The Mariners drafted five players last night, including the best hitter available in this draft, Dustin Ackley. Let's grade their top three selections.
First Round, Pick Two: Dustin Ackley, UNC, CF/1B
As expected, the Washington Nationals, who picked ahead of the Mariners, drafted prized pitcher Stephen Strasburg, so the Mariners picked up Ackley, rated as the best hitter available in this year's draft.
Ackley mainly played first base because of the Tommy John surgery, but he is more comfortable playing in center field. He has great bat control and bat speed, giving him consistent contact. He has above average speed, so he should be a nicer fit in center field than at first base.
First Round, Pick 27: Nick Franklin, Lake Brantley HS, SS
He doesn't have one tool that stands out, but has a solid tool set and does little bit of everything according to MLB.com. The Mariners have Carlos Triunfel at same position coming up, but I guess Zduriencik saw something impressive out of Franklin. Maybe Franklin will be converting to second base?
Supplemental, Pick 33: Steven Baron, John A. Ferguson School, C
Baron is more of a defensive catcher with excellent throwing skills and catching. Offensively, he has some problem at the plate, but he has good bat speed with potential to hit for power.
Jeff Clement and Rob Johnson aren't playing up to their potential so Baron may get a shot starting in few years. Problem is, he is committed to education. Zduriencik must do good job to convince him.
Ackley and Baron are the one the Mariners needed, but I don't know with Franklin since the Mariners have Triunfel already. Still, Zduriencik did nice job on first night, picking up players who can crack the majors very soon.
I'd call this a "B" work for the Mariners. Good pickups, but no steals included.
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