The 2019 draft has come to a close, meaning there’s a clutch of new Mariners just waiting to become our favorites. The LL staff has combed through the draft tracker, done some perfunctory Googling, and are now ready to present the players to whom we swear fealty like Brienne of Tarth trudging around the frozen North pledging allegiance to various ungrateful Stark children. Since we wrote that topical lede, some of the picks have begun playing, and their affiliate will be noted. [John: RUDE. -Kate]
Last year’s picks are looking pretty good, with only Matthew and Kate having lost their adopted children: Kate’s Stanford engineering marvel Beau Branton retired from baseball after getting hit with pitches near-constantly in the California League, and Matthew’s swaggy son Josh Stowers became fellow swaggy son Shed Long in a trade with the Yankees, so we’ll call that one even.
There are a couple of All-Stars in the bunch, as well: John’s Joey Gerber (California League) and Isabelle’s Jake Anchia (South Atlantic League). Connor might have done the best job of targeting a sleeper by taking 29th-rounder Bobby Honeyman, who had an electric debut season in which he proved almost impossible to strike out. Who will make the best choices this year and who (Kate) will rightfully be shamed for picking someone who flees the minor leagues for a job at Disneyland?
Tim - RHP Ty Adcock
There’s a lot to love about Ty Adcock, whose name can be ably written with emoji. First, Adcock is relatively new to pitching, because he was playing the field and crushing 17 bombs in his college career (12 in 2019!) while playing all over the field. The still-raw Adcock found himself on the mound this year, striking out 37 and walking 16 in 31 innings. He’s reached 98 on the mound and is still developing a slider. There’s a lot to dream on the athleticism and talent here, since Adcock has had good results as a novice on the mound. Beyond that, he’s just a big goof who has a classic bullpen personality for a club that’s seen the likes of Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen pass through its outfield wall.
He also has a straight up aggressive delivery, and the attitude on the mound to match.
You’ll see him in Seattle soon, I bet, flowing locks and all.
John - RHP Anthony Tomczak
Maybe someday Anthony Jonathan Tomczak will embrace a contraction or two, gifting us with the name Tony Jon Tom Zak. As we wait for him to embrace his full potential as an New Kids On The Block knockoff band, Tomczak will attempt to be the 3rd prep pitcher drafted by the Mariners in the past 15 years to crack the majors with them, and the first since Edwin Díaz. I don’t expect Tomczak’s repertoire to outpace Edi, but he’s the type of player to grow on all the same. The Mariners intend to go over slot to lure Tomczak away from his commitment to Stetson University, where they plucked Logan Gilbert from just a year ago. Stetson’s famed duo (which Gilbert will hopefully make a trio) is Jacob DeGrom and Corey Kluber. All three are long, tall righties who lean heavily on their fastballs to eat innings and overpower their opponents. Tomczak is a mere 6’2-6’3, but his 89-94 fastball has healthy run that has confounded hitters in what little video I’ve been able to track down.
It’s an easy motion that evokes all of what teams go agog for in prep players - add some muscle and see the stuff emerge. He works a split-change in the low-80s along with a slider and curveball. His compact delivery has an Ljay Newsome-style simplicity to it, and I suspect the similarity in movement on the fastball was not lost on M’s scouts. Newsome was a 26th-round HS signee himself, so the road map is there for Seattle’s player development. A few years of strength and a few adjustments could easily get Tomczak in the 90s consistently, giving hitters fits and brightening Seattle’s future.
Ben - C Anthony Lepre (AZL)
For the second straight draft, the Mariners used three draft selections on catchers. This year, the second of the three backstops chosen by the M’s was The Masters University C Anthony Lepre. The Valencia, CA native is a senior sign who played his first two years of college ball at College of the Canyons where he swatted 28 home runs and slashed .367/.403/.676 through 80 games, after which he joined the D1 ranks at UC Riverside for the 2017 season. The transition was a rough one for Lepre, starting 37 games but posting an OPS of just .750 and seeing his strikeouts inflate to 24.5%.
