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2014 Draft: Mariners Recap

The MLB Draft wrapped up today, meaning all 40 of the Mariners draft picks are in. Time to take a glance at all of them with the always entertaining and fleetingly insightful pick-by-pick grades!

  1. Alex Jackson, RF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA) - Great fit for the organization and great value, even at sixth overall. Jackson was in the discussion for best bat in the whole draft class, and he's certainly the most compelling right-handed bat, and the M's could really use some right-handed juice to balance out the lineup. Jackson could stick at catcher but the Mariners are smartly moving him off the position to let his back carry him as far and fast as it can. Grade: A
  2. (Actually competitive balance round B) Gareth Morgan, OF, Blyth Acadamy (ON) - Morgan was, without question, the top Canadian prospect in this year's draft class. Like Alex Jackson he packs a ton of power in his right-handed bat, though he is more raw with more contact issues. Still, pick 74 was the right range for him and he fits an organizational need. Neither he nor Jackson are surefire things, so I particularly like that the Mariners got both of them. The odds of multiple prospects flaming out are lower than just one. Grade: A
  3. Austin Cousino, CF, Kentucky - Cousino has a concerning strikeout rate, but mixes gap power with good speed and tremendous defense at a premium defensive position. Looks like a fourth outfielder at best to me. I don't mind his skillset, but this is a little early to take him. Grade: D
  4. Ryan Yarbrough, LHP, Old Dominion - Yarbrough, a senior, has great size at 6'6" but not much production. Uninspiring selection, though it's worth noting that it seems the Mariners on day 2 reached over and over - possibly to save some money to make sure they get both Jackson and Morgan signed. Worth keeping in mind, though this is still very early for a guy like Yarbrough to go. Like Cousino, I have no problem with Yarbrough getting drafted, but this is way too early for what he brings to the table as a prospect. Grade: F
  5. Dan Altavilla, RHP, Mercyhurst College (PA) - Altavilla completely dominated at Mercyhurst and also got a few innings in the Cape Cod league last summer. He walked too many batters there but held his own. Not a bad guy to take a chance on; I'm intrigued to see what he does. Grade: B
  6. Lane Ratliff, LHP Jones County JC (MS) - Ratliff struck out a bunch of batters in the junior college ranks but also gave up a bunch of home runs. Like several of the M's day 2 guys, I like that he got drafted, but I don't think he needed to be drafted this high. Still, that K rate is really nice and sometimes home runs are fluky. I'll trust the M's on this one. Grade: C
  7. Taylor Byrd, LHP, Nicholls State - Quietly productive lefty that cut down his walk rate dramatically from his junior to senior season without a drop in his strikeouts or uptick in hits allowed. Nice pickup at this point in the draft. Grade: B
  8. Kody Kerski, RHP, Sacred Heart - Diminutive righty that looks like he has tapped out all his potential. Not much growth in his stats from junior to senior season. Perhaps he looks better in a bullpen role? He was productive as a starter. Grade: D
  9. Peter Miller, RHP, Florida State - It's hard to make sense of Miller's stats. They are all over the place. His playing time cut down as a senior, which suggests other FSU pitchers surpassed him. FSU is one of the premier baseball programs in the nation though. Still, Miller was a 16th round draft pick last year and took some steps back this year. No need for him to get drafted this high. Grade: F
  10. Adam Martin, C, Western Carolina - Another senior college player drafted by the Mariners, Martin packs a punch with his bat, though it comes with lots of strikeouts. He also plays a premium defensive position, which is a plus. Nice pick. Grade: B
  11. Jay Muhammad, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy (FL) - I don't have much to go off of or say with Muhammad. The video linked to shows a body that's easy to dream about growing and increasing velocity with it. He already throws 86mph or so, with a few 90mph readings thrown in. Maybe the Mariners know he'll sign even though this is a bit late for some prep players. Grade: C
  12. Nelson Ward, SS, Georgia - The junior shortstop really improved his plate discipline and hit for a little more gap power. I like the progress, especially if he can stick at shortstop. His growth in college is impressive. Grade: A
  13. Marvin Gorgas, RHP, East Hampton HS (CT) - Gorgas is small but packs a punch, consistently hitting the low 90s with his fastball. He extends well. No doubt he would have been a higher pick if he was taller. I'm impressed someone with his stuff was still available here. Grade: A
  14. Chris Mariscal, SS, Fresno State - He better field because he doesn't look like much of a hitter. Grade: F
  15. Lukas Schiraldi, RHP, Texas - Most interesting thing to me is that Schiraldi is listed at 6'4" on his Baseball Cube page, but 6'6" on the MLB draft tracker. He's tall either way, but a surprise growth spurt might explain his lack of control and strikeouts this year. I hope it does, because otherwise I can't find a redeeming quality in this pick. Grade: D
  16. Wayne Taylor, C, Stanford - Dude can't hit and he's getting a Stanford education. Wayne, if you read this blog, stay for your senior year and get your degree. You'll get drafted again next year. Grade: F
