allow many home runs. There's reason to believe Renfree can develop into a solid reliever, which makes him a nice pick at this point.

25. Michael Flynn, RHP, Robert E Lee HS - Flynn throws in the high 80s, but it's his knee-buckling curve ball that's really impressive. He's obviously a guy with the talent to go much higher in this draft, but he's likely locked in on going to college. Don't expect the M's to get this guy signed.

26. Jake Wild, RHP, Pacific - Opponents beat up Wild pretty good to the tune of a .338 batting average against, but he is tall, struck quite a few guys out, and didn't give up many homers. The home run rate is pretty impressive considering how many hits he gave up, but the strikeout total is likely inflated by his lack of ability to get batters out in any other manner. He is similar to other pitchers the M's have picked in the later stages of this draft, but he's a noticeable step below. I don't see Wild ever amounting to much.

27. Brooks Mohr, RHP, Elida HS - High-schoolers this late never sign.

28. Josh Satow, LHP, Arizona State - Satow was a guy I had on my list of players to watch in day two, so I'm quite excited the M's picked him! He had a fantastic year, but looking at his track record he could potentially be a one-year wonder. Considering Satow is a junior and he was drafted fairly low, he may opt to not sign and return for his senior year. However, if he does sign and he is as good as he showed this year, the M's have a major steal this late in the draft.

29. Javier Martinez, RHP, Fordham - Martinez was a pitcher and outfielder for Fordham, but will stick to pitching as a pro. His main problem is control, but there's reason to believe that could improve by completely focusing on pitching. If focusing on pitching goes miraculously well, he could develop into a starting prospect. More realistically, he'll be a fringe bullpen prospect at best. Martinez is a bit of a wild card, but well worth a pick at this stage in the draft.

30. Jason Nance, 1B, Blackford HS - He's big and left-handed, but also a high-schooler picked way too late to be expected to sign.

31. Rod Scurry, RHP, Nevada - The third Wolfpack pitcher picked by the M's, Scurry doesn't appear to bring much to the table. He was a starter, so maybe he can be turned into a serviceable reliever. However, at this point in the draft, organizations are looking for guys to fill out minor league rosters. So, Scurry may be a guy that the M's use as a utility pitcher to allow other prospects to develop in the roles that the M's want them in.

32. Blake Trinkler, 2B, Modesto JC - Barely 18 years old, I don't know if Trinkler has plans to transfer to a major university. If he does, the odds are he won't sign. My guess is that he will, given how young he is and how late he was picked.

33. Chris Pecora, RF, North Carolina Wesleyan - The North Carolina Wesleyan website is not cooperating, so I have extremely limited info on this guy. He's a switch-hitter, and he's a junior, so he's got some intrigue, but also a year of eligibility left. If he's got potential he'll likely return for his senior year and see if he can raise his draft status. If he signs, it's likely a sign that he has maximized his draft status, which means he's not that great of a prospect.

34. Johnny DuRocher, RHP, Washington - This is quite the intriguing pick by the M's. First, they stayed close to home, which always makes a player more interesting. However, DuRocher is much better known for his days as a quarterback, especially as a highly-touted prep star at Bethel High School. He pitched in only six innings this year, and only played baseball his sophomore year in high school, so he's extremely new to the game. However, he's clearly a great athlete, and he likely has got a pretty good arm too. There's no telling what the M's got with this pick, but there's always the chance that they have caught lightning in a bottle. The odds say they haven't, but this is a risk well worth taking this late in the draft.

35. Trent Rothlin, RHP, Fred T Foard HS - He's a high-schooler drafted late, so he's not signing.

36. Cole Cook, RHP, Palisades HS - See above.

37. Donald Brown, RF, Pepperdine - Brown didn't show much power, but he showed a tremendous eye at the plate. Considering he's a junior, he'll likely return for his senior season because with a few more homers he'll greatly improve his draft status.

38. Chris Kupillas, RHP, Central Michigan - Kupillas was used mostly as a reliever, and he had more walks than strikeouts, but he didn't give up many home runs. He's also tall, so overall he fits the M's model of a late-round pitching prospect. If he's going to amount to anything, he has to significantly improve his control though.

39. Michael Beltran, SS, St. John Bosco HS - I don't know if he has any relation to Carlos Beltran, but I'm not going to bother to find out because he's not signing.

40. Josh Liles, RF, University School of Jackson (HS) - Yet another high-schooler who will not sign for the pittance he'll be offered as a late draft pick

41. Matthew Thomas, RHP, Chico Hill HS - See above

42. Jack Peterson, 2B, La Jolla HS - See above

43. Jason Buursma, RHP, Bucknell - Buursma posted a sparkling 1.65 ERA with the Bison this year, and also only allowed one home run the entire season. He did pitch in the pitcher-friendly Patriot League though, and it would have been nice to see a few more strikeouts. However, considering that the draft is nearly over, it's a little surprising to see any D-I college pitcher with an ERA under 2.00 still available. As an added bonus, Buursma is from Washington. There's no complaining with this pick whatsoever.

