There aren't a lot of upsides to having a season like thehad in 2010, but now we've put that behind us, and the neat thing about the draft coming so long after the associated season has ended is that we get all the fun of picking second overall this June without any of the misery that put us in that position. I don't know how good the Mariners are going to be in 2011, but they'll be better than they were in 2010, and right in the middle of the year they get to draft one of the very best amateur talents in the country. That's exciting.
Now then, with the draft still being a few months away, a lot could change between today and the date of our pick. However, as of this moment, it very much looks like the M's will end up with one of Anthony Rendon (Rice), Gerrit Cole (UCLA), and Matt Purke (TCU). These are presumably names you've heard before, but with the NCAA season underway I thought I'd take this opportunity to provide a quick update on their progress.
Playing for one of the better teams in the country, Rendon's started 18 games, batting .358 with 17 walks, ten strikeouts, and a .627 slugging percentage that's by far the best on the roster. You may note that this is a statistical step down from last year's performance, but don't read too far into that, because a rule change at the college level affecting bats has significantly reduced offensive output. Rendon's still the top draft-eligible position player in the country.
Cole has started four games for UCLA, generating 37 strikeouts against five walks in 30.1 innings. He's also allowed just 14 hits. There's not a ton you can tell from four starts, but it's evident that Cole's blistering fastball, sharp slider, and useful change have thus far had no trouble putting batters away. His stock remains sky high.
Finally, Purke has started three games for TCU, whiffing 13 and walking five in 13.2 innings. He's allowed five hits. He had to miss a start with a blister, but a blister is better than an elbow or shoulder problem. Purke still throws his heat in the low- to mid-90s, he still has a beautiful curve, and he's developing confidence in his change. He's the nation's top lefty.
There you are. Nothing in-depth, but the draft isn't my specialty. We'll be sure to provide more updates down the road, especially if anything changes, but for now, assume that in just a few months, the M's and one of these three players will be negotiating a contract.