Yankees Have To Make Roster Move Too

Eric HinskeWe already knew the Mariners will make a roster move before today's game against the Yankees, with Adrian Beltre going on the DL. It would be surprising if anyone but Ryan Langerhans is added. As of this morning, the Yankees now have a move to make as well that perhaps has a little more intrigue, thanks to a trade. They acquired INF/OF Eric Hinske from the Pirates for two low-level minor-leaguers, RHP Casey Erickson and OF Eric Fryer.

First, a quick look at the deal from Pittsburgh's perspective. Hinske is a solid veteran, and after a decent season playing every day in Tampa Bay last year was coming off the bench for the Pirates this year. In other words, Hinske was not a real integral piece to a team that about a month ago traded Nate McLouth, arguably the closest thing they had to a face of the franchise. Not surprisingly, the asking price was not high. Erickson has a nice ERA is low A, but opponents are hitting almost .300 off him. The other player in the deal, Eric Fryer, has an OPS of under .700 in high A. Both players are 23, so they are already are a bit old for the leagues they are playing in, especially considering their marginal success.

Undoubtedly, Hinske will be a backup for the Yankees also, but the real question is where. He can play first base, third base, left field, and right field. Yankees GM Brian Cashman was on record saying that he was not looking for a hitter because he wanted to see the team once OF Xavier Nady was back. However, it looks like he will miss the entire season now, so Hinske could be taking Nady's spot in the outfield. If that is the case, the Yankees will likely send Brett Gardner to AAA.

However, the Yankees are carrying a pair of light-hitting infielders, Cody Ransom and Ramiro Pena. They like Pena's glove, and he is young. Ransom is in his early 30s, and frankly at this point is more of a AAA infielder and emergency stopgap. I think it makes more sense for Hinske to take one of their spots on the roster, mostly because Brett Gardner is a better player than either Ransom or Pena right now. If that is the route the Yankees choose though, it will look like they sought out an upgrade to backup Alex Rodriguez. They just might have too, considering the added days they are giving him off, and the lackluster production of his reserves. Still, seeking out a better backup for A-Rod seems like something that the New York media would notice, to say the least.

We will just have to wait and see what the Yankees do.

Pirates Pair Could Fit M's

Jack WilsonIan SnellPirates GM Neal Huntington said some strong words about RHP Ian Snell the other day. Snell, who has struggled the past couple seasons after signing a contract extension, was demoted to AAA. In his first start, he struck out 17 batters and was practically unhittable. Still, Huntington called Snell's contract extension a mistake, which is an awfully strong statement to make about a player currently under contract on your own team. The closest thing we have seen to this in the past couple years was when Bavasi started taking small shots at Erik Bedard last year, essentially blaming him for the trade not working out as expected.

Snell, even after a brilliant start in AAA, does not appear to be a part of Pittsburgh's plans anymore. His ERA is well over 5.00 for the past two seasons, and his walk rate has noticably increased this year, while his strikeout rate has sunk badly. At 27 years old, Snell is still young, but not an up-and-coming prospect. He looked like a pitcher on the rise a couple years ago, but after the past couple seasons it is hard to say what the future holds for him.

For a mistake of a contract, Snell's is not too bad. He is making $3 million this year, and will make $4.25 million next year, with a couple club options after that. The club options are pricy, but there appears to be no buyout. In addition to Snell, Pittsburgh has a shortstop they have been trying to ditch for a few years now, Jack Wilson. He is not a particularly great hitter, but is a good defender, and even at his offensive worst is significantly better than what the Mariners have fielded at shortstop this year. He is making $7.25 million this season, but to keep his extension from kicking in (which needs to happen), the remainder of the contract needs to be bought out for $600,000. So, in reality, Jack Wilson is making $7.85 million.

What if the Mariners tried to get both Snell and Wilson in a trade? Their combined salaries for this year (including Wilson's buyout) would be $10.85 million. The Mariners could start by offering Miguel Batista, who is making $9 million in the final year of his contract. The difference in money is already under $2 million, and this deal should already look somewhat appealing to the Pirates. They do not seem to care much about Jack Wilson anymore, and they get off the hook for the rest of Ian Snell's deal, which again they have publicly stated is a mistake. Throw in a middle infield replacement (a guy like Josh Wilson) and/or a marginal pitching prospect (Jesus Delgado, Andrew Baldwin, Doug Fister), and maybe Pittsburgh decides they have salvaged enough in this trade.

I will admit that Miguel Batista has done a nice job in his role this year. However, looking at his peripheral numbers, and what he has done over the course of his career, I think he is due to trail off. Besides, even if he does not, he is an impending free agent anyway, and at worst Snell can replace him in the bullpen, and Jack Wilson can be our starting shortstop the remainder of the year. Upgrading at shortstop by trading a middle reliever is good value.

This is not a trade the Mariners have to make, and they should not trade any significant part of their future to go after Ian Snell or Jack Wilson. Wilson is simply a rental player, but one that fits this team's needs well right now. Yuniesky Betancourt was starting to turn it around before he got hurt, but I still think Wilson is better than him right now by a significant margin. Batista is the perfect guy to trade for an overpriced rental player. As for Snell, he is still just 27 years old, his contract is not awful, and I have a hard time believing a completely washed up pitcher stikes out 17 in AAA. It looks to me that part of Snell's problem is that he no longer trusts his stuff, which would explain the spike in his walk rate. With comments like his contract is a mistake coming from Pittsburgh's front office, and that they are just trying to salvage something out of the deal, it is easy to see how he may lose confidence in himself. A change of scenery would do Snell good.

Both Ian Snell and Jack Wilson are guys that could help the Mariners. There are reasons both have been shopped, but no one has acquired them, so the price has to be right. However, the pieces might be there for a deal that satisfies both sides.

Langerhans Acquired

Ryan LangerhansThe Mariners just made a minor league move with major league implications. They traded infielder Mike Morse to the Nationals for outfielder Ryan Langerhans. Niether is on their respective team's 40-man roster, hence why it is considered a minor league deal. Both have been in AAA all year. Morse's line for the season is .312/.370/.481, while Langerhans has posted a .278/.371/.488 line. As hitters, they do not appear terribly different on the surface. Morse is a couple years younger and has shown more power than Langerhans, until this year. Langherans had 3 home runs all of last year, but has already hit 9 this year.

The real difference is defense. Morse can play a bunch of positions, but none of them all that well. Langerhans is a real good defensive outfielder, and as an added bonus can play a little first base. He should be up with the Mariners shortly, because he is the ideal replacement for Endy Chavez. Langerhans is even a bit younger than Endy, and I think will prove to be a better hitter too. The M's will have to do something to get Langerhans on the roster, but the easy answer would be to place Adrian Beltre on the 60-day DL.

Indeed, the Mariners offense has been difficult to watch this year, but this team is still on pace for a 15-20 win improvement over last year. Why? The defense. The pitching is better too, but thanks in large part to the defense. That is what makes losing Beltre so bad, and what made losing Endy Chavez so bad too. Langerhans fits in with the Mariners approach this year, and even if he does not hit terribly well, leaves the Mariners with only the one big hole at third base (well, aside from shortstop, but that has been a problem all year). Langerhans is not the kind of player that will transform the Mariners, but he is exactly what this team needed.

DeRosa Traded to Cardinals

Mark DeRosaLooking a bit outside the Mariners bubble, a significant trade happened yesterday. INF/OF Mark DeRosa, a hot trade commodity for weeks, was acquired by the Cardinals. To get him, St. Louis gave up young reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named later. Indians GM Mark Shapiro says the player to be named later is "significant," so presumably he will be more than a throw-in. DeRosa immediately upgrades the Cardinals offense, and has added value with his defensive versatility. Cleveland gets a young pitcher with great stuff to help their troublesome bullpen. He could be their closer of the future, and the future could be sooner rather than later. Both teams addressed needs, and on the surface it looks a solid deal.

The main reason I wanted to write a few paragraphs about this trade is because DeRosa is in some ways similar to a couple Mariners players that could be traded, if Jack Zduriencik decides to be more of a seller in the trade market. DeRosa is 34 years old and making $5.5 million in the final year of his contract. Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista, and Russell Branyan are all in the final years of their contracts as well. In particular, Washburn, Batista, and Branyan are all a little older, like DeRosa. All things considered, none of these Mariners are as valuable in a trade as DeRosa, but the good news is that DeRosa was worth a major league reliever who was also the Cardinals' best relief prospect, and from the looks of it another legitimate prospect.

It may be wise for the Mariners to be sellers at the deadline. It would be a tough decision to make with how close the M's are to the Rangers, and how hard the team has continued to compete despite a ton of injuries. However, with every injury, the Mariners face a bit steeper uphill battle, and on top of that it looks like the trade deadline market will favor sellers this year. The Mariners should not have to shop their players. Teams will come to them, and may come with offers only available in this trade deadline market.

Michael Aubrey to Orioles for Cash

Michael AubreyA small deal floated across the transaction wires today. The Orioles have acquired first baseman Michael Aubrey from the Indians for a player to be named later. Aubrey is a former first round pick of the Indians, but is yet to blossom into the hitter he was expected to be. At 27 years old, it is doubtful he will ever become that hitter. This year in AAA, Aubrey is batting .292, but with only 5 home runs and a .770 OPS - hardly numbers that would be expected from a first baseman picked in the first round.

Why is this a deal worth writing about then? It may be the opening bell for this year's trade deadline. Aubrey adds depth at first base for Baltimore, which is going nowhere this year in the brutal AL East. They are one of the few teams who already know they will be sellers at the deadline. Also, Baltimore's current first baseman, Aubrey Huff, figures to be one of the better hitters available at the deadline. The Michael Aubrey deal could signal that the Orioles are now more than ready to move Aubrey Huff if they find the right deal.

