Mariner 2022 Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

The 2022 MLB Draft begins exactly 9 weeks from today (edit: yesterday) with two rounds on night one, rounds 3-10 on night two, and closing with rounds 11-20 on the final night. The Mariners lost their third round pick as penalty for signing the qualifying offered Robbie Ray, but then they gained a late-second round pick in the second competitive balance section. Their draft board goes: #1.21, #2.58, #2.74, #4.126, and then every 30th pick after #126.

This will be the latest Seattle has made their first round pick since taking Taijuan Walker at #43 overall, in the compensatory section, of the 2010 draft. It will also come during a very unusual year in terms of draft prospects. In recent history, Jerry Dipoto and Scott Hunter have gone hard on college pitching with their first round pick in three of the last four drafts. But in 2022, a shocking number of the highest-regarded college pitchers are in some stage of recovery from injury, with most being Tommy John surgery.

This creates so much mystery at the top of the draft. Which teams will be willing to take the chance on TJ guys, and how early will they do so? Will it be teams further back in the process of rebuilding that can take more time with players, and therefore find extra value in getting a better player that happens to have a longer timeline to MLB arrival? If so, one would think Seattle will not be one of those teams. But, then again, 2021 marked the first time they drafted a high school player in the first round. Do they feel comfortable with the ETA on the next wave of their prospects, thereby striking TJ recovery from any list of disqualifying attributes? No one knows.

For my mock draft, I’ve decided to avoid the TJ guys until at least day 2 of the draft. I think there will come a point on their board where the M’s are okay with drafting a pitcher currently injured, but it will be closer to round 6-7. Maybe earlier if the pitcher otherwise would have had a 1st or 2nd round grade. Maybe look for a two-round discount if nobody else has made the move on them.

After the college pitching question, we have to consider the butterfly effect of how it effects the rest of this draft. Will teams reach on the next tier of college pitchers? Will they be more forgiving of the more-volatile high school pitching? Will they simply try to focus on bats from either HS or college early? My, personal, answer is simply to take the best player available regardless of category.

As I peruse the landscape of current national mock drafts; I find that most of the college bats available at #21 are outfielders; which doesn’t interest me terribly. The college arms might be down to a couple from around the Northwest: Gonzaga RHP Gabriel Hughes, or Oregon State LHP Cooper Hjerpe. Both rank amongst the top 10 in the country in strikeouts per nine, and check the box Seattle likes of guys that don’t walk many batters. But I’m not THAT excited about either. Moving to the prep ranks, there are three names that kind of pop for me: SS Mikey Romero, LHP Jackson Ferris, and RHP Ian Ritchie.

Romero is a very smooth player. He’s got smooth actions in the field, he’s got a smooth lefthanded stroke at the plate, and he’s smooth in interviews suggesting a good baseball IQ. The one negative I have here is that Seattle has never really seemed to draft players in the Dipoto era that one might label a “reach”. Romero would probably be a reach at #21. MLB.com have him as their #58 overall prospect at the moment (which, incidentally, is exactly where Seattle drafts next in the 2nd). I tend to think this isn’t a great year for prep shortstops, and Romero won’t last until #58, but I don’t know that Seattle would force the issue this early.

Ferris is, to my eye, one of the better high school arms in this class. He’s got a nice 6’4″ frame, a fastball that reaches 97mph and one of the best curveballs in the class. Plus, he’s a southpaw…which is inherently considered less risky than prep righthanders. All of these things suggest Ferris won’t be there at #21, but if we see teams forcing bats early maybe it happens. It’s not like we’re talking about a massive fall for Ferris. It’d be like a 5-6 pick drop. Not unheard of. Kyle Lewis “fell” that far. George Kirby “fell” about that far. It’s close enough to talk about.

Finally, we have the local product (Bainbridge HS) Ian JR Ritchie. Probably the most likely pitcher to still be on the board, but from the least desirable part of the pitching class: prep righties. Ritchie is more of an athletic 6’2″ body type, but like Ferris is already touching 97mph. He’s got a four-pitch mix, and I love on tape how all of his pitches have great movement. I love the armside run he gets on his fastball, and then his slider is really coming along quickly that he can bury inside to lefties.

For purpose of this exercise; I’m going to take Ferris, but keeping in the back of my mind that the more likely outcome will probably be Ritchie.

#1.21 – LHP, IMG Academy, Jackson Ferris

I’m sort of looking at this draft in terms of the pockets of talent from the same position groups that you tend to see form the more you study the overall class. In the 2nd round, I really like the pocket of college pitching that I could see available. There could also be a nice pocket of college outfielders at the end of the 2nd into the 3rd round: Michigan’s Clark Elliott, Oregon State’s Jacob Melton, Mercer’s Colby Thomas.

With two picks within 16 slots of one another; Seattle could really play it more by ear on draft day of whether one position group or the other becomes earlier priority.

I’ve decided to take an outfielder now, and the guy I’m taking is Melton. I like the potential in his game for 5 tools. He’s 6’3″/208lbs, he’s taken control of the centerfield spot for the Beavs, his batting line goes .383/.454/1.182, 13 HR, 20 doubles, 3 triples, 66 RBI, 19/20 in stolen bases in 48 games.

#2.58 – OF, Oregon State, Jacob Melton

I was originally planning to take a college pitcher with one of the 2nd round picks, but as I’m writing this; I don’t know that the guys I’d target in the 2nd have Ace upside. Are they theoretically significantly better than some of the select pitchers I’ve got targeted on my board for day 2? While this draft is short on aces due to all the injuries; it feels like there will be a lot of 2nd-4th starter types well into rounds 6-7, maybe 8.

Instead, I’m going to take the guy I had penciled in as my 4th rounder as my published 2nd-CB pick. This is Tennessee 3B Trey Lipscomb. He’s 6’3″/200lbs, hitting .347/.415/1.170 with 20 HR, 14 doubles, 3 triples, 70 RBI in 52 games, and I just don’t think he lasts as long in the draft as others in the media seem to.

#2.74 – 3B, Tennessee, Trey Lipscomb

Catcher is sort of one of those positions you really want to take one fairly early every year. To find someone I liked this year, I went through many draft big boards and college stats spreadsheets, then cross-checked through whatever tape I could find, to come up with a backstop with a good combination of bat and receiver skills. This year I came up with Penn State’s Matt Wood. Listed at 5’11″/195lbs, and having an impressive year at the plate going .416/.508/1.222, 10 HR, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 29 walks to 19 strikeouts in 45 games.

#4.126 – C, Penn State, Matt Wood

After intentionally steering into bats in the first four rounds; now is when I really like making a run on college pitchers. I’m starting with Texas LHP Pete Hansen. At 6’2″/205lbs, Hansen is 8-1 with a 3.08 ERA, 0.924 WHIP, 10.3 SO/9, and 1.5 BB/9. Super clean mechanics, with low 90’s fastball and a gorgeous curve.

#5.156 – LHP, Texas, Pete Hansen

Rolling right along and into Stanford RHP Alex Williams. Listed 6’3″/210lbs, he’s posted a 7-1 season with a 1.75 ERA, 0.944 WHIP, 8.8 SO/9, and 2.1 BB/9. I like the stuff more than what his strikeout numbers might suggest.

#6.186 – RHP, Stanford, Alex Williams

Up next I’m going to a smaller school, senior signing starter in Coastal Carolina RHP Michael Knorr. At 6’6″/215lbs and a paltry 1.4 BB/9 Knorr fits very in-line with the profile Dipoto has drafted the most. The Cal State Fullerton transfer has also posted 2.51 ERA, 0.959 WHIP, and 11.5 SO/9.

#7.216 – RHP, Coastal Carolina, Michael Knorr

All of this next stretch of picks will be senior signings. Trying to find value at shortstop; I found Georgia State’s Griffin Cheney. He turns 23 next week, so he may be forced to take a lower signing bonus with little negotiating power to threaten going back to school. For the year; Cheney has hit .349/.444/1.101 with 15 HR, 8 doubles, 34 RBI, 11 SB in 15 attempts.

#8.246 – SS, Georgia State, Griffin Cheney

There’s almost always a senior signing bullpen arm (if not two) late on day 2. I’m going with Houston closer, RHP Ben Sears. At 6’5″/208lbs, Sears has a great build, and at 94mph fastball and 84mph slider, he’s got good stuff. I’m betting on elements of his profile playing up better at the next level as the 6.7 SO/9 is a bit out of character for a quality closer. The rest of his profile looks better with a 2.68 ERA, 0.969 WHIP, 1.2 BB/9, and 12 saves in 26 appearances.

#9.276 – RHP, Houston, Ben Sears

Portland State starter Brett Gillis is a senior originally out of Everett. He has been very good this year for PSU. At 6’2″/190lbs; he has gone 9-1 with a 1.52 ERA, 0.987 WHIP, 11.9 SO/9, 3.3 BB/9.

#10.306 – RHP, Portland State, Brett Gillis

Tulane outfielder Ethan Groff is a personal fave of mine. At 6’0″/200lbs, Groff is a senior currently dealing with an injury, but prior to that he was hitting .404/.503/1.211 with 9 HR, 15 doubles, 2 triples, and 35 RBI in 41 games. Tulane generally hit him leadoff due to his on-base skills more than his speed (7×12 in SB). His profile looks like a nice 4th OF’er with the ability to play all three spots, but could also start at a corner spot. Hell of an arm, too.

#11.336 – OF, Tulane, Ethan Groff

Finally, for this mock, I’m taking another catcher. Zach Morgan is more of a contact, on-base hitter than a power bat. He’s 6’0″/180lbs and has posted a slash of .372/.452/1.008 with 5 HR, 19 doubles, 1 triple, 25 BB to 16 SO.