44. Forrest Snow, RHP, Lakeside HS - He's tall, he's got a cool name, and he's local, but he's just not going to sign.

45. Clayton Van Hook, 2B, Texas - At 5'9" and 151 points, Van Hook isn't exactly a physical specimen. He also was a reserve for the Longhorns. Frankly, I'm not sure how the M's ever found the guy, and he has "minor-league roster-filler" written all over him. Guys like Van Hook are needed for the short-season rookie teams though, and this is the point of the draft to net them. Van Hook isn't a prospect himself, but he is the type of utility player that mostly sits on the bench and only plays when a prospect needs a day off. These guys are notorious for "playing the game right," because organizations feel that hustle guys with little talent can't help but have a positive effect on talent-laden prospects.

46. Kyle Haas, RHP, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M - He's tall and not even 20 years old yet. He may sign, but given how young he is, I doubt it. Staying in college and trying to improve his draft status would make sense.

47. Brett Oberholtzer, LHP, William Penn HS - Another high-schooler who won't be going pro this season.

48. Eric Maupin, RHP, Galena HS - See above

49. David Carpenter, RHP, New Mexico JC - He's not a high-schooler, but he's only 19, so also highly unlikely to sign.

50. Nick Purdy, RF, St. Mary's SS (HS) - The M's finish the draft by taking a high-schooler who will not sign.

Overall, the Mariners did a really good job in the draft this year. I would have handled the early rounds differently, but who the M's did pick are solid. They made some really bone-headed picks in the early-middle rounds (Gallagher, Dunbar, and Meyer stick out in my mind), but they drafted a host of tall pitchers with high strikeout rates and low home run rates in the middle rounds. Actually, I doubt any team had a better draft round 17 on. The Mariners really did that outstanding of a job in the later rounds. However, as with any draft, this year's class will be defined by the top, so it's really up to Phillip Aumont and Matt Mangini to pan out. At worst, I think four players out of this entire draft class will become prospects for the Mariners, but depending on how many of those tall pitchers picked in the later rounds develop, that number could jump up to six, or eight, or maybe even higher. I'm concerned that their still isn't a first baseman of the future, but I'm not about to criticize the talent the M's added this year.

2007 Draft: Rounds 6-15

*I’ve abbreviated “25 the M’s Should Be Looking at” to “25TW”


8:39 AM – Ok, I am awake and ready for day 2! Let’s see if I have missed anything already. I probably have.


8:41 AM – The sixth round is well underway, and the Mariners have already made their selection. They picked James McOwen from Florida International University. I’ll look for more information on him.


8:45 AM – The seventh round has begun.


8:46 AM – The Royals took a local product, Hilton Richardson, from Lake Washington High School


8:46 AM – The Cubs just selected Ty Wright, a player I put on the list of ones to watch for today.


8:49 AM – I can’t find stats on McOwen from last year, so I’m guessing he was injured. However, he has shown development in the past two seasons. The M’s must have some scout in love with him, because this is too high for an injured player that’s only shown a little promise from a small school.


8:51 AM – The M’s went with an intriguing pick in the seventh round, pitcher Nick Hill from the Army. I don’t know much about the pitcher, but there aren’t many players selected from the Military Academy. While we’re on the subject, look for Cole White, an infielder, to potentially get drafted from Army as well. I really like Cole White actually, and he almost made the 25TW list.


8:53 AM – The Rangers just took Tim Smith, I guy I considered for the 25TW.


8:54 AM – The Phillies just took Tyson Brummett, a pitcher I considered for the 25TW.


8:55 AM – I looked more at Hill, the latest M’s pick, and he put up great numbers in college, but the Patriot League also heavily favors pitchers. So, the Mariners reached yet again, but I don’t have the heart to rip a selection from the Army, especially a successful pitcher from the Army.


8:56 AM – The White Sox just took Jimmy Gallagher, another player I considered putting on the 25TW.


8:57 AM – Round 8 has begun.


9:00 AM – The Nationals selected Adrian Alaniz, a pitcher I said to look for in Day 2.


9:01 AM – The Mariners latest pick is Donnie Hume, a pitcher from San Diego State. He had solid numbers in an ok conference, so once again the M’s must see something in him making him worthy of this pick. The one notable thing is that he gave up no homers in a conference with several high altitude stadiums. More strikeouts would have been nice, but it looks like he has a knack for keeping the ball in the yard.


9:06 AM – The Red Sox selected Adam Mills with their eighth round pick, the first on the 25TW list off the board today! Mills is a very interesting case. As I said in my write-up, he was sensational this year, and based on this year alone he should have been a very early pick. However, though he had improved steadily through college, he really came on strong out of nowhere this year. On top of that, he’s a short right-hander, which most front offices clearly don’t like. He was definitely worth a selection here, and if Mills is as good as he showed this year, the Red Sox have themselves a steal in this draft.


