Yesterday was the draft’s marquee event, the televised first round plus competitive balance/compensation rounds. Today we get into the real nitty-gritty of the draft with rounds 3-10. A reminder on the dates and times for the draft, as well as how to watch, is here. Note that the final two days of the draft are online only, and really, mostly audio only. There’s some MLBN coverage early on but eventually it just becomes a still camera where you essentially listen in on a phone call. Not that that’s a bad thing—sometimes teams have veteran scouts or front office people who are retiring call in to make their picks and they get all choked up and it’s a little heart-squeezy.
If you missed the first day of the draft, catch up with the thread here. The Mariners had two picks: you can read our blurbs on first-rounder RHP Logan Gilbert from Stetson here, and Louisville OFer Josh Stowers here.
Day Two of the draft will feature some deeper dives. As a staff we wrote up a wish list for the later rounds, and today Ben and I profiled some of the players available in Division II schools. There’s plenty more draft coverage under the “MLB Draft” tag on the site, including overviews of draftable talent in the major conferences, a review of the Mariners’ past drafts, and a general overview of the depth in the system at each position.
The Mariners spent conservatively on Day One of the draft by selecting two college players, one of whom (Stowers) will hopefully sign under-slot. That might leave them some money to chase some of the elite, and costly, prep talent available in the third round, such as John’s favorite RHP Kumar Rocker, RHP Cole Wilcox, RHP Adam Kloffenstein, SS Nander De Sedas, OF Mike Siani, or RHP Slade Cecconi (a Kate favorite). As we go deeper in the draft, however, the likelihood of these players signing diminishes. There’s still plenty of talent left in the college ranks, as well, like Cal State Fullerton’s Colton Eastman (RHP), LSU’s Zack Hess (RHP), TCU’s Durbin Feltman (RHP), Kentucky’s Tristan Pompey (OF), or Arkansas’s Blaine Knight (RHP). A run on the top-flight college position players leaves mostly arms here, but Ben’s favorite, 1B Kyle MacDonald from Arkansas State, Tim’s favorite, “Kelenic-lite” Matt Vierling from Notre Dame, and Kate’s favorite, speedy smiley OFer Ako Thomas from Michigan, are still available. Staff favorites Large Lads Albee Weiss and Giovanni Dingcong are also there to provide some thump.
We’ll be updating this post with the latest news and listing the Mariners’ picks here, in addition to providing you in-depth writeups on the newest Mariners in later posts.
Happy Draft Day!
- With their third-round pick, the Mariners select Florida State catcher Cal Raleigh. Here’s what I wrote about him for the ACC preview:
“Cal Raleigh - it’s been a bit of a slow start to the season for Raleigh, named to the preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list. Raleigh’s calling card is his bat, but he’s a fine catcher as well, something that’s always desirable on draft day.”
- With their fourth-round pick, the Mariners select LHP Michael Plassmeyer out of Missouri. Plassmeyer is a command/control lefty who doesn’t throw hard (87-90) but has a high spin rate on his fastball. He also throws a slider and a changeup, with the changeup being better than the slider. His teammate Trey Harris says Plassmeyer’s command is so pinpoint he can “hit a gnat’s butt.”
Here’s the link to my blurb on the pick. There’s a picture of a cute baby tiger!
- With their fifth-round pick, the Mariners go back to college pitching, taking Texas A&M’s RHP Nolan Hoffman. A JUCO transfer, the 6’4” Hoffman dropped down to a sidearm slot this year and became a legitimate weapon out of the Aggies’ bullpen this season. In 55 innings, Hoffman posted an ERA of just over one, striking out 53 while walking 12.
- In the sixth round, the Mariners stick with a college pitcher, but this time there’s a little bit of a wrinkle: Joey O’Brien was raised on Okinawa and attended Kitanakagusuku HS. The 6’2” righty was announced as a pitcher but is a two-way player at the College of Southern Nevada, a JUCO that’s most famous for having Bryce Harper as a brief attendee. He’s been up to 94 with his fastball and also features a slider, and posted a 69:16 K:BB ratio this year. As a offensive player, he’s an outfielder who posted an OBP of almost .500 thanks to a discerning eye at the plate, to go along with a batting average in the .330s. O’Brien, who is fluent in Japanese and English, says he models his game on Ichiro and Masahiro Tanaka, and his brother plays in the NPB.
- Ayyyy I am excited about this one: Nova Southeastern (D-II) catcher Jake Anchia. Baseball America called Anchia the best catcher available in D-II, and in addition to his defensive skills, he is Nova’s home run leader:
The new NSU home run KING!— NSU Baseball (@NSU_Baseball) March 30, 2018
➡️ Jake Anchia ⬅️ pic.twitter.com/k2QCBcPVns
Anchia also performed well on the Cape this summer, showing power with a wood bat. The son of a Cuban defector who endured a harrowing journey to the US and worked his way up to deputy fire chief in Miami Beach, Anchia credits his father for his strong work ethic.
- In the 8th round the Mariners go back to pitching and snag Illinois’s RHP Joey Gerber, a 6’4” pure reliever who is a great value at this slot. Gerber is a big arm, sitting 92-96, with a sharp slider that sits 82-85. He allowed a career-low BAA of .182 this season while striking out 45 in just 28 innings. He managed to lower his walk rate some, after allowing 20 in just 33 innings last year, to just 14 free passes. The Mariners will need to work with him to refine his command, and the violence in his unconventional delivery scares me a little. Gerber tied the Illinois single-season record for saves this year:
- In the 9th round the Mariners select senior OF from Georgia Keegan McGovern. Here’s what I wrote about him in the SEC preview:
“Senior LF Keegan McGovern is intriguing, although he recently tweaked his back and missed some time, which sucks because he was working on a streak where he’d reached base 21 straight times. McGovern doesn’t have plus defensive abilities, but he can rake, and as a senior, he’ll be a hot value signing as teams blow their first-round signing bonuses”
McGovern posted career-highs across the board, and also lost some weight this year and maybe gained a little mobility. It’s curious that he was announced as a center fielder, because his speed and defense is graded relatively poorly by scouts. He can throw pretty well from left, though:
But his real calling card is his powerful left-handed bat:
He’s a bright one, too, earning the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award this season.
- With their final pick of the day, the Mariners DO NOT DRAFT OSU’s Michael Gretler, a Bonney Lake native and 3B I realllllly wanted, because the Pirates took him four picks earlier. Instead, they select another infielder, their first of the day: senior Matt Sanders, SS from Troy University. Sanders is slight and won’t hit for power but is a true shortstop with elite speed and the ability to steal bases. He doesn’t strike out much: in his career at Troy, in 850 ABs, he’s struck out just over 100 times while walking almost that amount.
That’s it for today. We’ll have a draft summary post up highlighting some of these picks later on. Join us tomorrow for the final day of the draft, where I and the LL staff will riot if we don’t get one of our two favorite Large Lads, Giovanni Dingcong or Albee Weiss.