clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 MLB Draft: The Mariners and Division II Players, Central and East Regions

With bonus position player AND gruesome baseball injury content!

Trevor Rucker is making a ruckus
Mulerider Athletics

With Ethan tackling some of the more well-known prospects for the 2017 draft, I’m going to cover some deeper possible picks, especially in the realm of Division II pitching. Each year, between 30-50 D-II players are drafted, and the Mariners usually select one or two players. The success of Dan Altavilla (5th round in 2014, Mercyhurst) and strong performance so far in the minors by Brandon Miller (6th round in 2016, Millersville), both of whom were Division II standouts, might tempt Jerry to dip back into that pool in this year’s draft. I’m going to work my way through the divisions, highlighting the most intriguing names from each school. The other day I tackled the Atlantic Region, which includes powerhouse Mercyhurst; today I’m cherry-picking out of the Central and East regions.

T.J. Santiago, RHP, Adelphi University (Sr.)

First of all, shout-out to Adelphi for having one of the better DII college athletics pages I’ve looked at; some of them are painful to the eyes and thin on information. T.J Santiago isn’t a huge kid—he’s listed about 6-foot and looks fairly slight on the mound—but he’s been filthy this year, pitching three complete game shutouts. He also hit a new career high of single-game strikeouts, with 13, surpassing his old record of 11. In 77.2 innings pitched, he’s struck out 81 batters and issued just 7 walks, for a bonkers K:BB ratio of 11.57:1. His ERA over that span was 1.51. The NCBWA East Region Pitcher of the Year, Santiago will graduate tied for the school’s all-time strikeout record, with 242 racked up over his career at Adelphi. Santiago works low in the zone and induces lots of ground balls with a good sinking fastball; he’s also a plus athlete who fields his position well and is a quick worker on the mound. Thanks again to Adelphi having excellent coverage of their college athletes, you can watch Santiago in action here and here. Oh, also, his nickname is “Latin Heat,” so bonus points for that.

Trevor Rucker, OF, Southern Arkansas (Sr.)

I’ve mostly focused on pitching in this series, but Rucker had an incredible season at Southern Arkansas. While conference-mate Jack Schmidt received preseason accolades, it was Rucker who exploded this year with 20 doubles and 20 home runs, the only player in DII baseball to achieve that mark so far this year. He also stole 20 bases, a testament to his overall athleticism, to become the first 20-20-20 player in Great American Conference history. He is the NCBWA Central Region player of the year, and the first baseball player to be an All-GAC selection each of his four years in school, and literally as I was typing this was named as a finalist for the Tino Martinez DII Player of the Year award, which I just found out is a thing. He’s slashing a bananas .393/.498/.860 and would definitely be worth a late-round flier. Here he is murdering a baseball:

Bryant Haralson, RHP, Henderson State (Jr.)

Haralson, listed at 6’0”/170, has a very Cisheky build to him, although unlike Steve, he’s got an extreme overhead delivery. Or at least, this is what I am led to assume from filtering through pictures of his delivery online. Open plea for DII sports pages to be more like Adelphi. Anyway, what caught my eye about Haralson, a junior college transfer, was that he pitched a workhorse 100+ innings for Henderson State this year, but managed a miserly 2.16 ERA over that time. He struck out 114 batters and only walked 13. He was just named a finalist for the Brett Tomko award for DII pitcher of the year, an award both Brandon Miller and Dan Altavilla had been tabbed for as well, so I’m assuming some siren went off at Safeco HQ when that happened. Oh yeah, he’s also super tough, too. This year, he got hit in the face with an errant pickoff throw:

But stayed in the game, and got the W anyway:

He even had some fun with it after.

Man, that’s a kid I want playing for my team.