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Seattle Mariners select Cole Young with 21st Pick in 2022 MLB Draft

A second consecutive high school hitter? All my dreams are coming true

We should’ve known we were in for a wild MLB Draft the moment the Texas Rangers selected Kumar Rocker third overall. The Rangers’ decision to draft Rocker way higher than most everyone had him going, and earlier than he went last year, was the first sign that things were about to go off the rails. RIP to AL West hitters facing Rocker and Jack Leiter for the next decade.

Things got even more unpredictable when Cade Horton went to the Chicago Cubs. Horton went from a doubtful first-round pick to #7 in the span of a couple of months, thanks in large part to his incredible showing during the College World Series.

All of my dreams very nearly came true when Cam Collier continued to slide down the board well outside of the projected top-10 that many experts had him in. Tragically, Cincinnati finally ended his drop by taking him at #18 and crushing my dreams in the process.

The Mariners kept up the unpredictable nature of the draft and selected SS Cole Young with the 21st pick in the draft. It is a sharp departure from the early years of the Dipoto era with a strong focus on college arms. Young is the second consecutive high school bat the Mariners have selected with their first pick, following the selection of Harry Ford last year. The perceived preference toward college pitchers was just a coincidence, according to Dipoto: “Since I’ve been here in Seattle, we always have taken what we thought was the best player at that time.”

Cole Young checks off every box for the Mariners, something Dipoto and Scouting Director Scott Hunter mentioned multiple times. He is a left-handed hitting shortstop from Western Pennsylvania, not exactly a hotbed for high-school baseball talent. Young took advantage of a brighter spotlight while playing in the summer circuit last year and instantly drew the attention of MLB teams that quickly moved him up their draft boards. He also chose to stay at home and watch the draft with his friends and family instead of going to LA to meet Rob Manfred. We have no choice but to stan.

Hunter was absolutely enamored with Young and how complete of a player he is. “Sometimes it’s hard to say a Western Pennsylvania kid is as polished as this young man is,” Hunter said. “We’re not only getting a good hitter, but we are also getting a darn good baseball player.” Hunter mentioned Young’s ability to play the field as part of what makes Young a complete player. Hunter thinks Young will stick at shortstop but also has the versatility to play second and third base.

Young is one of the best hitters in this year’s draft, both statistically and from a pure aesthetics perspective, as he showed last summer and in his high school career with more walks than strikeouts. He seemingly fits the Ms model to control the zone to a T.

“He is the definition of what we want our pitchers to be,” Hunter said about his ability on pitch selection and dominating the strike zone. “He is probably going to be one of the candidates to lead our organization in that kind of control the zone as a hitter.”

Sure, they are high school numbers against probably not the best of the best, but Young’s numbers at North Allegheny High School are absurd nevertheless. He had a .428/.554/.766 slash line across his three seasons there. He also had just nine (9!) strikeouts across his last two years as a Tiger.

One notable concern is that Young only had 11 home runs across 73 games in high school. Hunter was not too worried about the lack of power because he is so confident in Young’s swing and his ability to hit the ball to all fields.

“I’ve always been a believer since I started, you take the hitter first and the power always surprises you,” Hunter said. “He has raw power but he is a kid who doesn’t give up at-bats. He uses the whole field. He would rather take a line drive than sell out for power. We do think with the maturity of his bat; he’ll be exceeding his power grades because he is such an advanced hitter.” MLB Pipeline has Young at a 40-grade power.

Young has been a target for the Ms since about 30 seconds after Scott Hunter saw him take batting practice in Pennsylvania, “After two swings, I remember texting Jerry, and saying “this is an easy one”, Hunter said. If you remember the lead-up to the 2018 draft when Jarred Kelenic visited Seattle, it was a very similar reaction from Hunter and Dipoto.

His swing is indeed very pretty.

I let out an audible “oh gosh” on that home run swing. so it’s probably for the best that I am not running an MLB draft for a team because I would be infatuated with every potential player and heartbroken when they are unavailable. (I miss you already Cam Collier)

The other upside to selecting Young (and Ford and Arroyo) is that it theoretically extends the Mariners' contention window as they all graduate to Seattle around the same time.