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2012 Draft: Mariners Picks

Draft picks don't matter sometimes. The M's no-hitter is obviously the biggest M's story right now. Moreover, none of the six pitchers who combined for the no-hitter were drafted by the Mariners. Two (Furbush and League) were acquired in trades that involved Mariners draft picks though (Doug Fister and Brandon Morrow).

The draft is still the easiest place to find impact talent without giving any talent up, which is why it is so darn important to draft well.  The talent will get picked; it's just a question of whether your team or a competitor is going to get it. Did the Mariners get their fair share? I'll give pick-by-pick grades, and use an excessively complex GPA calculator to determine a final result*. Players are listed by round:

*Just kidding, maybe.

1. Mike Zunino, C, Florida - I already graded this pick on day one. Solid player, but I would have preferred more upside. Grade: D

2. Joe DeCarlo, SS, Garnet Valley HS (PA) - I know next to nothing about DeCarlo. He's a prep shortstop, but many scouts see him as a future third basemen. He's got some power potential. Since I don't know much about the player, I'll grade based on strategy, and I really like the M's picking a prep shortstop with this pick. This is the kind of upside I was looking for with their first pick! Grade: B-

3. Edwin Diaz, RHP, Caguas Military Academy (PR) - Diaz is a prep pitcher that can rush the ball up to the plate in the mid 90s at times. He's got a very wiry body that may fill out. Added strength might give Diaz added velocity, but he's already got good velocity. Again, like the upside, especially after a college pick first round. Grade: B

B. Tyler Pike, LHP, Winter Haven HS (FL) - Pike committed to Florida State, which is one of the strongest college baseball programs in the nation. He is a relatively short 6'1", but features a fastball that gets into the low 90s. I am curious to see how negotiations turn out. This feels a bit like when the Mariners drafted Ryne Stanek, and he went off to Arkansas (where he's now projected as a potential first round draft pick next year). Grade: C-

4. Patrick Kivlehan, 3B, Rutgers - Kivelehan was part of my day 2 preview, and I am really excited that the Mariners grabbed him. Since when does a player simply walk on and become the player of the year in a conference? Kivlehan is about as intriguing as a 22-year-old college prospect comes. Grade: A

5. Chris Taylor, SS, Virginia - The Mariners might be able to stage a Virginia reunion in their farm system at the rate they take talent out of this program. Taylor has a reputation as a slick fielder, but I think his bat has more life than it gets credit for. He might want to shorten his swing some as a pro, but the plate discipline is there, and for now there is some power with above average speed. Solid pick. Grade: B

6. Timmy Lopes, SS, Edison HS (CA) - I can't find much on Lopes, other than he plays shortstop, and doesn't have any crazy athletic tools like elite prep prospects possess. There are reasons he is is a sixth-round pick. This is still quite early in the draft though, which probably speaks to what the M's see out of Lopes instincts and commitment to baseball. Grade: D+

7. Taylor Ard, 1B, Washington State - I'm a sucker for local picks, and Ard is one of the best the M's could have made. He's a senior, which makes him signable. He's also got some power, and I'm a fan of his swing. Two thumbs up with this pick. Grade: A

8. Nick Halamandaris, 1B, Stevenson School (CA) - Halamandaris has a commitment to Cal, and I wonder how tough that will make him to sign. He also played football and basketball in high school. He's got size and athleticism, with a chance to blossom if he concentrates on baseball. I love the pick purely from a talent perspective, but worry about the signability. Grade: B

9. Jamodrick McGruder, 2B, Texas Tech - McGruder doesn't have much power to speak of, but he has speed. He's also got great plate discipline. McGruder has clear strengths and weaknesses in what he offers, but they may very well add up to a productive pro ballplayer. Very much a fan of this pick. Grade: A

10. Grady Wood, RHP, Western Oregon State - Wood is a senior that was highly productive his whole career at Western Oregon State. I like the fact that the M's went local, and it's also good to see production. I would have liked to see more strikeouts against lower competition to get really jazzed about this pick though. This feels like a bit of a reach. Grade: D

11. Kristian Brito, 1B, Ramon Quinones Medina (PR) - Brito is a man, listed at 6'5" and 230 pounds. He is a physical specimen, particularly for his age and this stage of the draft. I feel like he should have gone earlier than this, which either means he is a steal or there are signability concerns. Grade: B+

12. Michael Faulkner, OF, Arkansas State - Faulkner exhibited crazy speed, stealing 41 bases while only getting caught once. He has no power, and I wonder if he can even hit for average. Still, Faulkner has at least one serious tool, which might even make him a rangy defender. Grade: C+

13. Blake Hauser, RHP, VCU - Hauser has some control issues, but he racks up a ton of strikeouts. Scouting reports say he has a good slider, and maybe it moves too much for him to control. Hauser will have to throw more strikes as a pro, but control could come, and he's got the upside to make it as a pro. Grade: B

14. Brock Hebert, 2B, SE Louisiana - Hebert plays at a small school, but brings speed on the basepaths and some gap power at the plate. I certainly like the M's taking a chance on his skillset at this stage in the draft. Grade: B

15. Dario Pizzano, OF, Columbia - I have an irrational affinity for Ivy League picks, so Pizzano already gets a vote of confidence from me. He didn't flash much home run power in college, but he's a good pure hitter. Grade: B-

16. Dominic Leone, RHP, Clemson - Some scout must see a potential adjustment that could make Leone a better fit in pro ball than college. I don't see much in the numbers that excites me. Grade: F

17. Isaiah Yates, RF, Clovis East HS (CA) - Yates is listed at 5'11", and perhaps that means he was overlooked in talent-laden California. However, Yates both pitched and hit, and really produced at the plate. If Yates signs, he could be the quintessential diamond in the rough. Grade: A-

