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2011 Draft: Mariners Recap

I'll cut to the chase quickly. The Mariners made 51 picks in the 2011 draft, and this is a pick-by-pick account of who Seattle acquired.

I don't like grades, because it is weird to me to "fail" a team when they obviously got better. No matter how good or bad a pick is, the drafting team just got a new player, and didn't have to give a player. Instead, I'll use a star system (perhaps I ate at a Thai restaurant tonight, and perhaps it influenced me). I'll use a four start system, to force me to stray from the middle. To be clear, picks with the most stars aren't necessarily the picks with the best players. How early or late the pick is matters too:

  1. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia - I said some when Hultzen got drafted, and I don't have much more to add now. If the Mariners were going to pick a pitcher, this guy made the most sense. He compliments the power arms of Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda instead of duplicating them (like Trevor Bauer would have). The big question is how the M's could skip out on a bat with this high of a pick, given how poor the offense is. I still would have taken Anthony Rendon, but if his shoulder really is that big of a concern, I would not have been overly comfortable taking any of the other bats so high. Hultzen wasn't a reach; it's just a question of where the M's offense will come from. It might not have come from anyone drafted in this slot, so why not grab the best lefty in the draft? Rating: 3 stars
  2. Brad Miller, SS, Clemson - While I like Miller, he is what he is. I don't see much power in his swing, and I question whether he can be a good defensive shortstop in the pros. One of the best comparisons I can think of for Miller is Kyle Seager, who wasn't a second round pick. I'm glad that Miller is in the system, but I think he was a bit of a reach. Rating: 2 stars
  3. Kevin Cron, 1B, Mountain Pointe HS (AZ) - This guy has big power, along with a commitment to TCU that might be a bit of a challenge to pull him away from. Here is a video where he crushes a pitch to left field. Here is a link to a nice little story about him. Bottom line, Cron could establish himself as one of the M's more powerful prospects if he signs. His size (6'5") might lead to strikeouts though, and his right-handed power isn't the best fit for Safeco Field. Still, the Mariners needed to draft a power threat, and Cron is now Arizona's high school all-time home run king.
    Rating: 3 stars
    Carter Capps, RHP, Mount Olive College -
    Mount Olive was among the best Division II teams in the country this year, and Capps was their pitching ace. He apparently features a good fastball, but worked on developing off-speed offerings, and it seems to have paid off. The one pick in compensational round B has a chance to become a legitimate prospect. Rating: 3 stars
  4. John Hicks, C, Virginia - The Mariners are thinnest at catcher, so I love that they grabbed a solid college prospect. Nothing is all that special about Hicks, but it is hard to find holes too. He lacks a bit in power, but has also racked up doubles, so he is a candidate for power development as a pro. The organization really needed a steady young catcher, and this is exactly the kind of draft pick I had in mind. Rating: 4 stars
  5. Tyler Marlette, C, Hagerty HS (FL) - One catcher deserves another! Marlette is a high-schooler with a commitment to Central Florida. That definitely opens this pick up to signability issues, but Marlette definitely has some power. Watching his swing, he knows how to back load and then transfer his weight to produce power. I also think Marlette is trending towards an uppercut, and I would expect that to continue since the most appealing thing about him (in my eyes) is his power potential behind the dish. Marlette has more raw talent than Hicks, but is a tougher sign, and less of a finished product too. Rating: 3 stars
  6. James Zamarripa, CF, Rancho Cucamanga HS (CA) - Besides playing baseball, Zamarripa is also a productive wide receiver in football. However, he appears to have a baseball scholarship to play at San Diego State. I do not have much more information on him, but he's obviously pretty athletic, and likely another guy the Mariners will have to go over slot to sign. I don't see how they will sign Cron, Marlett, and Zamarripa. I think there are too many signability issues combined between all of them to reasonably expect all of them to sign. Rating: 2 stars
  7. Steven Proscia, 3B, Virginia - While Proscia doesn't have much power, he at least can reach the gaps consistently, and combines that with solid speed on the basepaths. His value might be best boosted with some defensive versatility. It's interesting that Virginia Cavaliers were three of the Mariners first seven picks, but they have been one of the best college baseball teams all year. Rating: 3 stars