#12.366 – C, Fresno State, Zach Morgan

There you have it. I was originally intending to stop at the 10th round, but I got there and still had a couple names I liked that had later rankings, so I added them in.

There were so many guys that I really liked but couldn’t quite make fit in with everyone else. I really like UCF lefty Hunter Patteson who was recently injured. I think it might be TJ, but I haven’t seen confirmation. I had his talent in the 5th round, but who knows with the injury. I like OkState 1B Griffin Doersching a lot with his best-in-class power, and he’d be an exciting pick anywhere after, say, round 4. I think UConn OF Erik Stock would make for a very nice senior-sign pick somewhere late on day 2. From the high school ranks; I think I like RHP Grayson Saunier more than most. And I’ve got quite a few relievers that could sprinkle in anywhere from late day 2 to anywhere on day 3: RHP Bennett Flynn, RHP Landon Harper, RHP Kyle Crigger.

April Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

We’re less than three weeks out from the opening of the 2022 NFL Draft and I’ve got an update to the Seahawks 7-round mock draft. We’re still opening with eight picks, and I’m going to look to get up to 10 or 11. I’m going to break down all of the picks at the front of this story; though in reality they would happen during the draft in between actually making some of the picks, and knowing where the big board is at, and who you’ve already added.

The Eagles recently made a trade with the Saints which moved one of Philly’s three 1st round picks to New Orleans. This makes for a good news/bad news situation. The bad news: I was targeting a trade back using the Eagles, but I’m not sure they are as likely now to make that deal. The good news: there are now three teams with multiple 1st round picks that Seattle could use to trade back: Philly, New Orleans, Green Bay. I’m going to use Green Bay because John Schneider has a long history of trading back with Green Bay, and I like the idea of using a midround pick rather than a 2nd to balance out the deal. Also, the Packers have 11 picks to start with, a pretty well-rounded roster…maybe they move up for a specific position or player.

So the first trade becomes Seahawks’ #9 + #109 to GB for their picks #22 + #28. I’m almost immediately flipping #28 to Detroit for their picks #2.34 + #3.97. I don’t really have reason for using Detroit other than those pick values balance based on the trade chart. I will also move back from one of the back-to-back picks at #40/#41 to create some better spacing. Using #2.41 I will trade with Dallas for their picks at #2.56 + #3.88. Then I flip #88 to Philly for picks #3.101 + #4.124. I may be tempted to move back again from one of our 5th round spots, but for now this is what the capital looks like:

#1.22 (from GB via LV)
#2.34 (from DET)
#2.40 (from DEN)
#2.56 (from DAL)
#3.72 (SEA)
#3.97 (from DET)
#3.101 (from PHI via NO)
#4.124 (from PHI)
#5.145 (from DEN via DET)
#5.153 (SEA)
#7.229 (SEA)

We have now stacked our draft to day two where we will have six picks to make. I think that’s the strength of the draft. On to the picks!

#1.22 – OT, Tulsa, Tyler Smith

My strongest hunch is that Seattle will draft a DL (either inside or outside) with their first pick, but in my world I’m taking my shot at the glaring hole at LT while there are still some on the board. Tyler Smith is a young, raw, but tooled-up player that I’m trusting to become the LT1 of the (near) future. He’s got great size, ideal length, plenty of anchor, a good amount of speed, and an ill-tempered on-field demeanor.

If it’s not OT, I hope they go DT…either of the Georgia guys, or Travis Jones from UConn.

#2.34 – DE/OLB, Penn State, Arnold Ebiketie

There are a LOT of DE/OLB that weigh in roughly 250-265lbs with above average athleticism in this overall class: Jermaine Johnson, George Karlaftis, Boye Mafe, David Ojabo, Sam Williams, Nik Bonitto, Dominique Robinson, Kingsley Enagbare, Jeffrey Gunter, Cameron Thomas, Drake Jackson, Amare Barno, Michael Clemons. There are going to be some that fall to day two, maybe even day three, that end up becoming great pro players. I’m sort of putting it on Ebiketie to be that kind of upside talent, but that doesn’t quite make it into the first round.

#2.40 – DS, Cincinnati, Bryan Cook

This was the hardest pick for me to make the entire draft. I think there will be freakish athletes at off-the-ball LB here, there will be freakish safety here, there will be very high-floor corners, it might be the best spot to find a TE, and it might be the LAST spot that you’ll be able to find a DT. Perrion Winfrey would be a very logical need pick here. Trey McBride would potentially be the best player available here when we look back five years from now. Jalen Pitre might be the Budda Baker pick here that PCJS should have made 5 years ago.

I narrowed the decision down to the safety position. And then narrowed that further to Maryland’s Nick Cross or Cincinnati’s Bryan Cook. Cross is the workout warrior that I’d feel very comfortable with playing single-high, but who can also play in the box at 210lbs. Cook is the intangibles guy…high football IQ, great technique, good leadership…but we never got athletic testing marks for him. I don’t really have a problem with either guy.

It seems, from what we know about the Seahawks this cycle, that the more likely pick may be Cross, but I went with Cooks because I just think it’s the better scouting practice. Kam Chancellor wasn’t a workout warrior, and while his primary reputation is based off of his enforcer hits, they true key to Chancellor was the stuff between his ears. That’s more of what Cook is, to me.

#2.56 – DL, Kentucky, Josh Paschal

I’m choosing to put the more general ‘DL’ label on Paschal as, even though he combine’d at 268 lbs; I think I’d prefer to see him play closer to his listed weight from Kentucky last year of 278 lbs. I don’t have plans or expectations of Josh to be a fast, really bendy outside rusher. I think he can be a strong outside power-rusher, with enough quickness to beat interior OL on passing down.

I’m confident that Paschal can play the run really well…I’m going to be okay with him not being a high-volume sacks guy because I think he’ll be disruptive enough with pressures that teams will have to account for him and open up other guys for sacks.

#3.72 – CB, Sam Houston, Zyon McCollum

I feel pretty strongly that you don’t want to leave the 3rd round without a Corner already in your added players. It’s mostly just a question of which Corner. Depending on who is still available; I’m strongly considering Coby Bryant, Josh Jobe, Jalyn Armour Davis, and Zyon McCollum.

In a weird phenomenon of this year’s Combine; that list of CB go 6’1″, 6’0″, 6’1″, 6’2″ but somehow their arm length’s went 30 5/8″, 32 5/8″, 30 7/8″, 30 6/8″. Seems sketchy. But regardless, Seattle broke from their 32″ requirement last year when they drafted the 5’10”, 30 3/8″ Tre Brown.

I could be wrong to discount the 32″ arm thing again this year, as the two CB we know Seattle has been connected to the most have arms that go 33 4/8″ and 31 6/8″. Maybe this year it’s a 31″ benchmark. I don’t know.

From my shortlist of CB; Coby has the best intangibles, and probably the highest floor, but from this group he has the worst tested 40 (still in the acceptable range), and a bad vertical, which doesn’t feel like a Pete guy.

Jobe might have the best press technique, but I worry a lot about his makeup speed. When he gets beat, it’s by a lot. And we have zero testing on him.

JAD has good speed, but the vertical wasn’t great, and the tape is probably the most inconsistent of the four.

McCollum is easily the best overall athlete, but the downside is honestly the lack of tape on him, and certainly the tape that is out there is lower LOC. I’m going with Zyon here because of the overall package and my personal intuition.

#3.97 – QB, Western Kentucky, Bailey Zappe

This is the biggest change from my previous mock drafts, as I don’t believe I’ve taken a QB in any of the prior versions. The primary reason I haven’t been taking a QB is that I don’t believe in this QB class, and certainly next year’s looks much better on paper.

Drafting a QB in the 3rd round, however, isn’t (to me) the kind of investment that is going to preclude you from taking one again, earlier, in the 2023 draft. If Zappe works out…great. If he doesn’t, maybe he’ll still be a serviceable backup, and in the meantime you added a LT and a DE with your early picks this year.

There are a couple reasons I don’t think Seattle would make this pick. 1) I don’t think they’ll go with a QB that is shorter than 6’2″ again. 2) I’m not sure they take a guy that can’t run faster than a 4.80s forty. Zappe is 6’1″ if you round up, and he ran 4.88s.

But studying Zappe on tape; I just think he’s being underrated for a guy that just had the passing year that he had (5,967 yards and 62 TD’s!). He’s extremely accurate (69.2% complete). I don’t have his air-yards numbers, but I do know that he led the country in 20+ yard completions, 30+ yards, and 70+ yards. In case there are questions about his arm strength, his longest throw by air on tape is about 60 yards. I’ll keep saying it…Zappe is at minimum Matt Hasselbeck.

#3.101 – OC, Kentucky, Luke Fortner

The picks at 97 and 101 are pretty interchangeable. I put the QB up first because of the positional value, and because I only really have one QB I like at this level, whereas there might end up being three Centers.

The three Centers I’m referring to: Cole Strange, Zach Tom, Luke Fortner. Two of them show exceptional athleticism. Two of them show exceptional football IQ. None are redflags athletically, none are redflagged intellectually. I feel confident that all three of these guys are improvements on Austin Blythe. It’s just kind of a transitional year for the OL between position coaches, and I don’t really know for sure what kind of priority the new guy will place on what.

I’m going with Fortner here because I feel the most confident in his leadership abilities over the other two. But I could easily see PCJS prefer either of the better athletes.

#4.124 – LB, Appalachian State, D’Marco Jackson

I passed on LB earlier when the draft was ripe with them because it’s not entirely clear how confident the team is in Cody Barton to replace Bobby Wagner. Or, maybe it’s me that isn’t confident in Cody, and I’d like to spend a high pick to hedge that, but just couldn’t pull the trigger this time.