9:10 AM – The ninth round is underway and the Mariners will be picking shortly.


9:10 AM – The Pirates just took Tony Watson, another on the 25TW off the board! This will sound really bad, but I expect Watson to be better than their first round pick, Daniel Moskos. I have to commend Pittsburgh for a steal here. There’s no way Watson should have lasted this long.


9:12 AM – The Diamondbacks just selected Mark Hallberg, a guy I tagged as a player to watch for in Day 2. His strikeout rate is phenomenal, which is enough to make him an interesting player. He probably doesn’t have enough skills to be a starter in the majors, outside of that amazing strikeout rate.


9:13 AM – The Mariners’ ninth-round pick is Aaron Brown, a pitcher from the University of Houston. Looking up Brown, I’m not sure what the Mariners see in him. His numbers are not good at all, though not nearly as bad as their fourth round pick. Overall, I’m not liking what the M’s have done on day two so far.


9:15 AM – The Cardinals just took Mike Stutes, a guy who was on the Day 2 watch list.


9:16 AM – Going back to the M’s latest pick, Aaron Brown had a 4.98 ERA, with a rather pedestrian strikeout rate this year, and this is easily his best year in college. His home run rate isn’t even that good, and the 17 wild pitches in 88 2/3 innings are not great either. I don’t know what the Mariners see in this guy.


9:19 AM – Round 10 has begun.


9:22 AM – The newest Mariner is Keith Renaud, from Franklin Pierce College.


9:25 AM – I haven’t found any statistics on Renaud, but I watched some scouting video and I am impressed. His fastball was in the low 90s, topping out at 92, and he appears to have some sort of breaking ball and change-up, both of which he can command. The change is not great, but the breaking ball looks decent. Considering it’s the 10th round, this looks like a good pick.


9:27 AM – Hmm, there is some hitting footage of Reynaud too. He’s listed as a pitcher, but I’ll have to try to dig up some of his hitting stats too. I like that he’s a two-way player, especially at a smaller college. It shows athleticism, and the he was likely by far the best player on the team.


9:28 AM – The Tigers selected Dominic de la Osa with their 10th round pick! This is a fantastic choice. I don’t understand how he lasted this long. He’s got a ton of potential. The 25TW list has nearly been completely drafted now.


9:31 AM – The Orioles took Robbie Widlansky, a player on the Day 2 watchlist, with their 11th round pick.


9:32 AM – I found some stats on Reynaud, and he’s definitely a better pitcher. He posted great numbers on the season, and was named by Baseball America the best pitching prospect in Upper New England as well. This is the best pick by the Mariners today so far.


9:33 AM – With their 11th round pick, the Mariners take Josh Dunbar, a catcher from UC-Riverside.


9:33 AM – Local product Matt Hague, a Husky and former Kentwood star, just went to the Indians.


9:34 AM – Going back to Dunbar, this looks like an atrocious pick. All I can say is the guy’s defense better be unbelievable, because he batted .203 this year, with a .265 on-base and .294 slugging, while starting every game this year. My guess is he does have terrific defense considering he never got benched, but there’s no way he’ll ever hit well enough to make it out of the low levels of the minor leagues. Why Mariners, why?


9:39 AM – I decided to look Dunbar’s hitting stats in previous years, and he was better last year, but he’s still bad. I don’t get why the M’s picked this guy this high at all.


9:41 AM – Darin Holcomb, from Gonzaga, was just taken by the Rockies.


9:41 AM – The Diamondbacks just took Bryan Henry, one of the few remaining on the 25TW list. Arizona really got a steal here. He was extremely productive all four years in college, and his stuff isn’t that bad. This is excellent value in the 12th round.


9:42 AM – The M’s latest pick is Ryan Moorer, from Maryland. He’s got an ERA over 5.00, and not that many strikeouts. He only gave up two home runs, but that’s the only redeeming quality I can find. It looks like another bad pick by the Mariners.


9:45 AM – The Astros just took Brian Pellegrini from St. Bonaventure. Kellen Kulbacki got lots of attention for putting up huge numbers at a small school, and he almost went in the first round. However, Pellegrini had similar numbers at a small school, and personally I thought the two were fairly comparable. The Astros may be pleasantly surprised with this pick.


9:51 AM – Are the A’s having a change of heart? Their 12th round pick was a high school player that some considered the fastest player in the draft! I’m speechless.


9:52 AM – The Mariners just took yet another pitcher, Shawn Kelley from Austin Peay. Kelley, like many pitchers the M’s have picked today, doesn’t have a good strikeout rate but also gives up few homers. However, unlike other pitchers, Kelley also has a low WHIP. This was a solid pick.


