Draft Preview: Mariners in different situation
Seattle won't make first pick until compensation round
SEATTLE -- The miles traveled and players seen have been substantially higher the past several months than during Tom McNamara's first year as the Mariners' amateur scouting director.
"The biggest difference between selecting No. 2 and No. 43 is that when you have the No. 2 pick, you have the luxury of seeing certain players five or six times," McNamara said. "But because of the unknown, we have seen more players fewer times this year."
Of the first 100 selections in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, the Mariners have the 43rd, 67th and 99th picks.
"It's a little different than last year," McNamara said.
The Mariners had the No. 2 overall selection last year in the First-Year Player Draft and chose left-handed-hitting Dustin Ackley, a three-time All-American at the University of North Carolina.
Seattle also had the 27th, 33rd, 51st and 82nd overall picks, which put it in position to have a superb Draft class and perhaps the foundation for future success.
"I don't have a crystal ball that will tell me who will be available with the 43rd pick," McNamara said, "but we'll take the best player available, whether it's a pitcher or a position player. We're planning on picking the 'right' player."
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from Monday to Wednesday on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, beginning with the Draft preview show at 3 p.m. PT.
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.
Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m., and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m.. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.
Here's a glance at what the Mariners have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
It will be a far different story this year than last, when Seattle had five of the first 82 Draft selections. The Mariners lost their first-round selection (18th overall) to the Angels by signing Chone Figgins and must wait until the first compensation round (43rd overall for losing Adrian Beltre to the Red Sox) to get involved in the 2010 Draft.
Based on the overall lack of power hitters within the organization, it probably behooves the Mariners to think offense, especially during the early rounds of the Draft.
Without a first-round pick for the first time since 2004, when Seattle selected hometown infielder Matt Tuiasosopo, there is not much of a buzz going around the Northwest.
Only three of the first 11 selections last year were pitchers, so it would not be surprising to see the organization be more balanced this year. As every organization knows, you can never have enough pitching.
The Mariners dipped into the college ranks throughout the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Of the first 15 selections, starting with Ackley and ending with center fielder Matthew Cerione, all but two of the first 15 picks were from the college ranks. Only seven of Seattle's 52 selections were out of high school.
Recent Draft History
2009: Ackley -- After playing the outfield during the Arizona Fall League, the No. 2 overall selection was switched to second base -- a transition that started in January. After his first 45 games and 151 at-bats with Double-A West Tennessee, Ackley was batting .225 with one home run and 14 RBIs, but he entered June on a five-game hitting streak.
Nick Franklin -- The 27th overall choice out of Lake Brantley High School (Florida) is off to a superb pro start, batting .322 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs after 50 games with Class A Clinton.
2008: Josh Fields -- The former University of Georgia closer is having a so-so second professional season, appearing in 18 games for West Tennessee. As of June 1, he had a 1-1 record and 3.75 ERA with four saves. His 22-16 strikeout/walk ratio in 24 innings gets your attention in a not-so-good kind of way.
2007: Phillippe Aumont -- Regarded as a future rotation mainstay for the Mariners, the Canada product became a reliever in the Seattle system before being included in the Cliff Lee trade with the Phillies last December.
Right-hander Michael Pineda, a 21-year-old non-drafted free-agent signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, has been impressive for Double-A West Tennessee, posting a 4-1 record and a 2.32 ERA in his first nine starts. His 59 strikeouts and 13 walks in 50 1/3 innings are outstanding.
Right-hander Steven Hensley, a fourth-round selection in 2008, is on the fast track to the big leagues, winning five of his first seven decisions at Double-A West Tennessee, with a 1.53 ERA in his first 47 innings. Hensley had a 20-7 record in his first 43 Minor League appearances, all but four of them in a starting role.
In The Show
Catcher Adam Moore, a sixth-round Draft selection in 2006, walked through the door opened by Kenji Johjima, who returned to Japan with two years remaining on his Seattle contract to land a spot on the Opening Day roster in '10. His defense is big league-caliber right now, but his offense needs to improve for him to take over the position on a full-time basis.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.