After electing to transfer to The Masters University for his final season of eligibility, he joined forces with fellow 2019-draftee (14th round to the Pirates) Aaron Shackleford to form one of the most formidable middle-of-the-orders you’ll find in all of college baseball. Through 52 games, Lepre slashed ranked seventh in the NAIA in hitting, slashing .438/.489/.933 and hit 28 longballs en route to being named an NAIA First-Team All-American.
His height listing of 5’10” is reportedly considered “generous” and the defense is apparently lacking behind the dish, but there remains hope that his bat will play at a corner-infield position. He utilizes a fairly significant leg kick to assist in generating power out of his slight frame, and it’s worked well for him as he’s routinely hit for extra-bases. If the organization does indeed attempt to coach him up on his catching defense, he could add to what’s suddenly become a nice stable of offensive-minded catchers in the system.
Joe - RHP Michael Limoncelli (INJ)
Mariners 6th round pick Michael Limoncelli is a my-kind-of-guy draft pick. He’s a high-ceiling guy who had drawn early round consideration before ultimately requiring Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL.
The one thing that really stands out of Limoncelli is he can absolutely spin a baseball. Some reports last Spring had his bender registering around 2900 RPM. This would rank in the top 15 percentile for major league pitchers. You can’t help but wonder if that kind of strain and torque on his breaking ball ultimately led to him going under the knife.
The fact of the matter is, once you’ve had Tommy John once, the chances of you needing it again decline. Better he have the UCL repaired now, rather than further down the road.
Limoncelli also brings a low-90s fastball to the table, as well as an average changeup. At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, he’ll need to add more weight to hold up to the rigors of a starting pitcher’s workload.
Several reports had the Yankees very interested in the New York prepster prior to the draft, though it’s unclear if the interest wavered following his injury announcement in May.
If Limoncelli signs as some reports suggest he will, 2019 will be a lost year. He will likely begin throwing in January, and would likely be ready for a taste of Everett and the Northwest League in 2020.
Grant - OF Cade Marlowe (Everett)
Give me a fast outfielder every day and twice on Sunday. I fancied myself one back when I still played baseball, and I’m always drawn to that player type. (Please redeem me, Mallex!) So when I learned that Cade Marlowe set a single-season West Georgia record with 46 steals in 2019, and that he also holds the career mark with 87 thefts, I was hooked. His .389/.460/.548 slash line, with more walks + hit-by-pitches (29) as strikeouts (26), paints a pretty picture too. Last summer, as a member of the Savannah Bananas (what a name!) in the Coastal Plain League, Marlowe was 37/40 on the basepaths while piling up 76 total bases, good for 10th in the league.
In terms of small, potentially meaningless trivia, I love that he graduated from UWG with a 3.87 GPA as a biology major, with plans to go to medical school down the road. And I love love that he homered in his first minor league at-bat. That’s gotta be a good sign, right?
So far, the Tifton, Georgia native has played in right and center field, which portends well for the strength of his throwing arm. There’s precious little out there on the Internet to make you fall in love with him, so I guess you’ll have to come on up to Everett with me to scout him out. Deal? Deal.
Eric - RHP Brock Minich (Everett)
It is no secret that I like my baseball players to be large and in charge. Footspeed is not something I require for baseball enjoyment. Hitting the ball really far? Yes, please. Throwing the ball over the plate really fast? Oh, yeah. So, it’s with great pride and joy that I’d like to introduce our newest Large Son, 27th round pick Brock Minich from Nova Southeastern University. Where the hell is that? Take one look at this logo and guess.
Minich somehow looks like someone mashed together the facial features of Braden Bishop and Dan Altavilla.
But, that’s about the only thing he has in common with them as Brock stands 6’6” tall and weighs 220. That’s a large human.
Minich’s stats won’t drop any jaws, although he struck out 24 batters in 24.2 innings in relief appearances and held batters to just .202 hitting. But clearly the Mariners scouts see something in his physical stature and mechanics and hope to develop those natural attributes into a productive major league pitcher. Hopefully we’ll be seeing him in Everett this season, along with the rest of the freshest crop of Mariners draftees.