The Orioles have been irrelevant in the East for nearly a decade, but that should begin to change. Their outfield features great young talents in Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. Catcher should be set for a very long with Matt Wieters. Last year's first round pick, Brian Matusz, is already in AA, and Chris Tillman is even closer to the majors. Both should be good starting pitchers for a long time. An Aubrey Huff trade would not reshape the franchise, but adding one or two more quality pieces to the young core the Orioles already have could make them a team that opens eyes in 2010 or 2011.

Take A Look At Langerhans

Ryan LangerhansSo far the Mariners are undefeated since Endy Chavez went down for the year in that ugly collision with Yuniesky Betancourt. However, the Mariners could use a replacement for him, and the only somewhat legitimate option in AAA is Prentice Redman. Michael Saunders is a tempting choice, but I do not think he is quite ready, and he would be better served playing every day in a league where he still has some things to learn.

The answer may be rotting away in Syracuse for the Washington Nationals, Ryan Langerhans. Instead of making the case for Langerhans, I will let a great piece written over at U.S.S. Mariner do the talking. All I will add is that he should be cheap to acquire. With the Nationals pitching woes, a couple of guys along the lines of Doug Fister, Andrew Baldwin, Randy Messenger, and Jesus Delgado might be enough.

A Dramatic Comeback Bigger Than Most

Ken Griffey Jr.I usually like to look ahead and stay focused on the big picture on the blog, but every now and then a game comes along that deserves a recap. This is one of those games. It was almost one of those games before the eighth inning, and definitely one of those after it.

The Mariners came into tonight a beat up team, more emotionally than physically. Rob Johnson and Russell Branyan were both back after attending funerals, but it is not as if the grieving process is completely over now that they are back. On top of that, the bullpen got taxed pretty badly yesterday as the team continues to stretch out Brandon Morrow, so it was up to Jarrod Washburn to pitch deep into tonight's ballgame, with a back that has been giving him problems lately. One look at the starting lineup gave a sense of how the team is faring right now. The last four hitters combined have hit a total of three home runs this season.

The game got frustrating quickly. The Mariners were getting hits off Jon Garland, but stranded runners all over the bases. Jarrod Washburn started to get squeezed a bit with the strike zone, and then got a really bad break with the Stephen Drew bunt. Drew was on the grass for a few steps, which is clearly inside the baseline. Not surprisingly, Washburn hit him with the throw to first, allowing a run to score without any out being recorded. Drew should have been called out, and the runners should not have advanced. That changed the whole complexion of the inning, allowed a couple runs to score, and ran up Washburn's pitch count on a night the M's needed him to work deep into the ballgame. Meanwhile, the offense continued to strand runners. It was a frustrating game.

Frustration gave way to despair in the fifth inning on a soft fly ball to short left field. It was in no man's land, and both Yuniesky Betancourt and Endy Chavez charged after it full speed. Betancourt caught it, but in the process uprooted Chavez, who went down hard, and immediately was writhing in obvious pain. It was an ugly collision that halted the game for several minutes. Endy was ultimately carted off the field, a very rare sight in baseball. The moment was sobering, and made the frustration of the game sink into an even worse feeling. With how the game was going, and how that past few weeks have gone off the field for this team, this felt like the latest blow. If there was ever a game to mail in, this was it.

Washburn had other plans though. He settled into a nice groove, and made it through seven innings. He has been criticized many times for his inability to pitch deep into ballgames as a Mariner, but he deserves credit tonight. Considering his back was not feeling completely healthy, and the bad non-call on the bunt early on, Washburn hung in the game valiantly. He deserves credit for stepping up and delivering a quality start in the face of adversity, frustration, and watching a teammate getting carted off the field. Washburn sent the message that this game was not over.

Then came the eighth inning. The Mariners still had not scored. Russell Branyan scorched a missile into the right field seats to finally get the Mariners on the board. Adrian Beltre got on base, bringing the tying run to the plate. With two outs, Wladimir Balentien was slated to come to the plate, but Don Wakamatsu decided to pinch-hit with Ken Griffey Jr. Safeco Field came to life with a standing ovation, as thousands of fans in the ballpark and across the Pacific Northwest got the same magical vision in their head, dreaming, "what if..."

Tony Pena set, and delivered his high-octane gas. Ken Griffey Jr., the aging, 30-something slugger that has lost more than a step or two, and sat on the bench the entire game through unseasonably cold weather, had the odds stacked against him. The odds should have been stacked against him at least. However, Griffey wasted no time and attacked the heater with that sweet black bat of his, and even sweeter swing.

The click.

The drop of the bat.

The gaze.

The deficit was erased. Ken Griffey Jr., the aging, 30-something slugger, is still Ken Griffey Jr.

The game was far from over though. The inning was far from over for that matter. Chris Woodward reached base for the second time on the night via a grounder that was just a tad too far to Stephen Drew's right. That set the stage for Rob Johnson, fresh off the bereavement list after attending the funeral for his mother-in-law, who unexpectedly lost her life in a car accident. Not known for his hitting anyway, Johnson found a way to turn on a Tony Pena fireball too, and laced it down the left field line. It kicked away from Eric Byrnes, easily allowing Woodward to score, and with a headfirst dive Johnson made it all the way into third base with his first triple of the season. It might be the sharpest Johnson has hit a ball all year. The Mariners, a team frustrated, battered, and bruised in about every way imaginable, dug down somewhere deep and pulled out some magic. An inspired David Aardsma came out of the bullpen, and shut the door emphatically, striking out the side with pure heat.

The Mariners came into the game a team that could use some good news. The road trip was not all that bad on the field, but spirits had to be down with the personal problems mounting. Throw on top of that injuries, especially the one to Chavez in the middle of tonight's game, and it all seemed unfair. In the end, this team made their own breaks tonight, and gutted out a magical victory that they can feel great about.

It is dangerous to put lots of stock in one game, especially in baseball, but tonight's game was bigger than most. This clubhouse needed something to go right after all the things that have unexpectedly gone wrong the past couple weeks. It was not to the point where this team was going to completely lose it, but you could feel the season slowly slipping away. Tonight stopped the bleeding. It may not be the start of a hot streak, and it did not transform the team, or fix any of its holes. However, this team really needed something to feel good about it, and it got exactly that tonight. This is the kind of victory the team can rally behind, and think back on when the next rough patch happens. Tonight said something about this team's mettle, and also galvanized the team further. The Mariners needed a game like this to stay in the pennant race.

Mariners Claim Josh Wilson

Josh WilsonThe Mariners are busy off the field today. A couple minutes after seeing that Aumont has been promoted, it was reported that the Mariners have claimed infielder Josh Wilson off of waivers from the San Diego Padres. To make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Guillermo Quiroz was designated for assignment. Quiroz was actually on the 25-man roster, but I am assuming Rob Johnson will be activated from the bereavement list and take his place.

Wilson is not much. He is 28 years old, and was batting well under .200 in the majors this year. In parts of several MLB seasons, he has never shown much hitting ability, and nothing about his recent minor league career indicates he is anything more than an emergency stopgap if needed. However, the Mariners are really hurting up the middle right now, so here he is.

For now, Wilson is likely Chris Woodward's replacement in AAA. However, since Wilson is on the 40-man roster, he could get called up. I get the feeling that if Woodward does not fall flat on his face while Lopez is dealing with family matters in Venezuela, he will stay in the majors, and either Cedeno or Betancourt will go down to Tacoma. With Wilson, both could even potentially be sent down. Both Betancourt and Cedeno should be getting the message that it is time to perform. Neither Woodward nor Wilson is a true answer at shortstop, but they are both upgrades over what we have seen so far.

Aumont to AA

Phillipe AumontIt just came across this afternoon that the Mariners have promoted RHP Phillipe Aumont from High Desert to West Tennessee. Aumont, a 6'7", 220-pound righty from Quebec, was the Mariners first round draft pick a couple years ago, and you may remember him from the World Baseball Classic. He caused a stir pitching for Canada out of the bullpen, when he loaded the bases against the USA, but then made the heart of the order look silly with his wicked two-seamer, and a slider that will be death to all righties if he can locate it somewhat consistently.

Perhaps in response to watching Aumont out of the bullpen in the WBC, the Mariners switched Aumont to the bullpen this year. In 29 appearances for the Mavericks in high A ball, Aumont pitched 33.1 innings, allowing 24 hits and 3 home runs, while walking 12, striking out 35, and posting a 3.24 ERA. He was getting better as the season went along though - in his past 10 outings, he had a 1.42 ERA, with 6 hits, 4 walks, and 17 strikeouts in 12.2 innings of work.

The timing is a little odd on the promotion. High Desert just clinched the first half title in the California League, and will be in the playoffs shortly. Any promotions figured to take place after that. I cannot find any injury news on Diamond Jaxx players though. Also, presumably Aumont is going to stay in the bullpen, but presumably the Mariners also want to develop Josh Fields as a closer, who is still in West Tennessee. Could he possibly be promoted to Tacoma in the next few days? Opponents are only batting .131 off Fields, but the real concern with him is control.

The Aumont promotion itself is not terribly surprising; what makes it interesting is the timing, and the lack of additional/corresponding promotions. Maybe keeping Morrow in the majors to transition him to starter and Aumont's promotion have nothing to do with each other, but they are both moves that make sense, yet are puzzling at the same time. Why all of a sudden is Morrow staying in the majors to stretch out? Why is Aumont in AA now? I get the sense that something is going on behind the scenes that is not public yet. Maybe it is just me looking for a bigger story where there is none, but some of the recent moves have not been adding up the way moves had been all year long.

