Mariner draft redux

By Jared Stanger

We’re almost two weeks out from the 2022 MLB Draft, and this Mariner’s draft class is still sitting weird with me. Like, it seems very bipolar. I think they did something really interesting with the evals they did for hitting prospects, but I’m simultaneously very spooked by the way they drafted for pitching.

So I became obsessed with the idea of an instant redrafting of this class. For this, I created a set of rules with which the picks had to follow to be allowable.

  1. All picks must be players that were drafted or signed as free agents.
  2. All picks in the top 10 rounds must have signed their real contracts for a combined amount equal to (or under) what the Mariners spent on their top 10 picks.
  3. All picks in rounds 11-20 must have signed their real contracts for less than $125,000, or an overslot amount that fits under top 10 bonus pool.
  4. All picks must be made before (or equal) to where their real draft position was.
  5. Players that signed as undrafted free agents may be drafted at any point, for any bonus amount.

The Mariners spent a total of $7,591,500 on their top 10 picks, but I believe their available pool after the 5% bump from the new CBA was closer to $7,621,110. The latter will be the hardline figure I can’t pass, but I’ll try to keep it closer to the former.

#1.21 pick, (#21 real) – SS, Cole Young, $3,300,000 bonus

In hindsight, I think the Cole Young pick was a bit of a forced preemptive move to get some more shortstop talent in the system as the M’s were well into trade-talks where Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo were being highly sought after. It was also good to take left-hand bats where you can, as this draft wasn’t deep in that area.

#2.58 pick, (#58 real) – 3B, Tyler Locklear, $1,276,500 bonus

Tyler Locklear was the single-best hitter I found when I did my analysis, so I had him in my pre-draft mocks. Then the M’s drafted him. So we’ll keep him right where he is.

#2.74 pick, (#80 real) – RHP, Andrew Taylor, $807,200 bonus

I had Taylor in my mock drafts…I even tended to “reach” for him…but, apparently, I wasn’t reaching enough for him. As one of the younger true Junior pitchers in this class, I just really want the mix of college experience with some projection remaining.

#4.126 pick, (#145 real) – LHP, Hunter Patteson, $394,500 bonus

Patteson was another guy I had in my mocks, but just not high enough. He’s gonna be a longer project as he has had recent Tommy John surgery, but I really like the tools from the lefthand side.

#5.156 pick, (#328 real) – RHP, Caden Dana, $1,500,000 bonus

The Angels drafted Dana in the 11th round, but then signed him for $1.5mill, so he was available in the 5th, and only cost $250k more than the overslot deal Seattle gave to Walter Ford, and then you save more than enough to cover the difference by going Patteson instead of Ashton Izzi in the 4th.

#6.186 pick, (#253 real) – RHP, Tyler Guilfoil, $122,500 bonus

Guilfoil could be had anywhere in the next three picks. I’m just putting him here as this slot was open, and the bonus is higher than the next couple guys. Tyler has nice present tools as a quick-to-the-show reliever, but I’m not completely sure he couldn’t start. Might be a Matt Brash type guy. Start him until you can’t.

#7.216 pick, (#216 real) – 2B, Hogan Windish, $20,000 bonus

The M’s did some of their best work this draft identifying Senior college hitters with intriguing hit tools, plus power, that would sign for underslot. I love the value of Windish here. Not only was he the first 2022 pick to play in the minors, he has also already been promoted to Modesto as of Saturday afternoon.

#8.246 pick, (#246 real) – C, Tatem Levins, $50,000 bonus

Levins is a similar story to Windish. Very nice hit tool, power took big step this year, signing for underslot, AND he’s a lefty hitting catcher. I don’t necessarily trust that Levins has the arm to stick behind the plate, but I like seeing how far the bat carries him.

#9.276 pick, (#283 real) – RHP, Brett Gillis, $97,500 bonus

Gillis, the former Everett product, was tough to figure out slotting. Sometimes, historically, the guys drafted top 10 rounds aren’t as good talent-wise as guys drafted in rounds, say, 11-13. They get overdrafted so that they can get underslotted. Astros took him in the 9th, which I think is pretty talent/value appropriate.