Even if the team rolls with Barton at MIKE, at minimum you then need to replace Cody as the backup MIKE. Jackson seems good value in the 4th. Productive player, good size, decent testing.

#5.145 – RB, LSU, Tyrion Davis Price

We need another RB at some point in this draft. The team has most of the guys from the 2021 roster returning, but it’s less clear how many will be useful. TDP tested at 211 lbs after playing for LSU at 223. He ran a 4.48s forty at the lighter weight, but I tend to prefer him back up to the heavier weight even if it means sacrificing down to the 4.55s range. Ty feels like a Pete kind of back. Other options, for me, if they fall this far would be Hassan Haskins and Abram Smith.

#5.153 – OT, NDSU, Cordell Volson

I’ve had Volson in multiple previous mocks, and I’m pretty ride or die for him at this point. He’s not the most athletic guy…which is why he’ll be available this late…but he was an incredibly steadying force on the NDSU line where he won 4 National Championships in 5 years. Cordell finished his college career starting 41 consecutive games. At minimum he will deepen your bench as a swing OL, but I’m drafting him to start at RT.

#7.229 – DB, UCLA, Quentin Lake

Like Volson, Lake is another guy I’ve had in previous mocks. As long as the price doesn’t change on him; I’ll keep putting him in there for his intangibles. You’ll notice I’m listing him as a ‘DB’ as I’m not sure if he’ll end up a safety or, where I’d like to try him, at corner; but I think his floor will be pro bowl special teams player.

#1.22 OT Tyler Smith
#2.34 DE Arnold Ebiketie
#2.40 DS Bryan Cook
#2.56 DL Josh Paschal
#3.72 CB Zyon McCollum
#3.97 QB Bailey Zappe
#3.101 OC Luke Fortner
#4.124 LB D’Marco Jackson
#5.145 RB Ty Davis Price
#5.153 OT Cordell Volson
#7.229 DB Quentin Lake

My biggest regret is not getting a true DT represented. But that’s really a spot that you HAVE to take a guy in the top 40 picks, or else just punt on the position. If there’s a way Seattle pulls off a trade back with either Philly or New Orleans; I try to make the DT happen.

New era, new mock

By Jared Stanger

So this is what it’s like to need a QB. Haven’t done this in a minute. I don’t know what to do with my hands. Let’s see if we can figure something out.

After recent developments; we added Denver’s 1st, 2nd, and 5th this year, plus a couple picks next year. We gave up one of this year’s 4th’s, of which we had two. By best estimation, after comp picks are awarded, the Seahawks current draft allotment should look like this:

1.9, 2.40, 2.41, 3.72, 4.107, 5.151, 5.152, 7.227

Eight picks right now, so before any other developments arise and we trade away most of these picks; I’m doing this mock and in it I’m going to try to get to 11 picks and lay a solid foundation for a run at the playoffs in 2023. The first thing I will do is move down the #9 using Philadelphia, who owns picks #15, #16, #19. In order to make it work, we need to give #9 + #40 and we get #16 + #19. Then I will move #19 to Cincinnati for #31 and #63. I move #72 to Indianapolis for #82 and #120. And, finally, I move #152 to the Rams for #174 and #210. Final haul:

1.16, 1.31, 2.41, 2.63, 3.82, 4.107, 4.120, 5.151, 5.174, 6.210, 7.227

It’s pretty good balance with four picks in the first two rounds, and another four picks rounds 4-5, where the depth of this draft should still be holding up. I’m not really going to go into much justification for drafting anyone…more specifically the position they play, nor where I’m picking them. This is now a full re-build…we need everything. Find good football players. Period.

On to the picks!

#1.16 – DT, Georgia, Jordan Davis

There’s a strong possibility Jordan is gone before this spot. The dude was the #1 overall winner of the combine and is one of the freakiest players the league has ever seen. But his position is undervalued by many, so maybe it works. If he’s not there, you can still likely find one of: Jermaine Johnson, Travon Walker, David Ojabo, George Karlaftis, Devonte Wyatt. And if THAT group misses all, you flip to OL here and flip to Travis Jones later.

#1.31 – OL, Boston College, Zion Johnson

Maybe PCJS try to fill the hole at LT here if a guy with some upside like Bernhard Raimann or Tyler Smith is there. And, in a way, that might be the smarter way to go with a good class of Centers well into day 2. I feel a little safer that the interior player will be on the board at 31. Zion has experience at LT and LG, but I’m going to try to settle him in at Center. Love the player…get him in the building and figure out his position later. Zach Tom would be a guy with some LT/OC versatility to track as a backup plan in a later round if Zion is gone.

#2.41 – LB, Wisconsin, Leo Chenal

I’ve occasionally seen Chenal ranked a little higher than this, but not by much. Maybe up to like #2.34. I generally think he’s been underrated. His recent combine and pro day will change some of that, but on many boards it will change him from late 2nd/3rd to around this region. This is a big, athletic, productive player that should be able to play multiple spots at the second level. I tend to think he could play MIKE, SAM, or WILL. I mean, he’s 6’3″/250lbs and he ran a 4.53s forty. Find a spot for him.

2.63 – DE, Kentucky, Josh Paschal

There’s a reason I went interior DL with the first pick and not edge, and it is because the depth this year at DE is so much better. Paschal tested at the Combine at 268lbs after being listed at Kentucky as 278. I wouldn’t mind to see him settle in right between at around 273. His skillset lends itself to playing outside on early downs where he’s a tremendous run player, and then drop inside for 3rd downs where he has shown surprising power to bullrush IOL.

3.82 – FS, Maryland, Nick Cross

There are probably two players in this mock that I hadn’t watched AT ALL prior to the Combine. Nick was one. He ran a 4.34s forty at 212lbs though, which very much caught my attention. I went back to the tape and liked what I saw. This is a guy that has centerfield range, but that I also saw being a firm tackler, an electric blitzer, and a contributing special teams player. Let’s bring back the single-high safety.

4.107 – OL, Wake Forest, Zach Tom

Tom was a guy I had just started digging into a week or two before the Combine. He had put together some good tape at the Shrine Game, he was an extremely smart player, but I had some concerns about his size. At the Shrine he was listed 6’4″/297lbs with 33 2/8″ arms. “So, okay, he’s played Center before in college…that might be where he ends up.” But then at the Combine he came in at 304lbs, and then had great testing with a 4.94s forty, 33″ vert, and 9’10” broad. Maybe he IS a tackle. Maybe he’s Isaiah Wynn-esque. Wynn was only 6’3″ with 33 3/8″ arms and Belichick has started him at LT in multiple seasons when he’s been healthy. Or, if it doesn’t work at LT, maybe he ends up at RT, or maybe he does end up at Center. I just like the player. I’m open to competition at all OL spots except for wherever Damien Lewis ends up.

4.120 – CB, Sam Houston State, Zyon McCollum

Zyon was a guy I watched while preparing for the Senior Bowl week, and who I really liked. There were traits in him I thought could be shaped, molded, and enhanced to be a pretty interesting corner. Then he blew out the Combine and ruined the chance I thought there might be to snag him in the 5th round. I’m not entirely sure he’ll be there in the 4th round either, but with the small school and the short-ish arms (30 3/4″), there’s a chance.

5.151 – TE, Wisconsin, Jake Ferguson

After the 5th round, I don’t think you’re finding guys with solid tape that also tested really well athletically. Ferguson has very solid tape, but he ran a 4.81s forty at 250lbs with a 31.5″ vert. But with Noah Fant already acquired we can look for a solid depth guy.

5.174 – RB, Michigan, Hassan Haskins

With Chris Carson coming off a weird surgery, and Rashaad Penny technically not on the roster as of now; Seattle HAS to find another RB in this draft. I could see them draft one anywhere from the 3rd to, maybe, the 6th with the thought that he could end up a starter eventually. I’ve had Baylor’s Abram Smith in multiple mocks, and I still like him, but in this one; I decided to use some different inputs to look for value. I came up with Haskins.

Before the Combine, as I was noticing how many players seemed to be cutting weight in order to run a faster 40; I joked that my guy was gonna be whoever weighed in at 225lbs and ran a 4.55s. Hassan measured in at 6’2″/228lbs. While he didn’t actually run the 40, the only other guys that sort of matched the criteria (Brian Robinson, Ty Davis Price, Tyler Allgeier) were either too expensive, or simply not that appealing on tape. I like that Haskins doesn’t have much buzz, he is a very willing blocker and special teamer, and he was top 10 in the country in carries. Some people don’t like the mileage, but that was also the knock on Le’veon Bell and he turned out okay.

6.210 – DB, UCLA, Quentin Lake

Lake is sort of a pet project of mine. He has some very solid tape at safety and I think there’s a decent backup plan for him there. But I became even more interested in him when I saw him in multiple press-man 1-on-1 reps at the Shrine game and it was an enlightening moment. Quentin comes from great NFL bloodlines…his dad is Carnell Lake…and Carnell was drafted as a safety but later in his career had his best seasons after being moved to corner. With Quentin; I’d kinda like to make that change immediately and see what we have. There’s also some similarity between him and 2012 6th rounder Justin Bethel. Bethel was a 4.58s runner and Lake came in at 4.59s. Bethel became a pro bowl special teamer.

7.227 – RT, North Dakota State, Cordell Volson

Cordell had a pretty bad combine. His agility scores were pretty brutal. But I liked him on tape before the combine. I love him as a leader. And this is the 7th round. I’m going to give him a shot at right tackle, and understand that he might end up at guard. And understand that he might not be an NFL player. But I think he is one.