Roster in Flux

Mike CarpAs it has become apparent that the M's offense could use a boost, I have been thinking about possible solutions. So, a post about the roster has been in the back of my head for a while. However, as I was about ready to write something, the roster looks much different right now than it will next week, making a post somewhat silly until things settle down a little bit. It is hard to figure out where to even start. Here are the losses as of right now:

  • Russell Branyan is gone today to attend a funeral
  • Erik Bedard was placed on the DL yesterday, but retroactive to June 8. He may be out only a week, but he is seeing a doctor today.
  • As of a couple hours ago, Jose Lopez is now on the bereavement list. His sister is dying. This comes about a couple years after his brother was killed in a crash. No matter what you think about his aggressive approach at the plate, your heart has to go out to him. He is probably gone for around a week now, though I hope he takes as long as is needed, even though the M's middle infield looks really bad without him.
Aside from the personnel losses, this is a clubhouse that probably is a little gloomy right now. The Lopez story has to hit hard, especially as it comes the day that Branyan is going to a funeral, and a day after Bedard goes on the DL, and not long after Rob Johnson lost his mother-in-law tragically in a car crash. I will say that I am glad this kind of situation did not happen last year, with that less-than-perfect clubhouse to say the least. Hopefully the team can rally around the losses, and play some inspired ball for their grieving teammates.

In conjunction with the losses, additions and changes are on the horizon:
  • Mike Carp was called up to take Bedard's spot on the roster. He walked in his major league debut last night, and will start in place of Russell Branyan tonight
  • Chris Woodward has taken Jose Lopez's spot for the time being. To make room on the 40-man roster, Carlos Silva was transferred to the 60-day DL.
  • Rob Johnson will come off the bereavement list soon
  • Kenji Johjima is close to coming off the DL, though he likely will have a rehab assignment
  • Brandon Morrow gets the start tonight, as he transitions at the major league level into being a starter
  • Ryan Rowland-Smith started again for Tacoma last night, and though his line was not all that great, he pitched deeper into the ballgame and his velocity was up, both signs that he is getting closer to ready
  • Shawn Kelley is should be ready to come off the DL relatively soon as well
It is all a little overwhelming right now. A middle infielder had to be brought up, and Woodward was the most logical choice. He can play anywhere in the infield, and he has quite a bit of major league experience. He is what he is, though this could be a big break for him. Shortstop has been a black hole for the Mariners this year, and though Woodward is not all that great, he may prove to be a significant upgrade. His .674 OPS should make him a backup, but that's significantly better than both Yuniesky Betancourt and Ronny Cedeno's production thus far. Now that Woodward is on the 40-man roster, he may stick around a while. If I were the Mariners, I would strongly consider sending Betancourt down to AAA, and keep Woodward once Jose Lopez comes back.

Mike Carp is another interesting move. He has played a little left field in Tacoma, and perhaps he could get some regular playing time out there since he is up right now. That has been another spot where offensive production has been pretty bad. A couple good games from Carp could make things a little interesting, though I believe Jack Z when he says that Carp will only be up for a little bit, and I agree that he is not an answer for this team right now (for the record, I think Endy Chavez needs to play every day in left field and bat ninth).

So much is in the air with this roster right now, thanks to injuries and some unfortunate circumstances for key players. It is all compounded by Morrow's switch from the bullpen to the rotation. A few guys now have opportunities for the next couple days at least to show what they can do, and maybe stick a little while longer. This is still a team in transition from the old regime to new, but the team happens to be in a bit of a pennant race as the franchise reinvents its identity. It is interesting to watch, but also scary. After watching M's rosters that seemed to be stagnant at this point in the recent past, this certainly is a new day, a new way.

2009 Draft: A Look Back at 2008

Gordon BeckhamI have been taking a look back at the previous college baseball watchlists I have comprised, and today I look at the previous year's, 2008. It was a college-heavy draft in general, and so not too surprisingly this watchlist has several high draft picks. As a result, a number of players are on the fast track to the major leagues. Even one year in, it is interesting to see how different prospects are at very different stages of development. Here is a look back at the 2008 class as they all embark on their first full year of professional baseball:

25. Nate Freiman, 1B, - (SD) - Freiman went back to college for his senior year, and was picked in the 8th round of this year's draft by the Padres. He is yet to sign, and be assigned to a minor league team.

24. Scott Gorgan, RHP - I've been unable to track down Gorgan so far, either in the pro or college ranks. I am guessing an injury might be involved.

23. Collin Cowgill, OF, Visalia (ARI, A) - .277 AVG, .373 OBP, .445 SLG - Most thought at 5'9" Cowgill would not hit for much power, and that may ultimately be the case. The California league is very hitter-friendly. However, between the speed Cowgill possesses and the pop he is flashing in his bat, he is getting his fair share of extra base hits.

22. Shooter Hunt, RHP, Beloit (MIN, A-) - 10.70 ERA, 17.2 IP, 15 H, 33 BB, 18 K, 1 HR - One statistic jumps off the page with hunt: the walks. He could not throw strikes before getting hurt (he has not pitched since May 15). Control was the biggest concern with Hunt coming out of college, but this is worse than I ever thought it would be. Perhaps some time on the DL will be good for him, or the injury was part of the control problem.

21. Jacob Thompson, RHP, Myrtle Beach (ATL, A) - 1.42 ERA, 12.2 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, 5 K, 1 HR - Thompson was just promoted, hence the limited innings. In low A he pitched 64 innings and frankly looked quite hittable, though he kept the ball on the ground pretty well. I am surprised he got promoted for at least a few starts.

20. Michael Schwimer, RHP, Clearwater (PHI, A) - 2.48 ERA, 29 IP, 21 H, 8 BB, 35 K, 1 HR - Schwimer might be in line for a promotion as he wraps up an excellent first half in A-ball out of the bullpen. He looked fantastic in rookie ball last year too. Schwimer was one of the later selections off the watchlist last year, but looks real good so far.

19. Eric Thames, OF - Despite being drafted as a junior, I could not find Thames in the pro or college ranks this past year. He had a shoulder injury last year, but played through it. I have a hard time believing a player with college eligibility left quit baseball.

18. Reese Havens, SS, St. Lucie (NYM, A) - .228 AVG, .343 OBP, .413 SLG - Despite a low batting average, Havens has been decent at the plate thanks to some patience and power. He is yet to play in June due to an injury, and the odds are that he will start getting base hits a little more frequently once he gets back on the diamond.

17. Scott Bittle, RHP, - (STL) - Bittle, like Freiman, went back to college for his senior year and just got drafted by the Cardinals. He is yet to throw a professional pitch, but after back-to-back huge years in a somewhat awkward relief role for Ole Miss, I am looking forward to see what he does as a professional. I hope the Cardinals try him as a starter first.

16. Clayton Shunick, RHP, - (CIN) - Clayton looked pretty bad in rookie ball last year, and is yet to appear in a pro game in 2009. My best guess is that he was in extended spring training, and will repeat rookie ball once it starts up.

15. Conor Gillaspie, 3B, San Jose (SF, A) - .274 AVG, .368 OBP, .361 SLG - Gillaspie was the first player from the 2008 draft class to reach the majors when the Giants decided to purchase his contract in September. I'll never understand why he was called up, because it was not in the contract he signed, and the Giants actually had to clear a 40-man roster spot for him just to do it. So far, his lack of power is alarming, even though he never projected to hit for a ton of power.

14. Sawyer Carroll, OF, Fort Wayne (SD, A-) - .311 AVG, .407 OBP, .450 SLG - Carroll is putting together a real nice year. He already has 14 steals, which is a little surprising coming from a player listed at 6'4". He only has four home runs on the year, but is hitting plenty of doubles, and that speed on the basepaths is nice too.

13. Blake Tekotte, OF, Fort Wayne (SD, A-) - .236 AVG, .321 OBP, .339 SLG - Meanwhile, Carroll's teammate Blake Tekotte is struggling. Surprisingly, he has more home runs than Carroll, but he would likely benefit from a shortened stroke. Tekotte has even better speed, as evidenced by 15 stolen bases despite being on base less often than Carroll. Tekotte is striking out too much, and he did last year too in rookie ball. The good news is that Tekotte may have made an adjustment, because his June totals are leaps and bounds above April and May. His strikeout rate has dropped drastically, and not surprisingly his numbers across the board have gone up. Time will tell whether this is just a hot streak or a positive trend.

12. Jemile Weeks, 2B, Stockton (OAK, A) - .403 AVG, .494 OBP, .694 SLG - Weeks was injured to start the year, so this is only 18 games worth of stats, but he certainly looks like he is making up for lost time. He looked pretty good in low A last year, and may be in AA by the end of the year. Weeks defense, especially at second base, should already be close to ready for the majors, so it is only a question of his bat, and he is leaving no questions about that right now.

11. David Cooper, 1B, New Hampshire (TOR, AA) - .239 AVG, .319 OBP, .347 SLG - Cooper played at a total of three levels last year and looked good in all of them, so the Blue Jays started him at the next level up, AA. For now, he has met his match. He looked to good in the half season he played in last year for me to be too worried about the first half of this year. The Blue Jays have pushed him pretty hard to this point.

10. Aaron Weatherford, RHP, Asheville (COL, A-) - 4.76 ERA, 11.1 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 12 K, 1 HR - Weatherford got hurt early in the season, but that ERA was likely to come down in a hurry with the season he was beginning to put together. It looks like he will be in rookie ball as he comes back from the injury, but whether thr Rockies keep him there or move him back up a few levels remains to be seen.

9. Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Lynchburg (PIT, A) - .237 AVG, .332 OBP, .483 SLG - Alvarez made life difficult from the beginning by being a real tough player to sign, so now in Pirates fans eyes he better be worth it. So far, the jury is still out. He has prodigous power, and that is showing through. However, he is striking out a ton at a pretty low level. Alvarez will never have to hit for much average to be a good hitter with the power he has, but he either needs to become more selective or learn how to shorten his stroke at times.