#10.306 pick, (UDFA) – SS, Brad Malm, $20,000 bonus

As I started writing this piece, the 10th round was the last one left open. I wanted to draft catcher Andrew Cossetti here because the Twins drafted him in the 11th round at #324, and they have signed him, but I don’t know what the actual bonus was. Under the rules of this process, I can’t use Cossetti. He might cost more than I have remaining in bonus pool. And I don’t have much bonus pool left.

The M’s used two of their first 6 picks, and 47% of their bonus pool, on two shortstops. In hindsight, I think it was clearly strategized. I didn’t love Josh Hood’s hitting metrics outside of his exit velocity, and I couldn’t really afford him in this construction.

Brad Malm was my compromise. He hit .340/.403/1.058 with 15 HR in 47 games for Albany. He signed as a free agent after the draft, so I can basically determine his bonus as a “drafted” player. $20,000 is just under my remaining budget, while saving enough to go overslot on the 11th round.

At this point, after drafting and budgeting all of my top 10 picks, I have approximately $32,910 of bonus pool remaining to go overslot in rounds 11-20.

#11.336 pick, (#405 real) – OF, Chris Newell, $147,500

I like Newell’s defense, he’s got really nice base-running, and he has a pretty intriguing power swing from the left side. Going overslot by $22,500 will still keep me ~$10,000 in the black.

#12.366 pick, (#371 real) – UT, Brooks Baldwin, $125,000

Baldwin is a pretty interesting player. He’s a 6’2″/175lb athlete that hit .347/.406/1.021 with 11 HR, 16 SB for UNC Wilmington primarily as a 2B. But then this summer he was hitting .361 with the wood bats in the Cape league where he’s played 4 games at 1B, 2 games at 2B, 5 games at 3B, 2 games at SS, 2 games in CF, 1 game in LF, and 15 games in RF. Plus, he can switch-hit.

#13.396 pick, (#415 real) – RHP, Ben Sears, $125,000 bonus

There were a few closer types that I had my eye on throughout the process. Sears was one that A) I liked more predraft due to his stuff, B) I’ve seen his signing bonus reported. I can’t use the guys that I don’t know if they are under the $125k mark.

#14.426 pick, (#508 real) – LHP, Sammy Natera, $125,000 bonus

The M’s found one wild but hard-throwing lefty reliever for real in UDFA in Drake Batcho, but I’m plugging in Natera here as a second shot. Big strikeout numbers as a starter, but I’m definitely moving him to the pen to see if he can focus better there.

#15.456 pick, (#483 real) – RHP, Trey Braithwaite, $100,000 bonus

Braithwaite is a very over-aged player, but he’s throwing 99mph with sub-2.00 ERA in both the Big12 and the MLB Draft League, so there may be a chance he moves quickly through the minors.

#16.486 pick, (#568 real) – 1B, Luke Franzoni, $75,000 bonus

I had a couple of first basemen I was considering here. One a righty, one a lefty. One ranked very high in my hitting metrics, the other won the Division II college Gold Glove. I’m going with the more bat-forward guy. Franzoni hit 29 homers over 58 games this year. Enough said.

#17.516 pick, (#516 real) – RHP, Stefan Raeth, unknown

Raeth is the only guy that I broke the rules for, but he was a guy Seattle drafted here anyways, so I’m guessing he fits under the $125,000 mark. Raeth is a local/UW reliever that has spent time at Driveline. He was off to a very impressive start this year, leading the country in K rate, before cooling off towards the end. He still finished with 1.146 WHIP, 12.1 SO/9, and 4.68 SO/BB primarily out of the pen.

#18.546 pick, (#554 real) – RHP, Duncan Davitt, $25,000 bonus

Davitt was a guy that popped up on my radar after the MLB Draft League. He posted identical 3.38 ERA’s between MLBDL and Big Ten. Both leagues he posted WHIP under 1.200, SO/9 over 12.0, and SO/BB over 3.00. Very intriguing profile.

#19.576 pick, (UDFA) – OF, Bryson Worrell, $20,000 bonus

Worrell fell all the way out of the draft for some unknown reason, so I’m just gonna swoop in and grab him here. He’s 6’2″/226lbs, and hit .335/.401/1.032 with 20 HR, 10×10 SB, and played some nice OF for East Carolina, including some very clutch play in the CWS.