  17. Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP, Auburn - He's a short right-hander that doesn't strike anyone out in relief. Oh, and Trey is a junior, so he can go back to school and see if he improves his stock. Huge fan of this pick. Grade: F
  18. Nick Kiel, LHP, Bellevue CC (WA) - I'll never argue with a local pick on day 3. Never. Plus, though Kiel is undersized, he was a lights-out ace! Grade: A
  19. Rohn Pierce, RHP, Canisius - Doesn't strike anyone out, but also doesn't walk anyone or give up hits. A junior and a candidate to go back to school and see what happens next year. Grade: D
  20. Hawtin Buchanan, RHP, Mississippi - Love the name, and considering he's from Biloxi, Mississippi I can hear in my head the heavy southern drawl I desperately hope he has. Hawtin has pitched very little for the Rebels, but when he has he's been ineffectively wild - with strikeout though! And he's 6'8". And his name is Hawtin. I just can't hate on this pick, all things considered. Grade: C
  21. Jay Baum, SS, Clemson - Sneaky good pick if he signs, given that he's a junior. Baum's double rate exploded this year and he's always made consistent contact. Some clear signs he's starting to square up the ball in ways he hasn't before. I could see him getting picked much earlier next year if he goes back to Clemson for his senior year. Grade: B
  22. Jarrett Brown, LHP, Georgia - This junior lefty reliever had a brutal season. Stay in school, Jarrett! You'll get drafted next year and odds are you'll get picked higher. Grade: F
  23. Pat Peterson, LHP, NC State - I like Pat's brother, Eric, more but Pat will do at this stage in the draft (if he signs; he's another junior). Steady producer that keeps improving. Grade: B
  24. Sheehan Planas-Arteaga, 1B, Barry - I'm a sucker for small school guys with huge numbers on day 3, and Sheehan fits that mold perfectly. He had 41 walks this season. Nobody wanted to pitch to him and yet he still slugged .600. Grade: A
  25. Vinny Nittoli, RHP, Xavier - Don't like the low strikeout rate, but do like the significant growth from season to season. Perhaps he could miss more bats in a relief role too. Nice pick at this stage in the draft. Grade: B
  26. Taylor Smart, SS, Tennessee - I'll avoid all the dumb puns with this pick and simply note that, though Smart played for Tennessee, he was born in Maple Valley, WA! That and he had a solid senior season for the Vols. Grade: A
  27. Andrew Peterson, 2B, Oregon State - No bat, but at least the Mariners kept contact with one of the best baseball programs in the region. Grade: D
  28. Dominic Blanco, C, Gulf Coast HS (FL) - Do you get excited when a draft pick has no chance of signing? Stop being excited. My biggest pet peeve with the MLB draft is how every team punts late picks on high school players with pretty much no chance of signing. Grade: F
  29. Tyler Herb, RHP, Coastal Carolina - I will cave in with my words here and say that Herb could use a spicy out pitch. But at least he's a seasoned senior that should sign. Grade: C
  30. James Alfonso, C, Hartford - Fun fact! Jeff Bagwell went to Hartford. He was also drafted 26 rounds before Alfonso. James has a decent bat and plays one of those premium defensive positions. Also a senior. Grade: B
  31. DeAires Moses, CF, East Nashville Magnet School (TN) - I'll give some points just for the name. Also, I love when a place of education is called a magnet school with no further explanation. What does a magnet school in Tennessee attract? BBQ? Blues guitar players? Can DeAires Moses cook some mean ribs or play some cold-blooded pentatonic riffs? Grade: D
  32. Chase Nyman, 2B, East Mississippi JC (MS) - Nyman brings some speed and contact ability, and he's already set to sign. He had a circuitous route as an amateur, starting at Ole Miss, then going to Chipola JC, then East Mississippi, and he planned to walk on at Mississippi State until the Mariners drafted him. Grade: B
  33. Tom Verdi, SS, Connecticut - Really question Verdi's hitting ability, but he plays shortstop and has a little speed. Also a senior. Grade: C
  34. Andrew Summerville, LHP, Lakeside HS (WA) - Although a prep pick, a local one. Maybe he wants to be true to the blue! Grade: B
  35. Chris McGrath, LHP, Marist School (GA) - Not a local prep pick. Extremely doubtful he wants to be true to the blue. Grade: F
  36. Spencer Hermann, LHP, Fisher - Lefty with decent numbers at a small school. Grade: C
  37. Sam Lindquist, RHP, Stanford - Tall righty that rarely pitched, but he's from Mercer Island. Grade: A
  38. Taylor Zeutenhorst, OF, Iowa - Cool name and he hit 9 home runs this past season out of nowhere, though with a stunning number of strikeouts. Grade: B
  39. Kavin Keyes, 3B, Oregon State - Keyes lacks power but makes contact, for what it's worth. Grade: C
  40. Scott Manaea, C, St. John's HS (NY) - Prep catcher that won't sign to finish the draft. Wooooo. Grade: F
Overall I like this Mariners draft class. I love how they handled their two picks on day one. Those picks seemed to cast a heavy shadow on day two, although I still think the Mariners could have found more talent without risking bonus money. Lastly, day three was nice, with several local picks in the late rounds. The success of the class clearly rides on the broad shoulders of Jackson and Morgan at the top, though a handful of arms that could develop into bullpen pieces or spot starters were added as well. I'd call this a strategic haul that complements the pieces already in the farm system.