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Mariners select Louisville OF Josh Stowers in second round

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For the second year in a row, the Mariners flummox the draft-talkers

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Louisville vs TCU Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners have made their second pick of the 2018 MLB draft, and it’s toolsy Louisville OFer Josh Stowers (pronounced “stores”). Stowers wasn’t seen as being within the top 200 for Baseball America (and only made it for MLB after Matt Vasil withdrew his name), which threw the MLBN analysts for a bit of a loop, but he was absolutely on fire over Louisville’s tournament run and at the end of the season overall, when he had a 47-game on-base streak, setting a new school record. Stowers boosted his triple-slash line by about fifty points across all categories this year, and posts excellent on-base numbers thanks to an ability to walk significantly more (52 BBs) than he strikes out (37). He’s also an elite base-stealer, nabbing 36 bases this season while only being caught 7 times. He performed well on the Cape this past summer, and was one of the quickest risers leading up to the draft thanks to just powering through the first few rounds of the NCAA tournament. Beyond what he brings on the field, Stowers is a leader off the field as well, and fits in with the importance of character we’ve seen emphasized on the farm in recent years.

Stowers has an easy uppercut swing with power to the pull side. He is part of the “elevate and celebrate” movement and will probably make fast friends with Braden Bishop whenever he runs into him.

He also fits in with the “student of the game” mentality the Mariners seem to prize in prospects and has tweeted about the research he’s done to get the most out of his swing.

Stowers brings value defensively, as well; he’s not the tallest guy, at six feet, but will use his speed to make highlight-reel catches.

(That’s his dad, by the way, and reading through his timeline is a gift you should give yourself.)

Stowers also has a fun personality, some swagger, and some sick dance moves:

Oh, and he’s got good taste in HOF candidates:

The Mariners will almost certainly take some criticism for this pick, as #54 is way higher than most analysts saw Stowers being taken. There were certainly a group of names on my personal draft board who went after this pick that caused me to cringe (adieu, Will Banfield, my favorite player in the draft, please don’t wreck him, Miami). However, after researching Stowers more deeply, I see how his personality, work ethic, and all-around athleticism make him a solid fit for the organization. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops, and just from his style of play alone will make the Everett AquaSox (I presume) some must-watch baseball this summer.