Obviously, this draft is overly optimistic. Guys I liked before the combine are now on more people’s radars, and guys that I noticed because of the combine I am now liking as much as people that liked them earlier. So everybody meets in the end at the same grades and those guys go earlier. But if you can pull 4-5 of them, it can still be an incredible draft.

Final:

1.16 DT Jordan Davis
1.31 OC Zion Johnson
2.41 MLB Leo Chenal
2.63 DE Josh Paschal
3.82 FS Nick Cross
4.107 LT Zach Tom
4.120 CB Zyon McCollum
5.151 TE Jake Ferguson
5.174 RB Hassan Haskins
6.210 CB Quentin Lake
7.227 RT Cordell Volson

Super Bowl Sunday Seahawk mock

By Jared Stanger

There’s something else minor going on today…I forget what…so I’ll cut with the fanfare, and get to the mock.

The first thing I’ve identified is a lack of value where Seattle currently sits at #72 in the early 3rd round. I think you can find the same value in the late 3rd, and I really like the depth in the 4th. So I’m targeting trade back from 72. I like the range of picks the Kansas City Chiefs have. They should have two 3rd’s (with their native pick plus a compensatory), and they could have three to four picks in the 7th. Seattle trades #3.72 to KC for picks #3.92, #3.102, and #7.231.

#2.41 – Defensive Tackle, UConn, Travis Jones

It is very tempting to take Baylor all-purpose DB Jalen Pitre here. I think he’s a very clean prospect with a high floor and higher upside. But Jones is perhaps more of a need as a big-bodied DT that can provide some passrush from the Nose spot. He’s got the ideal measurements at 6’4″/326lbs with 34″ arms. Travis was arguably the biggest winner from the week at the Senior Bowl, proving he could not only hang with but beat guys from the SEC, etc.

#3.94 – Center, Kentucky, Luke Fortner

I really only started looking at Fortner the week before the Senior Bowl and was very impressed. Fortner was really the only true center on either Senior Bowl team, so he had a bit of a leg-up, but I still think he came away looking like one of the best values in the class. With Pocic a free agent, and Seattle really needing to spend their cap surplus at other positions; I’d love to find a rookie contract replacement. Fortner measured in at 6’3″/302lbs with 33″ arms. He’s got great feet and a very solid anchor.

#3.102 – Defensive Line, Kentucky, Josh Paschal

For whatever reason, we end up with back-to-back picks from Kentucky. I’m not sure if Paschal lasts to this point. I think his tape suggests 2nd round, but his health history could put teams off until they feel safer taking the chance. Paschal was listed 6’3″/278lbs last year, and showed the versatility to play inside and outside. With Rasheem Green a free agent, Kerry Hyder a potential cap-casualty, Seattle needs to find that profile again. Paschal is, at minimum, an incredible run defender, but there’s enough evidence on tape to think he’ll be able to passrush as well.

#4.105 – Cornerback, Alabama, Jalyn Armour-Davis

It’s no secret Seattle needs help at Corner. DJ Reed = Free Agent. Sidney Jones = Free Agent. Tre Brown = patellar tendon injury. And then here comes a new DB coach…Karl Scott (technically ‘defensive passing game coordinator’). Scott was the DB coach for Alabama from 2018-2020, which means he was likely part of the recruitment of Armour-Davis to Alabama in 2018. At minimum, he coached him for JAD’s first three years in college.

I don’t have a great feel for how the league values Jalyn. He’s a former 4-star player, who played at Alabama (known for recent DB’s like Diggs, Surtain, Fitzpatrick, etc), but seems to have zero buzz. I was actually a little surprised he declared this year, as he really only had one year starting, and the aforementioned lack of buzz. But with the ties to Scott and the upside; I really like this fit.

When I initially sketched out this mock with the trade; I was happy going from 6 to 8 picks with the KC trade, but as I’m writing it…I need another pick. A 5th would be fine. Let’s send #112 to Green Bay for one of their 4th’s and their 5th, #4.130 + #5.170.

#4.130 – Offensive Tackle, NDSU, Cordell Volson

This is another huge need for the Seahawks coming out of the draft. Seattle has free agents in starting LT Duane Brown, starting RT Brandon Shell, and backup swing Jamarco Jones. If I’m Pete/John I’m strongly considering spending a healthy chunk of their cap space and going and getting Terron Armstead to play LT, which would allow them to focus on RT or swing OT in the draft.

Volson is a nicely proportioned athlete with good balance in his technique and his run/pass blocking ability. Some think he’s a guard, but I like his tape at RT. Overall, a well-rounded player.

#5.151 – Running Back, Baylor, Abram Smith

I’ve been on-board with Abram for most of the 2021 season, and I still think he’s one of the best values in this draft, any position. I think there’s shades of Chris Carson to his game. With Carson injured and Penny a free agent; Seattle has to come out of this draft with a RB at some point. And it’s a good draft to do it.

#5.170 – Defensive Back, UCLA, Quentin Lake

Lake is a personal favorite of mine, but I’m going rogue on this one. I liked Lake’s tape at Free Safety, and maybe you play him there, but I’m drafting him with plans to train him full-time to play Corner. Quentin impressed the hell out of me with his press-man reps at the Shrine Game. Arms are a little short, but after drafting Tre Brown last year, that isn’t a deal-breaker. Plus, I like adding this guy to our locker room.

#7.226 – Tightend, Wisconsin, Jake Ferguson

Much like Abram and the RB class, Ferguson is the value play for this very solid TE class. I love Trey McBride at the top, I love Greg Dulcich if you could get him in the late-3rd (but probably can’t), and there are a handful of others you’re okay with at the right round value. I really was impressed with what Fergie did at the Senior Bowl, in addition to how smart of a player he will be in the film room. I like the hands, I like the routes, and I like the run-blocking.

#2.231 – Free Safety, Baylor, JT Woods

The Seahawks have some more issues coming at Safety with Quandre Diggs a free agent (who they probably pay), Ryan Neal a quality backup they may or may not pay, and then an interesting possibility of cap-cutting Ugo Amadi or Marquise Blair. Blair would dead-money $600k while saving you $1.3mill, and Amadi would dead-money only $161k while saving you $2.5mill. Maybe you cut both of the latter, pay Neal, and draft Woods.

JT Woods is a guy that will probably rise out of this range once he tests at the combine. Could be a 4.3 guy. He tied for the national lead in INT last year with 6. And showed a penchant for clutch-ness with an INT in both the Baylor bowl game, and the game-sealing INT in the Senior Bowl. This would be a hell of a 7th round get, if it came to fruition.

Final Board:

DT Travis Jones
OC Luke Fortner
DL Josh Paschal
CB Jalyn Armour-Davis
OT Cordell Volson
RB Abram Smith
DB Quentin Lake
TE Jake Ferguson
FS JT Woods

Analytics Mock

By Jared Stanger

Recently, while thinking about how to prioritize players in mock drafts…for example: player at position A, with grade 70, that costs pick X vs player at position A or B, with grade 65, that costs pick Z… it started to come to me to just create a single number that could represent all players’ weighted draft value.

I’m not going to get too detailed into the data points input into the formula, and certainly not the final algorithm, but after running through maybe 12-15 attempts, I did come up with one that yielded results that found a balance between straight player grade and the bonus value that can be found when a player of slightly lesser talent is found at multiple rounds worth of draft capital discount.

It’s the Goldilocks and the Three Bears concept of drafting. Not too __, not too __, but just right.

I will give you two different mock draft configurations based on the same data. The first is just rote adherence to taking the best value player at each round. The second will incorporate a little bit of subjectivity…what might be more toward the realm of team need…but still picking from, say, the top three value marks of each round.

Pure BPA:

2.41 – Illinois Safety, Kerby Joseph

A late riser in this draft cycle; Joseph is a rangy deep covering free safety type with good size and ball skills. He isn’t what I would call a “need” for Seattle if they bring back Quandre Diggs, and certainly not at this price. If Seattle goes Safety here I hope, and guess, it would be one of the handful this year that played a lot of nickel.

3.72 – Cincinnati Corner, Coby Bryant

Full disclosure: the real name at this spot was Florida RB Dameon Pierce. But there is quite a lot of value to be found at RB this draft, and we will address that later. So I made one editorial decision not to mock two RB in this draft, and instead go for a little more balance.

I like Bryant as a player, so to see him come across as a good value in this exercise furthers my interest in him. Good production, good size, good ball skills, good leadership.

4.105 – Chattanooga Guard, Cole Strange

I actually haven’t watched much of Strange yet. I know he’ll be at the Senior Bowl this week, so I will be keying in on him. If he’s a pure guard; I’m not sure the Seahawks will be super interested, but if he reps some at Center or Tackle, maybe that becomes more interesting.

4.112 – LSU Defensive Tackle, Neil Farrell

One potential flaw with this algorithm is that it doesn’t factor for “type”. A nose tackle and a 3-tech are scored by the same DT inputs. And I don’t think the Seahawks need a big-bodied run-stuffing DT like Farrell as much as they could use some interior passrush. But for what he is; Farrell is a very good player.

5.151 – Coastal Carolina Tight End, Isaiah Likely

Tight End is a complicated position this year. There’s a lot of interesting depth, but not much consensus on the order they come off. I tend to think Likely should be higher than this, with his floor probably the 4th round, but clearly the value would spike if he fell to the 5th.

7.226 – Baylor Running Back, Abram Smith

Abram came out of this analysis as the single, highest-scoring player by draft value. Getting a guy with his level of production, traits, floor, and potential ceiling in the 7th round is a win for any GM.