  8. Carson Smith, RHP, Texas State - Smith posted huge strikeout numbers as a starter. While his walk rate is also a bit elevated, it is nothing to get overly worried about (especially at this stage of the draft). Seeing him in action a little bit, I have a hunch that his sidearm delivery plays a major role in both his walks and strikeouts. It also makes him a candidate to move to the bullpen, both because of likely platoon splits, and wear and tear from that arm slot. We'll see what the M's do with him, but this was a great point in the draft to take an arm like Smith. Rating: 4 stars
  9. Cavan Cohoes, SS, Patch HS (Germany-ish) - I don't have much on this guy, but he is interesting, to say the least. Jay Yencich has this guy covered at U.S.S. Mariner, and his write-up is worth the read. In short, Cohoes is an American high schooler technically, because he goes to high school at a military base in Germany. He has a commitment to Ohio State, and I have no idea how hard that will be to break. An intriguing pick to say the least. Rating: 3 stars
  10. Dan Paolini, 2B, Siena - For me, this was one of the most interesting players heading into the second day. It's not that he necessarily is one of the better prospects, but what if the power he flashed at Siena is legitimate? I think we will find out quickly whether it translates to the pros or not, and I am glad that it will be the Mariners cashing in if Paolini slugs his way through the minors. Rating: 4 stars
  11. Cameron Hobson, LHP, Dayton - The peripheral stats for Hobson are outstanding. Only a .396 BABIP stood between him and the shiny ERA that most prospects boast. There is reason to believe that Cameron was a victim of bad luck too, considering that he did not give up a home run all season. If guys really were hitting him hard, I would think that a few balls would have left the yard. Even with decent luck, I bet that Hobson would have gone a few rounds earlier. Rating: 4 stars
  12. Mike Dowd, C, Franklin Pierce - While Dowd is another catcher, he is undersized even by my standards at just 5'8". I generally prefer shorter catchers, but I only think that Dowd can add so much bulk to a small frame. Dowd does not generate much power either. His best hitting trait is a lack of strikeouts, which is nice, but I think this is well too early for him to go. Rating: 1 star
  13. Jamal Austin, CF, UAB - Austin is a guy that I came across as I looked at college baseball players because he was among his conference leaders in steals. I like his speed quite a bit, but the reason he fell this far is because he doesn't possess much else. Austin's power is limited, and his contact rate not sensational for more of a slap-hitting approach. With that said, his contact rate isn't bad, but it needs to be really good for his approach to really work as a pro prospect. Rating: 2 stars
  14. Cody Weiss, RHP, LaSalle - Some scout must see something in Weiss's stuff, because I don't see anything in his number. The walk rate is a little high, so may some sort of tweak to his command could do something. Rating: 1 star
  15. Mike McGee, CF, Florida State - The Mariners got on the phone before their pick after McGee, and made sure that he was listed as a centerfielder instead of a pitcher. It's very clear that they see him as a position player, which is a good thing. He's too wild on the mound. While McGee strikes out too much at the plate, he also garners walks, and has some power potential. Focusing on hitting might help him make bigger strides than what is usually expected out of college players too. I am not sure he is destined for centerfield, but I like starting him there and letting him decide if he ends up in the corner outfield slots. Rating: 3 stars
  16. Jack Marder, C, Oregon - Once again, Seattle announced a position switch of sorts with this one. Marder played many positions with the Ducks, so it would make sense to start him at the most demanding defensively. Plus, frankly, he can't hit. Some see potential in his swing, but the numbers are the numbers for me. Here is a nice video piece on Marder, and he's a likable guy with a great attitude. I'm pulling for him, but his best asset is versatility, and I think he needs something else to climb the pro ladder. Rating: 2 stars
  17. Nathan Melendres, CF, Miami (FL) - Basically, Melendres is cut out of the same fabric as earlier pick Jamal Austin. The only difference is that Melendres played against a higher level of competition, and looks like has a bit more power too. Rating: 3 stars
  18. Nick Valenza, LHP, Horizon HS (AZ) - Valenza doesn't have much height, but apparently has good velocity. He also has a commitment to Nevada. I think the only way the Mariners sign him is if he decided he is not good enough to improve his draft stock in college. Rating: 1 star
