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2010 Draft: Mariners Day Two Recap

There were alot of picks today. There were some interesting stories too. I do not have the time and energy to cover all of them. I doubt you have the time and energy to read all of them.

So let's just talk about the Mariners. If we are going to talk about a bunch of non-household names, they might as well be our non-household names.

I will go pick-by-pick below, but in case you just want an overview, here is what I saw. Despite the...um...shortcomings on offense at the major league level, it appears the organization identified pitching as its greatest organizational need. Although I would not have focused on pitching to the degree this front office did, they are correct. Look below AA (and really, below Michael Pineda and Mauricio Robles), and the Mariners don't have an arm that projects into the core of a starting rotation. The worst mistake they could have made would have been ignoring pitching.

The next worst mistake they could have made was ignoring catching - and they might have. I wanted a college guy, and admittedly the crop was quite thin. However, the M's had some chances to add a backstop at a good slot in the draft, and didn't.

Overall, I like what the M's did, but don't love it. Here are the picks:

2nd round (67th overall) - Marcus Littlewood, SS, Pine View HS (UT) - There were rumors around the M's taking Littlewood where they took Walker, so good for them waiting and still getting their guy. Marcus is a switch-hitter that has filled out a bunch in the past year (in a good, muscular way), and most think that will force him off of shortstop. He universally gets good marks for his hands though, so he should be a good fielder. I get a Nick Franklin vibe from Littlewood, and if he's anything like Franklin, this is an excellent pick.

3 (99) - Ryne Stanek, RHP, Blue Valley HS (KS) - There are several things to like about Stanek. He was the consensus top midwest prep pitcher, thanks to a projectable 6'4" frame, nice mechanics, and a fastball that already has good zip and life. He probably goes higher if he doesn't pitch in the midwest, where it's harder to log lots of innings (get exposure) because of the colder winters. Personally, I breathed a sigh of relief with this pick, because it signaled to me the M's were not putting all their eggs in Taijuan Walker's basket. Not that Z has done anything to make me think he would do such a thing, but it was still nice to know he wasn't about to.

4 (132) - James Paxton, LHP, Grand Prairie (Independent) - Paxton is a very interesting, fairly high-profile case. He got drafted in the supplemental first round last year by the Blue Jays, but opted not to sign. He wanted to return to Kentucky for his senior season, but they ruled him ineligible, out of fears that his contact with Scott Boras broke NCAA rules. It's a weird story built to show off all that is wrong with the NCAA, but I digress. In the end, Paxton sat around for a long time, and signed with Grand Prairie to get some work in before the draft. He didn't look that sharp, and his velocity was down, but he also hadn't pitched for almost a year. At his best, he flashed a fastball in the mid 90s, and struck out more than his fair share of SEC batters. However, Paxton also has some injury issues and inconsistent mechanics. He is far from a sure bet, but I still really like this pick. The Walker, Stanek, and Paxton picks remind me of when Bill Bavasi drafted Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Nathan Adcock. They were all risky upside picks, and between the trio it seemed likely that one of them would pan out (right now, it's looking like Tillman). I think this trio Z picked is better than that one, and this team needed some higher upside arms. Good strategy.

5 (162) - Stephen Pryor, RHP, Tennessee Tech - If Paxton signaled a theme to the draft strategy, Pryor cemented it. He is huge at 6'4" and 250 pounds, and he is a power arm for sure. Pryor struck out a ridiculous 75 batters in 41 innings out of relief. His walk rate is a little high for my taste, and the level of competition isn't elite, but those don't outweigh the strikeout rate. Part of me thinks this was a reach, but only because I think he could have snuck under the radar a bit farther. Purely on talent, I think this is a reasonable range for him. A solid pick.

6 (192) - Christian Carmichael, C, Mililani HS (HI) - I don't know much about this prep guy, but he hits from a pretty spread stance and is able to firm up the front nicely. His defense is considered in front of his offense. The Mariners needed to address catcher, and this is the best hope from this draft. Props for addressing a known need, props for getting a guy at a fair range for him, but thumbs down for making this the spot to first address a glaring need. Overall, an okay pick.