Hybrid Analytics/Need:

2.41 – Colorado State Tight End, Trey McBride

Do the Seahawks need a Tight End? Gerald Everett will be an unrestricted free agent, as will Will Dissly. Watching the 2021 Seattle offense; I can’t help but wonder if they would ever use a TE the way many of the most exciting offenses in the NFL have come to use their TE recently. But, in theory, I think a TE here would make more sense than a Safety. Plus, I am more comfortable with McBride’s projection than Kerby Joseph’s.

3.72 – Kentucky DL, Josh Paschal

This is the pick that I’ve put the most subjective input on for this whole mock. For either a legit reason stemming from the available DL talent in this class, or a flaw in my algorithm; DE did not really place many players high in draft value. I think the Seahawks could use a player like Paschal, though, so I did force the issue a little. While he might have only been 5th or 6th in value at this pick, I made the compromise because he was the 3rd value for Edge (and one in front of him was Aidan Hutchinson), as well as a top 60 value for all positions.

4.105 – Southern Utah Tackle, Braxton Jones

For whatever reason, the players coming out in this OT class seem to lean more towards small-school players than guys from power five schools. Tulsa OT Tyler Smith was also high in this metric. Duane Brown is a free agent, and the offense seemed to take off more when they went away from Brandon Shell at RT, who is also a free agent. So it feels pretty important to find some solutions, or at least depth, at both Tackles. Braxton is a guy that performed well for me in both watching the film and breaking down the math. Same for Smith. Either would be a find at this point.

4.112 – Cincinnati Safety, Bryan Cook

I was already a fan of Cook’s and to see him rank high on this breakdown, I was glad to add him in the 4th. Quandre Diggs is a free agent, Jamal Adams has gone down hurt both of the years he’s been here, Marquise Blair has only averaged about 7 games active for his first three years as a pro, and Ryan Neal is another free agent. They need help at safety, it’s just gonna be a question of which level. Cook sort of feels like a KJ Wright kind of player…not a physical freak, and he may not be a league superstar, but he’ll be a smart, tough, reliable player for you for 6-8 years.

5.151 – Sam Houston Corner, Zyon McCollum

I think this would be an interesting year for Seattle to go hard after a Corner. DJ Reed is a free agent, Sidney Jones is a free agent, Tre Brown needs to come back from patellar tendon surgery and hopefully maintain his speed. Kyler Gordon would need to be considered if he was there at #41, we talked earlier about Coby in the 3rd, but the overall top value on my spreadsheet ended up being McCollum. At 6’4″/201lbs and loose hips; if you hit on that guy in the 5th round (ahem…Sherm); you can suddenly see how that could be the best value at the position.

7.226 – Baylor RB, Abram Smith

I tend to think Abram is more of a 6th round guy, but if you can get him later…his upside could make him one of the great draft stories of the decade.

Seahawks 2022 Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

Welcome to 2022! For so many obvious and unobvious reasons I never wrote any Seahawk mock drafts in 2021. Not for the 2022 Draft, anyways. You’d have to go back to April for mocks for the 2021 draft. But it’s a new year…it’s time for some new thoughts, and practices, and vibes, and some new blood. So let’s see what we can do.

The Seahawks currently sit with 6 picks for this spring. They have no 1st as the last payment of the Jamal Adams trade, but the Jets gave us their 4th rounder this year as part of the deal. That 4th rounder is gonna be an early pick (roughly 5th in the round), so that’s decent. And they have no 6th as the payment for Sidney Jones trade. I’m putting their overall slate at roughly #40, #71, #106, #108, #149, #224. I’m not gonna mock any trades within the draft, as they really need to stop overvaluing a volume of picks over drafting good players with the picks they have. Let’s begin.

I have like four players on my shortlist for Seattle to target in the 2nd. Some are what I’d consider them forcing a “need” pick. Some are what I consider just taking BPA.

I don’t think they think they need a tight end. They haven’t shown themselves to be valuing the TE they have on the roster this year, or really for a few years going back through Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham, etc. Don’t know why. A lot of really good teams across the league are the teams with the upper echelon TE. But if they, for some surprising reason, decide to do it…Trey McBride is a special talent. It might take him 2 years…as TE’s frequently do…but he’s gonna be in that Kelce/Kittle/Andrews group pretty quick.

After recently putting a LOT of money into Jamal Adams, and potentially putting some new money into Quandre Diggs’ wallet after this year; Seattle may not be in the market for safeties, but I think it’s a good safety draft, with a particular emphasis on guys that can play some nickel. One of my favorite names from that category is Baylor’s Jalen Pitre. Pitre is a guy that plays up a weight class (or two) from his listed 6’0″/197lb listing. He can blitz, he can cover, he can hit. He’s the only DB in the country in the top 50 or so in TFL. A few years ago Seattle passed on Budda Baker because they thought they had their safety already. They will probably do it again with Pitre for the same reason.
The next two names are closer to the need category. Seattle is currently due to lose 3/5th’s of their starting offensive line to free agency after the season. Damien Lewis is still on his rookie deal and Gabe Jackson was given a deal through 2023. That leaves holes at LT, OC, and RT. I don’t love this class of OT’s, but it’s a bit stronger, I think, at RT. I could see them force a pick on an OT. Of the Tackles I see available this late; I tend to prefer the big Austrian from CMU, Bernhard Raimann. Listed 6’7″/305lbs and clearly one of the more athletic guys in the group; Raimann is one of the few that plays LT in college and that I could see sticking at the spot.

#2.40 – Boston College OL, Zion Johnson

My pick for the Seahawks in the 2nd is the sort of makeup for not picking Creed Humphrey last year. Zion Johnson is a jacked 6’3″/316lb’er that has started years at both LT and LG for Boston College. I have a clear preference for his tape inside at guard. As I previously noted; Seattle is only retaining their starting 2021 guards for 2022. So what is the plan drafting a guard? Three options: 1) move Zion back to LT where he played in 2020, 2) move Zion to center where he doesn’t have experience, but I think he has the mind to learn it, or 3) move Damien Lewis to center where he played for that game or two in 2020. I kind of prefer the 2nd option. And there is some precedent for it as Justin Britt had college experience at guard and both tackle spots, before being drafted in the 2nd round, and eventually making his way to center.

Seattle’s RB situation has been a mess this year and next year is all question marks with Chris Carson’s health a big question mark, Rashaad Penny off his rookie contract, and none of the other roster RB showing the ability or faith from the coaches to step up into a bellcow role. The 3rd round is sort of written in ink for me as the spot you draft a running back. It’s just a question of which one. I like this RB class overall. I like the 3rd round as the sweet spot where the depth and value will click. With names like Jerome Ford, Dameon Pierce, Tyler Allgeier, possibly Isaiah Spiller still on the board.

#3.71 – UCLA Running Back, Zach Charbonnet

For the value of the pick, Charbonnet feels like the guy I’ve watched that ticks the most boxes. All the guys are big enough, so that’s not gonna be a problem. I don’t worry too much about speed from a RB, so that’s a push on the group. You’re just trying to nitpick things like passcatching, passpro, durability, maybe redzone. I come up with Charbonnet.

Okay, so Seahawks have now hedged some combo of Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, and Rashaad Penny before free agency, but ready to be sick? Here are some of the names from the defense that have expiring deals: Quandre Diggs, Al Woods, Sidney Jones, DJ Reed, Ryan Neal, Rasheem Green. That’s four starters and two pretty important depth guys. I’m sure they re-up some of them…not sure which. But they’ll need to reinforce the defense substantially via draft. I’m gonna close out my mock all on defense.

#4.106 – Alabama Defensive Tackle, Phil Mathis

I’d kinda like to find a replacement for Rasheem Green, but that would probably need to be done in the 3rd. Edge is a little thinned out by now. Defensive Tackle could still have some names. I like Matthew Butler out of Tennessee. If he declares, you could replace the ex-LSU Tiger nose tackle Al Woods with the ex-LSU Tiger, current Baylor Bear nose tackle Siaki Ika. Or, if you’re lucky, a member of the Natty-playing Crimson Tide is still there. Mathis brings some position versatility where he can rush the passer but he’s also stout enough in the run-game to play some nose.

I’m very picky about corners. Part of that comes from training myself to target what Seattle had always targeted before drafting Tre Brown last year. Part of it comes from witnessing what seems to work across the league. Having said that…I don’t love this CB class. Just when I think I’ve found one that checks most of the boxes, I watch one more game and it’s a downer. And Seattle’s gonna need more corners. They’re starting to treat CB the way they’ve treated OL for years…kind of patchworking a group from low-level trades and light free agent investment. They need to hit on somebody.

#4.108 – Cincinnati Cornerback, Coby Bryant

Bryant was one of the most consistent corners I watched this year. Maybe never hit the highest upside plays that some other guys hit, but never had the double negative plays that those same upside guys had. Is he Richard Sherman? Probably not. But could he be Shaq Griffin? I definitely think so. Might actually have more leadership than Shaq, too.

#5.149 – Baylor Safety, JT Woods

I don’t know what happens with Diggs, but I’m drafting a guy I think could start if he had to. Woods was already an ascending player in my mind, from a team that I’ve really liked watching this year, and then he went and posted that impressive performance in the New Year’s bowl game where he intercepted two balls and had another that looked like a forced fumble but ruled a PBU. He’s a high school track guy that could probably play single-high if Seattle went back to that. And sidenote; with a 6’2″/193lb frame, you might be able to cross-train him at corner.

