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

MLB Draft: college pitching

By Jared Stanger

The Mariners have used their first round draft pick on a college pitcher in each of their three most-recent drafts. More specifically, they have each been a righthanded college pitcher. The standard talking point for baseball drafts is that you should never draft for need due to the time and uncertainty it takes to develop baseball draftpicks. But you have to suspect there will still, inevitably, be some filtering away from things a team does NOT need.

With that said, a college pitcher may not be their first choice for their first choice, but if they play the strict BPA game; a college pitcher may end up where they end up. Regardless, they will pick college pitchers at some point, and it will probably be two to three times in their first 7-8 picks.

Over the last few years of studying how Jerry Dipoto and his staff draft pitching; I’ve discovered I can isolate a few traits that I suspect they tend to prefer including stats, stuff, and tape study, and I can put together a list of around 12 players I think they’ll like, and I’ll hit between 2-4 names from that list. In 2020 I pulled two, but considering the draft was shrunk to 5 rounds, I still think that was pretty solid.

This story is sort of an expansion on the methodology that went into that tweet last year. But we’ll get into some finer points of when each pitcher could be found.

The prevailing rumor in this year’s draft media is that Seattle prefers a bat in the 1st round. Is that based on actual intel, or is it just the logic of what one does after going pitching for three consecutive years?? I don’t know. When Seattle has been linked to a first round pitcher; I’ve generally seen only two names: Sam Bachman and Michael McGreevy. Bachman just seems to be the pitcher ranked highest on most draftboards at or after where Seattle drafts at #12 (MLB.com has him ranked at #14). McGreevy feels a little more scientific, as he is one of the biggest strike throwers in the country this year, with a profile that reminds me a lot of George Kirby two years ago.

I don’t really like either of these guys due to their mechanics and somewhat limited starting potential. Bachman just looks like a bullpen guy to me (kind of like this year’s Garrett Crochet), and McGreevy looks like a third starter at best if everything goes perfect. I think you need to hunt aces at #12. So the first name on my list goes to ECU righty Gavin Williams.

Williams stands at a very well-built 6’6″/232lbs with strong lower half. His stuff already has him reaching 100mph with his rising fourseam that shows nice armside run, and a full four-pitch mix where all four pitches look at least average. While Gavin isn’t as much of a strike-thrower as McGreevy; he’s been no slouch (Williams 2.32 BB/9 to McGreevy’s 0.97). But Gavin was the harder to hit at 6.31 H/9 to 9.65 H/9 for Michael.

To put a finer point on it: Gavin Williams is the best mix of Bachman’s velo with McGreevy’s strike throwing. Williams was 5th in the country in strikeouts per nine to Bachman’s 7th, and he was 32nd in the country in SO/BB to McGreevy’s 2nd.

MLB lists Williams as their 31st overall player, so Seattle would need to draft him at #12. (This is not a mock draft. This is a projection of the best-fit pitchers at each Mariner draft pick.)

#1.12 – RHP Gavin Williams, ECU

Here’s a really nice video showing Williams repertoire. He’s getting swings and misses on fastball, but also I think on the change and curve:

To my eye, this is an unusually strong class of college lefthanders. Jordan Wicks is the consensus top projected LHP, but he didn’t score high marks on my Mariner metrics. The highest-scoring LHP on my Mariner board is the former Coug, who I’ve had Seattle drafting in each of my mock drafts: Ky Bush.

Bush is a 6’4″/200lb’er with a fastball touching 96mph and already improved control. In 2021 his strikeouts improved to a new best of 12.87 per nine, and he cut his walks by more than half from 5.13 to 2.18 BB/9.

In previous mocks I had him coming to Seattle in a later round, but in their most recent draft board update; MLB has moved Bush all the way up to #66 overall. So M’s would need to snag him at #48.

#2.48 – LHP Ky Bush, St Mary’s

The other high-scoring, highly projected LHP on my list is Matt Mikulski and with good reason. Mikulski led the country in SO/9 with 16.33 per, and hits allowed per nine with 3.82 (just nosing out Jack Leiter at 3.84). The only negative on Mikulski’s profile is his lack of prototypical size. Personally, I think Matt makes up for some of that with very strong down-mound extension. The strength and flexibility in his lower half (seen below) have already helped him to see his fastball tick up to 98mph this year. Mikulski was recently dropped from #43 to #48 on MLB’s board, so a little uncertainty how early you need to draft him.

#2.48 – LHP Matt Mikulski, Fordham

After the 2nd round, there’s a pretty big gap between high-scorer’s on my college pitching ranks. There’s a good solid two rounds where they may be best-served drafting bats before coming back to pitching in the 5th.

In the 5th round; the highest scorer is Stanford RHP Brendan Beck. Beck is a quality, athletic, high-pitchability righty with present velo only touching 93mph, but enough stuff to carry him to a 0.95 WHIP and 11.48 SO/9. His tape reminds me of Mariner 2019 draftpick Isaiah Campbell, with the way he works well down in the zone. He’s not as big or as hard a thrower as Campbell was coming out, but that could combine to allow him to be available later.

You draft him in the 5th and hope you can perk up his fastball with a pro training regimen. MLB has him at #164 overall, and Seattle picks at #144.

