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.
- All picks must be players that were drafted or signed as free agents.
- 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.
- 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.
- All picks must be made before (or equal) to where their real draft position was.
- 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.
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