#20.606 pick, (UDFA) – 2B, Josh Zamora, $20,000 bonus

Zamora was another guy that fell to UDFA, but I liked his bat enough in my analytics that I’d like to draft him before he gets to pick his landing spot. 5th year Senior hit .362/.470/1.145 with 16 HR, and 40 to 27 BB to SO rate for Nevada.


The M’s have also signed three players as undrafted guys to this point: C Connor Charping, LHP Drake Batcho, and RHP Austin Marozos. I didn’t spend a pick on any of those because even in this hypothetical they would still end up with Seattle.

Overall Haul:

SS Cole Young
3B Tyler Locklear
RHP Andrew Taylor
LHP Hunter Patteson
RHP Caden Dana
RHP Tyler Guilfoil
2B Hogan Windish
C Tatem Levins
RHP Brett Gillis
SS Brad Malm
OF Chris Newell
UT Brooks Baldwin
RHP Ben Sears
LHP Sammy Natera
RHP Trey Braithwaite
1B Luke Franzoni
RHP Stefan Raeth
RHP Duncan Davitt
OF Bryson Worrell
2B Josh Zamora

C Connor Charping
LHP Drake Batcho
RHP Austin Marozas

Final Mariner Mock

By Jared Stanger

The 2023 MLB Draft starts tomorrow, and in light of new comments coming out from Mariner Director of Amateur Scouting, Scott Hunter, I think I need to make another attempt at predicting the M’s haul. Actually, this might be my first attempt at predicting what they do, after previously primarily focusing on what I would, personally, do.

The first thing that became clear from Hunter’s comments, I think, after going high school players with three consecutive picks to start the 2021 Draft, this year Seattle goes back to their bread and butter, and best successes, in drafting a college player, who will most likely be a pitcher.

Another point that I talked about before, and which became more solidified from Hunter, there is a high likelihood the player Seattle drafts will be the one that falls in the draft. Now, it’s a fair, and important, question to determine what big board from what TIME in this draft cycle you use as determining a player’s point in ranking that could then determine if he’s falling vs fallen. A player considered top 10 in February, at the beginning of the college season, may today be considered in the 25-30 range in the most up-to-date, last-minute rankings. Especially because of the next point.

I’m really coming around to the idea that Seattle’s first pick may, in fact, be one of the many pitchers that is coming back from an injury. If the thinking is that modern medical science is that a pitcher can not only fully recover from, say, Tommy John surgery, but in many cases they come back stronger than before it…and if your timeline says you have enough young, talented pitching on the roster and in the high minors to bide you over…maybe you create value by drafting a high-upside pitcher that in time will return to a top-10 talent, while getting him at #21 due to present injury.

So who fits the profile of 1) college player, 2) falling in the draft, 3) missed time and coming back from injury? I think the #1 target will be:

#1.21 – LHP, Alabama, Connor Prielipp

The backstory on Prielipp is that he had an insane, albeit brief, debut as a college freshman. He started 4 games, pitched only 21.0 innings, gave up ZERO earned runs (5 unearned), only 5 hits, 6 walks, and struck out 35 before Covid shut everything down. That’s a 0.00 ERA, 0.524 WHIP, 15.0 SO/9, 5.83 SO/BB. All incredible numbers. And that’s a point in a career when a guy is usually not great and having struggles adapting to the bump in play after leaving high school.

Then, in 2021, he pitched 5.0 shutout innings versus McNeese State with 8 strikeouts to open the year on February 19, then he was shutdown for two months. He came back on April 17th and pitched one inning, and shutdown again for another month. His last appearance was May 16th…another one inning start. Shortly after that he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Connor missed the entire 2022 college season, but has re-habbed to the point where he’s been able to throw a couple of “bullpen” sessions for scouts at two different events over the last month or two. At those events his fastball was already back up into the 94-95mph range, and it’s probably a fair assumption he will be able to pitch some innings this summer in the minors for his drafting team. In terms of the injured pitchers, Prielipp might be the best-case-scenario as far as timeline. (*You could also argue Kumar Rocker who had a shoulder surgery in late 2021, but threw 20 innings over 5 starts for an independent league team this Spring.)