  19. Luke Guarnaccia, C, Palm Beach CC - Fun fact: Guarnaccia is a switch hitter (two separate links). The guy in the second video obviously likes his swing, and I do too. The balance and level stroke are nice, though I worry some about bat speed. The Mariners must like Guarnaccia, because they drafted him in the 21st round last year. I'm not sure why he would sign this year when he didn't last year, but I guess we'll find out. Rating: 2 stars
  20. Dillon Hazlett, 2B, Emporia State University - He was clearly the best player on his team by a long shot, with his most impressive attribute being speed (43 for 45 in steals). His hitting numbers across the board are great, though he probably does not have much power. Still Hazlett's speed is definitely worth taking a shot on at this point in the draft. Rating: 4 stars
  21. Joe DiRocco, RHP, Seton Hall - He's a senior righty that is definitely a pitch-to-contact type of pitcher. What allowed him to be very effective this past season is a low BABIP, and I don't think he has the type of stuff to sustain such success in the pros. Rating: 1 star
  22. John Taylor, RHP, South Carolina - A senior reliever, Taylor had a fine season. It is particularly impressive that he did not allow a home run all year. These are the kind of guys that I wish went more often in the draft, though at the same time, this seems a little high to be picking a reliever with less-than overpowering numbers. Still, he was good in the always tough SEC. Rating: 3 stars
  23. Richard White, RHP, U.S. Virgin Islands - I can't find much more on White than that he is from the Virgin Islands, and that he reportedly has thrown as hard as 96 miles an hour. He is listed at 5'11". I guess I found that out too. At just 18 without the usual competition circuits to measure his talent up against, who knows the kind of talent the Mariners drafted? Rating: 2 stars
  24. Tanner Chleborad, RHP, Stevens HS (SD) - Props to whomever went to South Dakota to scout this pitcher. He is a bit of a known commodity though, as he garnered enough attention to be recruited and signed by Washington State. At this stage in the draft, I would anticipate him to take the college commitment, because if he is a pro talent, he will greatly improve his draft stock. Rating: 1 star
  25. Gabe Saquilon, RHP, Horizon Christian HS (CA) - Saquilon was the fifth consecutive right-handed pitcher picked by the Mariners, which seems excessive, but it's questionable how many of these guys will actually sign. I'm not sure that's a great justification for such repetitive picks, but there you go. It seems that the Mariners decided to go quality over quantity at this juncture of the draft. It sounds like Saquilon has a live arm, but command issues. In general, I don't think this is a good range to make prep picks. Either guys have pretty big flaws, so they are shots in the dark, or they are good, and go off to college to improve their draft position in future years. Rating: 1 star
  26. Kenny Straus, 3B, Georgia Perimeter College - Here is a solid write-up on Straus, complete with a picture. He has a commitment to Georgia State next year, but perhaps this is an enticing enough spot for him to sign. Rating: 2 stars
  27. David Colvin, RHP, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges - While Colvin has competed in D-III, he played in the prestigious Cape Cod League last summer, and held his own as a reliever. He pitched as a starter for Pomona-Pitzer, where he has been plenty productive. Furthermore, as a senior, he is likely to sign. There is lots to like about this pick, especially at this stage in the draft. Rating: 4 stars
  28. Brett Shankin, RHP, Wayne State - A senior, Shankin had a very nice career at Wayne State, but nothing that screams potential big-leaguer. Still, I am a major proponent of taking seniors later in the draft, and giving them a chance to perform in the pros. This is a solid pick. He's from Washington, Michigan too, so it's almost like he is local with a hometown like that. Rating: 2 stars
  29. Keone Kela, RHP, Chief Sealth HS (WA) - It's cool that the Mariners picked a local prep player, but again, this is the stage of the draft where signable high school prospects are few and far between. Rating: 1 star
  30. Jordan Pries, RHP, Stanford - It's always good to grab a true student athlete, and that's pretty much the only type of athlete that Stanford has. Pries is a junior, and a Stanford education is mighty hard to pass up...especially for a 30th round selection. I don't know the status of his degree though, but I know if I were in his shoes, round 30 would not be enough to pull me from another year at Stanford. Rating: 2 stars