#5.144 – RHP Brendan Beck, Stanford

Another pitcher that ranked well in the 5th round range was Georgia lefty Ryan Webb. Sort of like Mikulski, I’d rank Webb higher for Seattle’s potential interest in him if he were bigger. Listed at only 6’1″/196lbs, Webb holds a present fastball that touches 95mph, with very solid H/9 of 6.49 and a quality 12.37 SO/9 even as he got stretched out into a starter from his previous role in the Bulldog ‘pen. Seattle has drafted a Georgia starting pitcher in each of the last two drafts.

MLB has Webb, I think, underrated as their #152 overall player. An SEC lefty that touches 95mph is probably more 3rd round-ish, so this would be great value for a guy reminiscent of a different kind of Bulldog: Marco Gonzales.

#5.144 – LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

Sitting somewhere later in the 5th, maybe a 6th if it falls as rankings have him, is LHP Dylan Dodd. Listed at 6’3″/210lbs, Dodd is a good combo of stuff and pitchability. Fastball touches 95mph and his SO/BB number this year was over 7.00. In his outing early this year versus the #1 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks; Dodd pitched 6 innings of 2-run ball, allowing only 3 hits (2 HR), 2 BB, while striking out 10. A college Senior, this could also be the range you start looking for bonus pool saving signings, and Dodd coming out of SE Missouri State could fit the bill.

#6.174 – LHP Dylan Dodd, SEMST

A lot of times doing studies like this, you already have some ideas of players that will end up on the final list because you know the inputs and you naturally look for them on a more superficial basis throughout the year. But sometimes the data reveals something entirely new. That was the case for RHP Gordon Graceffo.

Graceffo is a 6’4″/210lb righty out of Villanova with a bit of a hitchy delivery and not a ton of strikeouts. But there’s enough in his stuff (fastball up to 95mph) and makeup that he held opponents to a 1.54 ERA, and 0.96 WHIP over 82 innings this year. MLB has him on their board at #205, so my data is potentially pointing towards something.

As he currently looks on tape, I think he might be destined for a bullpen move, but if these mechanics can be tweaked…I wonder if there isn’t something more here that can be unlocked. Either way, at 7th round value, he looks like he could be a useful piece in some capacity.

#7.204 – RHP Gordon Graceffo, Villanova

I have a few more names that showed through the study, but none of the remaining are also on MLB’s most recent list of the top #250 prospects. So placing them in a round is less obvious. Instead, I will list them in order of how strong they performed in the study.

Tier 1 – RHP Aaron Brown, Middle Tennessee

Brown was actually one of the top scorers overall alongside Gavin Williams. He’s a 6’4″/220lb former Vanderbilt recruit that moved down to Middle Tennessee undoubtedly for a better shot at starting on the mound, and proceeded to strikeout 113 to only 15 walks in 85 innings this year. Strangely, he gave up almost as many homeruns as he allowed walks (13 to 15). I don’t know if that is ballpark related, but it is something to monitor, and perhaps why he doesn’t get drafted before the 8th round as a senior sign.

Tier 2 – RHP Elliott Carney, Wofford

Carney holds a couple of interesting distinctions on this list…neither of which are that he smells like cabbage: 1) he threw the first no-hitter in Wofford school history in April, 2) he’s originally from Eastlake HS in Sammamish, and then Edmonds Community College.

At 6’3″/205, Carney has decent size, but it’s unclear where his present stuff sits. However he’s doing it; Elliott held opponents to a very good 6.34 H/9 while striking out 10.94 per. Plenty to hope on here from a guy you can get rounds 9-12ish on a hometown discount/senior signing.

Tier 3 – RHP Kevin Kopps, Arkansas

Easily the best-known of the “unranked” names; Kopps has had an incredible season in 2021. Pitching primarily out of the Razorbacks’ bullpen; Kopps still acquired enough innings to qualify for season-ending efficiency stats. Of those, he won the national title in WHIP with his 0.76 mark. He also finished top 10 in total strikeouts, even though the scouting platitudes suggest his stuff won’t play at the major league level. The two other down marks on Kopps’ report: he is undersized and overaged. Only 6’0″ and already 24 years old…it will be seen how much of a discount teams will want before drafting him.

On the upside…and I hate to put this comp on him, but oh well…he kind of reminds me of Mariano Rivera. Rivera made the HOF with a single pitch: his 89 to 93 mph cutter that he simply just moved around the zone. Just a thought.

Tier 3 – RHP Pierson Ohl, Grand Canyon

Another guy that kind of came out of nowhere…Ohl presents a high-strike thrower with ultra-clean mechanics that scored well across the board. Statistically, he led the country in complete games…which suggests either a high efficiency worker that lets his defense work behind him, or a coach that just let him throw forever.

Tier 3 – LHP Russell Smith, TCU

The final name culled from this study was super tall TCU lefty Russell Smith. With a fastball topping at 93 mph presently, but a 6’9″/235lb frame that could add some velo in time; Smith has a ton to work from. And he wouldn’t be the first LHP from TCU drafted by the Mariners as that was the same bio for Brandon Williamson when he came to us in 2019..

12 Pitchers up, 12 pitchers down. 2021 MLB Draft begins three weeks from today.

Mariners Mock Draft #2

By Jared Stanger

The 2021 MLB Draft begins Day 1 exactly four weeks from Sunday. I’ve already had some change(s) of heart on some of my previous picks, so I needed to get another one up.

The biggest change is going to be right at the top. I think one of the strengths of this draft class is the prep shortstop class. The top four names from that group will still probably be gone by the time Seattle drafts at #12. But the next best way to mine talent from the class is to choose from the high school shortstops that potentially project to play at another position. This could be 3B, 2B, maybe an OF. As long as the bat plays, I don’t necessarily care if the player ends up moving off SS.