Speaking of Rocker…I could totally see the M’s go there. They seem to sorta love a buzz or media guy. I have my apprehensions about him personally, but we digress. To his credit, Rocker in the indy league this year posted 1.00 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 14.4 SO/9, and, my favorite note, only 1.8 BB/9. In his three years at Vandy Rocker averaged 2.6 BB/9, including a 2.9 BB/9 for 2021. So I definitely like him more if he’s throwing more strikes.

The other guys I think come in to play here: RHP Cade Horton (who missed his TJ year in 2021), RHP Blade Tidwell (missed the first month of the season with milder injury), maybe LHP Carson Whisenhunt (missed the year on suspension).

I still love Cooper Hjerpe but I tend to think he’s not considered to have enough “upside” for the M’s. I still like Jackson Ferris but tend to think high school is off the board.

#2.58 – RHP, Don Bosco, Caden Dana

There are a ton of sort of low-ceiling college pitchers ranked near this range (Adam Mazur, Jonathan Cannon, Drew Thorpe, Jake Bennett, Brycen Mautz) but the upside comes more from high school or the JUCO guy, Jacob Misiorowski. High school righty Cole Phillips was up to 100mph before needing TJ surgery in April, and I really like the high-pitchability prep lefty Bradley Loftin. But already having one lefty in the bank from the first round, I’m going for HS RHP Caden Dana. He’s 6’5″/215lbs and the fastball is already at 95mph.

#2.74 – SS, Virginia Tech, Tanner Schobel

It’s always important to find up-the-middle guys. I don’t hardcore love any of this crop of college shortstops for sticking at the position and hitting, but I think there are a few that are capable enough to play another position fulltime and do spot-duty at short. Schobel is one of those. He hit .362/.445/1.134 with 19 homers, 74 RBI’s, and 35 to 40 BB to SO. I love the bat-speed.

#4.126 – RHP, Central Michigan, Andrew Taylor

Taylor is one of the younger true Juniors in this draft class. He ticks a lot of boxes for me…6’5″/218lbs, 3.21 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, 13.5 SO/9, 4.67 SO/BB. Fastball in the 93-94 range at present, but I think there’s easily room for more. I love the easy delivery. I hope you can get him at this point. May need to go overslot with eligibility remaining.

#5.156 – C, St Joseph’s, Andrew Cossetti

Cossetti is ranked nowhere near this spot. I’m putting him here as a Senior signing. But I think he’s a legit player. He hit .327/.454/1.167 with 19 HR, 65 RBI and 34 to 30 BB to SO in the college regular season. He’s also taking part in the currently running MLB Draft League where he’s hitting .403/.478/1.088 over 27 games. M’s have had pretty good early returns drafting a 5th round catcher last year in Andy Thomas, and then they pulled RHP Andrew Moore out of the 2021 MLB Draft League in the 14th round. Good precedents and holy crap they’re all named Andrew.

#6.186 – IF/RHP, East Carolina, Zach Agnos

The most interesting comment from Scott Hunter’s presser was his, seemingly, random discussion of two-way players. The quest for Ohtani. Now, an actual Ohtani…a guy that is throwing many elite innings as a starter every fifth day, and then DH’ing or playing a position all the other days…is kind of an impossible seek. But a guy that plays a position every day and then throws out of the bullpen every few days…that I can find.

You can find more two-way candidates in the high school ranks, but I kind of don’t like the double projection game of doing that. But one guy I did consider taking at an earlier round was SS/RHP Nazier Mule. He’s a solid fielder and up to 99mph on the mound, but only 17 years old. I just don’t fully trust the bat on him.

From the college ranks this year, you could find two-way talent in Campbell SS Zach Neto, OkState 3B Nolan Mclean, the aforementioned Cade Horton, and East Carolina IF Zach Agnos. Agnos played 55 games at shortstop, 20 games at second, 6 games at third, and also pitched in 19. He hit .330/.405/.884 with 7 homeruns, and he pitched to a 2.31 ERA, 0.771 WHIP over 23.1 innings.

#7.216 – LHP, Central Florida, Hunter Patteson

Patteson is sort of my pet project. He’s another from the list of injured college pitchers, so he may not pitch in the minors until 2024. But I think, once healthy, he will move fast. He’s 6’5″/200lbs, threw to a 1.82 ERA, 0.910 WHIP, 12.4 SO/9 over 30 innings this year before the injury.