9:57 AM – The 25TW is down to only two yet to be drafted, Nick Chigges and Josh Collmenter. To be honest, I am not surprised that these are the final two. Chigges is from a really small college and Collmenter has a bizarre windup with pretty bad stuff, but he somehow makes it work.


9:58 AM – The Yankees took Nick Chigges with the final pick in the 13th round. The 25TW is down to just Collmenter. For me, Chigges is the most interesting prospect in the draft. According to my rating system, he’s much better than a 13th round pick.


10:01 AM – The Mariners went local with their latest pick, taking Brandon McKerney from the University of Washington. As much as I like that they picked a local guy, McKerney sported a 6.23 ERA this year, and to be brutally honest there is nothing in his statistics that indicate potential success. The M’s just threw away another pick.


10:11 AM – Joey Pacoriek from Blaine High School was just picked by the Milwaukee Brewers.


10:12 AM – Finally, Josh Collmenter was picked in the 15th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. I’m not surprised he slipped after I watched his scouting video, but with that being said his production cannot be ignored. Everyone from the 25TW list is now off the board! I’ll have to look back, but the Diamondbacks seem to be picking many players I looked at today.


10:13 AM – The M’s just picked Keith Meyer, a pitcher from Duquesne. He’s yet another terrible pick. Seriously, are the M’s just picking names out of a hat? Meyer posted a 7.00 ERA this year with marginal control, marginal strikeouts, and a relatively high home run rate. I guess someone out of this second day slop will develop out of dumb luck, but whatever “strategy” the M’s are using right now is terrible.


10:16 AM – Ryan Hill, a guy on the Day 2 watch-list, was drafted by the San Diego Padres. This is, perhaps surprisingly after yesterday, the first guy the Padres have picked today that I had my eye on.


10:18 AM – The Yankees just picked another Day 2 watch-list guy, Dave Williams. The Yankees are all of a sudden taking players I took looks at.


10:23 AM – With the entire 25TW list having been drafted, here’s the breakdown of players picked by team. The A’s and Padres tied for the most selected off the list with four apiece, and the Devil Rays ended up picking three. The Cubs and Diamondbacks both picked two off of the list, while10 different teams picked one (Orioles, Red Sox, Reds, Tigers, Dodgers, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, and Nationals). That means 14 teams did not take anyone off the list, including the Mariners.


10:31 AM – Since the entire 25TW is now drafted, I am finished doing minute-by-minute coverage. I will provide analysis of the entire M’s draft tonight.

2007 Draft: Day 2 Preview

After a fun first day, there are still 45 rounds to go in the MLB draft, and likely at least a handful of major-leaguers yet to be drafted! First of all, six players from my list of 25 still remain:
  • Bryan Henry, SP, Florida State
  • Tony Watson, SP, Nebraska
  • Nick Chigges, SP, College of Charleston
  • Josh Collmenter, SP, Central Michigan
  • Adam Mills, SP, Charlotte
  • Dominic de la Osa, SS, Vanderbilt

To make tomorrow a little more interesting to follow, here's a list of position players that I considered for my 25 to watch list that are yet to be drafted:
  • John Allman, Kansas
  • Mike Brown, Kentucky
  • James Conrad, Lafayette
  • Ryan Curry, Bradley
  • Parker Dalton, Texas A&M
  • Jimmy Gallagher, Duke
  • Mark Hallberg, Florida State
  • Justin Henry, Mississippi
  • Ryan Hill, Rutgers
  • Aaron Ivey, Oklahoma
  • Logan Johnson, Louisville
  • Tim Smith, Arizona State
  • Brian Spear, Kentucky
  • Brandon Waring, Wofford
  • Chance Wheeless, Texas
  • Robbie Widlansky, Florida Atlantic
  • Dave Williams, Rutgers
  • Ty Wright, Oklahoma State
To be completely clear, this is far from a complete list, or an extremely well-considered list. This is simply an alphabetical list of players who had great seasons that I looked at only close enough to conclude they were not better than any I put on my list of 25 to watch. With that in mind, here are some pitchers to look for on day two:
  • Adrian Alaniz, Texas
  • Tyson Brummett, UCLA
  • Daniel Edwards, Kansas State
  • Zack Pitts, Louisville
  • Stephen Porlier, Oklahoma
  • Josh Satow, Arizona State
  • Mike Stutes, Oregon State
  • Robert Woodard, North Carolina
Since only five rounds were completed on day one, day two is way more interesting than usual. There's definitely still major league talent to be found and signed out there.

2007 Draft: Rounds 2-5

*continuing from the first post, I’ve abbreviated “25 to watch list” to “25TW”


2:24 PM – Yes, back to good ads. The Overbay one just aired again, preceded by DOUBLE PLAY TWINS!


