Today is the MLB amateur draft. Obviously it isn't like the NBA draft and nowhere near the NFL draft, which is three months of speculation and debate before it actually happens.
But this draft is important. As Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara called it, "the most important draft in the history of the organization."
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Well the Mariners have six of the first 116 picks -- First round: No. 2, No. 27. Compensatory round: No. 33. Second round: No. 51. Third round: No. 82. Fourth round: No. 113.
Here's a pick list
"We've got to get this right," McNamara said several times. "It's big. It's real big."
McNamara is a long time scout, who scouted and signed Prince Fielder for the Brewers, and he's worked with GM Jack Zduriencik in Milwaukee. In my story for today's paper, you will find out, Zduriencik gave McNamara his first scouting job.
Obviously much of the talk swirls around the No. 2 pick. It would take a minor catastrophe for the Nats not to take Stephen Strasburg with the first pick. Most people believe the M's will take 1B/OF Dustin Ackley with the second pick. I have no problem with this. I've seen him play a few times on TV. I like that he can run, he's athletic, versatile and he hits, and hits it hard. He seems to understand how to hit and have an approach to it better than about three players on the Mariners right now.
My guess is its Ackley, even though rumors are his agent Scott Boras will be looking for an $8 million signing bonus.
As for the rest of the draft, I will be the first to admit I'm not exactly an expert. I read what I can and watch what I can. If you are looking for further details, places like Baseball America (some subscription stories) and Keith Law and Jason Churchill's draft blog at ESPN.com (insider subscription) are good. Churchill's site Prospect Insider and the USS Mariner and Lookout Landing also have some good analysis and opinions on it.
One thing the USS Mariner mentioned is the possibility that the Mariners have already negotiated with high school catcher Steven Baron and sign him early at No. 33 for a lower slot price. The possible logic is to have additional money for the no. 27 pick.
Anyway, while I admit to not knowing everything about the draft, I will tell you I will be up at Safeco tomorrow and providing updates, and everything I can to make sure you know what's going on.