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Mariners take INF Colt Emerson with the 22nd pick in the 2023 MLB Draft

A very Mariners-y high-floor high schooler heads to Seattle

Syndication: Zanesville Times Recorder Sam Blackburn/Times Recorder/2022 archived photo / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Mariners have made their first selection of the 2023 Draft, and they’ve essentially repeated their first-round pick from last year by picking Colt Emerson, an infielder from John Glenn HS in Ohio.

Like last year’s first-rounder Cole Young, Emerson doesn’t have the loudest skillset; MLB’s Prospect Pipeline has his highest rating as a hit tool at 60, which speaks to his ability to manipulate the barrel and make consistent hard contact. Emerson has an even, balanced left-handed swing that’s geared for contact and line drives more so than power, although several scouts see him potentially getting to bigger power as he ages. His advanced plate approach and strong understanding of the strike zone give him a safer floor than most high school hitters. He’s a solid, competent defender currently listed as a SS but will likely slide to 3B in pro ball, giving the Mariners a young left side of their infield of the future. Young is the better defender between the two, but Emerson has the higher likelihood of being a power threat in the future.

Here’s what Ben wrote about Emerson in one of his draft preview pieces:

An Auburn commit, Emerson’s 60-grade hit tool outpaces any other bat on this list. While he’s primarily manned the shortstop position, scouts anticipate him moving to another infield position, something he did with the USA U-18 team this last summer when he manned the hot corner. The similarities between he and another former top prep prospect Jarred Kelenic go beyond their midwestern roots and backyard baseball facilities. Emerson’s swing, setup, and general offensive profile from the left side of the batter’s box parallels the former top prospect as well, with Prospect Pipeline projecting that his strength and bat speed could translate to consistent 20-homer power at the big league level someday.

If you’re looking for some upside, Emerson is maybe a bit more raw than Young; he was an All-State wide receiver before deciding that his future lay in baseball, and rocketed up draft boards after having an enormous spring. We know the Mariners like to take players who burst onto the scene and rise quickly just prior to the draft, so Emerson certainly fits that mold. He also fits the mold of the Mariners liking the name “Emerson” in their first-round picks, apparently.

If that writeup doesn’t particularly excite you, well, consider the feeling mostly shared among the LL staff. Emerson is a solid, safe pick, but many of us had hoped for a little more sizzle, maybe, in this deep draft. The Mariners still have two more picks to make in the top-30, so we’ll see where they go with them.