#8.246 – IF, Florida, Colby Halter

Halter had a bit of a down year in 2022 in the SEC. He hit .240/.338/.718 with 8 HR over 65 games. But more recently in the Cape Cod League he’s hitting .322/.438/.978 with 5 HR in 26 games with the wood bats. Another very versatile defender, Halter split time about 61% second base, 31% third base, 7% shortstop in 2022.

#9.276 – RHP, Kentucky, Tyler Guilfoil

This is my pick to take a reliever. There’s a handful I’ve got my eye on, but I’m taking Guilfoil if he’s still there. He’s 6’4″/215lbs and posted season numbers of 1.59 ERA, 0.863 WHIP, 14.1 SO/9, and 4.71 SO/BB. I really like the repertoire. He might, actually, be able to start, or he might be a new Matt Brash.

#10.306 – 1B, Xavier, Luke Franzoni

Part of me wanted to go with a more athletic 1B here, like Josh Hatcher who played 1st in 2021 for Mississippi State before transferring to Kennesaw State where he played CF this year, but ultimately I went with the elite power of Franzoni. He hit .354/.485/1.306 with 29 homeruns, 78 RBI’s, and 53 BB to 64 SO. Franzoni is listed 6’2″/220lbs and, to his credit, he has played some RF in the past.

#11.336 – OF, Tulane, Ethan Groff

Groff is a nice well-rounded OF listed 6’0″/200lbs that hit .404/.503/1.211 with 9 HR, 35 RBI, 24 BB to 26 SO in 41 games before an injury ended his season a little early. Groff plays a solid outfield…probably better served on a corner spot, but he could definitely give you the occasional game in center. He’s got a very good throwing arm, as well.

#12.366 – RHP, Iowa, Duncan Davitt

Davitt is a 6’3″/235lb righty that I only discovered late in the process when I noticed his work in the Draft League. He was a guy that started 4 games, and relieved in 15 for the Hawkeyes this year. That only gave him 40.0 innings which means he doesn’t really qualify for end of the year statistical sites. But in his 40 innings Duncan averaged 3.38 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 13.7 SO/9, and 4.07 SO/BB. I think you give him a shot at starting and see what happens.

#13.396 – RHP, Portland State, Brett Gillis

Gillis is a guy I found pretty early in this process, and I keep sticking with him. He’s originally from Everett, and this year at Portland State he really took off as a pitcher-only, after spending his first three years in college playing two ways. He had a 2.24 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 12.3 SO/9 over 14 starts this year.

#14.426 – 2B, Nevada, Josh Zamora

Zamora first popped up in my analytics study of hitters. As a 23 year old fifth year senior you may be able to get him even later than this. There’s a lot of this sort of player profile this year: over-aged but showing advanced approach at the plate. Zamora hit .362/.470/1.145 with 16 HR, 69 RBI and way more walks than strikeouts (40 to 27).

#15.456 – RHP, West Virginia, Trey Braithwaite

Braithwaite is one of the older guys in this draft. He got a late start in college ball, then pitched 4 years at the Naval Academy, before finishing up this year at West Virginia and the Draft League. He’s listed 6’3″/220lbs, and the fastball has been clocked at MLBDL as fast as 100mph. In the Draft League he currently has 1.29 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, and 16.7 SO/9. You only make this pick if you think he can move fast through the organization.

#16. 486 – IF, LaTech, Taylor Young

Young is ironically not that young, but he has one of the most interesting profiles in the class. He was a college Gold Glove winner at 2B in 2021 before moving to SS this year where he still played some very good D. He hit .364/.506/1.151 with a respectable 12 HR, 51 RBI, 28 SB in 30 tries, and 58 BB to 45 SO. I’d move Noelvi Marte to either 3B or promote him to AA, and let Young go straight to Everett after signing.

#17. 516 – LHP, New Mexico State, Sammy Natera

At this point in the draft you don’t need to be looking for perfect profiles. You can look for traits. Natera is a 6’4″/195lb lefty that struggled as a starter to the tune of a 6.92 ERA in 7 starts, but he struck out 15.2 batters per nine while throwing in the high-90’s as a southpaw. If you can move him to the pen and let him focus on his two best pitches, and simply getting three outs; maybe you get an MLB piece out of him.