7 (222) - Mickey Wiswall, 1B, Boston College - Wiswall generated some buzz for the power stroke he was showing heading into this year. However, he didn't quite live up to expectations, though his OPS was still over 1.000. The lack of walks and high strikeout rate suggest that he may have been swinging for the seats on every pitch, instead of taking the cruddy ones. I thought he was overrated coming into this draft, but then he slid, and this feels like a good place to take him. The Mariners could use some power, and we should find out quickly if Wiswall can provide some. Nice pick.

8 (252) - Jabari Blash, OF, Miami Dade CC - Blash is kind of an odd prospect. He is a chiseled 6'5", so very physically imposing. However, he barely hits for any power. Instead, he relies on good plate discipline, and solid speed. Blash also reportedly got kicked off the baseball team this year for some reason, and he turned down a pretty nice bonus from the Rangers last year. Thumbs down on this pick from me.

9 (282) - Luke Taylor, RHP, Woodinville HS (WA) - I am always a proponent of grabbing players in your back yard, and that's exactly what the Mariners did here. Taylor is a tall pitcher with a projectable body, which is nice, because his fastball sits in the upper 80s for now. As he develops, it could gain velocity, and if it does he could be a hidden gem from this draft class. That's all assuming he signs, which in itself is not a given from a prep player in this range. Considering all the ifs involved, this is a blah pick for me.

10 (312) - Tyler Burgoon, RHP, Michigan - Burgoon has the prototypical numbers of a dominant bullpen arm. He also has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, and a slurve that I think has some potential. He is short, and that probably caused him to slide. Nice value at this pick.

11 (342) - Jon Keller, RHP, Xavier HS (IA) - Another projectable prep pitcher for the Mariners, but Keller has a ways to go. I found his windup a little stilted for my taste, his fastball seemed pretty straight and sat in the 80s, and his breaking ball didn't do much for me either. I think college is a better option for Keller right now. This was a disappointing pick for me.

12 (372) - Stefen Romero, 3B, Oregon State - I consider Oregon State to be within the M's back yard, so another gold star for sticking close to home. On top of that, Romero's bat shows some promise, particularly for a guy at this stage in the draft. He hit a modest amount of home runs with a modest of amount of strike outs. His power translated to wood in limited ABs in the Cape Cod league, and his numbers improved noticeably from his sophomore to junior season. A real nice pick for this stage of the draft.

13 (402) - Jason Markovitz, LHP, Long Beach State - Somebody must have seen something in a bullpen, because Markovitz did not log many innings in his four-year career at Long Beach State. However, he did get 25 appearances this year in relief, and he seems pretty hard to hit. The walk rate is high, but if the stuff is good, command can be worked on. A decent selection.

14 (432) - Tyler Linehan, LHP, Sheldon HS (CA) - Honestly, I've got nothing on this guy. He is listed at 6'0" and 240 pounds. Based on that, and the trend of the arms the M's picked today, I'm going to say that they guy throws decently hard. That would have value, especially from the left side.

15 (462) - Charles Ka'alekahi, RHP, Campbell HS (HI) - The Mariners have someone that takes Hawai'i seriously, because Kaalekahi is the second prep player taken from Hawai'i by the M's this year. You can check out his MLB scouting video, if for no other reason the catchy music they picked to go with it. The video is all I have to evaluate him on, but several things stand out to me. His motion is simple and fluid, and he seems to be able to consistently repeat it. The arm action is nice, as it seems to move freely from start to finish. His fastball sits in the upper 80s, and I'm not sure I see much in his frame to suggest he will throw much harder. I think the Mariners dug harder around Hawai'i than most teams, and found a player that should have gone higher. A nice pick, and my only question is why every team doesn't spend a bunch of time scouting (as well as "scouting") Hawai'i for talent.

