A couple days have gone by since my post on the 2005 Major League Draft and there have been some changes and updates since then. With the NCAA Regionals being played this weekend, some players helped their draft stock tremendously and some players hurt their chances. The Mariners have also expressed interest in a new face and might be thinking about reacquainting themselves with an old friend.
Craig Hansen - Hansen pitched an unbelievable game Friday, giving up 3 ER over 7 innings, walking three and striking out 8. What's even more impressive is that it was only his fourth college start. This performance only cemented him further as one of the elite arms in the draft and should be drafted somewhere in the top 10. There is of course the possibility that exists that he could go to the DBacks with the first pick. While I still don't see them passing on Upton, Hansen has a real chance at being a contributor this year. And with the DBacks bullpen issues currently, anything is possible.
Jeff Clement - This is one player that I left off the list because he appeared to be slipping on draft boards. Then on Sunday morning, his name started to be used in rumors involving the M's. Clement is an extremely interesting talent. Clement holds the all-time high school homerun record with 75. A big kid, he stands 6'1" and 205 pounds, he has a powerful left handed stroke. He battled some injuries in his sophomore year and was pitched around the past couple seasons. His defense was the biggest question mark entering this season and he showed big improvements. He still needs some work, but he still projects as a catcher. In all honesty, if Gordon and Upton are gone, I like Clement with this pick. He has a ton of power potential and could exploit the short right field fence in a year or two.
John Mayberry Jr. - Remember that high school kid who wanted to sign, then didn't want to sign, then almost signed, then went to college? Well he graduated and the M's are still interested him. Mayberry lost a ton of power this season, with his HR totals dropping from 16 to 6. He has a big frame that projects well for power potential, 6'5" and 230, but his swing is long and pitchers appeared to be exploiting that this season. He's a terrific first baseman but he has the athletic ability to make a switch to the OF, where his strong arm would be considered valuable. He needs work, but his flaws appear to be coachable. He has had some struggles with a wood bat with Team USA, so that is another concern. I don't see the M's taking Mayberry, as they already tried once and failed. This is probably just some pre-draft chatter.
Kansas City - Scratch them off the Cameron Maybin hunt. Maybin's current asking price is pretty high, and while it may come down, the Royals aren't going to mess around with someone they might not sign. This leads to another rumbling that the Royals are only budgeting for a $2.2 million first round signing bonus. With Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver receiving $4 million bonuses last week and Philip Humber (the third overall to the Mets) received a $3 million bonus; money might play a bigger role than they are letting on.
So a quick update on the possible draft choices:
First Pick - Arizona Diamondbacks
Projected pick - Justin Upton
Other Possibilities - Craig Hansen, Mike Pelfrey
Second Pick - Kansas City Royals
Projected Pick - Alex Gordon
Other Possibilities - Ryan Zimmerman, Troy Tulowitzki, Cesar Carrillo
Third Pick - Seattle Mariners
Projected Pick: Troy Tulowitzki (Alex Gordon if available)
Other Possibilities - Jeff Clement, Mike Pelfrey
Fourth Pick - Washington Nationals
Projected Pick - Ryan Zimmerman
Other possibilities - Troy Tulowitzki, Cameron Maybin
Fifth Pick - Milwaukee Brewers
Projected Pick - Cameron Maybin
Other possibilities - Luke Hochevar, Mike Pelfrey, Ryan Braun
There were also some great articles in the local press this morning talking about some of the M's interests. Corey Brock delivered a solid piece detailing the M's past successes and failures, and who they are thinking about this year. John Morsi also weighs in with some solid research of his own. He discusses the Clement possibility as well as the smoke and mirror show known as John Mayberry Jr.
Art Thiel and John Morsi throw in their two cents as well in today's PI. Definitely take the time and read over those articles if you haven't already.
Check back in tomorrow morning as I will be providing draft coverage and analysis as we welcome in the newest additions to the Mariner organization.