By Jared Stanger
We’re down to the final days before the 2018 MLB Draft, and this will be my final Mariner mock. We’ll go up to thirteen rounds this time.
It’s pretty unanimous amongst draft sites that the Mariners will take a college player in the 1st round. I believe in Jerry Dipoto’s entire GM career he’s only NOT done that (in favor of a high schooler) one time. I don’t agree with that as a philosophy. Even if you weight college players higher, there should still be times where the best player available on your board is a high schooler. Many of the best players of all time came directly from high school…Junior, A-Rod, Trout, etc.
In addition to generally going college player, many are speculating that Seattle will go specifically college pitcher. After picking Kyle Lewis and Evan White in the last two drafts, and noting the lack of pitching in the Seattle farm system; they really need to get a pitcher, but I’m not sure the earth has provided what we need this year.
MLB.com’s draft rankings currently have four college pitchers ranked #14-#17…and Seattle drafts at #14.
#14 LHP Shane McClanahan: 5-6, 3.41 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 14.76 SO/9, 5.55 BB/9, 5.80 H/9
#15 RHP Jackson Kowar: 9-4, 3.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.84 SO/9, 3.59 BB/9, 7.96 H/9
#16 RHP Logan Gilbert: 10-1, 2.52 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.87 SO/9, 1.80 BB/9, 5.40 H/9
#17 LHP Ryan Rolison: 9-4, 3.79 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 10.66 SO/9, 4.18 BB/9, 8.37 H/9
I don’t love any of them.
McClanahan is a true power arm with a triple-digit fastball, but he has no control. And he’s been dropping like a brick for the last few weeks. I like his makeup, but I have a feeling he ends up in a bullpen like an Andrew Miller.
Gilbert has the best package of “right now” skills that I look for, but I’m spooked by his lack of intangibles. He’s just-a-guy, and won’t be an MLB star.
Kowar does nothing for me. Not an elite strikeout guy. Not an elite control guy. He’s like a Mike Leake 4th starter.
Rolison is only mildly more interesting than Kowar because he’s a lefty and has a plus pitch in his curveball. But this still feels like two rounds too early to draft him.
The next eight players on MLB’s big board are all HS. The next college player is Oregon State OF Trevor Larnach. Who I like…but who I like better where he’s ranked at #26.
My true hope is that one of: Florida 3B Jonathan India, HS RHP Cole Winn, HS OF Jarred Kelenic drop from their ranks at #8, #9, #10 and fall to Seattle at #14. We saw Kyle Lewis drop farther than that, so there is some precedent for it to happen.
But without a few of what John Schneider calls “upsets” in the NFL draft; taking things as projected, I think I’d have to take McClanahan at #14. I at least feel confident he is MLB talent as a stud reliever.
#14 – LHP Shane McClanahan, USF
Seattle has followed up their college player in the 1st round with high school players in the 2nd round in the last two years. There are some rumors they really like RHP Lenny Torres Jr, but MLB has him at #47. I like RHP Owen White and Braxton Ashcraft.
White has very solid pitchability with a four-pitch mix and very good control. Then I read that he’s currently sitting 93-95mph on his fastball. That pretty much sealed it for me. Give me 94mph with control and “stuff” all day.
#54 – RHP Owen White, HS
I had Seattle drafting FSU catcher Cal Raleigh in my first mock a few weeks ago, and I’m keeping that now. Although, Raleigh tore up the ACC tournament last weekend and may now not last this long.
The basic scouting report: a switch-hitting backstop with good defense and a .461 OBP. Sold.
#90 – C Cal Raleigh, FSU
This next pick has probably become my favorite player in this draft. This is UNCG centerfielder Andrew Moritz. He’s hitting 428/494/1.146 with 6 HR, 56 RBI, 7 doubles and an insane 10 triples in 51 games. Not an elite base-stealer, but he plays a stellar CF, and brings a tremendously positive vibe to the clubhouse.
