Obviously, the Mariners have some talent in the minors, but a number of their top prospects are pitchers. There are definitely hitting prospects such as Mike Zunino, Brad Miller and Stefen Romero. However, there isn't a high number of obvious slugging prospects.
After this draft, the Mariners hope to address that a bit. As tweeted by Greg Johns of MLB.com:
Of course, drafting baseball players is a tough mix of scouting, research and guesswork. Some players obviously pan out, while others never make the transition to the big leagues.
With that in mind, here are some predictions for the Seattle Mariners’ top three draft picks.
First round: D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B
Obviously, there are always high hopes for a first-round pick. Peterson is an experienced college hitter who may represent the type of polished player that can make an impact on the Mariners in the next few years. Seattle certainly hopes that Peterson can move quickly through the farm system.
According to MLB.com, “He's an advanced hitter with plus power, one who's not afraid to take a walk.” That is good news for a team like the Mariners, who have struggled to develop young hitters with pop.
MLB also wrote, “Some scouts felt he was the best pure hitter, especially in the college ranks, in the entire class.” If that is the case, the Mariners may have gotten a steal with the 12th pick.
For a moment, let’s be optimistic and assume that Peterson turns out to be a patient hitter with plus power. If that all comes together, he could have a very nice career.
Second round: Austin Wilson, RF
When you think about the guys who have played right field for the Mariners, there are some notable names. Jay Buhner comes to mind. Ichiro Suzuki had a pretty solid career in Seattle.
Will Austin Wilson be a cannon-armed, power-hitting right fielder that puts balls in the seats and then guns down opposing runners? Fans can hope.
As noted by Mike Rosenbaum of Bleacher Report, Wilson has all the physical tools to be an impact player. The question is whether he has fully recovered from an arm injury that he suffered this spring. If not, some of that power and athleticism might be hard to channel.
Wilson looks good on paper, but there is an ongoing stigma about the Stanford hitter, as noted by Baseball America. We will see how Wilson makes the transition to pro ball. He could be the type of player that hits monster home runs but strikes out a lot.
Prediction: Everyday player
Third round: Tyler O’Neill, RF
Baseball remains an inexact science, so forecasting the future success of certain players gets very difficult. With O’Neill, the Mariners are getting a guy who was a shortstop but is now a catcher, or perhaps a right fielder.
There are some positive comments, including analysis from MLB.com, which categorizes O’Neill as “aggressive” and someone who “should develop good power.” That sounds good, though there is obviously some uncertainty.
His nickname is “Tank.” Is that a good thing?