2:31 PM – Wow, didn’t notice that the draft has started up again. Thanks ESPN2 coverage. Todd Frazier went to the Reds at #34. I’m switching to the press room coverage to make sure I don’t miss any more picks.


2:34 PM – James Adkins went to the Dogers with the 39th pick. The 25TW are flying off the board much quicker than the guys I identified last year. Kellen Kulbacki also went to the Padres with pick 40. He’s an outfielder who almost cracked the 25TW list. Once again, the Padres are all over guys that I looked closely at, just like last year.


2:37 PM – The A’s took Sean Doolittle at pick 41. He was a two-way player who almost cracked my 25TW as a pitcher, though most see him as a hitter. He’s an intriguing prospect as either a pitcher or a hitter, and could develop into something given that he will finally focus on only one position. The picks are coming really fast now.


2:39 PM – Wow, the Padres just picked and didn’t take a guy I looked at! Granted, the guy they did take is a high-schooler.


2:42 PM – The first local guy, Edward Kunz out of Oregon State, went with pick 42 to the New York Mets.


2:42 PM – The Cubs just took Josh Donaldson, a guy on the 25TW. The players available on that list are dwindling.


2:44 PM – On the 25TW the following are still available: Tyler Mach, Bryan Henry, Eric Sogard, Tony Watson, Will Kline, Travis Banwart, Josh Horton, Tony Thomas Jr., Mitch Canham, Nick Chigges, Josh Collmenter, Cory Luebke, Adam Mills, Corey Brown, Dominic de la Osa, and David Newmann.


2:47 PM - …And the M’s are back on the clock. I’m eying Mitch Canham or Eric Sogard myself, maybe even Bryan Henry.


2:48 PM – and the Mariners take Matt Mangini, a third baseman from Oklahoma State. People were really high on this guy at the start of the year, but he disappointed a little. He’s considered a great hitting prospect. Personally, I think his teammate Tyler Mach is better, and he’s also a much more local kid.


2:51 PM – I’m not in love with the Mariners draft thus far, but there are definitely many teams having worse days. Both of these first two picks are hard to argue with, though neither of them are home runs in my book. Aumont has the potential to be a home run though.


2:53 PM – Nick Hagedone, a UW product, goes to the Red Sox.


2:56 PM – The Padres are at it again! They just picked Mitch Canham! This is two straight years that it seems like we’re looking at the same list.


2:59 PM – I should’ve know it would be the A’s who would take Corey Brown, the man who would be a blue-chip talent if not for the strikeouts. He’s a classic moneyball pick, and makes the A’s two for two in picking guys off the 25TW list.


3:03 PM – Ed Easley just got picked by the D’Backs. He almost made the 25TW list.


3:06 PM – Unbelievable! The Padres just picked Corey Luebke, a guy I thought would go much later. I didn’t hear anything about him at all. I need to get a job with the Padres. Check another off the 25TW list.


3:07 PM – The Padres finish out the supplemental round by taking Danny Payne, a guy who almost made the 25TW list. I had him listed as an outfielder, but he was announced as a pitcher. I don’t if that means the Padres are making him a pitcher, or if it has no meaning at all.


3:24 PM – Will Kline goes to the Devil Rays with the first pick of the second round. The Devil Rays are having a great draft. They’re really maximizing their picks.


3:31 PM - On the 25TW the following are still available: Tyler Mach, Bryan Henry, Eric Sogard, Tony Watson, Travis Banwart, Josh Horton, Tony Thomas Jr., Nick Chigges, Josh Collmenter, Adam Mills, Dominic de la Osa, and David Newmann.


3:32 PM – Brian Rike, an outfielder from Louisiana Tech, just went to the Colorado Rockies. He was among the players I considered for the 25TW list.


3:34 PM – Grant Desme, a guy just left off the 25TW list, was just drafted by the A’s. The M’s are on the clock…


3:36 PM – And the Mariners pick Denny Almonte, a high school outfielder from Florida.


3:42 PM – And the Padres stick to the 25TW list with Eric Sogard! This is pretty much as unbelievable as last year at this point. He’s getting compared to Dustin Pedroia, which is a very good comparison.


3:45 PM – Matt Mattair, a local prep star from Southridge High School, just went to the Phillies.


3:49 PM – The Padres just selected Brad Chalk, I guy I (surprise) looked pretty hard at adding to the 25TW list. His lack of power is ultimately what kept him off the list. I think Chalk is very similar to Jason Tyner.


3:53 PM – The A’s just picked Josh Horton, a shortstop I absolute love. He’s an ideal number two hitter, and he fits the moneyball system beautifully.


4:02 PM – The Cubs just took Tony Thomas. Lou’s going to like this draft class. That’s the second 25TW guy they’ve landed.


4:06 PM – The Nationals nabbed another local product, Stephen Souza from Cascade High School.


4:11 PM – The M’s just picked another high school outfielder, Danny Carroll.