I mentioned a couple names that fit this description in my previous mock…Gavin Conticello and Peyton Stovall. Conticello is still quiet enough to be potentially found at a later round, but it feels like Stovall is still climbing. And I’m fully on-board for that.

#1.12- 2B Peyton Stovall, Haughton HS

Stovall has been a special talent for putting barrel to the ball for a couple years now, but it was the fact that he decided in the summer of 2020 to add some weight, and with it strength, that has really elevated his game. After adding about 15 lbs last year, Peyton went on to hit 14 homeruns in his 38 game high school season. While adding that kind of power; Stovall maintained a 6 to 1 walk to strikeout rate, for a .664 OBP and a 1.695 OPS.

In the field, Stovall is a bit mechanical, but part of what mechanical means (to me) is that it is a repeatable movement. He kind of reminds me of the baseball equivalent of Larry Bird. It’s not a pretty athleticism, but that doesn’t mean it’s not athletic. You don’t know how it works, but it does. And I think it will work consistently.

In my previous mock, I went prep righty Jackson Baumeister here. I still really like Baumeister, but after going HS with the first pick (which is already going against Jerry Dipoto’s staff’s history); I kinda feel like I need to come back to college with the next pick.

There’s a slight chance my first pick from my first mock, LHP Matt Mikulski, is still on the board here…in which case you draft him. But the more likely scenario is you’ll have to go with another college arm. Personally, I think there is a strong crop of college lefties all projected around the late-1st to mid-3rd round range: Mikulski, Andrew Abbott, Doug Nikhazy, Christian Macleod, Joe Rock, Steve Hajjar. But something caught my eye when studying the probable first college LHP that will be drafted: Jordan Wicks.

Wicks: 6’1″/215lbs, fastball 90-93mph, touches 95mph, 3.70 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 11.50 SO/9, 4.21 SO/BB
LHP X: 6’1″/196lbs, fastball 90-93mph, touches 95mph, 3.32 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 12.37 SO/9, 4.82 SO/BB

Almost identical profiles with X actually performing better statistically across the board. The only differences I can find? The former is a year younger, and the latter was a reliever until 2021. I mean…I guess you could argue Wicks has the better single pitch between the two with his changeup, but that runs the risk of being too insular of a thought process. What you’re trying to do is to find the best person at fulfilling the future job of MLB left-handed starting pitcher.

LHP X is Georgia starter Ryan Webb.

#2.48- LHP Ryan Webb, Georgia

So Webb’s numbers were better and they were compiled against elite SEC competition. The context of him being in the bullpen until this year is pretty easily explained: Emerson Hancock, Cole Wilcox, Jonathan Cannon. The other starters for KState while Wicks has been there: Griffin Hassall, Will Brennan, Caleb Littlejim. Who?

I like Wicks, but I’d like him a whole lot better in the 2nd round. Webb might give you a chance at that.

#3.83- IF Gavin Conticello, Stoneman Douglas HS

Conticello is a prep shortstop that probably ends up moving to a different position as a pro, I’m just not sure which position that will be. His hard-swinging lefty stroke gets some comps to Cody Bellinger who presently splits his time between 1B and OF. If you get that with an MVP bat…you won’t mind moving him off of SS. But start him off at 3B, probably.

#4.113- LHP Ky Bush, St. Mary’s

The picks from the 4th and 5th rounds remain from previous mock. Another upside college lefty here in the former Coug, Ky Bush. He’s got great pitcher’s frame, big velo, and already improved control. This is the most prototypical “Jerry” pick so far.

#5.144- 1B JT Schwartz, UCLA

Again, still keeping him from the first mock. Big-framed first baseman with elite eye at the plate. Mostly doubles power at this point, but hope for pro strength program to get him stronger.

#6.174- RHP Rawley Hector, Anna HS

An extreme pitchability prep arm, Hector is 6’2″/190-ish and has terrific feel for the strikezone with very clean mechanics. Present velo is only low 90’s, but there’s time to increase it. Rawley tore his ACL in 2020, so his work in 2021 HS season may not even show him at his best. You may be getting him at a discount here even if you go overslot money to pull him away from his college commitment to Texas A&M.

It’s not unheard of for Seattle to go prep arm around this range. They drafted RHP Mikey Limoncelli and LHP Adam Macko in the 6th and 7th rounds respectively in 2019. In 2018, they got a couple HS pitchers in the 11th and 16th rounds (Damon Casetta-Stubbs and Holden Laws). In 2017, Sam Carlson was this regime’s earliest drafted prep thrower in the 2nd round. They also drafted Jorge Benitez that year out of a Puerto Rico HS in the 9th round. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I do note that each year featured one righthanded and one lefthanded prep pitcher. In the 2020 abbreviated draft class there were not any prep arms, but there were only 5 rounds (Seattle has only once gone prep arm before the 6th), and they did draft a 19-year-old Connor Phillips out of JUCO in the 2nd. All of those picks, and their signings, were based on pre-draft agreed-upon signing figures.

#7.204- Taylor Broadway, Ole Miss

I’m curious if Kevin Kopps’ age will be enough to drop him down this far. If it does, I’d make him this pick in a heartbeat.