The other guy of similar skillset to target at this spot is Louisville’s Josh Stowers. Not as disciplined of a bat, but an elite baserunner.
#118 – CF Andrew Moritz, UNCG
Nick Sandlin is a starting pitcher for Southern Miss that has compiled a 2018 season of: 9-0, 1.13 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 12.65 SO/9, 8.93 SO/BB. Now, I don’t know if he sticks as a starter with this delivery, but he can definitely be fast-tracked to the bigs as a reliever. Sandlin throws from multiple arm slots, with multiple spins, and maintains control throughout.
#148 – RHP Nick Sandlin, Southern Miss
With two college pitchers drafted that may end up fitting better as relievers, I need to find some value arms that can start. I’ve actually got three or four lefties in mind. The first, and the one with the highest projection, is Hofstra’s John Rooney.
At 6’5″/225lbs, Rooney has a really nice build, and has made huge strides in the last year, or so, since attending the Cape Cod League. In 2018, Rooney pitched to a 8-2 record, with 1.23 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 10.23 SO/9, and 4.00 SO/BB. The stuff is presently a low-90’s fastball with good plane, and a great slider. His third pitch is a fringey changeup.
#178 – LHP John Rooney, Hofstra
Continuing to stockpile starters…perhaps my favorite pitcher for his value/upside combo is Saint Louis RHP Miller Hogan. At 6’2″/190lbs, not the biggest guy, but he’s working with plus control and a filthy sinking changeup. His 2018: 10-3, 2.19 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 11.31 SO/9, and an insane 10.75 SO/BB.
#208 – RHP Miller Hogan, Saint Louis
To close out the top-ten rounds (where the bonus pool is applicable), I’m really trying to focus on college seniors.
Shortstop, and especially good-defending shortstop, is tough to find this year. So I’m going the opposite direction and drafting the best offensive SS I found. Seth Lancaster hit a respectable .309, but was on-base at a .454 clip, and hit 18 homers with 22 stolen bases. He can also play third if the defense doesn’t hold up at short. The bat-speed is really good.
#238 – SS Seth Lancaster, Coastal Carolina
Then, to close out the up-the-middle of my defense, I’m adding Braxton Morris at 2B. 380/456/1.007 5 HR, 52 RBI, and 25 doubles. I love his defense.
#268 – 2B Braxton Morris, Morehead State
In the 10th round I’m targeting either of two college LHP: Adam Scott or Kevin Magee. Both with really similar lines including over 11.0 SO/9 and under 2.0 BB/9.
#298 – LHP Kevin Magee, St. John’s
At this point, after the top 300 players, it’s really tough to know where the rest of these guys come off the board. These are massive guesses, but I’m still trying to find college Seniors.
For the outfield, I’ve got a couple names: Devlin Granberg and Joey Denison.
Granberg doesn’t look like he should be as good and athletic as he is. But a 424/531/1.185 slash is nuts. And on top of that he stole 22 bases.
#328 – OF Devlin Granberg, Dallas Baptist
At 1B, Gabe Snyder has 15 HR, 71 RBI and a decent 14 stolen bases to go with his 351/416/1.080 slash. Probably not available this late, but if he is…
#358 – 1B Gabe Snyder, Wright State
My last pick, we’ll end on pitching, and this is a true closer. With 20 saves in 30 appearances, 1.83 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 11.33 SO/9; this is Brooks Wilson.
#388 – CL Brooks Wilson, Stetson
1- LHP Shane McClanahan
2- RHP Owen White
3- C Cal Raleigh
4- CF Andrew Moritz
5- RHP Nick Sandlin
6- LHP John Rooney
7- RHP Miller Hogan
8- SS/3B Seth Lancaster
9- 2B Braxton Morris
10- LHP Kevin Magee
11- LF Devlin Granberg
12- 1B Gabe Snyder
13- CL Brooks Wilson