#18.546 – C, Western Michigan, Connor Charping

Although they don’t really seem to get much love outside of Harry Ford; I kinda like the catching depth in the M’s farm system. Jose Caguana hitting .333 in rookie ball, Andy Thomas is at .270/.404/.864 in A+, Ty Duvall at .261/.407/.820 across multiple levels, Charlie Welch had 7 HR in 35 games for A+ before injury, Matt Scheffler is hitting .260 at AA after a pretty aggressive assignment since signing as undrafted player in 2020 (*covid year with no minor league season). But you still want to try to find multiple catchers in each draft class.

Charping is a 6’0″/215lb catcher that can also play oufield. He hit .348/.440/.923 for WMU with only 3 HR, 23 RBI, but interestingly he stole 26 bases in 53 games, plus he walked 22 times to 20 strikeouts. He also was very solid throwing out basestealers.

#19.576 – OF, Louisville, Levi Usher

Usher has been a bit of a disappointment at the plate in his college career, but he’s this year’s Gold Glove winner in CF, and he stole 36 bases in 39 tries. Draft the glove and see if the bat evolves.

#20.606 – RHP, Houston, Ben Sears

There’s something missing from Sears’ performance to this point. He’s a 6’5″/208lb closer with a 95mph fastball and very good slider, but he’s only striking out 6.5 per 9. But if you can get him this late there’s no pressure to make much out of him, but there are elements there that say you might be able to.

My mock is probably light on outfielders, but I’m sort of counting on the fact that there will be OF talent still available in undrafted free agency. I prefer locking up the infielders in the actual draft. I think I’m missing a true, future shortstop. But if JP Crawford bridges to Noelvi Marte and/or Edwin Arroyo…we’re probably fine. This class is stronger at 3B and 2B, which is probably where the big club needs reinforcements more urgently.

I’m pretty happy with the balance of pitchers righty/lefty and starter/reliever. Could be 2-3 shots at ace material, and a few guys that could make the backend of the rotation. Bullpen would be pure octane adding this group.

Week away Mariner mock

By Jared Stanger

We’re finally rounding the final turn onto the homestretch of the 2022 MLB Draft season. Day 1 of the draft comes next Sunday, July 17th, with the first two rounds, rounds 3-10 on Monday, and rounds 10-20 on Tuesday the 19th. M’s have their first selection at #21 overall, 2nd round at #58, and a 2nd round competitive balance pick at #74 on day one. Day two the miss their 3rd rounder for signing Robbie Ray, followed by 4th round pick at #126. Then just add 30 to 126 for every round through the 20th.

The highest of the high end picks this year look to come from the high school hitter ranks, followed by college hitters, then possibly prep pitchers, and finally college pitching where this class has been decimated by injuries. It’s very tough to predict what will be on the board and targeted by Seattle at #21.

They finally broke the seal on drafting high school players early when they went to the prep ranks for three consecutive picks to start the 2021 Draft; so you can’t rule that out. They’ve frequently gone college pitching in the 1st round, and though this year is not strong there, picking at #21 might put them in the right range to get the first college pitcher off the board. Three of the Mariners’ top five prospects are currently teenage position players; so there is some potential “need” for quick to the show college bats. And, personally, I like the chances there will be some very good high school pitchers available when Seattle is on the clock…although, I feel like this personnel group has struggled most at evaluating teenage arms.

People often talk about the baseball draft being the draft that should be the least about team needs because of the prolonged timeline of developing draftees up through the minors, but it still has to creep in to a degree. The MLB Draft also differs in the way that draft bonuses are slotted (by each pick), but then grouped (each team’s top 10 rounds), and then given back to the teams to be anarchonistic within the assigned top 10 rounds. And there’s a degree of recruiting, a degree of intelligence-gathering, a very large degree of budgeting, that all decrease the frequency of truly drafting straight “best player available”. Then, multiply all of those factors by the number of teams that are doing the same geometry while drafting ahead of you. Bottom line: I have no idea what they’re gonna do. I’ll just write what I’d like them to do

#1.21 – LHP, IMG Academy, Jackson Ferris

I’ve noticed multiple times in the Dipoto era that the eventual first round pick is a guy that fell from projection to Seattle’s pick. It happened with Kyle Lewis, with Emerson Hancock, to a slight degree with Harry Ford. It’s tough to predict the guy that will fall, but Jackson Ferris is one that consistently ranks higher on draft big boards than he does in mock drafts. MLB ranks him #19 on their board, but don’t have him picked until #39 overall. And it’s like that on most mock drafts. Why?? I have no clue.