Nick - RHP Dutch Landis
Let’s get this out of the way: His name is Dutch. Dutch is a language. “Have you met my son, Japanese?” No. I don’t buy it.
Otherwise, for all of the reasons I wanted Matthew Allan, I love Dutch Landis.
In one word? Upside. In two words? Curveballs, yeah.
Dutch is a prep RHP with a low 90’s fastball and a big, beautiful, boys-to-the-yard-bringing 12/6 curve. I adore a good curveball. Despite watching Randy Johnson, my favorite Mariner pitcher was 31 year old Aaron Sele and his 4.8 K/9 only because I liked the shape of his bender.
Let’s look at Dutch’s curve.
(credit: The Baseball Factory)
Mechanically speaking, Dutch is en vogue. As Kiley McDaniel mentioned on the Effectively Wild podcast: “Teams care more about approach angle and spin axis now. More pitchers with vertical arm slots (are) moving up boards. … because pitches that move (vertically) are correlated with missing bats.” Dutch’s combination of a vertical slot, deep breaking ball, and high-spin fastball means that he already fits the mold the Mariners are shaping prospects into. This may allow them to move him a bit quicker than typical of third-day prep arms and focus on developing a third pitch.
Searching for a comp him, I stumbled into RHP Ross Stripling and his low 90s heater and bat-missing high 70s curve.
In case you didn't know, Ross Stripling has a gorgeous curveball. pic.twitter.com/W8O7PGpXw1— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) June 11, 2018
After wiping the drool from my keyboard, I noticed some similarities in their deliveries.
The angles make this attempt terrible and futile, and Dutch is a tad more ¾ than Stripling, but we can see how they are able to generate that vaunted efficient spin axis with their vertical release points.
Stripling is not a comp, really (how do you comp a 17 year old just drafted in the 17th round?), but may outline a path to success. Dutch, if he signs (Scott Hunter seems confident he will forgo his Central Arizona CC commitment), will enter the system with two quality pitches, decent command, and at 6’ 2” and only 185 pounds, more strength and experience to gain. His ceiling is vaulted, his hammer strong. It might not have been the Matt Allan I wanted, but Dutch Landis has me hook, line, and heater.
Connor - OF Trent Tingelstad (Everett)
In case my previous picks of Bobby Honeyman and Shea Langeliers didn’t tip you off, I tend to gravitate towards 80-grade names when I’m choosing MY guy. Position is irrelevant. Trent Tingelstad is another name for the books, and the 22nd round pick - 666th overall - has taken an interesting path to professional ball.
The lefty-swinging Tingelstad is a local kid, hailing from Marysville and graduating from Marysville-Pilchuck in 2016, fresh off the heels of a monster senior year in which he slashed .410/.570/.557 with just three strikeouts in 86 turns at bat. Despite this excellent slash line, he went undrafted and spent the next two years at Everett Community College, hitting a combined .346 with decent gap power and strong plate discipline. This was enough for him to transfer to the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and after bulking up by thirty pounds, he laid waste to the Sun Belt Conference. Posting an ISO over .200 for the first time in his life, Tingelstad didn’t sacrifice any of his eye, walking at 16.5% clip and striking out just 11.4% of the time. That power was something else, too:
At 5’10” and now 215 pounds, Tingelstad is, as the kids say, thique, and profiles much more as a corner outfielder. Signing just three days after being drafted, he’s currently in Everett, and has started in eight of their first ten games, splitting equal time in the outfield corners. While his slash line of .226/.333/.355 looks pedestrian, his great eye has been on display, working five walks in the first 36 plate appearances of his pro career. He also bashed his first homer on Friday, and that newfound power should start coming into play with the warmer weather on the horizon. Plus, his name is Trent Tingelstad. What’s not to like?
