The Major League Baseball amateur player draft begins today at 4 p.m. And thanks to last year's debacle, the Mariners have the No.2 selection.
News broke yesterday that the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have the No. 1 pick, will select hard-throwing right-hander Gerrit Cole out of UCLA.
That likely leaves Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, and high schoolers: shortstop Francisco Lindor, outfielder Bubba Starling and pitcher Dylan Bundy as likely possibilities for the Mariners, with possibly University of Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen.
So who will the Mariners take? That's a tough guess. GM Jack Zduriencik and amateur scouting director Tom McNamara aren't big on letting information slip out there.
But we do know the philosophy behind the pick: Take the best player available.
I wrote my Sunday column on the simple, yet effective draft philosophy. Why? Because past Mariners GMs, didn't follow the logic. From the column ...
Remember the 2005 draft? It’s labeled as the greatest draft in major league history with almost every player in the first round making it to the majors and becoming a significant contributor. For everybody except the Mariners.
They had the third pick and they were ready to take shortstop Troy Tulowitzki out of Long Beach State. He was easily the best player available at the time. But general manager Bill Bavasi, in his infinite wisdom, decided the night before the draft that he would instead take catcher Jeff Clement out of USC if he was there. The reasoning? Well, the Mariners really needed catching help in the organization and they supposedly already had their shortstop of the future. His name was Yuniesky Betancourt.
So instead of getting an All-Star shortstop – Tulowitzki was an All-Star in 2010 – the Mariners selected a power-hitting catcher who is no longer with the organization, can no longer catch because of injuries, and has yet to prove he can hit at the big-league level.
They drafted for need. They were wrong.Zduriencik and McNamara are good at drafting. They made smart decisions in Milwaukee and from all the picks we've seen so far with Seattle, they seem to be right more than they are wrong.
TNT columnist John McGrath wrote about the draft today, taking a look at the success rates of No.2 overall picks making the draft among many things.
Here’s some consolation: After Merchant failed to deliver on his potential, every second overall choice between 1988 and 2005 got to the big leagues.
That’s 19-for-19 and counting, because the jury is still out on those who were drafted after 2005.
If you study the 45-year history of prospects taken second in the June draft, you’ll find that only six of them were denied the un-promised land. In other words, scouts have batted 39-of-45.