4:18 PM – I think we’re down to the 25TW who are going to slide for a while.


4:22 PM - On the 25TW the following are still available: Tyler Mach, Bryan Henry, Tony Watson, Travis Banwart, Nick Chigges, Josh Collmenter, Adam Mills, Dominic de la Osa, and David Newmann.


4:24 PM – The Padres are on the clock, will they take another guy on my list?


4:26 PM – And San Diego goes with a high school right-hander, so obviously not on the list.


4:32 PM – Yeah, neither the Padres nor the A’s took a guy on my list with their most recent picks. I think we are down to the guys who are going to stick around for a long time.


4:37 PM – The Devil Rays just took David Newmann to start the fourth round! They’ve tied the A’s and Padres for most players picked from my 25TW list!


4:51 PM – The M’s just took in the fourth round Nolan Gallagher, a guy who kind of flamed out with Stanford this year. Not the most inspiring pick, but the M’s must see something in him. This is the point in the draft where I really soured on what the M’s were doing last year.


4:54 PM – With a quick glance at Nolan Gallagher, I think the Mariners really blew it with this pick. Stanford put high expectations on him at the start of the year, and he clearly failed. That’s not to say he has no talent, but he clearly needs development time, and there are plenty of college pitchers still available who are much better.


4:55 PM – The Reds just took Blake Stouffer, a guy who was in consideration for the 25TW list.


4:57 PM – To continue on Gallagher, his ERA was over 7.00 this year. This is a worse pick than the ill-fated Ricky Orta selection last year. How can the M’s justify this pick in any way?


4:59 PM – The Phillies just took Tyler Mach in the fourth round. I think they really might have a steal on their hands, and it’s disappointing that he continues to migrate away from the northwest. He was just compared to Jeff Kent on the radiocast I’m listening to.


5:02 PM – The pick before Mach, Kyle Russell by the Cardinals, was a guy who I almost put on the 25TW list. He’s got tremendous power, but is incredibly strikeout-proned. He’s similar to Corey Brown, except with less speed, and a shorter track record of success.


5:07 PM – The A’s just picked Travis Banwart. I can’t believe he lasted this long, given his great track record and strong showing in the Cape Cod League. I should have known I could count on the Athletics to pick him up. Of all the guys on my list, he was the one that I could not figure out how teams were overlooking.


5:24 PM – The Mariners are on the clock in round five!


5:25 PM – The Mariners go with Joe Dunigan, a guy I didn’t have on the 25TW, but a guy very strongly considered! I’ve never been able to say that about a Mariners pick! This is a great pick, especially compared to the last one.


5:39 PM – Round five is winding down, and I’d be surprised if anyone of the 25TW not picked already is going to go.


5:47 PM – The first day of the draft is done. Overall, the M’s are off to a so-so start. The only pick I really hate is Nolan Gallagher, but they came back and made a nice pick with Joe Dunigan. Phillip Aumont could turn out to be a stud, and he probably should not have made it to the Mariners. It was a good day for the 25TW list, though there are still six players waiting to hear their names called: Bryan Henry, Tony Watson, Nick Chigges, Josh Collmenter, Adam Mills, and Dominic de la Osa. I would expect Henry, Watson, and de la Osa to go rather quickly. However, Chigges, Mills, and Collmenter may be waiting a long time.

2007 Draft: Round 1

11:11 AM – The draft has officially started. The Devil Rays are on the clock. It’s awesome to see this on ESPN2. I’m actually watching online, but it is ESPN2’s telecast. The only difference is the ads, which are outstanding. The A’s have a funny one with Mark Kotsay, and there’s a great one involving Johan Santana, Michael Cuddyer, and Juan Rincon trying to do a magic trick.


11:13 AM – Mariners ad! It’s Ichiro throwing pitches from the outfield! YES! Right before it was a good ad with Lyle Overbay at a wedding.


11:16 AM – Tampa Bay takes David Price first overall. Can’t complain with the pick. The Devil Rays can use pitching, and he was the best available. He should make it to the majors fast, and be good for a long time. He’s who I would’ve picked if I was in their shoes. He’s also the first of the 25 to watch (which will be referred to as 25TW from now on) off the board.


11:21 AM – The Royals take Mike Moustakas, a high-schooler. He’s got great power and had a great season. As far as high-schoolers go, he was one of the best available in my book. Given that the Royals have taken Hochevar and Gordon the last couple years, the risk is worth the reward here. I like Moustakas more than Dominguez, or even Vitters.


11:24 AM – The popular thinking is that the Cubs will take either Vitters or Jarrod Parker next.


11:24 AM – DOUBLE PLAY TWINS ON MLB.TV!


11:27 AM – Josh Vitters is now a Cub. No surprises yet in the draft, but it should get crazy soon. I’m not as high on Vitters as many (I’m a bigger fan of Jason Heyward), but we’ll see what happens. The scouting reports I read kept talking about how great he looks in batting practice, which scares me a little. I’d prefer to hear about how great Vitters looks in games.