Broadway has been one of the best closers in the country this year with 16 saves in 29 appearances. He’s a bit undersized at 5’11″/205lbs, but that hasn’t stopped Seattle on relief arms before. They drafted Ty Adcock at 6’0″ in the 8th round in 2019 class. That same year they took 5’11” Kyle Hill in the 11th round. In 2017 they took Randy Bell in the 10th round and JP Sears in the 11th, and they’re both 5’11”.

Broadway is 24 years old and should allow you to save a bit in signing bonus to use towards other players. But he’s also a legit arm that could be very fast to the show.

#8.234- 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

Tirotta is another carryover from my previous mock. This is probably too late to actually acquire him, but it’s generally more aggressive than he’s seen in most national projections.

#9.264- C Andy Thomas, Baylor

After mocking FSU catcher Matheu Nelson in the 3rd round in my previous piece; I passed on him in this one. But I still wanted to get a catcher at some point in the first two days of the draft. Thomas has much less raw power than Nelson (22 HR to 11 HR), but he also strikes out about half as much (24.47% to 12.78%). Andy is a decently sized backstop at 6’2″/210lbs with one of the best caught-stealing rates I could find. Henry Davis was the best I found at 46.4% CS, but Thomas was right behind him at 45.9%. In fact, Thomas is the third national finalist for the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year award along with Davis and Nelson.

I don’t have all of the defensive catching metrics on any of these catchers, but I’m taking their inclusion in that specific award as de facto compliment of their receiving skills. If Thomas can hit a floor of Dan Wilson as a backstop; I think that’s a worthy draftpick. Plus, he’s a fifth-year senior that could save you some money.

#10.294- OF John Thrasher, Hartford

I’m keeping Thrasher from the previous mock, but targeting him in a later round. He’s a senior with very nice contact skills, a good eye, and elite base running. And the defense should allow him to stay in center. Could be a Braden Bishop type player with a future as a 4th outfielder with pinch-running specialization.

#11.324- LHP Devin Futrell, American Heritage HS

After the initial 10 rounds, teams leave the bonus-pool theatrics. Seattle, specifically, will use the first few rounds after #10 to draft some harder-to-sign players, then try to save some bonus pool from some point(s) round 1-10 to throw at them. Sometimes it’s an underclass college player like Carter Bins…sometimes a prep player that fell past their expected draft projection like Casetta-Stubbs.

Futrell would be the latter. He’s committed to Vanderbilt, and this is probably implausible, but I just really like his mechanics and polish, and he’d be worth the attempt.

#12.354- SS Carson Crawford, Rohnert Park HS

Even after drafting two prep shortstops in the earlier rounds; I didn’t really take any that actually project to play SS. So Crawford is my attempt to remedy that. Plus, I need some more righthanded bats. He’s got a smooth swing with nice barrel control, and some natural loft. Just needs to get stronger.

1st- 2B Peyton Stovall
2nd- LHP Ryan Webb
3rd- 3B/OF Gavin Conticello
4th- LHP Ky Bush
5th- 1B JT Schwartz
6th- RHP Rawley Hector
7th- RHP Taylor Broadway
8th- 3B Riley Tirotta
9th- C Andy Thomas
10th- OF John Thrasher
11th- LHP Devin Futrell
12th- SS Carson Crawford

If I had one self-critique of this grouping; it’s probably short by one college righthanded starting pitcher. It needs someone from the midst of names like Dom Hamel, Aaron Brown, Conor Grady, Alek Jacob, Elliott Carney plucked in there somewhere. Maybe you give up the closer in the 7th and go starter there instead. Or maybe you give up a second upside prep bat in the first three picks, and instead go high floor college arm in the 3rd. Or maybe most of those names could still be had in round 13. Yeah, maybe that.

Mariner 10 round mock

By Jared Stanger

At this time two years ago, we’d only be about six days away from the last day of the MLB Draft. This year; we are exactly six WEEKS away from the start of the 2021 Draft. Normally I only have a few weeks after the NFL Draft to cram for the MLB Draft. This year I’ll end up with a couple months. I’ve already had enough time to look through college and high school prospect lists to put together 10 rounds worth of Mariner mock draftpicks. The entirety of this year’s draft will only be 20 rounds (down from 40 rounds in 2019, but up from the 5 round class last year). So this represents a healthy portion of what will be this year’s class.

The Mariners this year will draft 12th overall, followed by single picks every round…no competitive balance picks this year. This will put them at #12, #48, #83, #113, #144, and then every 30th pick after #144.

Jerry Dipoto and his staff have never drafted a high school player in the 1st round since they’ve been here, and reports around the league suggest this year will be no different. I’m on record that I loathe this philosophy. Jarred Kelenic was the 6th overall draftpick in 2018 for the NY Mets. That same year; Seattle drafted Logan Gilbert with their 1st rounder at pick #14. Both players made their MLB debuts on the exact same day. The concept of college players being more major league ready is a fallacy when talking about early 1st round players. Certainly, you can break down the data to find the high school bats are better than the college players.

In general, I just find the upside of the high-end high school players worth the risk. Even if/when they take longer to develop; because you’ve started that clock earlier, you can still see dividends earlier on them than many lesser-talented college players. You create room for error when you get them in your program at 18 (or 16 for international players…see Julio Rodriguez and Noelvi Marte).

So my 1st round pick will be a college player to represent the Mariner philosophy, but I’m going to point out who I think they should take instead, as well.