Jackson stands about 6’4″/195lbs and has a fastball that already touches 97mph, and at least one plus secondary in his curve, and a little-used changeup for his third offering. My biggest concern for Ferris is that he’s committed to college ball at Ole Miss, and the Rebels JUST won this year’s college world series. And that could be incredibly enticing for a guy coming out of high school. The counter to that is: pick #21 has bonus slot of $3,291,200, and you could tinker with your other picks to bump that up to $4 million pretty easily. There’s kind of only two reasons you turn that down: 1) you genuinely want the college experience (which now includes possible NIL money), 2) you genuinely think you could end up a top 10 pick in 2025.

#2.58 – RHP, Don Bosco Prep, Caden Dana

I don’t really love any player that is projected near the #58 range. It kinda feels like a spot you reach on someone. The M’s kind of did that in 2021 when they drafted Edwin Arroyo, projected at #83, in the 2nd round, #48 pick. Or maybe it’s a guy you can underslot to help cover an overlsot at #21. Caden Dana is more to the “reach” side of the spectrum.

I kind of like the symmetry of drafting two high school pitchers to start this draft after drafting two high school bats to start the 2021 draft. Dana is another big guy currently listed between 6’4″-6’5″ and already 215lbs. He’s already touching 95mph with the fastball, and I really like the tight curve.

#2.74c – 3B, VCU, Tyler Locklear

A few weeks back I did a very analytics driven deep dive on the hitters coming out of this college class, and Tyler Locklear was one of the best bats to emerge from it. Obviously, you can question the competition level, but the results are still pretty compelling. Lock has put up consecutive seasons at VCU hitting over .345 with over .500 OBP, 16+ homeruns, 65+ RBI, and more walks than strikeouts. Plus, another 9 homeruns in 34 games with the wood bats in the Cape Cod league in 2021.

At 6’3″/230lbs, Tyler isn’t quite as big as Giancarlo Stanton, but his swing reminds me a bit of Stanton’s. It’s a very muscular swing, but it’s not sacrificing much in pitch selection.

#4.126 – RHP, Central Michigan, Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is one of the younger true Juniors available in this draft class, as he won’t turn 21 until September 23rd. Normally, a college player has to be 21 within 45 days of the draft to be eligible, but Taylor graduated high school at 17. He’s now a 6’5″/218lb righty, with fastball up around 94mph, and three secondary pitches. He posted a 3.21 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, and 13.5 SO/9 this year. I like the frame, I like the clean mechanics, and I like that there’s still some projection left.

#5.156 – C, St. Joseph’s, Andrew Cossetti

Cribbing a bit of the format of the M’s 2021 draft, Cossetti marks the 5th round, senior-signing catcher that you try to get for underslot, a la the Andy Thomas pick from last year. Cossetti is a 6’0″/215lb backstop that hit .327/.454/1.167 with 19 HR, 65 RBI, 34 walks, 30 strikeouts in 54 games. He also posted very solid caught stealing rate. Additionally, he is hitting .406/.487/1.143 in the auxiliary MLB Draft league currently underway.

#6.186 – LHP, Central Florida, Hunter Patteson

I figure this is the safest place to mock taking a pitcher that is injured. Patteson walked off the mound mid-inning back in April and hasn’t pitched since. There is little information or update I can find on what the injury is/was, but let’s assume it’s the worst.

Patteson is a 6’5″/200lb lefty that was touching 97mph before the injury, with ERA of 1.82, WHIP of 0.910, and 12.4 SO/9 over his first 30 innings of 2022.

#7.216 – SS/2B, LaTech, Taylor Young

Taylor Young is a 5’8″/165lb Senior infielder that played shortstop this year after winning the college Gold Glove playing secondbase for the Bulldogs in 2021. The bat is also legit, with Young hitting .364/.506/1.151 with 12 HR, 58 BB, 45 SO, and 28 stolen bases this year. I’d keep him at shortstop initially, with the knowledge he can play a great 2B eventually if Noelvi Marte or Edwin Arroyo blocks him at short.

