With the MLB draft, even with advances in scouting and youth development, the very top picks are far from sure things. The top picks aren't sure things in any sport, but they're the least sure things in baseball, unless lacrosse has a draft and their prospects are super flaky. So when you get beyond the top picks, you're basically just crossing your fingers that a draftee doesn't screw up so bad that people lose jobs.
Yesterday, Mike Zunino was the Mariners' top pick. He's not a sure thing, although people are pretty confident, as they always are. Today, the Mariners' were able to make their second pick, 64th overall. That's the 64th overall pick in a draft pretty much unanimously considered to be weak. The Mariners used that pick on high school shortstop Joe DeCarlo.
DeCarlo is also listed in various places as a third baseman, so that tells you something about his likelihood of remaining where he is. He's got a scholarship to play at the University of Georgia, and they talk about him as a third baseman. DeCarlo's supposedly good enough at short for the time being, but the 18-year-old won't remain in this time. None of us will.
DeCarlo allegedly measures 6'1, 205, and at this point I'm not really telling you anything. He went to high school in Pennsylvania. Garnet Valley High School in Pennsylvania. Here's my favorite scouting report on him, from some website:
Outstanding all around talent
They say DeCarlo has a strong arm, which would go along with his playing on the left side of the infield. They say he has a quick and strong bat, the kind of bat that could send balls to the gaps and maybe one day beyond them. DeCarlo might or might not sign:
"I'm definitely excited," the 18-year-old said. "It's always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball. But if the deal is not right, financially, then I have a great fall-back option."
DeCarlo, a shortstop and closer for the Jaguars, has a scholarship to play at Georgia.
"Playing in the Southeastern Conference would be great as well," he said. "I'm trying to keep an open mind about things."
Based on rankings, DeCarlo might be a bit of an overdraft, but perhaps the Mariners really like him and this is their way of luring him from college. I don't know. I asked myself why I was writing this six minutes ago. With every pick of every draft, you have to put your faith in the scouting department. Once you get past the top of the draft, you really have to put your faith in the scouting department. The Mariners have reasons for liking DeCarlo and that's good enough for me because I am just that willing to believe that they might know a little more about this high school infielder I've never heard of than I do.