#1.12 – LHP Matt Mikulski, Fordham University

I loathe having to draft at this spot. The upper tier of this draft is only like 8 players deep. So even if a top 8 player drops; are they really going to drop four spots?? Doubtful. Then you factor in that two probable top 12 talents had their seasons ended already due to Tommy John surgery, which shortens the college pool significantly. What you end up left with at #12 are a 5’9″ college outfielder, a 5’10” college shortstop that probably moves to 2B (and is arguably overrated here, anyways), and a college outfielder that has struck out 30% of the time in 2021. Those are the bats.

The college pitchers generally mentioned here:

RHP Sam Bachman hits 100mph and ticks a lot of the boxes on paper, but his throwing motion looks like a JJ Putz type reliever, to me.

RHP Ryan Cusick looks the part build-wise and has good stuff, but the control is suspect and yielded 4.11 BB/9 on the year and a 4.24 ERA. Doesn’t total feel like a Jerry guy.

RHP Michael McGreevy hits so many of the boxes on paper. 6’4″/200, 1.17 WHIP, 0.94 BB/9, 10.25 SO/9. But I watch the guy and I just don’t feel it. The mechanics are odd, to me, and I really don’t like his lack of down-mound extension. I wonder if he gets bumped off by the analytics group.

LHP Jordan Wicks. I could see this guy more than the others, in part just to balance out the RHP-heavy recent drafts. I’ve seen him listed at either 6’1″ or 6’3″. Sturdy build between 215-220lbs. Present fastball is decent between 90-93, touching 95mph, and the changeup is elite with sub-1600 spin rate. Marco Gonzales was the #19 overall pick in 2013, and Wicks is very much in the same mold. But I just find it difficult to knowingly draft a guy with 3rd-starter upside as my first pick. So what is the difference(s) between Wicks and Matt Mikulski?

Mikulski’s present fastball is a tick better sitting 93-95, and topping out at 98mph. Statistically, Mikulski has been far superior in 2021. Wicks: 3.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 11.32 SO/9, 2.70 BB/9…Mikulski 1.45 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 16.33 SO/9, 3.56 BB/9. Mikulski has given up a miniscule 3.82 hits per 9, to Wicks’ 8.41H/9. I also like that Mikulski only gave up 3 HR to Wicks’ 9 HR allowed. MLB has Mikulski ranked as their #43 overall prospect…M’s don’t pick again until #48…is it worth missing on him to try to wait until the 2nd? We’ll see.

The other couple reasons I’m leaning towards Mikulski…one is probably just anecdotal, one is practical. One: Mikulski was literally at TMobile Park on May 29th to see the M’s beat the Rangers in the Justin Dunn gem. Two: I’m looking for ways to go underslot with the 12th pick to allow us to go upside with later picks. When you’re, quote-unquote, reaching on a player in the 1st, be it college or HS; you probably have a shot at getting him to sign for closer to the amount of the pick where he was projected to be drafted. If I’m correct on my evaluation of this class in that the talent available from roughly pick #10 to pick #50 is close to the same; it benefits you to get the same talent who will sign for less money.

Now, the guys I’d like to potentially see over the college players: RHP Chase Petty, 2B Peyton Stovall, 3B Gavin Conticello.

Petty has been locked in to the 1st round for a while with his 100mph arm and already plus present slider. He’s similar to 2019 Jack Leiter except people aren’t wanting to see him add velo, but instead add pitchability.

Stovall has only recently been getting 1st round buzz, but it’s way more late 1st. I don’t see many holes in Stovall’s game. He’s an all-around smooth player…both at the plate and in the infield. Seems like A- to B+ across the board.

Conticello is more of a personal fave. He’s getting closer to 3rd round projection in most of the media I’ve seen, but when I watch him I see Cody Bellinger. Bellinger was a 4th round pick in 2013. Both have that long-levered, hard swung lefty approach. Only thing with Gavin is I don’t know where his glove ends up. I don’t love his actions on the left infield, but could he play some first base? Maybe. Power could play at first.

#2.48 – RHP Jackson Baumeister, Bolles HS

This was a very tough call. I’ve got a couple high school lefties I like here in Maddux Bruns and Brandon Clarke, I think Conticello could still be in play here, and I like 3B Colson Montgomery here, too. This range feels very strong in high school players. And if you’ve gone underslot at #12; you could easily afford to buy a prep player out of his college commitment.

Baumeister is listed 6’3″/210lbs with a free and easy fastball touching 96mph with room for more. And then he mixes that with a curve and change. I love how the ball pops out of his hand on the FB, and then he gets great armspeed to add deception on his curve. The interesting thing with Jackson is how late a start he had on pitching. He was primarily a catcher for years. So there is still some unknown upside to where he could go while now fully dedicated to the mound.

#3.83 – C Matheu Nelson, Florida State

After being very HS heavy in the 2nd, I’m back to college heavy in the 3rd. Some nice college pitching here, but I like Nelson so much more than the next group of catchers on my board I don’t want to miss on him. Plus, we’ve had decent success on catchers out of FSU recently. The other downside to many of the catchers in this class: I don’t think many will stick behind the plate. I see a lot of OF/1B projects. Nelson will catch.

Nelson had arguably the best power year of any player in the country in 2021: 22 Homeruns, 63 RBI in 49 games. His strikeout rate is almost 25%, which is higher than I want to see, but I’m going to overlook it in exchange for the power combined with over 40% caught stealing rate.

Nelson is considered a redshirt sophomore after the 2020 covid year, so it may take a little extra money to get him to sign this year, but you should still have some of that left.