#7.224 – Cincinnati Safety, Bryan Cook

I don’t know if this is more a replacement for Ryan Neal leaving, or hedge for Jamal Adams’ health; I just know I want the player. Cook is listed 6’1″/210lbs and if that’s his legit size, I want him as a box safety. I really like how much he contributes on a pretty loaded, playoff Bearcat team: 93 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 2 INT, and 9 PBU. He’s a very disciplined player. He has great fundamentals. Floor could be Bradley McDougald.

Final count:

2.40 OG Zion Johnson
3.71 RB Zach Charbonnet
4.106 DT Phil Mathis
4.108 CB Coby Bryant
5.149 FS JT Woods
7.224 SS Bryan Cook

Mariners post-draft thoughts

By Jared Stanger

The Mariners finished their 2021 draft on Tuesday after selecting 20 new players. From that group they ended up with three coming from high school, two coming from junior college, and 15 from four-year colleges. They drafted three catchers, three shortstops, three outfielders, one third-baseman, and ten pitchers (all right-handed).

As I watched the picks being made, and even more so looking at them deeper in hindsight, there is something odd about this draft. And it’s more than just the obvious: that they drafted three high school players in the first three rounds, after being college-heavy to the extreme in the first six years under Jerry Dipoto. I’ve been advocating for them to be more considerate of HS players for years now, but in hindsight of this draft, plus the HS picks from the prior 4-5 years, they may simply not be good at evaluating prep talent.

M’s recent top 10 round players drafted from high school:

Michael Limoncelli in rookie ball: 1.80 ERA but 1.80 WHIP with 10 BB to 8 SO.
Adam Macko in rookie ball: 5.96 ERA, 1.632 WHIP, 6.0 BB/9.
Sam Carlson in low A ball: 4.68 ERA, 1.620 WHIP, 5.9 BB/9.
Jorge Benitez in low A ball: 5.13 ERA, 1.633 WHIP, 6.8 BB/9.
Joe Rizzo in AA ball: .216/.310/.687
Nick Neidert: Traded, made MLB
Dylan Thompson: Traded, retired 2017
Cody Mobley: retired 2018

Another thing that quickly showed up this year was the way Seattle didn’t draft anyone that was ranked in the top 250 players from this cycle after the 4th round. In theory, every pick from round 1 through 8 can be from the top 250 without any unusual circumstances as there are 252 picks total for all teams in those rounds.

We may find, once the draftpicks are all signed, that Seattle had to go overslot for their three HS picks in rounds 1-3, which could have forced them to start looking for underslot players starting earlier this year than usual. This could be an explanation for the lack of consensus top 250 guys they chose. I think it’d be a bit of a copout, as you should be able to get both underslot and top 250 in one or two more picks rounds 5-10.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly strange about the college hitters they drafted. I look at them as a group and there’s a pretty consistent theme: average power (to a man they hit between 8 and 12 homeruns this year), with very solid plate discipline (an average of 11.8 BB% to 15.4 SO%, with the worst SO rate being 22%), and every single bat posting at least 30% extra-basehit rate.

So what is the unusual part of this draft class? It’s the pitchers. There is a striking randomness to this grouping of arms. There’s no heavy preference for starter vs reliever. There’s no pattern of picking guys with high K-rates. They aren’t generally consistent strike-throwers with high control. You could suspect there’s an element of pitching analytics at play (spin rate, velo, extension, flat vertical approach, etc), but in the past they looked for those things PLUS many of these other result-based metrics. Why punt on those elements now when they’ve been part of the formula up till now? That doesn’t track.

If you really look at this group of 2021 pitching draftees; the biggest commonality between these guys is……almost every single pitcher was a better performer in 2020 than they were in 2021.

Could it be possible the team decided to direct a majority of their 2021 scouting visits to focus on finding bats, while trusting more of their scouting reports on pitchers from the 2020 cycle??

This becomes more interesting in light of two things: 1) Seattle’s heavy drafting of more pitching than hitting from 2018-2020, 2) the carryover in scouting restrictions from COVID from mid-2020 college season to this year.

In addition to asking “what” was different about this draft cycle, I think it’s important to ask “why”. Why would they change how they scouted and drafted pitchers when they’ve been pretty successful doing it these last few years? One possible answer is that they didn’t. If you change the “when” of scouting these pitchers, the “what” actually looks less unusual.

I still don’t think any of the reasoning I’ve laid out here is an acceptable excuse for putting together a poor draft. Which I think three-four years from now we will all see this class as being. I’ve generally been pretty happy with the Jerry Dipoto era draft classes, and the farm system has been well-regarded since those collective classes. But I have my doubts this year. There are some obvious changes they made this year, and I suspect some unobvious changes, which also means it changes the assumptions and expectations we have that they will succeed.

Mariners 20 round mock

By Jared Stanger

Last week I didn’t think I’d be doing another one of these, but fuck it…let’s do all 20 rounds.

Actually, we have gotten some new intel to warrant some adjustments in the early rounds. Mariners’ draft showrunner Scott Hunter went in front of the press corps earlier this week for a bit of a pre-draft press conference on the field at TMobile, and he doubled-down on Jerry Dipoto’s previous comments about the M’s going more openly, if not straight up aggressively, after the high school players in this draft.

So, while the NCAA’s recent decision to allow athletes to be compensated for their name/image/likeness has already sent at least a handful of known prep players to formally withdraw their names from the draft (Josh Hartle and Nick Mclain amongst them), and more names may come to be known in the next 24-72 hours, for now we may have a little more comfort and freedom mocking a true best player available draft.

With the floodgates open to drafting prep players in the 1st; my thoughts immediately go to the bat side. With the farm system chock full of the recently drafted college pitchers; there’s a degree of simply going with the odds in thinking it will be a hitter. But there’s also a multiple factor greater number of high school position players to the number of high school pitchers.

I’m still bullish on middle infielder Peyton Stovall. I think he’s got a super high floor, and with his quickly emerging power, I like the upside even more. I’ve read reports connecting Seattle to prep catcher Harry Ford, but I tend to prefer Joe Mack. I feel like catcher is a dangerous spot to draft from before they’ve played in college due to the slow-developing nature of the position in general, so I won’t go with catcher here, but I’m just putting it out there I prefer Mack to Ford.

#1.12 – 2B Peyton Stovall, Haughton HS

A prep shortstop that just looks like a future all star second baseman, to me, with one of the best hit tools in the total class. A recent weight-gain and added muscle turned him into a 15 homerun hitter over the 2021 high school season. Defense looks unspectacular but very reliable. Keep him at short for as long as you can (a la Donnie Walton), but feel no shame when he ends up at 2nd.

My intel has shown me that the 2nd to 3rd round might be the time the M’s are looking hardest at drafting a true shortstop. Certainly, they have done a deep-dive at the position to know the options that could be available if they choose to wait.

If you end up on the clock with some mix of Alex Mooney, Carson Williams, Max Muncy, Edwin Arroyo, Noah Miller; they may pull the trigger on the highest-ranked of those names on their board. Both Jerry and Scott have alluded to the athleticism of this high school class, and the previously mentioned group includes switch-hitters, two-way players, and multi-sport athletes.

So it’s tough to walk away from that group. Especially Carson Williams. But I just have other plans.

#2.48 – RHP Jackson Baumeister, Bolles HS

Again, if we’re talking athleticism…Baumeister is a pretty recently converted catching prospect of some regard, that is now focusing more and more on the mound. He’s 6’3″/215lbs with insanely clean mechanics for a guy still relatively new to pitching. His stuff is presently fastball up to 96mph, but sitting more 94, solid curve and quickly evolving change. Pitchability-wise, he’s super efficient, throws a ton of strikes. And there’s still more growth to come with a fulltime pitching commitment.

The other guy in this slot that I recently came to consciously recognize checks a lot of boxes for the M’s last three years worth of draft profiles is Florida righty Tommy Mace. He’s 6’6″/215 with elite extension and strike-throwing. I basically just stopped tracking him because he had a bad ERA (4.38). But the rest of the peripherals are there: 1.24 WHIP, 11.26 SO/9, 2.09 BB/9. I liken him to a righthanded version of 2019 2nd rounder Brandon Williamson, who is already in AA after 15 pro starts.

This is also a great spot to draft from a handful of college lefties. Actually, this is a hard spot to mock draft because of the depth available. But simultaneously that means it will be a great spot to draft in reality. Gonna be plenty to choose from.

#3.83 – OF Malakhi Knight, Marysville-Getchell HS

Knight is a new consideration to my mock drafts. Again, we’re going back to some of the things Jerry Dipoto said recently about athleticism, but also about this draft’s depth. The exact quote, “we approach it as ‘take the best available player with the athletic upside, the potential in the top 100 picks'”. So not only is there a ‘what’ to that quote, there’s a ‘when’. Now, the quote requires some interpretation as what is the definition of ‘top 100 picks’ when your team drafts at #83 and then again at #113, and undoubtedly some from your team’s top 100 board will still be there when you’re back on the clock at #113. But I digress…

Malakhi seems easily the smoothest outfield athlete I’ve seen from this class. He’s 6’3″/195lbs, with a powerful righthanded swing. Look at him switch gears to stretch this hit from Friday night into a triple:

#4.113 – LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

This is a very strong class of LHP, especially the college group, but this is probably the latest you want to wait to get one that has around 3rd starter potential. Webb is, to me, very Marco Gonzales-esque. Similar build, similar stuff (Webb maybe a bit more velo), and similar leadership qualities.

#5.144 – SS Gavin Conticello, Stoneman Douglas HS

There’s plenty of question of where Conticello’s glove will end up, but I liked what I saw from him at the MLB Combine when he was playing shortstop. I’d leave him there for now. But he’s a 6’4″/195lb kid, so it is possible he ends up at either a corner infield, or maybe even outfield in time. Certainly the hard-swinging, rotational swing is reminiscent of LHH outfielders like Cody Bellinger and Bryce Harper. That’s what you hope for here.

