Let me start off by saying I have absolute, complete, and total faith in Z's expertise when it comes to the draft.
But I'm going to take a crack at it—more like a dent, seeing how I'm not going too deeply into it.
For the Mariners to be successful, the middle of the field (C, SS, 2B, CF) must be above average either defensively, offensively, or both. Once this core is in place, the position players in the M's system can be the support for this core.
The pitching staff is the same basic idea.
The pitchers in our system look to translate into power relievers (Fields and Aumont) and No. 3-5 starters (Pineda, Ramirez, and possibly Adcock). So, to me, our needs have to be strengthening the middle of our field and finding a No. 2 pitcher, preferably left handed.
The problem is this draft is extremely shallow.
That's bad seeing how this particular draft is critical to the success of this team's near future.
So is it better to just go after the best talent available?
In some instances...yes.
Here's my No. 2, 27, 33, and 51 picks.
No. 2—Dustin Ackley, CF, North Carolina
This pick should go to the best available talent.
Assuming Strasburg doesn't fall, Ackley is the best overall talent and also is the safest pick (Aaron Curry anyone?). He projects to be either a LF with good defense or CF with average D.
Either way, he will hit.
Maybe he won't hit for extreme amounts of power, especially at Safeco, but he's going to be a consistent .300+ hitter every year, take some batting titles, and be a consistent threat for a 20/20 season.
He's also patient, something Z has been looking to add—patient lefty hitters, and with good reason. He seems like a No. 2 hitter to me, maybe a leadoff man.
Basically he'll be a .330, 15 HR, and 25 SB guy who draws a lot of walks and is left handed...in a few years.
No. 27—Jiovanni Mier, SS, Bonita HS
LHSP's Tyler Skaggs and James Paxton are options here as well, but I'd go with the SS out of Bonita High School. Although he isn't as patient as you might want to see, he's strong and figures to bulk up enough to hit about 15 HR, but not enough that he needs to get a position switch.
He too figures as a No. 2 hitter. His defense is known to be smooth and above average, and he will stick at SS. He'll need some time to develop most likely, but he's the eventual replacement for Betancourt.
No. 33—Bobby Borchering, 1B, Bishop Verot HS
This may be a little bit of a stretch, seeing how Borchering may or may not make it to this point, but I'm going to say he does.
This pick is one for talent and not need.
Borchering is a switch hitter with great bat speed and power, although he does have a slight uppercut that could lead to contact issues in pro ball. He also strikes out surprisingly little for someone who fits that description.
So, from what I gathered, he seems like a switch hitting Russel Branyan with less strikeouts. After the year Russel is having so far, a lot of smiles just formed on Mariners fans' faces reading this.
Hopefully he stays off the injury list.
I haven't been able to dig up anything on his defense, but he's young and has plenty of time to work on that under Captain Jack's system.
No. 51—Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt
If Minor was available here it would be wise to take him.
He has a pitcher's body and features a low 90's fastball with what is considered a plus change, solid curve, and slider. His mechanics are great, but he's been a lot more hittable this year which may raise some eyebrows on some teams, causing him to fall to 51.
Although this concern me as well, I still see him as a No. 3 or 4 starter. Still, that's not really the core we are looking for; it’s a left handed arm in a M's system dominated by righties.
So there it is.
Once again, I'll leave this to Captain Jack and Co., but this is my take.
One thing to look for on draft day is the number of positional players vs. the number of pitchers taken. Z likes to draft hitters high and they tend to have great success.
Look for this and team, and particularly our offense, to explode in the next five years.