#4.113 – LHP Ky Bush, St Mary’s

Bush, the former WSU Coug, has pitched himself into solid draft range. He reminds me a little of Carlos Rodon with his thick 6’6″/240lb build from the southpaw side. The fastball is up to 96mph with a developing 4-pitch mix, and much-improved control this year over his WSU freshman tilt. His 2021 went 2.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 12.87 SO/9, and down to 2.18 BB/9.

#5.144 – 1B/3B JT Schwartz, UCLA

This is one of the easiest picks in this mock for me. Schwartz is an advanced hitter slashing .397/.525/1.157 with 33 walks to only 21 strikeouts on the year. Only 7 HR, but you’re planning on more future power from his 6’4″/208lb frame. Good defender at first, as well. Another technical redshirt sophomore that you’re trying to coax into signing now.

#6.174 – 3B Riley Tirotta, Dayton

Tirotta represents very well the kind of player I’m making a concerted effort to locate in this class. He’s 6’3″/195lbs, hitting .323/.446/1.123, with 14 HR, 28 XBH, 12 SB on 14 attempts, and good defense. He’d technically be a senior signing, but that may not be as big of a concern this year with the number of 4th, 5th, 6th year seniors that will be available, and the draft bonus pool surplus.

#7.204 – SS Kurtis Reid, Hamilton HS

In what is a strong prep shortstop class; but in a franchise that doesn’t really do that early; I’m sorta trying to steal an upside SS here, in the 7th. Reid has good size at 6’2″/190lbs, a solid bat, but what I’m really interested in is his glove. In reality, this kind of pick may not happen until the 11th round or later; when you’re not obligated to bonus pool rules.

#8.234 – OF John Thrasher, Hartford

Thrasher represents a few different fun attributes. He’s arguably the best base-stealer in this class going 37 swiped in 37 attempts. He plays a hell of a catch and throw defensive centerfield. And he’s a .369/.470/1.150 hitter that could become a true leadoff man. Plus, his name is Thrasher, ffs.

#9.264 – RHP Jake Smith, Miami

Smith is a guy I liked in the 2020 draft when he was pitching in Junior College. This year he transferred to Miami and still looked quality vs the higher competition. His full season marks included 2.68 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, 12.2 SO/9, and 5.36 SO/BB across 17 appearances as starter and reliever. After opening the year in the Canes’ bullpen; Smith started in 6 of his last 7 games pitched, and in those games held a 1.08 ERA. He’s considered a redshirt sophomore after the covid asterisk. The highlight is the fastball up to 98mph out of the ‘pen.

#10. 294 – LHP Parker Harm, N Dakota State

Harm is a 6’2″/190lbs lefty closer for NDSU popping 16.26 SO/9 and a very low 5.52 H/9. He’s a little wild, but this is a pretty standard, 10th round, senior signing kind of player.

So there’s 10 rounds. If I had one self-criticism of it…it’s too balanced. They’re not gonna go C, 1B, 3B, SS, OF, RHP, LHP, closer. It’s possible this is the year they go way heavier on bats. It’s possible they finally break down and draft high school players with frequency. Whatever it is…there will be something about the actual draft class that is more slanted to some kind of theme. But there’s no real way to know ahead of time if they base that on organizational need, or the strength of the draft class, or just happenstance of how the draft falls if/when you draft BPA throughout.

Seamock Draft 10

By Jared Stanger

We are five days out from the 2021 NFL Draft…felt like a good time to knock out another 7-round mock draft. You know the drill: Seahawks gonna trade back and add picks. I ran a few different trade scenarios and posted them on my twitter account. I’ll cut straight to the chase here and trade #2.56 to the Dallas Cowboys for their picks #3.75, #3.99, and #5.179. I will then trade the 4th round pick at #129 to San Francisco for their picks at #5.155 and 6.194. Final draft board: 3.75, 3.99, 5.155, 5.179, 6.194, 7.250. Doubling your picks without sacrificing all upside.

3.75 – OL Quinn Meinerz

There has been a lot of chatter connecting Meinerz to the Seahawks. I think a Center makes a lot of sense at this spot as there are a handful of good ones in this class…Meinerz tested very well athletically but also hit some important benchmarks in terms of his build and length. He’s shorter at 6’3″ (may help Russell’s passing lanes), but has decent length (33 3/8″ arms), and very stout (320lbs). I don’t think it’s improbable the Seahawks could be interested.

Meinerz has mostly played guard in college, so we may see him backup Pocic for the year, then let Pocic walk in 2022. It’s also worth noting that the Seahawks haven’t let either of their most recent centers start at the spot as rookies. Britt started at RT and Pocic started as bench swing OL. Low expectations here for the immediate future.

3.99 – LB Hamilcar Rashed

I find it strange we aren’t talking more about the current hole on the roster where KJ Wright used to be. I realize the primary reason is that KJ is still on the market and fans are optimistic he’ll be back, but I dunno. Besides, I think there’s a nice pocket of players in this class that could be nice plug and play SAM linebackers. In my scenario; Jordyn Brooks remains at WILL, and the SAM will have skillset more akin to when Bruce Irvin was at the position.

Rashed measured 6’2″/251lbs with a very nice 4.62s forty and solid jumps at his pro day. During the 2020 season it seemed teams schemed to stop him as his production completely fell off, but in 2019 he had 14.0 sacks and a nation-leading 22.5 TFL. It’s a profile that the roster doesn’t really have at the moment as most of the edge rushers have suddenly become closer to 270 lbs than the 250 that Rashed is at. But Pete has a long history of incorporating that smaller LEO/Elephant role going back to Clay Matthews at USC.

