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2017 MLB Draft: Reviewing the Mariners’ Past Drafts—2013

The Mariners save time, draft the entire 2017 Arkansas Travelers roster at once

Tyler and his draftmates

As we continue to ramp up for the MLB draft in June, we here at LL are endeavoring to bring you a greater understanding of the deep underpinnings of the draft. Last week, we did a full positional overview to look at what’s currently in the system. This week, we look at how we got here, with a review of past drafts 2012 - 2016.

In 2013, the Mariners were coming off a season where they went 75-87 and again finished fourth in the AL West (back when there were just four teams in the AL West). While not as putrid as the 2011 season that granted them the third pick overall in 2012, this finish was still good for the 12th pick overall.

First round, twelfth overall pick: D.J. Peterson, 3B

Jack Z drafted D.J. back when he was a high schooler before he went off to UNM, and he wasn’t about to let him go here. D.J.’s bat was supposed to be as sure a thing as any in the draft, but an awful accident where he got hit in the face with a pitch threw off his development. D.J. is in Tacoma right now, where he’s been scuffling some in the early season, and also struggling for playing time at first base with the presence of Dan Vogelbach.

Second round, 49th overall: Austin Wilson, OF

Austin Wilson looks like the Platonic ideal of a perfect baseball player, big and tall and strong and handsome. He looks like the guy you’d get to play a baseball player in a movie. Unfortunately, he also played like a guy playing a baseball player in a movie. Wilson is an athletic specimen and looks like the kind of guy who can be trained out of the Stanford Swing, but that just wasn’t the case in the minors, where outside of one BABIP-fueled season, he struggled to hit at all. The Mariners released him before this off-season, and he’s now in the Cardinals system, where he’s in Advanced-A, slashing .184/.245/.184.

Third round, 85th overall: Tyler O’Neill, OF

In 2012 the Mariners got Edwin Diaz in an almost identical draft spot. A year later, they went with Canadian slugger Tyler O’Neill. There’s a real chance that if Jack Z is still running this show, Tyler is hitting .250/.325/.450 with a 30% K rate, as he did in A ball. Fine numbers, but nothing close to his .300/.375/.500 line in Double-A last year.

4th round, 117th overall: Ryan Horstman, LHP

“Oh no, it’s the fourth round and we haven’t taken a pitcher yet, get someone!”—how I imagine this went down. Not that Horstman isn’t a fine choice! But he’s maybe not a fourth-round fine choice. In 65 innings of work at St. John’s, Horstman collected 56 strikeouts with a 2.26 ERA, which are solid if not spectacular numbers. But there’s nothing about Horstman that exactly jumps out, and that’s come to bear over his time through the minors with Seattle. I hate looking back at drafts and saying “but Cody Bellinger was right there!”, and definitely once you’re in the fourth round you’re starting to enter pig-in-a-poke situations, especially with pitching prospects. Also the Mariners had their big three safely secured by this time and what could possibly go wrong and aw screw it we could have had Matt Boyd here.

Next we have a run of picks who are no longer in the system:

5th round, Jack Reinheimer, SS; 6th round, Corey Simpson, RF; 7th round, Tyler Olson, LHP

Fun fact: only two M’s prospects from this draft have ever played in the majors: Emilio Pagan and Tyler Olson. We’ll cover Pagan in a little bit, but Tyler Olson: remember him? Tyler is in the Indians’ organization right now, but he actually was a solid choice for Safeco as a lower-velocity lefty with excellent command. His few appearances for Seattle in 2015 ran the gamut: in one game he posted a 16.13 FIP, and in another, -2.87.

Also drafted this year, still in the system:

Starting in the 8th round, the Mariners drafted a vein of players who are still in the system, but unfortunately, haven’t advanced to the majors—with one exception.

8th round: Tyler Smith, out of OSU: Currently at Tacoma, playing SS/3B.

9th round: Jake Zokan, RHP. Currently hurt. Again.

10th round: Emilio Pagan, RHP. Currently headed back to...Tacoma? Or no, is it Seattle this time? I get confused. Pagan took a huge step forward over the past couple years where the organization started accelerating his timeline, and in the same year he made his WBC debut for team, he made his MLB debut. There’s a real window open for him amidst the bullpen struggles and if he can capitalize on it, he’ll make whatever scout plucked his name out of relative obscurity here look really, really smart.

11th round: Zack Littell, RHP. Okay, he’s technically not still in the system. I sort of wish he was. But although I disliked the trade at the time, having James Pazos has been huge for the Mariners this year. So just imagine James Pazos here instead.

12th round: Justin Seager, 1B. The least-known Seager suffered a terrible back injury in high school which affected his ability to get recruited to a big college, which in turn affected his ability to get drafted. The eternal middle brother, Justin has worked his way up to AA this year, where he’s basically hitting exactly as he always has. Some day he will be a coach, probably in this organization, but for now he’s grinding along.

14th round: Ian Miller, OF. We write about Ian Miller a lot here, and the writings will continue until he gets promoted to Triple-A. Miller was a pure tools grab here with his 46 steals, but he’s already provided plenty of value for a fourteenth-round pick.

20th round: Daniel Torres, C. In the words of John Trupin: contains 6% catcher.

23rd round: Kyle Petty, 1B. This is where you take your big handsome athletic specimen with the fringy bat. The 6’5” Petty has continually run into buzzsaws when he tries to get to AA, which is frustrating for him and for us, I’d imagine. But he won the California League home run derby that was held on an aircraft carrier, and he’s still been more valuable to the Mariners system than Austin Wilson. We’ll always have that.

28th round: Zach Shank, Util. Zach Shank is another contributor-level player, but especially beloved across the organization.

29th round: Chantz Mack, OF. This year the organization took a Chantz on sending him to AA.

30th round: Rafael Pineda, RHP. The only reason I knew to include Pineda on this list when scanning down the draft choices was because he just made a spot appearance at Tacoma, which is continually getting picked over, and got lit the heck up.

Hero of the draft: yesterday this spot was occupied by Dario Pizzano, a fifteenth-round pick who is still hanging around in Tacoma today (in fact, he mashed a tater for Tacoma today). Today it belongs to Jordan Cowan, the Mariners’ 37th-round draft choice. Cowan is a local kid who was essentially a dart throw; I’m not even sure if the team expected him to sign out of Kentlake HS. But sign he did, and he has spent his last four-plus years grinding through the system. And because that’s not enough baseball grit and grind for him, he also goes to Australia over the off-season to play in the Australian Baseball League, where he is revered as a god. Cowan hasn’t made it out of A-ball yet but he’s due for a promotion to AA this year.

Also drafted by the Mariners this year, still active in MLB: N/A

Number of picks who went unsigned: 8

Overall draft impressions: D.J Peterson was supposedly the surest bat in this draft, so it’s hard to fault that choice. Austin Wilson, however, had an injury history at Stanford, and, for my money, hadn’t put up the kind of eye-popping numbers you want with a pick that high. I strongly suspect there was a strong bias towards Wilson’s 6-5 Adonis-like frame. If D.J. hadn’t been available, there were rumors the M’s might have picked Wilson 12th overall, which would have been an egregious miss. Similarly, Tyler O’Neill looks like a steal in the third round, but it’s important to remember that a ton of his prospect buzz came after he started implementing changes taught to him under the Dipoto regime. Other than that, this draft is full of good solid organizational guys, but pretty lacking in starpower or any real starting pitcher prospects.

Draft grade: Depending on what Tyler O’Neill is, C for position players (plenty of role players, no stars), D for pitching. There may be no such thing as a pitching prospect, but there certainly aren’t if you don’t draft/retain any.