8. Ike Davis, 1B, St. Lucie (NYM, A) - .289 AVG, .376 OBP, .491 SLG - Davis is listed as a first baseman, but I still think he should be tried in the outfield. He pitched in college, so he should have a good arm. Regardless, it is nice to see him putting together a fine season, especially after a poor showing in rookie ball to start his professional career. His strikeout rate still worries me, but the first half of this season is leaps and bounds better than last year.

7. Aaron Crow, RHP, - (KC) - Crow was picked ninth overall by the Nationals in the 2008 draft, but held out for way too much money and never signed. He played in an independent league waiting for the 2009 draft, because he was out of college eligibility, and the gamble did not pay off at all. He slipped into the second round, where the Royals grabbed him. Talent-wise, he might be a steal, but who knows how much money he wants this time. My view of Crow has definitely soured after watching his contract negotiations last year.

6. Allan Dykstra, 1B, Fort Wayne (SD, A-) - .209 AVG, .389 OBP, .358 SLG - This has to be one of the more interesting stat lines in all the minor leagues right now. Dykstra really has not shown much of an ability to hit, between his low batting average, minimal power, and high strikeout rate. However, he still walks at an absurd rate! He struck out at a pretty high rate in college, but he may need to be a little more aggressive. He has more talent with the stick than he has shown so far.

5. Gordon Beckham, 3B, CHW - .132 AVG, .214 OBP, .184 SLG - This is unfair to Beckham because he has only been in the majors for about a week and a half now. He started the year in AA, where he posted an .862 OPS, and then played 7 games in AAA before getting called up to the majors. Beckham was in the mix to make the team out of spring training as a second baseman, so the White Sox are clearly in love with him already. I think they are rushing him badly, though his success in AA shows that he is not very far away from being ready.

4. Justin Smoak, 1B, Frisco (TEX, AA) - .325 AVG, .444 OBP, .503 SLG - Smoak has been out since the end of May with an injury, but his first two months in AA were fantastic. He will probably hit for even more power than he has shown so far, though he might not be able to keep up such a good batting average.

3. Brett Wallace, 3B, Memphis (STL, AAA) - .241 AVG, .291 OBP, .319 SLG - Wallace also spent the first month of the season in AA, where he posted an .840 OPS. I probably would not have promoted him, but he has certainly met his match for now. It is only a matter of time before Wallace starts hitting though. The bigger question is still if he can remain at third base.

2. Buster Posey, C, San Jose (SF, A) - .335 AVG, .433 OBP, .545 SLG - I applaud the Giants for taking things slow with Posey, especially compared to a number of the prospects we have already looked at on this list. However, I think he is out of things to prove in A ball. He got off to a torrid start, slowed down a bunch in May, but is now batting .469 in June. I think he is in line for a promotion to AA midseason.

1. Yonder Alonso, 1B, CAR (CIN, AA) - .226 AVG, .300 OBP, .377 SLG - Alonso has only been in AA for a couple weeks now. In high A he had an .881 OPS that was climbing fast after a slow start. The Reds seem to be pushing him somewhat hard right now, which is a little surprising with Joey Votto at first base at the major league level.

This has been the most interesting list to look at one year in. There are several injuries, a couple enigmas that seem to have disappeared, a couple players close or in the majors, and a couple others already in the higher levels of the minors. This draft class as a whole is on the fast track to the majors.

2009 Draft: A Look Back at 2007

Corey BrownContinuing my look back at previous drafts, it is time to see what players from the 2007 watchlist are up to these days. With a longer list and one less year as professionals, more are struggling. However, there are still bright spots and promising players all over the list. As of now, here is what each player is up to:

25. David Newmann, RHP, Charlotte (TB, A) - 3.39 ERA, 58.1 IP, 44 H, 23 BB, 65 K, 2 HR - Newmann missed his last start because of an injury, and I do not know how bad the injury is. However, there is not much to argue about with the numbers he has put up so far. He looks great, and as long as the injury is not related to the Tommy John surgery he had in college, or another huge injury, there is no big reason for concern.

24. Josh Donaldson, C, Midland (OAK, AA) - .261 AVG, .381 OBP, .441 SLG - Donaldson had one of the odder years of my prospects in 2008. He looked bad in low A, but was involved in the Rich Harden deal, and Oakland promoted him to high A, where he looked great. This year, in AA, Donaldson had a lackluster April, an incredible May, and so far a terrible June. Overall, the line Josh has this year is not all that bad, but so far as a pro he has been a remarkably streaky hitter.

23. Dominic de la Osa, 2B, Beloit (DET, A-) - .216 AVG, .295 OBP, .253 SLG - You might recall that de la Osa was on this list as a junior, but he went back to school. He struggled mightily in the Cape Cod League that summer, and did not recover his senior season. The struggles have continued, to say the least.

22. Todd Frazier, OF, Carolina (CIN, AA) - .331 AVG, .377 OBP, .508 SLG - Since last checking in on Todd, he has switched positions from shortstop to the outfield, and also seems to have a little different approach at the plate. He is posting his best batting average as a pro by far, and has cut down on his strikeouts considerably. However, that has come at the cost of some of his home run power, though his slugging percentage is still quite good. The bottom line is that Frazier continues to put up good numbers as he climbs the ladder.

21. Corey Brown, OF, Midland (OAK, AA) - .331 AVG, .409 OBP, .559 SLG - Speaking of cutting down on strikeouts, Brown's have plummeted this year, and consequently his batting average has sky-rocketed. The walks are down as well, but he is clearly getting stuff to hit. Corey's power numbers have diminished some as well, so perhaps he has shortened his stroke. However, the net result is easily the best year of his pro career to this point, so whatever adjustments he made are working.

20. Adam Mills, RHP, Portland (BOS, AA) - 6.51 ERA, 55.1 IP, 73 H, 16 BB, 38 K, 7 HR - Simply put, Mills is getting hit way harder this year, and the answer for him is even better location. He always profiled as a guy with decent stuff, but that would rely heavily on location and outsmarting hitters. In a similar number of innings in AA last year, Mills had much better numbers, and his three starts in June have been considerably better than ones he had in May and June. There are reasons to think he will improve, but this is still a rough year for him to this point.

19. James Simmons, RHP, Sacramento (OAK, AAA) - 5.80 ERA, 59 IP, 69 H, 28 BB, 42 K, 4 HR - From the start, the A's have rushed Simmons a bit, though after a good year in AA, this was the next logical step. The good news is that he has a low home run rate, and mostly needs to find a way to lower his hit rate. He looks a bit similar to Wade LeBlanc right now, who had a worse year in AAA in 2008 than Simmons is putting together right now, but has rebounded considerably.

18. Cory Luebke, LHP, Lake Elsinore (SD, A) - 2.48 ERA, 83.1 IP, 70 H, 16 BB, 78 K, 3 HR - Luebke had an ERA approaching 7.00 at this level last year before getting demoted, so this is fantastic progress. The league he is pitching in is definitely a hitter's league, making the numbers all the more impressive. He may be in line for a promotion to AA in the second half of the year.

17. Ross Detwiler, LHP, WAS - 5.23 ERA, 32.2 IP, 36 H, 14 BB, 23 K, 2 HR - Detwiler was on his way to a good year at AA before the Nationals decided to start calling up all their young arms with any promise. It would have been better for Detwiler's development to take it a bit slower with him, but when a manager has his job on the line with a pitching staff as awful as Washington's, a heralded prospect like Detwiler is not staying in the minors. To Ross's credit, he is an upgrade over some of the guys Washington has stuck out on the mound this year. Like almost any young pitcher, he needs to improve his command, but so far he has not got hit around too badly, as evidenced by a good home run rate so far.

16. Josh Collmenter, RHP, Visalia (ARI, A) - 3.65 ERA, 69 IP, 51 H, 18 BB, 61 K, 4 HR - This guy is validating the faith I have in him more and more every day. He was picked rather late in the draft, but is establishing himself as a legitimate pitching prospect by following up a good year in low A with an even better one in high A. Collmenter has been hit harder his last couple starts, but it is only a matter of time in the California league with all the friendly hitter parks.

15. James Adkins, LHP, Chattanooga (LAD, AA) - 4.80 ERA, 65.2 IP, 72 H, 33 BB, 30 K, 5 HR - The good news on Atkins is that he has looked much better in May and June than in April, so it seems that he just needed to adjust to the new league. However, the bad news is that his strikeout rate is remaining alarmingly low. That does not bode well for higher levels, especially if he continues to walk the number of batters he does.

14. Nick Chigges - As far as I can tell, Chigges is out of baseball, which I don't understand becuase he was good with the only appearances he got as a professional.

13. Mitch Canham, C, San Antonio (SD, AA) - .260 AVG, .350 OBP, .328 SLG - Canham still has a good eye, but he simply has not made good contact in AA so far. He got off to a good start in April, but since then has been mired in an ongoing slump for the past couple months. It is too early to tell whether it is simply a bad slump, or something bigger. He never looked like a big power hitter, but his complete lack of extra base hits this year is reason to worry.

12. Tony Thomas, 2B, Tennessee (CHC, AA) - .283 AVG, .361 OBP, .462 SLG - Tony was a little too aggressive for his own good in high A last year, but still got promoted, and is putting together a fine year. His patience has improved, but more notably he is making solid contact much more often. In half a season, he already has one more home run than he did all of last year. His production has steadily declined as the year has gone on, so the league is figuring him out. It will be interesting to see if he can make some adjustments now that the league has adjusted to him.

11. Josh Horton, SS, Midland (OAK, AA) - .285 AVG, .353 OBP, .378 SLG - The mild offensive line is encouraging coming from Horton. It is significantly better than what he posted in high A last year, and already includes two more home runs than all of last year. Horton is another guy making more contact this year.