5.155 – WR Michael Strachan

Okay, it is super unrealistic projecting the Seahawks drafting two players from outside Division 1 within their first three picks, but they also have to hunt value like never before this year.

Strachan is a 6’5″/226lb specimen that posted one of the higher RAS scores from this WR class. 4.50s forty, 35″ vert, and really still learning the position. But we only need someone to take the reps from David Moore. Moore was an underrated deep-threat, jump-ball option for Russell; and those are things Strachan excels at.

5.179 – CB Jason Pinnock

I’m pretty ride or die for Pinnock at this point. Size measurements check out. Athleticism checks out. Coverage analytics check out. And the buzz hasn’t caught on so the value checks out. Seahawks’ corner room is deep enough at this point that they can wait on Pinnock.

6.194 – DT Taquon Graham

Similar to the SAM pick; I feel like we’re overlooking the absence of Jarran Reed too much. Even though this isn’t a highly rated DT class, there are some good athletes, and I believe Pete and John take a shot on a 3tech somewhere.

Graham pro-day’d at 6’3″/292lbs, with a 4.89s forty, and 32.5″ vert. Overall the 3rd-best DT athlete in the class. This is the kind of guy you take a shot on in the 6th round

7.250 – LB Nick Niemann

Much like Graham; this is an athlete upside pick. Niemann is 6’3″/234lbs with a 4.51s forty. Don’t need much from him year one outside of special teams.

Final haul:

3.75 – OL Quinn Meinerz
3.99 – LB Hamilcar Rashed
5.155 – WR Michael Strachan
5.179 – CB Jason Pinnock
6.194 – DL Taquon Graham
7.250 – LB Nick Niemann

Spring SeaMock

By Jared Stanger

Seattle sports scene has been a depressing place to be the last couple months and feeling excitement about the future of both major sports franchises has been difficult to conjure. But today marks the beginning of Spring Training games and tomorrow begins the month of March, and with each hopefully will come some new vibes.

In that spirit I present only my second Seahawks mock draft of this cycle. When I last presented this I wasn’t even fully accurate on the number of draftpicks the Seahawks hold this year. I believe, now, that the correct number is: four. While the league is still waiting on announcement of compensatory picks; it isn’t expected that Seattle will be receiving any of those. The comp picks will only serve to mark the accurate placement of all picks after the 3rd round. So, other than the 2nd, these Seattle pick placements are rough estimates of where they will land after comp picks are added for the league.

I currently have the board as: #2.56, #4.123, #5.161, #7.244.

Pete and John have never shown enough confidence or trust in their drafting to go this concentrated. They want more shots on the clock than this. So we can expect multiple trades. I wonder about them trading a currently rostered player to add some of those picks, but I don’t have a strong feeling for who those players are. Carlos Dunlap seems like a valuable piece who also happens to carry the 3rd-highest cap hit on the roster. The 5th-highest is Jarran Reed. In one sense, I’d rather trade Jarran than Carlos based on perceived impact to the on-field play, but I think it relevant to note that this is a pretty awful DT draft class. Conversely, there could be quite a few players with similar profiles/abilities to Dunlap available even as deep as 4th-5th round.

I’m not going to get into a conversation about trusting John/Pete to replace Dunlap when they’ve missed in varying degrees on guys like Malik McDowell, LJ Collier, Darrell Taylor. I think this is just a blanket statement you could make about all positions. I’m just going to write with an assumption of competence and hope that they’ll finally put together another great draft class.

Really, I’m making a concerted effort to make this specific mock about players that I trust on a deeper level. I’m not going to get too explicit explaining what that means, but just know there is a certain thought going into this group. Sometimes that means going contrary to what I think Pete would do, but it also means sometimes going contrary to my own initial thoughts.

I’m not going to go too far into the trading around. I’ll do one trade back from their first pick, and then try to make things work. So, from #56, I will move back to the Packers #61 which should also give them enough leftover value to also get a 4th (#131) and a 6th (#211).

#2.61, #4.123, #4.131 #5.161, #6.211, #7.244

I think there are a bunch of directions free agency could force Pete/John to go in for their first pick. Replacing Chris Carson/Carlos Hyde at RB. Replacing Shaquill Griffin/Quinton Dunbar at CB. Maybe adding to the edge rush. Maybe trying to give the TE room a legit weapon with the loss of Olsen and Hollister, and the new offensive coordinator in mind.

I think there is enough depth in this CB class to wait on that. I don’t love the value of RB or TE this early. I like the value of DE around this range, but I’m not sure the team will see it as a need right now. Personally, I’m not coming out of this draft without reinforcements for the OL, which is also losing one starter to retirement and one to free agency (for now). Plus, it’s an olive branch to Russell Wilson.

In the previous mock I was looking to gain a future tackle piece from a solid OT class, but recently I’m seeing the OT board falling away. Especially with the trade back. So we pivot to the interior OL. It’s a pretty solid Center class as well, with three OC likely coming off the board between 50-80: Landon Dickerson, Josh Myers, Creed Humphrey. Quinn Meinerz coming from the small school probably falls later. Of the first three: Humphrey may be the best pass-blocker, Myers may be the best run-blocker, and Dickerson may have the best intangibles. I’m not sure there’s a loss among them, so the decision may come down to who is still on the board.