Amanda – C Carter Bins (Everett)
I have a thing for catchers. It’s an incredibly demanding position that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Catchers put in so much grueling work and get physically pummeled in the process by foul bats, errant bats, and wild pitches. I don’t mind if a catcher can’t hit well; it’s a nice bonus if he can, but the good defense makes up for it to me. Once the draft was over I found myself drifting toward Carter Bins, a defense-first catcher taken in the 11th round.
Bins had previously been drafted out of high school in the 35th round in 2016. He opted for college at Fresno State instead. Despite the draft, he wasn’t a highly touted player and in fact only had one NCAA Division 1 offer. He made the most of his 3 seasons at Fresno State and there was some speculation he could have gone in the 3rd round. His offense wasn’t as good his junior year as it was his sophomore year and that’s likely the reason he dropped back so far. But like I said, I don’t care that much about offense from my catcher (your mileage may vary, of course). After seeing the way Cal Raleigh’s defense has improved, I’m eager to see what the Mariners organization can do with a catcher who is already a talented receiver.
Due to his offense, many project him as a backup catcher at the major league level. I’m curious if a player who attracted little interest from colleges is a late bloomer who will prove those projections wrong.
This video is featured in nearly everything written about Bins. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth a watch:
Zach - RHP Kyle Hill (West Virginia)
Baseball is unequivocally the most difficult major sport. Both pitching and hitting require such precise technique with such a small margin for error that it should be hard to fault a guy for messing up sometimes.
Still, even though Cory Gearrin probably isn’t trying to throw four straight balls, it seems like he should be able to throw a strike! It’s not that hard, Cory! And even though Dee Gordon would probably like better than anyone to walk more than 4.2% of the time, it sure would be great if you could lay off the first pitch strike, Dee.
That was why I loved Denard Span so much. He did well at the few things in baseball that fans think they could do well. He took pitches for balls. He fielded alright. He base-ran alright.
Enter Kyle Hill. He throws strikes, because a pitcher should be able to throw strikes! Hill pounded the strike zone throughout his senior year at Baylor, and finished with a 35/10 K/BB ratio. Even more impressively, he did not give up a single run all year. Yes, you read that correctly. In 29.1 innings, Kyle Hill gave up zero runs. Opponents batted just .109 off of him.
Hill mainly throws a fastball that sits in the low 90’s and a slider that runs in the mid 80’s. He’s clearly a future reliever, but he’s one of those relievers that has shown solid fundamentals early. He’s already made an appearance for the West Virginia Power, and if he can keep pace with his Minor League counterparts, he could find himself climbing the system sooner rather than later.
Kate - INF Patrick Frick (Everett)
The point of the “My Guy” series is to shed a little light on guys who might not have the name recognition of some of their peers, so I’m going to skip over Isaiah Campbell here, who was one of my dream selections for the Mariners, and even local icon fifth-rounder Austin Shenton, and dig a little deeper. Like Zach above, my favorite player archetype is “competent.” I’m all about that on-base, baby, and that’s why I like 14th-rounder Patrick Frick. His power numbers aren’t going to blow anyone out of the water, but in his last two seasons at Wake Forest, he walked more than he struck out and averaged better than a hit per game. Already for Everett he’s displayed that strong plate discipline while capably holding down both middle infield spots, and I expect the hitting to heat up as he adjusts to pro ball.
Matthew - OF Antoine Carter-Mistico (AZL)
Antoine. Carter. Mistico.
Say that out loud a few times. Swish the letters around in your mouth like you’re at a wine tasting. Put your own personal flair on each syllable. Pretty fun, right?
Now feast your eyes on this sauce lord, who appears to have posted this picture for no other reason other than to flex. (Antoine is on your right here, both literally and figuratively)
His foot is firmly planted on all of our necks.
The Mariners plucked Carter-Mistico out of GateWay Community College, persuading him out of a commitment to the University of Illinois. The Chandler, AZ native is a left-handed hitting outfielder with good speed, some promising defensive skills, and a .340/.455/.524 slash line from his final season at GateWay.
But most importantly, let’s finish on the Instagram. It’s fire.