10. Travis Banwart, RHP, Midland (OAK, AA) - 4.18 ERA, 64.2 IP, 73 H, 19 BB, 37 K, 4 HR - After progressing pretty quickly the last year and a half, Banwart is finally in a league that can hit his stuff. The good news is that he is not giving up many home runs, but the low strikeout total says he is not missing too many bats.

9. Will Kline - Out of baseball

8. Tony Watson, LHP, Altoona (PIT, AA) - 8.22 ERA, 15.1 IP, 22 H, 11 BB, 14 K, 2 HR - Watson has been out the last two months with an injury, so this is a pretty unfair stat line. He clearly was struggling badly, but how much of it is a limited a sample size, adjusting to a new league, and/or the injury is impossible to tell.

7. Nick Schmidt, LHP, Fort Wayne (SD, A-) - 3.09 ERA, 46.2 IP, 35 H, 22 BB, 54 K, 0 HR - After a major arm injury that cost him all of last season, Schmidt is rounding into form in a hurry. He has got progressively stronger, and it shows in his numbers. He is in line for a promotion to high A soon, because his past three starts have been completely dominant - 17 innings, 8 hits, 5 walks, 19 strikeouts, and only 1 run allowed (that's a 0.53 ERA).

6. Eric Sogard, 2B, San Antonio (SD, AA) - .292 AVG, .389 OBP, .393 SLG - Much like Canham, Sogard is suffering from a power outage this year, most noticable in his lack of doubles. Interestingly, his average is still good though, and he still is very selective at the plate. He was hurt for some time in May, but is coming back strong from the injury, so there is reason to think his numbers will be better by the end of the season.

5. Bryan Henry, RHP, Visalia (ARI, A) - 3.35 ERA, 37.2 IP, 41 H, 4 BB, 27 K, 3 HR - Henry is hard to figure out at this point. On one hand, he is putting up good numbers in a hitter-friendly league. On the other hand though, he is already relying pretty heavily on control out of the bullpen at a low level. More innings would definitely help the analysis.

4. Matt Wieters, C, BAL - .234 AVG, .265 OBP, .319 SLG - Wieters just got called up a few weeks ago, so that stat line is very unfair to him. His OPS was almost .900 in AAA by the time he got called up, and it was rising. It is only a matter of time before he figures out major league pitching a little better and starts flashing his prodigious power. He should be in the majors for the rest of this year, and with any kind of decent showing, he is in the majors for good.

3. Tyler Mach - Again, out of baseball, and I don't understand why because he was pretty good in the opportunity he got. He only played for half a season in rookie ball, but posted an OPS around .850.

2. David Price, LHP, TB - 2.37 ERA, 19 IP, 13 H, 18 BB, 26 K, 2 HR - He is nibbling badly at the major league level, and will eventually get burned by that. He actually was getting touched up a little bit in AAA, so at some point that ERA will go above 4.00. Still, Price is right on the cusp of staying in the majors for good.

1. Matt LaPorta, OF, Columbus (CLE, AAA) - .317 AVG, .387 OBP, .552 SLG - LaPorta logged a few weeks in the majors in May, but got sent back down after a sluggish showing. He is doing more than fine in AAA though, and it is only a matter of time before he gets another look. The Indians need his powerful bat producing in their lineup next year. Travis Hafner is not getting any younger, and more importantly, there is a good chance Shin-Soo Choo will have to serve his time in the Korean military in 2010.

The 2007 list does not look as good as 2006 right now, but many of the 2006 prospects have come on strong this year. This list has dealt with more injuries, which is a factor. In the end, it may feature more regular major-leaguers, but also more busts. Still, around 18 or so could make the majors from this list, which would be pretty solid.

2009 Draft: A Look Back at 2006

Evan LongoriaMy draft coverage this year will finish up this week with a look back at the previous watch lists. I start with my first ever watch list in 2005, which was now four years ago. The group should (and does) include major-leaguers at this point, and nobody still in baseball is below AA. In fact, the 2005 watchlist arguably looks better now than it did last year:

15. Whit Robbins, 1B, New Britain (MIN, AA) - .345 AVG, .418 OBP, .537 SLG - Despite jumping up a level, Whit's OPS has increased nearly 200 points to this point. This is by far the best he has looked as a professional, and it is even more impressive with the slow start he got off to. His path to the majors is still blocked by Justin Morneau, but maybe something has clicked for him this year.

14. Evan Longoria, 3B, TB - .305 AVG, .387 OBP, .584 SLG - The reigning AL Rookie of the Year is putting together an even stronger season, though an injury and slump slowed him down recently.

13. Chad Huffman, OF, Portland (SD, AAA) - .253 AVG, .360 OBP, .448 SLG - The average is not great, but solid plate discipline and power is helping Huffman to a somewhat successful first year in AAA thus far. He has already matched his home run total from 2008 in AA, and throughout the minors he has hit for good average, so there is reason to think his average will rise by the end of the year.

12. Luke Hopkins, INF - Out of baseball

11. Ryan Strieby, 1B, Erie (DET, AA) - .294 AVG, .408 OBP, .569 SLG - Strieby turned it on the second half of last year, and has not let up. His first three months in AA have been a huge success, and he remains the Tigers top power-hitting prospect.

10. Brad Lincoln, RHP, Altoona (PIT, AA) - 2.20 ERA, 69.2 IP, 59 H, 16 BB, 63 K, 4 HR - Lincoln seriously injured his arm to start his pro career, and has been coming back ever since. It looks like this is the year he has put it all back together. Pittsburgh has developed some solid starters the past couple years, but no one as overpowering as Lincoln could be.

9. Steven Wright, RHP, Akron (CLE, AA) - 3.57 ERA, 35.1 IP, 34 H, 10 BB, 25 K, 1 HR - Wright has started a few games, but is mostly a reliever at this point, and even got in a few games up in AAA earlier this year. He has steadily gone through Cleveland's system, moving up a level each year. His home run rate has dropped dramatically this year, which is good to see.

8. Wade LeBlanc, LHP, Portland (SD, AAA) - 4.08 ERA, 57.1 IP, 56 H, 17 BB, 47 K, 9 HR - LeBlanc made it to the majors at the very end of last year, but got shelled. He also was called up for a few days this year, but did not appear in a game. If Jake Peavy is traded and the Padres get no major league pitcher in return, this is the guy most likely to take his place. Wade is definitely a fly ball pitcher, and he gives up quite a few home runs. However, his second year in AAA is going way better than his first, and when he does get a longer chance in the majors, pitching in spacious Petco park should help mitigate his biggest weakness.

7. Jon Jay, OF, Memphis (STL, AAA) - .246 AVG, .322 OBP, .308 SLG - After a resurgence last year, Jay is struggling in his first full year at AAA. He has good speed, so he needs to get on base more to make it to the majors. The patience is there though, so all he needs to do is get some more hits. Jay's strikeout rate is not all that bad, so perhaps he has been the victim of some bad luck so far.

6. Cole Gillespie, OF, Nashville (MIL, AAA) - .204 AVG, .327 OBP, .373 SLG - Cole started the year hurt, so he has only about a month and a half worth of games in AAA so far. Looking at his splits, his OPS is improving as the season goes along, so I expect these numbers to improve as the season goes. He put together a better season than most realize in AA last year, because he was overshadowed by guys like Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel, and Alcides Escobar. Gillespie still flashes an intriguing blend of good (though not great) power, speed, and hitting, which should all equate to a chance in the majors soon.

5. Max Scherzer, RHP, ARI - 3.63 ERA, 67 IP, 61 H, 28 BB, 69 K, 8 HR - Scherzer has established himself as a quality starter this year, and should develop into a top of the rotation type as his command improves. His ERA is already good, but could plummet as his home run rate drops. It should with the stuff he has.

4. Eddie Degerman, RHP, Springfield (STL, AA) - 4.57 ERA, 21.2 IP, 15 H, 22 BB, 13 K, 1 HR - He simply does not throw enough strikes, and at 25 years old in AA, I wonder if he will ever develop enough command to make the majors. I would put the odds against it at this point.

3. Craig Cooper, 1B, San Antonio (SD, AA) - .356 AVG, .434 OBP, .489 SLG - Repeating AA has been good for Cooper, as he has exploded this year at the plate. He still does not have prototypical power for the position, but he never looked like a guy that would. The Padres have a log jam at first base, thanks to Adrian Gonzalez in the majors, and Kyle Blanks at AAA. Cooper needs to be in AAA, and I wonder if San Diego would try him in the outfield again. They have in the past.

2. Andrew Miller, LHP, FLO - 4.30 ERA, 46 IP, 46 H, 23 BB, 37 K, 2 HR - There are signs that Miller is starting to put it all together. He got rushed to the majors, and consequently struggled with his command on too big of a stage, but in the past two months has started to find control. In particular, allowing just two home runs on the season so far is very promising. Miller is a solid number four starter type right now, and by the end of the year could be solid three, and could be on his way to fulfilling the top end of the rotation potential most saw in him.

1. Tim Lincecum, RHP, SF - 2.66 ERA, 88 IP, 77 H, 26 BB, 103 K, 3 HR - The reigning NL Cy Young award-winner is putting together another great season.

It takes four to five years to really assess a draft, and four years in this group still looks pretty good. It already boasts a Rookie of the Year and Cy Young award-winner, and by my count 11-13 of the players are still on track to make the majors at some point. Not too bad for my first try.