  31. Kyle Hunter, LHP, Kansas State - A junior with what appears to be a little bit of tough luck that increased his ERA, Hunter is a solid pitcher for this stage of the draft. With that said, that also means that Hunter is a rebound candidate, so he might opt to finish out his career at Kansas State and see what happens.  Rating: 2 stars
  32. Ryan Hawthorne, LHP, Loyola Marymount - Hawthorne popped up as a relief prospect for me in the months leading up to the draft with his good K rate as a left-hander. Another junior, I wonder if he will stay in school...though in his case I'm not sure he will go much higher as a senior. If he wants to give pro baseball a chance, he could very well sign, and he has a chance to turn into a lefty relief prospect. Rating: 3 stars
  33. Jeremy Dobbs, LHP, Austin Peay - In a geeky way, this is one of the more intriguing picks to me that the M's made. Dobbs is a junior, and he started for the majority of the season. Clearly, his biggest issue is walks, and it must improve for him to move up the minor league ladder. However, shortening him up into relief might help with that, and as far as pitchers go, control is the first "wart" I'm willing to take a chance on. I don't know if he will sign, but I think there is a chance he will, and a chance that the M's minor league staff can help him harness his stuff. Rating: 3 stars
  34. Taylor Smith-Brennan, 2B, Edmonds CC - It's always good to get local players, particularly at this point in the draft. Every player has only one home town team, and many dream of playing for it. Taylor appears to be no exception. He is just 19 with a nice physical build, and the potential to play many positions. I shy away from picking young guys at this stage of the draft because of signability issues, but in this case, I think the allure of playing for the hometown team gets it done. Well played with this pick. Rating: 4 stars
  35. Cory Scammell, LF, St. Francis Xavier HS (Canada) - I doubt Scammell signs. He looks too good to sign at this point in the draft. He reminds me some of Michael Saunders at the plate, and that's a good thing despite Michael's struggles this year. Nice player that I'm glad the M's are looking at, but not a good point in the draft to pick him. Rating: 1 star
  36. Bo Reeder, RHP, East Tennessee State - Reeder is definitely a guy I liked coming into the draft, but I wonder if this is too late for the junior to sign. He's a two-way player at East Tennessee State, where he hits and pitches with power. I like his potential more as a reliever, and apparently the Mariners do too. If he signs, this is a wonderful pick at this stage in the draft. If he doesn't, well, then he doesn't. I'm leaning towards he doesn't. Rating: 2 stars
  37. Jeremy Null, RHP, Bunker Hill HS (NC) - Null has a nice, prototypical projectable high school pitching body. In other words, I don't see any way that he signs this late. He has a commitment to Western Carolina, which has a solid baseball program. Rating: 1 star
  38. Alex Sunderland, RHP, Claremont McKenna College - A senior from a small college, Sunderland is likely to sign. I think he gets hit a little too hard at too low of a level to portend success, but who knows what a switch to relief could do. I like that he is a senior. Those are the guys to draft at this point. Rating: 2 stars
  39. Chris Andreas, 1B, Sam Houston State - Andreas is a senior left-handed slugger. He probably does not have prototypical first base power, but he has some, and was a good hitter in college. Can't ask for much else with a pick this late. Rating: 4 stars
  40. Trevor Miller, RHP, San Joaquin Delta College - This feels like digging for no good reason here. Miller is only 20 years old, and there was significant progress between last year and this year. So, if he continues to improve, why would he sign? He will go higher in the draft if he does, and he needs to improve to be a prospect. Rating: 1 star
  41. Bobby Shore, RHP Oklahoma - There isn't anything all that intriguing about Shore's stat line. He looks like a hittable senior starter. He played in a major conference though, and seniors are as signable as the come. Rating: 3 stars
  42. David Villasuso, C, Miami (FL) - A junior backstop that was a backup this year...a scout must have seen him in some side session, and liked what they saw. I have no idea what to make of this pick because I can't find anything insightful on him, and I have not seen him play with my own two eyes. That won't stop me from making a snap judgement though. Rating: 1 star