18. Jabari Henry, OF, Florida International - Henry hit 12 home runs this season, with walks, but also lots of strikeouts. He's got some holes, but it is the 18th round. Grade: C

19. Nathan Koneski, LHP, Holy Cross - Koneski comes from a smaller school, but he really produced, and he's left handed. I'm a fan of this pick. Grade: A

20. Steven Ewing, LHP, Miami (FL) - Ewing was on my radar for my top 31 list at the start of the year. He was brilliant. However, Ewing slowed down as the season went on. Strong finishes boost players at the end of the season, which makes players like Ewing slip. He probably should have gone higher. Grade: A

21. Scott DeCocco, LHP, South Carolina-Upstate - It took some time to find numbers on DeCocco, and they are pretty pedestrian. 59 strikeouts in 86.2 innings with an ERA approaching 4.00 against relatively low competition. Maybe I'd be more excited if I could see him live. Grade: F

22. Gabrial Franca, SS, John W North HS (CA) - The M's like dipping into the second tier of California talent. Franca fits in that bunch, as he's a bit undersized, which again probably keeps him from popping out in a state that always pumps out premium talent. I wonder how many high-schoolers sign at this point of the draft, but I also feel like the M's aren't stupid, and know that they have a chance. Grade: B

23. Levi Dean, RHP, Tennessee Wesleyan College - Dean ended up in Tennessee, but is originally from Centralia Chehalis, Washington! Dean had one largely uninteresting year at Tennessee, but produced early on in his career at Lower Columbia CC. He didn't have a great senior campaign at Tennessee Wesleyan, but his strikeout and walk rates were good. Dean also has a nice 6'5", 225-pound frame. I'm curious to see how this pick pans out. Grade: C+

24. Matt Vedo, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara - Vedo mostly pitched out of relief, and posted high walk and strikeout rates. He's an effectively wild pitcher. The approach probably won't work in the pros, but he is a 24th round pick. The high K rate suggests he at least has the upside to progress if he figures out how to throw some more strikes. Grade: B

25. Mark Bordonaro, RHP, Fairfield - Bordonaro did not have a good season. I don't see whatever the Mariners saw. Grade: F

26. Aaron Brooks, RHP, Edmonds CC - I can't find stats for Brooks, but he is 6'6" and has local ties. If he could be another Forrest Snow that would be awesome. Grade: C

27. Blake Holovach, LHP, Missouri - Another pitcher with an underwhelming season. Some scout dreamt of something that he could do when they coaxed Zdurencik to pick him. Grade: F

28. Matt Brazis, RHP, Boston College - Brazis didn't pitch much, but his limited opportunities were quite good. He has diamond in the rough potential. Grade: B-

29. Toby Demello, C, St. Mary's - Demello can't hit. This pick screams organizational depth. Grade: F

30. Michael Yastzremski, RF, Vanderbilt - Michael is the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, but the odds that he hits like his grandfather are between slim and none. He hasn't yet. Still, he was solid in a tough conference, and the bloodlines are a fun bonus. Grade: C+

31. Rusty Shellhorn, LHP, Texas Tech - I don't see much in the numbers that suggests Shellhorn will carve out a long pro career, but what a name! I hope he finds a way to become a LOOGY. Grade: C+

32. Richard Palase, 2B, Lynchburg College - The senior produced at the top of the order for Lynchburg. The pros will be a big jump, but now he's got a chance to see if you can pull it off. Grade: C

33. Logan Seifrit, RHP, Vauxhall HS (AB) - The "AB" stands for Alberta, as in Alberta, Canada. Vauxhall has been pumping out talented players in recent years, but they seem to have a habit of continuing their education. How silly of them to value something besides 3.5 ounces of wound yarn stuffed in some stitched rawhide. Grade: D

34. Alexander Ross, C, Bellevue CC - He's local, and a catcher, both positives. He batted .250 though, and he's just a sophomore. Hopefully he's a big Mariners fan. Grade: D+

35. Tyler Krieger, SS, Northview HS (GA) - Krieger begins a string of prep players the M's picked to finish out their draft. I think these are safety picks in case someone earlier does not sign. Grade: D

36. Anthony Wingenter, RHP, Bob Jones HS (AL) - Maybe the Mariners just wanted only 30 or so players out of this class? Grade: D-

37. Brett Lilek, LHP, Marion Catholic HS (IL) - If you couldn't tell, starting with Krieger, this is really a paragraph of connected thoughts broken up by draft picks. Grade: F

38. Richard Martin, SS, Bloomingdale HS (FL) - I don't understand why teams pick prep players so late. I'd like to get as many players in my farm system as possible. Grade: F

39. Grayson Long, RHP, Barbers Hill HS (TX) - I'll admit, it's very rare for someone this late to pan out, if they sign. Grade: F

40. James Kaprielian, RHP, Beckman HS (CA) - But there's at least a chance when they actually do sign. Grade: F

It turns out I wasn't joking when I said I'd make up a cumulative GPA formula. It's pretty simple though. Each pick's weight is inversely proportional to the round number. So a first rounder has a weight of 1, second-rounder a weight of 1/2, third-rounder 1/3, etc. Each grade is assigned a point value based on the traditional 4-point scale.

My cumulative GPA for the Mariners draft is 2.14, just a shade above a C average. They drafted well on day 2, because the heaviest weighted grade was Mike Zunino's D. I don't have a frame of reference for how good or bad a 2.14 is, and I'm not going to go through and grade every draft pick for every team to get one. However, my hunch is that every team would end up with between a 1.5 and 2.5 with my method.

Overall, I would say that the Mariners had a good draft. Not a great draft, but a good one. We'll see how true this assessment proves to be in the years to come.