2009 Draft: Recap of M's picks

Dustin AckleyThis post will be long, but worthwhile. Below is a quick synopsis of each M's pick in the draft with a grade for each pick. Keep in mind that the picks with the highest grades do not necessarily reflect who are the best players. It is a grade of the value of the pick, which reflects the talent of the player picked at that particular point in the draft. Here are the picks:

1. Dustin Ackley, CF, North Carolina: Ackley is the best hitter in this draft, regardless of position, though his value increases because he plays up the middle. Ackley also comes from a winning program, which is always nice, and looks like the type that will be ready for the majors fast. Dustin is the guy I had targeted for the entire year. Grade: A

1. Nick Franklin, SS, Lake Brently HS (FL): I am going off of other scouting reports, since I have not had the chance to see his statistics, or any video. However, everyone agrees that Franklin is not the most impressive athlete in the draft, but his instincts are great. There is no doubt that he is a baseball player. The M's could use a shortstop prospect, but I generally prefer picking prep players that are phenoms. However, I like that Franklin loves the game, and I should give Zduriencik the benefit of the doubt with his track record in Milwaukee. With who was available though, I'm not in love with the pick. Grade: D

1a. Steven Baron, C, Ferguson HS (FL): Reports are that Baron has holes in his swing, but he already calls his own game, an extreme rarity for prep catchers, or even college ones for that matter. That alone makes him a valuable backstop, though how bad his hitting really is (and how much it improves) will determine how good of a prospect Baron is. Grade: D+

2. Rich Poythress, 1B, Georgia: Poythress can hit for power. That is about all he brings to the table, but the power is tremendous. Some think the power will not translate as a pro, and as a right-handed batter, he is not ideal for Safeco. Still, I definitely liked him as a prospect, and I am eager to see how he develops. Grade: B

3. Kyle Seager, 2B, North Carolina: There is lots to like about Seager. About the only thing he lacks is power, but it did not stop him from being a very productive offensive player in college. He fits a need in the organization though, both with his patient approach at the plate, and the defense he brings in the infield, especially at third base in addition to second. Grade: B

4. James Jones, OF, Long Island: Jones hit and pitch for Long Island, but is clearly a better hitter. Still, his fastball got into the lower 90s, which gives an idea of the arm strength he brings to the outfield. He played in the Northeastern Conference, which is quite weak, but he did it all at the plate and could develop even more as he focuses solely on hitting. Grade: C-

5. Tyler Blandford, RHP, Oklahoma State: Blandford has pretty good-looking stuff, but his production has been inconsistent. This year he had a 5.31 ERA, but that is deceiving. In 78 innings, he allowed 60 hits and walked 45, but struck out 97. He also allowed eight home runs, which is more than I would like to see, but is not a horrible rate. The stuff is there, and there are also signs he is starting to harness it. Even if Blandford does not work out as a starter, his stuff is good enough to see a good future in the bullpen. Grade: B-

6. Shaver Hansen, 2B, Baylor: Shaver played all over the infield for Baylor, but the M's had him listed as a second baseman. He was a good hitter in his college career, and has more power than similar M's draft pick Kyle Seager. However, compared to Seager, all his other skills are not quite as polished, as would be expected from a later draft pick. Grade: C+

7. Brian Moran, LHP, North Carolina: Moran was fantastically productive in college, thanks to a deceptive delivery and good breaking ball. He has lefty setup guy written all over him, though closing out games should not be eliminated altogether, given his success in college as a part of a very successful program. Grade: A

8. James Gilheeny, LHP, North Carolina State: The only thing exceptional about Gilheeny is a huge, slow curve ball. He was solid in college, and with further refinement he could be solid as a professional. Grade: C

9. Trevor Coleman, C, Missouri: Trevor profiles as a backup catcher at best in my estimation. His college numbers look nice, but in context he is a below-average hitter. He will have to make the majors based on his handling and defensive skills. Grade: D

10. Vinnie Catricala, 3B, Hawai'i: Vinnie flashed some pretty good hitting skills at Hawai'i, but not elite skills. He is similar to many player the Mariners picked in this draft - solid, productive college players. Grade: C

11. Tim Morris, 1B, St. John's: Tim was a heck of a pick at this point in the draft. As a lefty, he projects well in Safeco Field, which is a nice added bonus. He also brings a very advanced approach at the plate and good power to the farm system. Looking at him, he should have gone earlier. Grade: B

12. Andrew Carraway, RHP, Virginia: His stuff is not overwhelming, but it is not too bad, and his production has been real good in a very strong conference. Carraway is the kind of guy easy to overlook, but that has the potential to develop into a solid major league pitcher for several years. Grade: A

13. Matt Cerione, CF, Georgia: Another average college hitter, but he plays up the middle. If a guy is not an exceptional hitter, I want reason to believe he will be a good defender, and those kind of guys play up the middle. Grade: C

14. Adam Nelubowich, 3B, Vauxhall HS (Alberta, Canada): These rounds are a gray area for high-schoolers, because for some the signing bonus is worth giving up college commitments, and others it is not. I do not know what kind of commitments Nelubowich has, and I do not have much of a scouting report on him either. A big part of me wonders how signable he is though. I really do not like picking prep players at this point of the draft. Grade: D

15. Blake Keitzman, LHP, Western Oregon: I like picking local players, even from smaller schools. However, Keitzman started his career at Oregon State, and transferred to Western Oregon this year. In limited time with the Beavers, he posted great strikeout numbers, but also had some control issues. He had no such problems this year, though also went against lesser competition. Still, Keitzman has a promising arm, and is good value at this point in the draft. Grade: C+

16. Tillman Pugh, CF, Gateway CC (CA): Pugh transferred from Arizona State, where he never got much of an opportunity to play (though in his defense he was behind Ike Davis and Jason Kipnis). He was a baseball and football star in high school, so he is certainly a good athlete. Without much to go on statistically, and not much video either, it is hard to grade him. I should give an incomplete grade, but I will trust that the Sun Devils coaches played guys better than him...though at least a few of them were excellent players, so even that does not say much. Grade: C-

17. Joe Terry, 2B, Cerritos JC (CA): At 19 years old, Terry is still young, an advantage of picking junior and community college players. Terry is yet to show much power, and does not profile as a player who will have much. However, he had a huge year at the plate, highlighted by 14 triples. He certainly has speed, and is an intriguing player up the middle at this point in the draft. Grade: C

18. Anthony Vasquez, LHP, USC: Vasquez was both a pitcher and outfielder for the Trojans, and was not particularly good or bad in either role. The Mariners see more potential in him as an arm, and maybe he can progress significantly as a pitcher once he focuses solely on it. Grade: C-

19. Eric Thomas, RHP, Bethune-Cookman: Thomas played some outfield at Bethune-Cookman also, but focused on pitching as a senior. A high strikeout rate and low home run rate indicates a pretty good arm, though the rest of his numbers are average at best. Grade: C-

20. John Hesketh, LHP, New Mexico: Another productive college arm with solid, though not great, production. This is exactly the type of player most selected are at this point. Grade: C

21. Dan Cooper, RHP, USC: Cooper came out of the bullpen for the Trojans this year and posted an impressive 2.08 ERA. However, the rest of his numbers are pedestrian, and I am guessing with more innings that ERA would have risen considerably. Grade: D

22. Drew Hayes, RHP, Vanderbilt: Hayes is just a junior, so he can return to school, and if I were him I would. He has a good arm, but he had a fairly bad season. In particular, Hayes had a pretty high home run rate. An improved senior season with his kind of arm will result in a much higher selection next year. As for the M's, intriguing pick at this point, but I think Hayes is one of the tougher guys to sign out of their draft because of what I just said, and I am not sure he is worth as much effort as might be needed. Grade: D

23. David Rollins, LHP, San Jacinto College (TX): Rollins is quite young, and put up so-so numbers at a low level. His youth is his greatest asset as a prospect, and he seems to be a very likely candidate to stay in school. This is my least favorite pick of the draft so far out of the M's. Grade: D-

24. Carlton Tanabe, C, Pearl City HS (HI): High schoolers rarely sign this late, and I know nothing about Carlton to start with. Grade: Incomplete

25. Brandon Josselyn, RHP, Yale: Although not playing at an athletic powerhouse, Brandon racked up some remarkable honors. He was the Ivy league pitcher of the year, and also lettered in football. He is obviously a fairly smart player as well. Still, the Ivy league is not a strong baseball conference, and Josselyn's numbers are not eye-popping. Grade: C-

26. Chris Sorce, RHP, Troy: The best reliever in the Sun Belt conference, and one of the best relievers in the nation this past year. 53 strikeouts in 38.2 innings is impressive in any league, but all his numbers are real good, considering how offense-friendly the Sun Belt was. Sorce is a steal this late in the draft. Grade: A

27. Austin Hudson, RHP, Central Florida: At 6'4", has great size, but that is about all I can say that I like about him. He got hit very hard this past season, and is a junior to boot. I would return to school if I was him, though I am not convinced he has much pro potential anyway. Grade: F

28. Regan Flaherty, 1B, Deering HS (ME): His older brother is a baseball player, and his dad was as well. The bloodlines are great, but that's about all I know, and I doubt he will sign since he was drafted this late anyway. Grade: Incomplete

29. Brandon Haveman, LF, Purdue: Haveman was a steady performer all four years at Purdue, and ended up with a career batting average at almost .400. However, he did not show much power in college, and at 5'9", is unlikely to develop much as a professional. He profiles as a backup at best, but this late in the draft he is a solid pick. Grade: C

30. Brandon Bantz, C, Dallas Baptist: Bantz looks to me like a career minor-leaguer, unless his receiving skills are out of this world. Grade: D

31. Clinton Dempster, LHP, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC: I can't find much on Dempster, and he is 19 years old getting drafted late anyway. If he is a good talent, he is unlikely to sign. Grade: Incomplete

32. Bennett Whitmore, LHP, Oregon: Did not perform that well this past year, and is a junior anyway. I doubt he will sign, unless he thinks a 6.17 ERA out of the bullpen is as good as he can do. Grade: F

33. Hawkins Gebbers, 2B, Biola: Gebbers is originally from Brewster, Washington, so he is a local kid. He was also by far the best hitter on Biola, but they play at the NAIA level, which is below D-III. I don't mind local picks, or stocking up on middle infielders, or taking chances on low level talents at this point in the draft, though I would like to see someone even more dominant. Grade: C-