11:30 AM – I don’t think anyone has any clue what the Pirates are going to do. I think they should go with the local high school catcher that’s been going up draft boards in a hurry, because it doesn’t sound like they have the money to sign a guy like Matt Wieters.


11:32 AM – The Pirates take Daniel Moskos, which is good news for M’s fans! Moskos, a southpaw out of Clemson, was a guy that’s been rumored to go to the Mariners, but I’m glad he’s off the board. He throws in the upper 90s, but the production does not match the stuff. There’s a reason he wasn’t on the 25TW. I’m glad the M’s won’t have the chance to take him. Sorry Pirates fans, this isn’t the greatest pick. The only reason he went this high is because he throws hard. He looks like a great player, but the stats just don’t match up with the talent.


11:34 AM – Another Mariners ad!


11:35 AM – Great Rockies ad with Brian Fuentes “saving everything,” from coupons to cats out of trees.


11:37 AM – Wieters goes to the Orioles! This is a surprising pick. Everything I saw had the O’s going with Ross Detwiler if he was still around. Wieters is going to take some money to sign, but he’s a great pick. The second of the 25TW is now off the board.


11:40 AM – Let’s see what the Nationals do. They are reportedly looking to make a splash, and the man that would’ve done that was Wieters. Could they surprise everyone and go with Rick Porcello? He’s got signability issues, but he’s the best high school pitcher out there.


11:43 AM – Detwiler goes to the Nationals, a solid pick. The Nationals desperately need pitching, and he should make it to the big leagues relatively soon. He’s the third of the 25TW off the board, and we’re only six picks in.


11:46 AM – Another M’s ad! Rauuuuuuul!


11:48 AM – The first shocker! Matt LaPorta goes to the Brewers at number seven overall! This is a big bummer for me, because he was the perfect pick for the Mariners. No projection had him this high. I don’t see how he’ll help the Brewers, given Prince Fielder is already entrenched at first, but his bat is unbelievable. Yet another of the 25TW is now off the board. I love LaPorta’s talent, and I’m curious to see how Milwaukee makes this work.


11:54 AM – The Rockies take Casey Weathers, the Vanderbilt closer. He’s the best closer out there, but this is too high for a reliever for my taste. This is another break for the Mariners, because he was rumored to be on their board and I don’t think it would’ve been the best pick. I don’t think it’s the best pick the Rockies could have made either, but he’s better than the guy they took last year second overall, Greg Reynolds. Given how the draft is unfolding, it’s looking more and more likely the Mariners will be picking a high-schooler. My eyes are now set on Jason Heyward.


11:56 AM – The Rockies have good ads. Another funny one just aired.


11:57 AM – Yes! The Ichiro ad again! MLB.TV loves the Mariners!


11:59 AM – Jarrod Parker goes to the D’Backs ninth overall. He was right up there with Porcello as the best high school pitcher, though he has fewer signability issues. Given the depth of the D’Backs system, they can afford to take a risk on a high-caliber young pitcher like Parker. This is a good pick. So far, I think teams have done a better job drafting this year than last. The only pick I really think is bad so far is Moskos.


12:02 PM – The Giants are an interesting team because they have so many early picks, and also an aging roster. They need prospects that will develop quickly, but they also have enough picks to take some high-risk, long-term projects. So, this upcoming pick is quite interesting.


12:04 PM – Madison Bumgarner, a high school pitcher, goes to the Giants. They’re going high-risk out of the gate. I don’t know much about this guy, but my initial reaction is that this pick could flame out. The M’s are now on the clock!


12:05 PM – Though plenty of my 25TW are available, I’d like to see the Mariners take Jason Heyward, a high school outfielder. Heyward is 6’4”, 220 pounds, so he’s already physically mature. Also, he has shown great power and plate discipline, and is left-handed. He fits a need in the organization, and he’s one of the few high-schoolers that I really like.


12:08 PM – Yes! The M’s rosin bag ad!


12:09 PM – Amazing ad with Johan Santana and Joe Nathan driving. All Johan Santana does is “change speeds.”


12:10 PM – The Mariners take Phillipe Aumont, a Canadian high school pitcher. Though I would’ve preferred Heyward, Aumont is a nice pick. He’s tall, right-handed, and throws hard. He’s rough around the edges, but the talent is there and he’s flashed dominance at times. He’s a better pick than Moskos or Weathers would have been. Given who was available, this is a nice pick. If Aumont develops, the idea of him, Felix, and Brandon at the front of the rotation is awesome.


12:15 PM – The Marlins took Matt Dominguez. I was scared the M’s would take him. It’s not that Dominguez is real bad, but I think he’s a poorer version of Matt Tuiasosopo right now.