  43. Marcos Reyna, RHP, Bakersfield College - How's this for digging - I found some 2009 video of Reyna from when he was a high school prospect. He threw in the upper 80s, with a curve ball that looped, but I think had potential for some depth and bite. I particularly liked the extension his arm gets in the delivery. He lost his sophomore season to injury, and this year his biggest problem was control. That's understandable with such a big curve ball, coming off a year away from the mound. Two years ago, Reyna was a 14th round draft pick by the Pirates, but chose to go to college instead. He might opt to stay in college again, though after an injury he might decide to take the jump. Reyna probably should not have been available this late, so nice job by the Mariners unearthing a potential steal. Rating: 4 stars
  44. Josh Corrales, RHP, Cal State-Dominguez Hills - After struggling in limited innings at Long Beach State for a few years, Corrales found a home at a smaller school this year. He started, and was very productive. How much of it was development, an opportunity, and going to a lower level? I also wonder if Corrales will sign, though this might be an opportunity he can't pass up. Rating: 3 stars
  45. Charles Jimenez, RF, Milton HS (FL) - This is among the most intriguing picks of the draft to me. Jimenez could be a diamond in the rough. Even though he is a high schooler, he has already signed! Apparently, baseball is his dream sport, though Jacksonville University gave him a scholarship as a defensive end in football. Obviously, the guy is built if he plays defensive line, and he has some athletic talent. I have to give the Mariners a ton of credit for finding someone as young as Jimenez who would sign this late. Rating: 4 stars
  46. Maxx Catapano, RHP, Lee University - This 6'4" senior had a nice season, and also got a bit of playing time in the Cape Cod league late last summer. Not too shabby at all, especially for this point in the draft. Rating: 4 stars
  47. Brandon Plotz, RHP, Chabot College - Coming off a good (but not amazing) year with some eligibility remaining, I wonder if Plotz will sign. Then again, the Mariners do their homework, as the Jimenez pick showed. Maybe I shouldn't worry so much about signability. Rating: 2 stars
  48. Max Krakowiak, RHP, Fordham - Krakowiak is a senior with pretty unassuming numbers that suggest he is a pretty hittable starter. A low home run rate is nice. Rating: 3 stars
  49. Andrew Grifol, 1B, Santa Fe CC - I think this pick is more about taking Mariners the younger brother of Pedro Grifol, the Mariners farm director. Many teams make family-related picks late in the draft. I don't love the tradition, but it's probably harmless. Rating: 2 stars
  50. Esteban Tresgallo, 1B, Colegio Marista de Guaynabo - This is all you need to see. Oh yes, the internet has 11 seconds worth of video on the M's final pick of the 2011 draft sprinting almost a year ago. There is something I really love about this. As far as Tresgallo goes, I have no idea what to make of this pick, other than to say that the Mariners have a pretty broad reach with where they look for draft picks. Rating: 2 stars
There it is, the 2011 draft class for the Seattle Mariners. One thing I am sure of is that the Mariners know how to cover a ton of different areas, and I wonder if other teams are as good at covering so much ground. It seems like the scouting department was able to uncover several potential diamonds in the rough - from a high school defensive end in Miami, to a shortstop in Germany, to short but hard-throwing righty in the Virgin Islands.

The overall strategy the Mariners had this year was good too. They needed to address catcher, and did that early in often. I don't think the catcher of the future is in this draft class, but some desperately needed depth was acquired.

While the Mariners went college heavy, there is some diversity in the college picks. Several from outside D-I are younger guys, so they might have some more upside. Also, they acquired players with different skillsets. There are some sluggers, some speed racers, some flame-throwers, and some pitchers that might have simply had bad luck.

There weren't many picks that felt like duds, but few that felt like steals, or high-upside types that could be stars. Hopefully whatever this draft lacks in star power, it makes up for with depth. It's easier to take risks once there is a solid foundation, and I think this draft class could finally give the Mariners adequate depth at all positions in their farm system.

If you are scoring at home, I handed out 11 1-star ratings, 15 2-stars, 14 3-stars, and 11 4-stars. The better picks were concentrated later in the draft, which means they aren't the types that will likely get much publicity (or make an impact in the majors, but maybe one of them pops). Overall, I would give the draft class as a whole 2 stars. The lack of upside, particularly with a majority of the early picks, is what ultimately gives this draft a lackluster feel for me. Actually, 2 is low and 3 is high. It's a very mediocre draft, for better and for worse. If the depth in this class can set the stage for higher upside risks to come, I will feel better about this class.