34. Scott Griggs, RHP, San Ramon HS (CA): High schoolers picked this late never sign, unless a team goes way above slot (in other words, unless a high draft pick refuses to sign). Don't expect Griggs to sign. Grade: Incomplete

35. Eric Valdez, RHP, Indiana State: Since Valdez is a senior he will sign, but I do not see much in him that excites me. Grade: D

36. John Housey, RHP, Miami (FL): With an ERA that approached 10 in limited opportunities, Housey is a sleeper to say the least. He also is a junior on a traditionally strong baseball program that has some good pitchers leaving. I doubt he will sign. Grade: Incomplete

37. Chris Kessinger, RHP, Nebraska-Omaha: Kessinger put up good numbers this year, albeit at a small school. His home run rate concerns me some, but there are no perfect prospects in the 37th round. Still, especially at a small school, the fewer flaws the better. Grade: C-

38. Matt Nohelty, CF, Minnesota: Nohelty has absolutely no power, and he is already 23 years old. He will have to make it purely on speed and defense. Jason Tyner is the best-case scenario. However, it is late in the draft, and he does have speed, which also means he should have defense. Not a bad pick. Grade: C

39. Greg Waddell, LF, Florida International: Waddell did not receive much playing time, so his limited sampling size makes him hard to evaluate. However, what he showed in limited time is impressive: a .439/.512/.712 line. A rather high strikeout rate indicates he may have been swinging for the seats a little more than he can as a pro, but this is a guy definitely worth taking a chance on this late. Grade: C+

40. Jorden Merry, RHP, Washington: Another local product, and one that was quite good last year. However, he certainly struggled as a senior. I am always a fan of local picks, especially late, and perhaps Merry can regain his junior season form. Grade: C

41. Kyle Witten, RHP, Cal State Fullerton: He pitched mostly in relief this year, and nothing stands out in his numbers. Grade: D

42. Stephen Hagen, 3B, Eastern Oklahoma State: Born in Lakebay, Washington, Hagen is another local product. He belted 29 home runs last year, which is impressive at any level. However, while the rest of his offensive numbers were good, they were not incredible for the level he was playing at, and his strikeout total was high too. He might be a one-trick pony, and that one trick might not make the big jump to the pros. However, Hagen is about as intriguing as a 42nd round pick gets. He is only 20, so he will be draft eligible the next two years, but perhaps he has always dreamed of playing for the home team. Grade: B

43. Cameron Perkins, 3B, Southport HS (IN): He is huge at 6'5", and won't sign this late as a prep star. Grade: Incomplete

44. Mark Angelo, LF, East Stroudsburg University: Angelo was the best hitter on the team, and he certainly dominated at a low level. He is living proof that baseball scouts can find anyone that plays baseball. I certainly do not mind taking chances on players from lower levels that dominated at this point in the draft. Grade: C

45. Kevin Mailloux, 2B, Canisius: Back in the D-I ranks for this pick, Mailloux had a terrific senior season, though in a weak conference. Still, it is a stronger one than many the M's have been picking out of lately, and he also is at a position where it is always hard to find good hitters. Grade: C+

46. Clay Cederquist, 1B, Fowler HS (CA): Another high schooler that in all likelihood will not sign. Grade: Incomplete

47. David Holman, RHP, Hutchinson CC: The son of former M's pitcher Brian Holman, David has good bloodlines, and also great stature at 6'5". He is only 19, so I wonder if he will sign this late, but it is always nice to make a legacy pick, especially at a point where major leaguers are rarely drafted. Grade: C

48. Sean Nolan, LHP, San Jacinto JC: Listed at 6'4" and 250 pounds, Nolan is a beast on the mound. He also racked up the strikeouts, though was a little more wild than desired. I like him almost as much as the M's 23rd round pick, David Rollins, also from San Jacinto. Grade: C

49. Dane Phillips, C, Central Heights HS (TX): Prep players just don't sign this late. Grade: Incomplete

50. Evan Sharpley, 1B, Notre Dame: Sharpley is quite the last pick for Z's first draft with the Mariners. He did not play every day at Notre Dame, thanks in part to striking out in almost half of his at-bats. Not surprisingly, his batting average was quite low. However, he also showed a good eye, so his on-base percentage is surprisingly good. Sharpley also played some outfield, but his defense must not be great since the M's had him announced as a first baseman. Somebody must think there is a fixable flaw in his swing. As of now, he is a bad college version of Jack Cust. Grade: C-

This was an excellent draft for the Mariners. The Bavasi regime loved picking high school talent, which gave the system some higher end talent that it otherwise would not have had, but for every boom were plenty of busts. That left depth lacking, especially since Bavasi traded much of the top end talent away in attempts to fix the major league roster. This draft does not feature the same high ceilings that M's prospects of the past had, but it features a ton of depth. Looking at this bunch, it is not hard to see six or seven guys making the majors, which would be a huge success. Moreover, many guys will likely provide minor league depth for the next two to three years, which the Mariners have had to sign from the outside the past couple years. Even though career minor leaguers are not all that exciting as prospects, they are the ones that keep top talent (particularly top pitching talent) from getting overused. This is not the sexiest draft class the M's have ever had, but it could go down as one of their best.

2009 Draft: Day Three Highlights

Day three featured rounds 31 through 50, so there likely was little Major League talent selected. Still, there were a few interesting picks. Here is a quick review of some of them:

  • Niether Joe Patterson nor Mike Sodders were drafted off of my watch list, marking the first time a couple players were not drafted off of my watch list. As I mentioned a couple times throughout the draft coverage, I did not have nearly the usual amount of time to prepare because I was gone in China the two weeks before the draft. Both players exploded on the college scene this year, and perhaps with further research I would have downgraded them. I am still a little surprised neither were drafted, but as underclassmen they will return to school. Once they were not drafted by the end of day two, I figured they would not be drafted at all.
  • Brian Marquez was not drafted at all, which really surprises me. He is a Washington native, and played at Green River Community College for a few years before moving on to New Mexico State. He did not look like much of a prospect until this year, where he batted over .400 with 21 home runs as a shortstop. It looks like he may have had a fluke year, and obviously teams think he did. However, a senior shortstop that had the kind of season Marquez did is worth drafting somewhere in a 50-round draft.
  • One possible guy to watch for from the later rounds is RHP David Erickson, the Padres selection in round 32. He was a reliever at UConn, and had a great senior season. He also excelled in the Cape Cod League this past summer.
  • The Pirates 33rd round selection, Elon outfielder Pat Irvine, had a monster year at the plate. He is already 23 years old, and really came on strong only in the past year, but he is certainly the type of player worth taking a chance on late in the draft.
  • The Mariners picked UW right-hander Jorden Merry in the 40th round. He really struggled this year, but was good as a junior. It's nice to see a local pick, and maybe Merry just had an inopportune bad year.
  • The Yankees picked Pat White in the 48th round. They had him listed as an outfielder, but even messed up in the conference call and originally called him a quarterback! He is the same well-known former starting quarterback for the Mountaineers, and a second round draft pick of the Dolphins in the NFL. Clearly, he will go with the Dolphins, but as a college senior the Yankees will have a full year to negotiate with him. In other words, the Yankees will still hold his rights for quite some time after the NFL season is over. If White completely fails in the NFL this year (which is highly doubtful), he's now got a backup option.
The draft was fun, as it always is. Spreading it over three days was a good idea, though I still think it could be shortened to maybe 40 rounds, or even less than that. More coverage of the Mariners picks will follow in the days to come.

2009 Draft: Day Two Recap

Here are some highlights from the second day of the MLB draft:

ROUND 4
  • The Nationals kicked off the day by drafting RHP A.J. Morris, a finalist for this year's watch list.
  • The Mariners followed the Nats by picking James Jones, a 6'4" outfielder from Long Island University. He also pitched in college, and topped out in the low 90s.
  • The Reds picked UNC catcher Mark Fleury 119th overall. He really emerged at the plate this year, and got some consideration for the watch list this year.
  • Kent Matthes, 11th on the watch list, goes to the Rockies at 121st overall. He is the first player on the watch list to get drafted today.
  • Scott Bittle, 8th on the watch list, is the Cardinals pick at 129th overall.
  • The Yankees selected UNC right-hander Adam Warren 135th overall. He struggled in the Cape Cod league this past summer, but came on very strong during the 2009 season. He got some consideration for the watch list this year.
ROUND 5
  • The M's pick at 143rd overall is Tyler Blandford, a right-hander from Oklahoma State. He had a great junior season, but was a bit up and down from his freshman to sophomore year. If it were not for his inconsistency from year to year over his college career, he may have made the watch list this year. He was considered.
  • The Padres followed the M's at 144th overall with Jason Hagerty, a catcher from Miami (FL). He played quite a bit of first base for Miami this past year, but has played some catcher in the past. He started to emerge as a hitter this year, and he was an intriguing player that I considered fairly strongly for the watch list this year. With how much first base Hagerty played this year, I wondered how good his defense is at catcher, and his offensive game was not developed enough to make the watch list at first base. It looks like San Diego thinks he can play catcher, and if he can they may have a nice prospect on their hands.
  • Louis Coleman, 18th on the watch list, goes to the Royals 152nd overall.
  • Kyle Bellamy, 5th on the watch list, goes to the White Sox 163rd overall. Chicago usually prefers power arms, so Bellamy does not exactly fit their usual mold. I am guessing they must have felt that he was too good of a talent to pass up at this point.
  • Matt Way, a lefty from Washington State, is the Phillies pick at 167th overall.
ROUND 6
  • The Mariners pick Shaver Hansen, a switch-hitting third baseman from Baylor with the 173rd pick overall. Gotta love the name.
ROUND 7
  • The Mariners take Brian Moran, 6th on the watch list, with the 203rd pick overall. I can't believe the M's draft; I'm pinching myself to make sure this is really happening. They now have the first, third, and sixth players from the watch list!
  • Kyle Conley, an outfielder from the University of Washington, was taken by the Cardinals 219th overall.
ROUND 8
  • James Gillheeney, a lefty from NC State, is the M's pick at 233rd overall. His fastball is not that good, sitting in the mid to upper 80s, but he has a big, slow curve ball that will be his key to becoming a legitimate prospect. I never considered him for the watch list, but his breaking ball is intriguing.
  • Nate Freiman, a first baseman from Duke, was picked by the Padres at 234th overall. You may remember him from last year's watch list. Freiman is very tall at 6'8", which is probably what scared teams away from him. He was fantastically productive the last two years in the ACC, and even played a little catcher for the Blue Devils from time to time. What kept him off the watch list this year was improved pitching depth in this year's draft, and a lack of development from Nate this year compared to last. He went much higher this year, so good choice by him to come back to school, but in my opinion he should have been picked even higher than this.
  • Stephen Richards, a great left-handed reliever from Arkansas, was picked by the Marlins 248th overall.
  • Jason Stidham, 22nd on the watch list, was picked by the Cardinals 249th overall.
  • At 259th overall, the Rays picked Brett Nommensen, a center fielder from Eastern Illinois University. Nommensen steadily improved at the plate throughout his college career, but completely exploded as a senior this season. In fact, in my rating system, he was far and away the best, even above guys like Dustin Ackley. That was even after adjusting for Nommensen's rather weak competition level. Brett's improvement was too dramatic for me to believe that he really developed out of nowhere, but he is nonetheless an intriguing prospect after such a huge senior season.
ROUND 9
  • The Mariners continue to focus heavily on college players in the draft. Their pick at 263rd overall is Trevor Coleman, a catcher from Missouri.
  • Ryan Berry, 16th on the watch list, was picked by the Orioles with the 266th overall pick.
  • Brian Pearl, a righty from the University of Washington, was picked by the Reds 269th overall.
ROUND 10
  • The M's take Vincent Cantricala, a third baseman from the University of Hawai'i, with the 293rd pick overall.
  • With the 300th pick overall, the Tigers took second baseman Chris Sedon. He is undersized, but flashed surprising power this year in his lone season at the Division I level. With only one year at the D-I level, there is not a huge track record to go off of, but his one season is intriguing. He looks a bit like a poor man's Dustin Pedroia on paper.
  • Tyson Van Winkle, a catcher from Gonzaga, was picked by Arizona 306th overall.
  • The Angels made a very interesting pick at 321 overall, with significant local implications. They took Jake Locker, a center fielder from the University of Washington. More importantly to some perhaps, he is the starting quarterback for the Huskies, and one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in the nations with his tremendous athletic ability. Locker was a great baseball player in high school as well, and though he has not played on Huskies baseball team, he played some over the summer. He caught the eye of pro scouts, so much so to get drafted here. Isaiah Stanbeck, the Huskies QB before Locker was similarly athletic, and picked by the Orioles in the MLB draft while in college. However, that was very late in the draft, on what would be day three now. Baltimore really just took a flyer on him to see what might happen. Stanbeck never signed. However, with how relatively high the Angels picked Locker, they are probably going to try pretty hard to sign him. Husky football fans, hold your breath...
ROUND 11
  • M's go with Timothy Morris, a first baseman from St. John's University in New York, at 323rd overall.
ROUND 12
  • I am loving the Mariners more and more. Their pick at 353rd overall is Andrew Carraway, a righty from Virginia, and finalist for the watch list. I will have to check at the end of today, but I am pretty sure the Mariners are picking off my list more than any other team, and under Bavasi it took years for them to even pick one guy I was somewhat interested in.
  • The Twins at 372nd overall picked Tony Davis, a southpaw from the University of Florida. He had a great season out of the bullpen, but came out of nowhere. On top of that, he is undersized. He had too many question marks to make it on the watch list, but he is a guy that intrigues me. If he does not sign and has another big season with the Gators, he could improve his draft position considerably.
ROUND 13
  • The Mariners take University of Georgia center fielder Matt Cerione with the 383rd overall pick.
  • Jeremy Johnson, a senior righty from Washington State, was picked by the Indians 395th overall.
ROUND 14
  • With the 413th pick overall, the M's go to the high school ranks for only the third time this whole draft, selecting third baseman Adam Nelubowich. The M's will likely have to go well above slot value to sign any high-schooler at this point of the draft, so I do not know how good Nelubowich is, or how likely it is the M's will sign him. With all the college players the M's have picked, and the rumored pre-draft deal they had in place with the high school catcher they picked in the second round, there is a chance that they will have the money to go well above slot value with this pick.
  • Houston, with the 431st overall pick, picked David Berner, a lefty starter from San Jose St. He was among the best starters in college this past year, but might have been a one-year wonder, looking at his whole college career. Still, every now and then a guy just figures something out, and this is a great place in the draft to take guys like Berner.
  • Speaking of one year wonders, the Rays take reliever Zach Quate from Appalachian State with pick 439 overall. He was one of the best relievers in all of college baseball this past year, but could be just a one-year wonder looking at his whole college career.
ROUND 15
  • M's latest pick is Blake Keitzman, a junior lefty from Western Oregon State College.
  • Austin Hyatt, 25th on the watch list, goes to the Phillies 467th overall.
ROUND 16
  • Mariners take their first player from a community college so far, Tillman Pugh, a centerfielder, with the 473rd pick overall.
  • Daniel Bibona, 23rd on the watch list, is now with the Cardinals. They picked him at 489 overall.
ROUND 17
  • Seattle takes Joseph Terry, a second baseman from Cerritos College, 503rd overall.
  • With the 516th pick overall, the Diamondbacks took Andrew Wolcott, 20th on the watch list.
ROUND 18
  • LHP Anthony Vasquez from USC is the M's pick at 533 overall.
  • The Marlins take RHP Brett Bukvich from Mississippi with the 548th pick overall. He is a reliever I liked quite a bit. He was one of the best in college this past year.
ROUND 19
  • Bethune-Cookman RHP Eric Thomas is the M's latest pick, 563rd overall. They are going way more college-heavy than they ever were under Bavasi.
  • Luke Murton, 10th on the watch list, goes to the Yankees in the 19th round. I had him listed as an outfielder, but the Yankees listed him as a first baseman.
ROUND 20
  • The M's continue to draft somewhat heavy on pitchers today. The latest addition is University of New Mexico lefty John Hesketh with the 593rd pick overall.
  • Boston took Duke RHP Alex Hassan with the 618th pick overall. Like his teammate Wolcott that went a few rounds earlier, I like him and think he should have gone a bit higher than this. Duke's baseball program is underrated.
  • The Cubs picked LHP Eric Erickson from Miami (FL) with the 620th overall pick. Erickson did not pitch at all this past year because of major arm surgery, but before that looked like he was developing into a real good pitcher. I am guessing he will not sign with the Cubs and pitch next year with the Hurricanes. If he shows any of the ability he has flashed the two seasons prior to this one, he will get picked much higher. Despite the injury, I considered putting him on my watch list this year. I left him off because I would only draft him lower anyway because of the injury risk, and he probably would not sign this low in the draft.
ROUND 21
  • USC RHP Daniel Cooper is the M's pick at 623rd overall.
ROUND 22
  • Vanderbilt RHP Andrew Hayes is the M's pick at 653rd overall. As a junior, Hayes could go back to school, and might to try to improve his draft status.
  • Gonzaga 3B Matt Fields goes to the Blue Jays 670th overall.
ROUND 23
  • The M's are officially making a big run on pitchers. The latest pick is junior college LHP David Rollins. I don't know his plans, but he seems to be a likely candidate to not sign and try to improve his draft status.
ROUND 24
  • Seattle's run on pitchers comes to an end. They picked C Carlton Tanabe from Pearl City High School in Hawai'i with the 713th overall pick. High school players picked this late rarely sign.
  • UW RHP Jason Erickson was picked 715th overall by the Pirates.
  • WSU C Jason Berg was picked 717th overall by the Giants.
ROUND 25
  • Yale RHP Brandon Josselyn is the M's pick at 743rd overall.
  • Kennewick High School RHP Anthony Bryant was picked by the Twins 762nd overall.
ROUND 26
  • Mariners take Troy RHP Chris Sorce with the 773rd pick overall.
ROUND 27
  • Central Florida RHP Austin Hudson is the M's pick 803rd overall.
  • Marlins take Washington-born 2B Nathan Simon, from Pepperdine University, with pick 818 overall.
  • Blue Jays take Washington-born RHP Brian Justice, from St. Mary's college in California, with pick 820 overall.
ROUND 28
  • Seattle takes high school first baseman Reegan Flaherty with the 833rd pick overall.
  • Royals take local product Eric Peterson, a first baseman from Liberty High School, 842nd overall.
ROUND 29
  • Brandon Haveman, a center fielder from Purdue, is the Mariners pick at 863rd overall.
ROUND 30
  • Dallas Baptist C Brandon Bantz is picked by the Mariners 893rd overall.
  • Tigers take Shorecrest High School first baseman James Robbins with the 900th pick overall in the draft.
The long day of the draft is now over. Only 20 more rounds to go, and the last 20 are a mix of mostly players that will fill out minor league rosters, or high schoolers that are highly regarded, but are likely nearly impossible to sign. In other words, nearly all of the MLB talents coming out of this draft have now been selected. There are two players yet to be drafted from the watch list (Joe Patterson and Mike Sodders), but both are juniors coming off their first year in D-I. Even if they are drafted, they will likely return to school. It has been a fun few days, and more in-depth analysis of the Mariners draft will follow shortly.