#6.174 – 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

After going hard on prep players through five rounds, we’ve now reached the college portion of the draft where we have to include considerations of budgeting to be able to sign the HS group. Tirotta is a 6’3″/195lb, senior out of Dayton that hit 16 homers and stole 14 bases over 51 games this year. 31 of his 61 hits went for extra bases.

#7.204 – RHP Gordon Graceffo, Villanova

Graceffo is a 6’4″/210lb righty that has posted sub-1.60 ERA across the last two college seasons, and who ticked his strikeout numbers up to 9.44 per nine this year while maintaining very low walk rate. The fastball is up to 95mph, with a promising changeup.

#8.234 – 2B Jackson Glenn, Dallas Baptist

Glenn is a very well-tooled player that put together an exceptional 2021 with 21 HR, 19 2B, 2 3B, 13 SB, 32 BB to 33 SO, but is dropping in this draft because he’s 23 years old. I really dig this crop of college 2B, and getting Glenn in the 8th is tremendous value.

#9.264 – C Andy Thomas, Baylor

A consistent name amongst my mock drafts, Thomas is a sound catch/throw receiver with enough bat upside to be a sneaky value late in the end of day 2 of the draft. Very solidly built at 6’2″/210lbs, he hit .337/.411/.986 in 2021 while catching 46% of would-be basestealers. He was also one of three finalists for the Buster Posey Award for college catchers.

#10.294 – RHP Taylor Broadway, Ole Miss

The 10th round has frequently been a senior-signing, college relief pitcher for Hunter/Dipoto drafts. Kind of an easy way to save money towards the bonus pool while getting a useful roster piece. Broadway was one of college baseball’s best closers in 2021, and as a 24 year old he shouldn’t cost much, but bring 7.33 SO/BB out of the ‘pen.

#11.324 – LHP Caden Vire, Skyview HS

The early picks of day three of most Hunter drafts have often been overslot players that you’re taking a bit of a risk on signability, while not risking losing funds from your overall bonus pool. Vire is an interesting, local prep pitcher from near Vancouver, WA that stands 6’6″ but skinny, who is only presently topping out around 91mph, but with tons of projection still remaining. If you can sign him away from his ASU commitment, he could be a very fun project to track over the next 3-4 years.

#12.354 – RHP Aaron Brown, MTSU

Brown is a 6’4″/220lb former Vanderbilt recruit that posted a 0.96 WHIP and 11.87 SO/9 this year. Just need to cut down his homeruns allowed.

#13.384 – 1B Griffin Doersching, Northern Kentucky

Doersching is a massive human of a first baseman. 6’4″/250lbs and I think that might be AFTER he cut weight. Power is his carrying tool, though I also note how improved his plate discipline was in 2021, walking 50 times to 34 strikeouts.

#14.414 – OF Jonny Butler, NC State

Butler was the best scoring player in my analysis of the college class of bats. Just a very well-rounded player that goes B- to B+ across all categories.

#15.444 – LHP Rob Hensey, Monmouth

Hensey is a 6’4″/210lb southpaw that posted a 1.54 ERA, 0.878 WHIP over 41.0 innings this year. He starts with a great frame, clean mechanics, and then you try to develop him a little bit.

#16.474 – RHP Elliott Carney, Wofford

Carney is another local product, but he also worked to a 2021 season line of 3.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.94 SO/9, 2.25 BB/9, and a no-hitter.

#17.504 – C Wyatt Hendrie, San Diego State

Most drafts you’ll try to come away with a couple catchers. Hendrie posts a nice mix of bat and athleticism. He hit .379/.464/1.097 with a very low strikeout rate. He was the third Buster Posey Award finalist behind Mat Nelson, and the aforementioned Andy Thomas.

#18.534 – RHP Luke Boyd, Baylor

Boyd is a fifth-year senior who posted 14 saves and an ERA of 1.18 and 13.97 SO/9 combined over the last two years. With his nasty slider, could be very quick to the show.

#19.564 – LHP Parker Harm, North Dakota State

Similar profile to Boyd, but from the lefthand side. Harm is a fifth-year guy that had 12 saves, 1.70 ERA, and 15.08 SO/9 this year.

#20.594 – 2B Jace Mercer, Cincinnati

Mercer is sort of the back end of this 2B class that I really like. He was a finalist for the college 2B Gold Glove award and he stole 22 bases over 53 games this year. Also a switch hitter.

Full recap of the full 20 rounds:

1- IF Peyton Stovall
2- RHP Jackson Baumeister
3- OF Malaki Knight
4- LHP Ryan Webb
5- IF Gavin Conticello
6- IF Riley Tirotta
7- RHP Gordon Graceffo
8- IF Jackson Glenn
9- C Andy Thomas
10- RHP Taylor Broadway
11- LHP Caden Vire
12- RHP Aaron Brown
13- IF Griffin Doersching
14- OF Jonny Butler
15- LHP Rob Hensy
16- RHP Elliot Carney
17- C Wyatt Hendrie
18- RHP Luke Boyd
19- LHP Parker Harm
20- IF Jace Mercer

Mariners Mock Draft 3

By Jared Stanger

We’re down to one week until the first day of the 2021 MLB Draft, and I’m doing another mock draft because we’ve had some new developments. The NCAA via the Supreme Court recently declared athletes can make money using their Name, Image, Likeness (NIL). It’s a long-overdue change, but the side-effects will be widespread and some slow-to-be-revealed.

There may be a change in how eager college athletes are to declare for their respective drafts. But, as one of the sports still allowed to draft prospects directly from high school, baseball will have to quickly discover on the fly how many (more) high school players will decide to actually GO to college in lieu of signing to their drafting team now. In other words; this prep class will be the first ever to be able to choose making money while going to the SEC, or making money while going to the Grapefruit League. And then there will be some more specific niches within the draft where those choices will tend to differ.

One would tend to think most prep players will still be swayed from their college commitment by being offered “first round bonus” money, but there are always instances like Jack Leiter a couple years ago where a player truly wants to get a chance to live the college experience. And now they get that plus don’t have to live off top ramen and PBnJ sandwiches.

I have yet to see anyone acknowledge that the NIL change may shake up the pretty consensus top 8 of this draft class, which contains five HS athletes on most boards. If one or two of those players now feel more inclined to go to college; you no longer need 4 “upsets” for one of the top 8 to fall to you; you’d then need 5-6 upsets. Then the ensuing dominos falling could also move some of the players in the 10-15 range that you were counting on being available will no longer last.

So the safest strategy, and something I’ve been pondering for weeks, could be to plan to overdraft and underslot. Money saved in the 1st round could be even more important this year as you attempt to pull prep players in rounds 2-5 away from their college commitments.

Now, when looking at the reports trickling out about the Mariners draft intentions, which are already limited…Jerry Dipoto and Scott Hunter are rumored to once again be focusing on college players. But this year they are supposedly hyper-focusing on college position players. Do we think those reports are based in fact? Do we think the draft will fall in a way in which a bat that matches the value will still be there, and they won’t force a bat with a reach player? If they can’t find a player that is both from college and a bat; would they prioritize the “college” part or the “bat” part more? Aka…would their first pivot be to college pitcher, or to high school bat?

Because of all the collective thinking I’ve talked about leading up to this; I’m going to pivot to a college pitcher over a prep hitter, even though my personal preference would be to draft HS infielder Peyton Stovall over anybody.

#1.12 – RHP Gavin Williams, ECU

I tend to think that the third-best college RHP after the two from Vanderbilt is Gavin Williams. Not Ty Madden, not Ryan Cusick, not either of the Tommy John guys. I just like his profile, and suspect he fits more into what Jerry looks for, more than any of the others. The guy is 6’6″ throwing 99mph, has plus secondary offerings, and throws a LOT of strikes.

Then, on top of that, I see Williams’ lesser projection of late-1st round, and his redshirt Junior class status, as opportunities to get a better talent with less negotiating power, therefore being able to sign him for an underslot price.

The slot allowance for this pick is $4,366,400 and Williams’ projection is generally 10-20 picks later than #12. Even if you sign him for slot #17 money; you save $750,000. That equates to an additional third round value/signing (or overslotting multiple of your existing picks a combined total of $750k).

Is Williams the “best player available” at #12? Not according to the media. But will he be better than the guys the media like at #12? I think so. And then it’s just a wait and see who is more right.

Having “missed” on the college bat in the 1st round; I’m going to proceed to overcompensate in the next several rounds.

#2.48 – 2B Tyler Black, Wright State

After not getting the guy I could see becoming a mainstay at 2B, Stovall, in the 1st; I’m thinking about adding a stud college 2B in the 2nd. I really like this class of college 2B: Connor Norby, Jackson Glenn, Max Ferguson, Tyler McDonough, etc. Black fits really well the position player metric I created to study this year’s bats. He hit .383/.496/1.179 with 13 HR, 59 RBI, and 39 walks.

Under the Covid rules; he is a redshirt Sophomore with multiple years of eligibility remaining, so it may take full slot value of $1,543,600 to get him to sign. But we should be okay to do that.

#3.83 – SS Gavin Conticello, Stoneman Douglas HS

I think you have to be very selective this year with any and all prep players you draft. But I also think it’s important to pull something from this very exciting overall class of HS shortstops. So my foray into that element of the class comes in the form of the 6’4″/195lb Conticello. His college commitment is to South Florida which hopefully won’t be as hard to sign away from as some of the other players committed to, say, SEC/Pac12 schools.

