Seattle Mariners: 5 Ineffective Draft Picks in 2011
The title of this slideshow indicates that it is critical of the Mariners' 2011 draft, but the Tom McNamara, his scouts and Jack Zduriencik did a pretty nice job overall.
They addressed most of the team's needs adequately, but some were overdone and some didn't receive enough attention. The final tally is seven OF, three 1B, two 2B, one 3B, three SS, seven C, 22 RHP and six LHP.
The two biggest standouts there are the 28 pitchers and sole third baseman. Maybe the players the scouts wanted for third base were already taken, but isn't that a little ridiculous? Right now, the Mariners have one of the best rotations in the league and an awesome bullpen, and Chone Figgins has been having a terrible year at third.
With that in mind, here are five picks the Mariners could have improved.
LHP Danny Hultzen, UVA
It's hard to be upset about getting the top left-handed pitcher in the draft—especially when it's Danny Hultzen—but he was not the best option for the Mariners, who had the second overall pick.
After the Pirates took RHP Gerrit Cole first, most people thought that 3B Anthony Rendon was the logical choice for the Mariners. He has great raw power, a good glove and he'd be major league ready by 2012 or 2013 at the latest. He's a perfect replacement for the struggling Chone Figgins. So why'd the M's take Hultzen?
Well, Tom McNamara, the head of scouting in Seattle, has been loving him since he was in high school. Another plus is Hultzen's left-handedness. Lefty pitchers are much more valuable than their right-handed counterparts, and the Mariners two current aces, Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda, are both right-handers.
However, four of the five pitchers in the starting rotation are young and headed towards their primes, so there isn't a lot of room for Hultzen.
Like I said, it's difficult to say this was a bad pick, but the Mariners could have done more for their future by drafting Rendon.
RHP Carter Capps, Mount Olive College
Another big right-handed pitcher with a fast fastball and biting slider? Didn't we just call this guy up?
It's obvious that Jack Z likes this type of pitcher (Felix and Pineda), but you can only have so many before the rest of the league catches on.
While it would be nice to have someone like Capps set to reach the majors relatively soon, he falls in the same boat as Hultzen. There isn't really room for either of them, especially with Mauricio Robles and Taijuan Walker to compete with.
Bottom line: he's a great player, but the M's should have used their second third-round pick for something more pressing.
C Tyler Marlette, Hagerty HS
Marlette has great potential, but he isn't ready for the majors (or minors) yet. He has already committed to Central Florida, and his skills still need to be honed considerably; I'm not sure the minors would do the trick.
Knowing that, there's a small chance that Marlette actually signs with Seattle this year. On top of the low probability of a contract, the Mariners drafted University of Virginia catcher John Hicks just one pick earlier.
Hicks has a much higher chance of playing with the team, particularly in the near future, and will be more inclined to sign if his battery partner (Hultzen) signs too.
This just seems like a wasted sixth pick, and they still hadn't drafted a third basemen at this point.
OF Jamal Austin, University of Alabama Birmingham
This essentially just comes down to a position surplus. If you've been watching the Mariners lately, you've probably noticed that they have a trove of young talent that they've been cycling through the major league lineup.
Austin did make All-American Team Two, but that doesn't really distinguish him from the rest of the players vying for the coveted left field spot on the Mariners.
Assuming Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez hang around for a few more years and at least one or two of the young OF the Mariners are currently testing work out, Austin will probably end up getting traded in a prospect deal to another team that needs a developing outfielder.
Even if none of Greg Halman, Michael Saunders, Carlos Peguero, Mike Wilson,Guillermo Pimentel or Johermyn Chavez work out, the Mariners drafted James Zamarripa a couple rounds earlier, and he'd probably be ahead of Austin in line.
RHP Tanner Chleboard, Stevens HS
At this point, I was thinking the Mariners must be pulling the classic fantasy baseball strategy of taking all of the good players for one position in order to auction them off to the highest bidder.
Chleboard was the 11th pitcher selected by the Mariners in the first 24 rounds. After they allotted nearly half of their picks to pitchers, you'd think there was a serious crisis in that area in Seattle. The reality is one of the top starting rotation/bullpen combos in the league.
Maybe the scouts were affected by the notorious available-talent-syndrome—that is, when there are so many good pitchers available, you just have to take one, regardless of team needs—but the infield counts were at one 3B, one 1B, two SS and two 2B, even though the Mariners' infield is definitely their biggest concern.
Luckily, there are some solid prospects in the farm system that should fill in the major league positions in the next few years so we won't have to rely on the draft class. And again, the Mariners did a really nice job with the draft overall; they got some great steals and some big names.