12:21 PM – Beau Mills goes to the Indians. His numbers are amazing, but it’s at such a low level, and though he played really well at Fresno State, my rating system just didn’t have him that high. He was worth a pick in a later round. This is way too high for him, though I’m certainly in the minority. He did do well in the Cape Cod League, which is worth something. It’s not that Mills wasn’t worth a pick, but I think he’s out of his league this high.


12:26 PM – The Braves go with Jason Heyward. This is an excellent pick, especially for the Braves because he’s from Georgia.


12:31 PM – Devin Mesoraco goes to the Reds. He was the best high school catcher out there. I don’t know much about him, but we’ll see how he does. I would go with some college catchers before him.


12:37 PM – The Blue Jays take Kevin Ahrens, another high-schooler. I don’t know anything about this guy. He’s been heralded as a great hitter. The Blue Jays took a great-hitting high-schooler last year, Travis Snider, and he hasn’t disappointed. The Rangers might be disappointed, given that Ahrens is from Texas.


12:48 PM – Ok, back from making lunch. Rangers take a high school pitcher, Cardinals a high school hitter. This is definitely a young draft.


12:53 PM – Finally, a college player! The Phillies took Joe Savery, a two-way player at Rice. His hitting is better, but he’s not amazing at either hitting or pitching. Maybe he’ll be better focusing on one.


12:58 PM – And the Dodgers go with Chris Withrow, another high-schooler I have limited knowledge of.


1:04 PM – The Blue Jays went with a catcher, J.P. Arencibia. I like Canham better, but Arencibia is a real good pick.


1:09 PM – The Giants take Tim Alderson, a flame-throwing high-school righty. It looks like the Giants are going with high-risk young guns and hoping that they pan out. Given the volume of picks they have, it may work for them.


1:15 PM – The Padres go with Nick Schmidt. This is a very good pick. He wasn’t supposed to last this long. The Padres took a bunch of the guys I liked last year, and they’ve taken another guy I like this year. Schmidt is the fifth of the 25TW off the board. It’s surprising he lasted this long. I would’ve been happy if the Mariners had picked Schmidt at 11.


1:20 PM – Michael Main goes to the Rangers. It’s yet another projectable high-schooler that can throw really hard. Some teams liked him as an outfielder, so he is a great athlete, which bodes well for him. It makes him a safer pick than some high school pitchers. I don’t think the Rangers pitching staff has the time to wait for high-schoolers to develop though.


1:25 PM – The White Sox take Aaron Poreda with the 25th pick. He’s a college lefty that throws hard, but like Moskos he hasn’t produced. On top of that, he’s got a bit of a weird wind-up that I think will always limit his control. This is the range Poreda was projected to go, but I think it’s too high. There isn’t a guy that throws harder available, but there are plenty of better pitchers out there at this point.


1:31 PM – The Athletics pick James Simmons, a righty from UC-Riverside. He was on the 25TW list. He’s got great command, and I think he’ll throw a little harder and develop into a quality pitcher. He’s as safe of a pick as they come. Great pick.


1:34 PM – Six of the 25TW have been picked so far. I don’t anticipate any more going in the first round, though Canham may be going in the sandwich round. As for the rest on the list, I am not sure when they will be picked.


1:36 PM – The Tigers take Rick Porcello, a guy who only fell to the Tigers because of signability issues. This looks similar to when Miller fell to Detroit last year. The Tigers have a way of signing guys with signability issues, and if they get Porcello under contract, this is an amazing pick.


1:41 PM – The Twin take a high-school outfielder, Ben Revere. I know nothing about this guy. He’s 5’9”, 152 pounds, and apparently runs well. My first reaction is that this isn’t a good pick.


1:44 PM – Sometimes when I hear Steve Phillips talk I realize why he was fired by the Mets. He was talking about how the Twins need to play small ball because they don’t have power bats, and that’s why Ben Revere is a good pick. First of all, they have Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, and Joe Mauer, all pretty darn good hitters (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Cuddyer either). Furthermore, the Twins could have power bats if they tried drafting some! It’s this kind of backwards thinking that drives me nuts about Phillips.


1:47 PM – The Giants take Wendell Fairly, another high-schooler. He’s a toolsy outfielder that was deemed the best athlete in the draft. This sounds like a high-risk, high-reward pick, and it seems that the Giants’ strategy is to acquire raw, young talents in this draft. It’s a risky way to draft, but as I’ve already said, the Giants have enough picks to allow for some complete busts.


1:52 PM – The Yankees take Andrew Brackman with the final pick of the first round. He was supposed to go higher, but hurt his elbow. Due to the injury, it’s a bit of a risky pick, though I also expected him to perform a little better. If he recovers and is healthy, this is a great pick. However, there are a number of reasons he almost fell out of the first round.


2:15 PM – Well, I think I’ll post the notes from the first round here. I’ll be following the whole first day, so expect more tonight.