In addition to my deep dives into this year’s college bats and college pitchers; I also attempted a deeper(ish) dive into this year’s prep shortstops. Just trying to come up with a uniform way to analyze traits. Gavin was one of the top five performers (after the 1st round names).

#4.113 – LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

There are a few places that this draft is very strong. One is HS shortstops, one is college second basemen, and the third is lefthanded pitching (both college and prep). Hence, part of the reason this mock has gone the way that it has.

Webb is the third name on my LHP priority list, but the only one in the top 3 that is still available this late. In a funny way, you draft this Bulldog to eventually replace our current Bulldog, Marco Gonzales. Plus, the farm already has Emerson Hancock and Tim Elliott from Georgia. Webb should be a quality 3rd starter all day.

#5.144 – 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

I’ve been fairly consistent in finding a place to draft Tirotta. It’s him or redrafting former M’s draftpick Christian Encarnacion-Strand to play 3B. I’m going with Tirotta because of the better overall athleticism.

#6.174 – 1B Griffin Doersching, Northern Kentucky

Doersching brings a few things this mock, and the farm system, really needs: some righthanded first base power. And THAT Griffin has in spades. He’s 6’4″/250lbs and won the 2019 College HR Derby. In 2021 he added 20 homers and an impressive 50 walks to 34 strikeouts. So, in addition to the power, there is some plate discipline to him as well.

#7.204 – RHP Daniel Brooks, Bishop England HS

Seventh round is hopefully late enough to draft the always-volatile prep RHP category. In 2019 Seattle drafted prep RHP Mikey Limoncelli and prep LHP Adam Macko back to back in the 6th-7th.

Brooks is a 6’8″/239lb righty with commitment to the College of Charleston. His fastball is currently sitting 95mph and touching 97-98 with high spin, and a really nasty slider. I really like his strong lower half. I could see him getting up to 99-100 in a couple more years. They got Limoncelli to sign for $500k in 2019, so I’d look to pay Brooks similarly overslot.

#8.234 – C Andy Thomas, Baylor

Thomas is a fifth-year senior with good receiving skills and a solid bat. He hit .337/.411/.986 with 11 homeruns, and threw out 46% of would-be base-stealers in 2021. He was also a finalist for the Buster Posey Award for college catchers. Draft for the glove and hope the bat develops.

#9.264 – OF Jonny Butler, NC State

In the analysis I did of college hitters, Butler actually came out as the highest scoring player outside of first round projected bats. He’s a well-rounded athlete that knows how to get on-base, has a little pop, a little speed, and a little defense.

#10.294 – RHP Aaron Brown, Middle Tennessee

In theory, this should probably be a relief pitcher, but having gone 2 to 1 bats to arms so far, we could probably use another starter.

Brown is a guy that scored very well in my study of college pitchers. He’s a 6’4″/220lb former Vanderbilt recruit that posted a 3.99 ERA in 2021 primarily due to an unfortunate number of homeruns allowed (13). I don’t have access to college ballpark tendancies, so I’m not sure if that is park-related. But everything else in Brown’s line looks like the kind of pitcher Scott Hunter targets. He’s a redshirt junior by eligibility, but he’s 22 years old and should sign at senior rate.

#11. 324 – OF John Thrasher, Hartford

Thrasher is a consistent target of mine throughout this draft season. He’s the ideal profile for an eventual 4th-outfielder at the major league level. He was one of the best base-stealers in the country this year, and the bat and glove both appear to be useful. I’d like to see him walk a bit more, but he doesn’t really strikeout much either. Very contact-oriented. Thrasher is a redshirt junior, so he should sign at senior rate.

#12.354 – LHP Caden Vire, Skyview HS

We’ve seen the M’s crew go prep pitcher multiple times in rounds 11-16 over the last handful of drafts. Damon Casetta Stubbs, Holden Laws, Anthony Tomczak. Each of those instances they signed him for over slot money. So it will take some maneuvering rounds 1-10 to be able to afford him.

#13. 384 – RHP Taylor Broadway, Ole Miss

Broadway is an undersized, overaged reliever for the Rebels. He had the second-most saves in the country this year. You should be able to get him for low money as he’s already 24 years old. This could easily be your 10th round pick to save bonus money for, say, Vire.

#14.414 – RHP Elliot Carney, Wofford

Carney is a 23 year old redshirt senior originally out of Sammamish who pitched extremely well in 2021: 3.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.94 SO/9. He also threw a no-hitter. Should be a guy that will progress through your system a la Darren McCaughan.

#15.444 – LHP Parker Harm, North Dakota State

Solid lefty bullpen arm with experience closing. 12 saves this year and a 1.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 15.08 SO/9. Very difficult arm angle is death to lefthanded hitters. Fifth-year senior could also be another candidate for that 10th round bonus-saver pick.

Mariners draft: college bats

By Jared Stanger

Last week I wrote about the college pitchers with some, what I think is, good feel for the type of analysis that leads to the kinds of arms that Jerry Dipoto and Scott Hunter look for in the MLB Draft. This week I’m writing on the college position players with far less of a connection to how Seattle drafts them. I’ve had some success predicting eventual M’s picks, but it has never been a singular formula. I didn’t look for the same traits in Cal Raleigh that I looked for in Braden Bishop in their respective years when Seattle drafted them.

This year I’m trying something new, and trying to create a more consistent design of how I’m looking for draft talent across the whole diamond. Primarily to see how well it may recognize eventual MLB talent, but hopefully also to see if it works to isolate how the M’s look for talent that hits. These are my inaugural finds:

C – Andy Thomas, Baylor

Thomas is a 6’2″/210lb backstop that hit .337/.411/.986 with 11 HR, 60 RBI, and a very solid 45.9% caught stealing rate. He hits lefty and throws righty. He’s a 5th year senior that should be available in later rounds at very affordable signing bonus figure.

1B – Griffin Doersching, Northern Kentucky

Doersching is a mountain of a man at 6’4″/250lbs. He may best be remembered as the winner of the 2019 college homerun derby. Power is clearly his carrying tool after hitting .316/.488/1.260 with 20 HR and 48 RBI this year. As I looked over his multi-year progression in college, I found myself impressed with a couple things: 1) the way he’s transformed his body from kind of a chubby, baby-fat looking kid, to a really built grown-ass man, and 2) the way he’s improved his plate discipline. Griffin’s 2021 walk rate of 23.7% was almost double that of his previous career high.

The swing reminds me a bit of Mark McGwire. The drip reminds me of Brian Bosworth. Have fun, folks.

2B – Jackson Glenn, Dallas Baptist

Second Base is lowkey very strong this year. In fact this was the hardest position to choose a single winner for this story. I had Cincinnati 2B Jace Mercer in a virtual tie for the win here with higher marks for his defense, but eventually chose Glenn for his better power. But it’s worth noting Mercer, nonetheless, as Glenn may be too pricey to secure.

Glenn is a thickly built 5’11″/225lb purveyor of the keystone position. He hit .366/.438/1.169 with 21 HR, 55 RBI and a very stout 42 extra base hits for the year.

3B – Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Oklahoma State

Third base might be polar opposite from second across this draft class. There really wasn’t anyone that scored well across all tools. Each seemed to have a glaring flaw of one kind or another. CES is the pick from the objectivity of this analysis, but I would probably still prefer to draft Riley Tirotta over him in reality.

Encarnacion is listed at 6’1″/215lbs, but honestly looks a bit bigger to the eye. He hit .361/.442/1.103 with 15 HR and 66 RBI for the year. It’s also worth noting that Seattle drafted him out of high school in 2019.

SS – Trey Sweeney, Eastern Illinois

Shortstop was another disappointing position for the college ranks. Sweeney scored very high himself, but there really wasn’t anyone close behind him. But in terms of big picture, this is a pretty special class of prep SS, so there could be that with proper planning.

Sweeney is a 6’4″/185lb college SS, that hit .382/.522/1.234 with 14 HR, 58 RBI, and a breathtaking 46 walks to 24 strikeouts. Most draft media believe the league will move him off of short, but for the record, Sweeney’s fielding percentage of .975 was higher than, for example, top 15 projected SS Matt McLain.

RF – Kyle Battle, Old Dominion

Battle is a 6’1″/190lb outfielder that exploded onto the draft scene in 2021 by hitting 18 HR, with 61 RBI, .322/.461/1.149 after hitting only 9 homeruns in his first four years COMBINED. He also posted 54 walks this year. His swing lowkey reminds me of Kyle Lewis.

CF – John Thrasher, Hartford

Thrasher is a very athletic 6’2″/190lbs CF who hit .369/.470/1.150 with 7 HR, 23 RBI, but an elite 37 stolen bases in 36 games. And from what I’ve seen; he plays a quality defensive center. Very good combination of traits and at redshirt junior prices.

LF – Jonny Butler, NC State

Butler was, perhaps, the biggest surprise on this list. Not only for appearing on it, but actually coming in 1st overall for all positions. The charmingly nicknamed Jonny Barrels is a 6’1″/205lb OF who hit .377/.451/1.116 with 13 HR and 48 RBI with quite a few clutch moments for the still-playing College World Series semifinalist Wolfpack.

But the biggest surprise was that Butler hasn’t committed a single error in the field in all of 2021. This guy’s a gamer.

And because sometimes a draft class will double or triple dip at any given position…some of the honorable mentions:

C- Michael Trautwein, Northwestern
SS- Shawn Goosenberg, Northwestern
3B- Riley Tirotta, Dayton
2B- Connor Norby, Eastern Carolina
1B- JT Schwartz, UCLA
OF- Jared Dupere, Northeastern
OF- Mason Mcwhorter, Georgia Southern