#8.246 – RHP, Kentucky, Tyler Guilfoil

I sort of have this round set aside for the best relief pitcher still on the board. Names like Cameron Foster, Tristan Stivors, Ben Sears, and Guilfoil. All of those guys check a lot of boxes, but I go with Guilfoil for the repertoire, and the results: 1.59 ERA, 0.863 WHIP, 14.1 SO/9 over 51.0 innings.

#9.276 – 2B, Nevada, Josh Zamora

Second base is a spot that people seem to undervalue, but it’s so hard to find good ones. Zamora is a 5’11″/190lb keystone that hit .362/.470/1.145 with 16 HR, 69 RBI, 40 BB, and 27 SO.

#10.306 – RHP, Portland State, Bret Gillis

Gillis is a local product from Everett that played his college ball down the road at Portland. He’s a 6’2″/215lb righty that posted 2.24 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 12.3 SO/9 this year, his first focusing solely on pitching.

#11.336 – OF, Tulane, Ethan Groff

Groff is one of the better value outfielders in this class. He’s 6’0″/200lbs, hit .404/.503/1.211 with 9 HR, 35 RBI, 24 BB, 26 SO over 41 games this year. I also like the arm from the outfield. He’s played some center, but is probably a better fit at the corners.

#12.366 – 1B, Coastal Carolina, Tyler Johnson

There are a couple first baseman to consider here: Luke Franzoni, Griffin Doersching, Matt Coutney. I’m going with Tyler Johnson because he provides something that is lowkey hard to find in this draft: a lefthanded bat. Johnson hit .357/.467/1.221 with 19 HR, 61 RBI, 31 BB, and 48 SO. He’s also off to a .365 clip in the Cape Cod League with 6 HR in 17 games.

#13.396 – LHP, Ball State, Tyler Schweitzer

Schweitzer is a 6’1″/178lb lefty starter who posted a 2.65 ERA, 1.080 WHIP, 11.0 SO/9 in 16 starts.

#14.426 – 2B, Florida, Colby Halter

Halter had a down year in 2022 for the Gators, hitting .240/.338/.718 after hitting .302/.379/.832 in 2021. But he’s picked it up a bit in the current Cape League where he’s at .306/.425/.925 over 22 games. He’s also got experience at SS and 3B.

#15.456 – RHP, West Virginia, Trey Braithwaite

Braithwaite is an overaged closer (almost 25 years old), after spending four years at Navy and last year at WVU, but he’s touching 99mph in the MLB Draft League right now, and could be a fast mover through the minors.

#16.486 – C, Western Michigan, Connor Charping

Charping is an interesting cat. He’s primarily a catcher (42 games), but he’s so athletic he’s also played 1B, CF, LF, RF this year, and stole 26 bases while hitting .348/.440/.923. Not much power…only 3 HR in 53 games, but he caught 26% of would-be basestealers.

#17.516 – LHP, New Mexico State, Sammy Natera

Natera is a 6’4″/195lb lefty starter for the Aggies, but I want to flip him to the bullpen. In 26.0 innings this year (7 starts), he allowed 6.92 runs per 9, 8.3 hits per 9, 6.9 walks per 9, but he also struck out 15.2 per 9. He’s originally from Mexico, and kind of reads like a lefty version of Andres Munoz. If you can coach him up…could you have a Josh Hader or Aroldis Chapman?

#18.546 – OF, Louisville, Levi Usher

Usher is a 6’1″/210lb centerfielder that hit .285/.362/.818 with 7 HR, 49 RBI, 25 BB, 67 SO in 64 games this year. BUT…he stole 36 bases in 39 attempts, and won the college Gold Glove. Upside may only be a 4th outfielder, pinch-runner, defensive replacement, but you do need those guys, too.

#19.576 – SS, Albany, Brad Malm

Malm is a 6’1″/185lb shortstop that hit .340/.403/1.058 with 15 HR, 49 RBI, 18 BB, 35 SO over 47 games.

#20. 606 – RHP, Iowa, Duncan Davitt

Davitt is a 6’3″/235lb pitcher that started 4 games, plus 15 relief appearances, finishing with combined 3.38 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 13.7 SO/9.