16 (492) - Jordan Shipers, LHP, South Harrison HS (MO) - This front office continued to dig, this time turning to a high school that doesn't even have a baseball program! Shipers played at several tournaments, but I am certain that the lack of a baseball team (and thus exposure) hampered his draft stock. That probably makes Shipers more raw than most, but I liked what I saw on the video, and I think the Mariners made another very nice value pick. By the way, any doubt that they left any stone unturned looking for pitching prospects with upside this year?

17 (522) - Danny Lopez, SS, Pittsburgh - Danny doesn't have much pop in his stick. He definitely projects to be a light hitter in general, but he does have speed, and he does play a premium position. Really solid selection at this point in the draft.

18 (552) - Willy Kesler, RHP, New Mexico - Pretty good numbers in his first year of significant action. Pretty much the kind of guy that should be available (and drafted) around this time in the draft.

19 (582) - Frankie Christian, OF, Upland HS (CA) - If Frankie is any good, he likely goes to college and raises his draft status. Judging from the 30 seconds of video I found, he looks like he has some talent. His stroke looked like it had a pretty good uppercut, but he has quickness to counteract that and suggest he can use it for power. I don't like picking high schoolers in this area of the draft, because I think most of the worthwhile ones go off to college and become higher draft picks. Meanwhile, potentially serviceable college guys pass on by.

20 (612) - Matt Bischoff, RHP, Purdue - Another seasoned college arm with a rather nondescript statline. Nothing exceptionally good or bad about it, aside from a slightly elevated home run rate. His strikeout rate has improved from year to year as well. Classic guy that should be available (and taken) around this part of the draft.

21 (642) - Luke Guarnacchia, C, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (FL) - I don't have anything on this guy, except that he catches, and probably knows a thing or two about Catholicism and how to reason coming from a school named after Aquinas.

22 (672) - Stephen Landazuri, RHP, Carter HS (CA) - Another prep player I know nothing about

23 (702) - Jandy Sena, RHP, Marion Military Institute - No idea who found this guy, but he is more proof that the Mariners left no stones unturned looking for pitchers this year. He didn't even have a school listed in the MLB draft tracker. Sena has the distinction of being the biggest M's player drafted so far (6-6, 245), which is saying something with all the taller guys they drafted.

24 (732) - Bennett Whitmore, LHP, Concordia College - The M's are on this guy. They drafted him last year in the 32nd round. Whitmore transferred from Oregon to Concordia, and he posted a nice year as one of their main starters. The 6-3, 215-pound frame from the left side is also nice.

25 (762) - Ernesto Zaragaza, RHP, Kaiser HS (CA) - Beautiful name. I don't know much else.

26 (792) - Robert Anston, OF, Boston College - A fair amount of triples and stolen bases suggest good speed. However, he does not have much power, which is probably why he is available at this point. Still, another good pick later on in the draft.

27 (822) - Nick Fleece, RHP, Texas A&M - I found some hitting and pitching numbers for Fleece with the Aggies, leading me to think he is pretty raw on the mound. He also didn't play a whole bunch. Somebody must have seen something in a bullpen session, because I don't see much in the numbers available to me.

28 (852) - Tim Griffin, RHP, Rollins College - Believe it or not, this is one of my favorite picks of the day. I ran into Griffin as I studied up on the draft thanks to some great summer league numbers. Following up on him at Rollins, I found a guy with seven complete games, including three shutouts. This is the kind of guy I love to see get a chance, and I am happy it is the Mariners giving him that chance.

29 (882) - Jonathan McGibbon, 1B, Lindenhurst HS (NY) - Another prep player I have nothing to share about. He apparently has a scholarship to go to Clemson, and I am guessing he accepts it.

30 (912) - Derek Poppert, SS, San Francisco - A couple years ago, Poppert got some playing time in the Cape Cod league, and did okay. Decent speed and an ability to make contact are his best tools offensively. Definitely a guy worth picking at this stage in the draft.

Overall, there are not many picks that stand out for me from the M's second day, but also few that I hate. This looks like a solid draft for them. The higher ceiling power arms they picked will ultimately decide how good this class is for the Mariners.