June 6 marks the start of the annual MLB First Year Player Draft. Previous years Seattle has drafted on the terms of best available player (see Danny Hultzen, Mike Zunino). This year may be a little different. We can't know for sure at this point where Seattle is going to be in the standings then, or how well players are going to be performing. With all the question marks that loom over 2013 season, its hard to tell exactly what Jack Zduriencik's draft strategy will be. These are just some of my thoughts as to where Seattle should go with their picks.
The 12th Pick Overall
While many are still sore that the Mariners didn't sign any big name free agents, I'm rejoicing. Had the Mariners signed Michael Bourn, it would have meant a loss of their first round draft pick. Bourn would have surely helped the Mariners this year, but he would not have been a make or break player for Seattle.
Seattle's improved 2012 campaign has made them fall out of the top 10 picks for the first time in a while. Which means they have a plethora of options. They can take guys who have fallen (see Mark Appel), or they can take guys who are projected to go late in the draft (see Addison Russel).
Just in my personal opinion, the Mariners really should stick to drafting collegiate players with their first pick. Like Danny Hultzen and Mike Zunino, the Mariners should look for guys who need little time in the minors. With the way the farm system is set up, the Mariners are looking to strike sooner rather than later.
Collegiate players also run less risk, as they have had more time to develop and more time to be thoroughly scouted. Elite high school players show great talents, but are still only playing against fellow high school kids. Also high school kids aren't all mentally mature, and can't handle the spotlight of being a top draft pick (see Tim Beckham). Others decide not to sign, or have a change of heart, deciding football is best for them (see Josh Booty). Seattle is at a place in their farm system where they have tons of talent, so finding the safest, most big league ready player should be at the top of their priority.
Sean Manea - LHP/Indiana St. JR.
While this is just mostly wishful thinking on my part, I've seen Manea go anywhere from 2nd to 12th. Sickels seems to think that the Mariners can land Manea at 12 (see John Sickels 2013 FYP Mock). Many probably would be frustrated as to why the Mariners didn't take a bat, just like in 2011 when they took Danny Hultzen with the 2nd overall pick. However Manea has the potential to be a front of the rotation ace. He may not be as polished as somebody like Mark Appel or Ryne Stanke, but he's still closer to the bigs than most pitchers in the draft.
Huge 6'5' lefty, throws 96 and has a hard slurve as well has a decent enough changeup. Doesn't have great secondaries, but his arm strength is really impressive. The only knock on the Mariners drafting him is that he is projected to go at the very top of the draft. While some say he can fall, if he does he will most likely decide to go back to college much like Mark Appel did last year, which leaves the Mariners empty handed.
DJ Peterson - 1B/New Mexico JR.
While on most boards, DJ Peterson going 12th would be one of the biggest surprises of the draft. However, Peterson is exactly what the Mariners are looking for. A monster hitter who can play the corners and will put up numbers. Played mostly first with Team USA, but can play 3rd. Though not good defensively, Peterson (as far as I have read) is an extremely hard worker and can learn. Also projected as a corner outfielder or even a Jedd Gyorko like second baseman. Large frame, has good plate approach, smooth swing, legitimate power, and has the numbers to back it up. Triple slash numbers from 2011: .419/.490/.734.Yes, I checked as many sources as I can find, and yes, all of them said he slugged .734. That is unreal. Even though he has been overlooked by many in the pro scouting world, he has still won some awards:
Very close to the majors, great intangibles, amazing skill set, patient at the plate, not a great fielder but projects at multiple positions, and not expected to be taken very high on anybodies list, Peterson would be a perfect fit for the Mariners. Again, probably some more talented options at 12 and would be an overdraft, but I doubt he survives the supplementary picks.
Aaron Judge - 1B/OF Fresno St. JR.
One of the most overrated/underrated players in the draft. I've seen him go in the top 10 and I've seen him fall out of the bottom 50. He sure sticks out on the field at 6'7". Obvious enormous raw power, though he has yet to tap into it during games that count. However he won the collegiate home run derby. Many people who overrate him seem to think the power is real, and he will be a Giancarlo Stanton type. Those who underrate him say his hands are bad and he has poor pitch recognition. I'm not sure what to make of him, though I do think the Mariners could always use somebody with raw power. While his hands and barrel knowledge are below average, he has high bat speed. His feel for hitting is just not there.
However his athleticism makes up for it. Most likely a corner outfielder, has decent enough speed in the OF and has a great throwing arm. Most people see a big guy like him and don't think he has much speed, but he has enough wheels where I could see him swiping 20 bags a year.
His career hangs on the balance of his development as a hitter. Doesn't have great strike zone recognition and again, his hand skills are very week. Obviously as big as he is, fighting off inside pitches the other way (see Derek Jeter) isn't going to be his skill set, but a lack of pure hitting ability will hurt his draft stock. Here's another video of his long swing.
I'm very interested to see how he does this year. He's off to a hot start in 2013. Hopefully his stats continue their trend upwards all year. Could rise his draft stock and justify an early selection by the Mariners. Still, be wary of struggles as he is not a safe pick.
Again, Seattle can go many ways with this pick. I'm very interested to see this years draft and what Jack Zduriencik has planned for this organization. DJ Peterson is my favorite collegiate player in the draft, but he may very well slip into the 2nd round for Seattle to pick up then, though, just like my Manea projection, that's a lot of wishful thinking. I'm interested in what you guys think the Mariners strategy is for this June.