#2.61 – Ohio State, Center, Josh Myers

The Buckeyes were one of the top 10 most effective run-game offenses in the country last year, and their scheme is potentially a shade of what we could see from the Seahawks going forward; so the incorporation of Myers might be an ideal fit. Myers has good size at 6’5″/312lbs, he’s a nice athlete for the position, and he plays with an edge.

#4.123 – Mississippi State, Running Back, Kylin Hill

I’m a very big Chris Carson fan. I think he’s super underrated locally and across the league. But I think we’re about to find out where he’s underrated more as he works his way through his first free agency. I’m having trouble, with all that is going on within the roster, seeing the team giving Carson a multi-year deal. At best, maybe they tag him to delay his departure a year. So I’m looking hard for replacements in this draft. The two best fits would be Najee Harris and Javonte Williams, but I just don’t know that I can spend the draftpick they would cost to acquire. When you turn to the next tier; I think you’re looking at Rhamondre Stevenson and Kylin Hill. Rhamondre feels like the guy Pete is gonna covet more, but I’m rolling with Kylin.

What you’re hoping for here is a nice middle ground between like a 3rd round Kareem Hunt and a 5th round Aaron Jones. Kareem was about 5’11″/216lbs with a 4.62s forty…Aaron was about 5’9″/208lbs with a 4.56s forty. I’d take Kylin at 5’10″/212lbs with anything under a 4.59s forty.

When I’m watching RB’s; I’m looking for a few major keys. 1) running the ball (obviously), 2) catching the ball, 3) pass protection. #1 tells me I can use him on 1st down. #2 tells me I can use him on 2nd down. #3 tells me I can use him on 3rd down and long.

1:

2:

3:

#5.131 – Buffalo, Edge, Malcolm Koonce

If there can be such a thing as a luxury pick in a draft that began with only 4 picks; this is mine. I just really like Koonce as a player and he’s a bit of a profile that we don’t have on the roster right now. Listed at 6’3″/250lbs, Koonce would be the smallest edge rusher from a group that currently consists of 291lb Collier, 285lb Dunlap, 279lb Green, 265lb Mayowa, 260lb Moore, 267lb Taylor, 260lb Robinson. Maybe you include Shaquem in that group, but he’s the opposite direction at 227lbs. Depending on what they do with KJ Wright (I suspect they bring him back); you may also be able to try Malcolm at SAM next to Wagner and Brooks for a look more reminiscent of earlier years Bruce Irvin.

Speaking of Bruce….check the second clip:

#5.161 – Ole Miss, Tightend, Kenny Yeboah

For whatever reason; I thought Seattle had a good tightend room last year, but then kinda didn’t use any of them much. And it seemed to me using the TE would have been a good way to break teams out of their Cover 2 shells that seemed to baffle Pete/Schotty/Russ all second half of last season. I think the new OC will bring some changes in this specific regard. But we’re still gonna need more bodies. Olsen has gone off to hold a microphone fulltime. Hollister will probably go on to drop balls fulltime somewhere else. Dissly is coming off his healthiest season so far, but that’s always gonna be a question mark for him. And then Parkinson got no work and therefore no film, so he’s a giant question mark.

My guess is they’ll look to sign somebody inexpensive at the spot from the free agent pool, and then draft another guy. Kenny Yeboah really intrigues me. He played 2020 at Ole Miss listed at 6’4″/240lbs. I happen to know he’s now up over 251lbs. But I think it’s too much weight, too fast. He needs to get back down to like 245 and he’ll be fine.

Yeboah brings an interesting skillset. He was one of the most explosive TE in the country last year averaging 19.41 yards per catch with 6 TD in 8 games. And he also was a very good blocker for his size. We’ll first look at the blocking:

And now the receiving. I love this little delayed slant. Cover 2 buster for sure.

I love that he put up great tape vs Alabama, too.

#6.211 – Pittsburgh, Cornerback, Jason Pinnock

Jason Pinnock is a guy I’ve been following for a while and is finding himself as the odd-man out in one of the best CB classes in like a decade. He is worth so much more than this pick position. I liken him very much to Byron Maxwell, who Seattle took in the 6th round in 2011. BMax was 6’0″/202lbs, ran a 4.43s forty with 33″ vert and 10’4″ broad. That’s the floor. But Pinnock has a bit more athleticism and therefore may climb up into the 4th or 5th. In combine training, Pin has been tested with a 4.48s forty, 40″ vert and 10’8″ broad at 6’1″/205lbs. He also hit a 6.58s three-cone which is absurd for a guy that size (Doug Baldwin had a 6.56).

Corner is a position of need for the team and it’s a deep draft class, so I’m neither forcing an early pick at the spot, nor letting my board fall completely away. If I’m on the clock in either of my 4th round picks and only have 1-2 names left on my corner board; I’m willing to take Pinnock there, as well.

#7.244 – South Dakota State, Wide Receiver, Cade Johnson

I don’t know who in this WR class will fall this far, but I feel like odds are someone will. There are SOOO many WR this year. Maybe it’s a Shi Smith, maybe it’s a Damonte Coxie coming off a missed season due to injury, etc. I just think we want to look for a guy that can become a reliable target over the middle. Lock and DK have proven they can be the deep threats. Now go get someone that can work intermediate between the seams. I like Cade as a value play on day 3. He has a lot of the same traits as Lock, but he had no 2020 season due to the school he attended being FCS, which could mean he drops.

Recap:

#2.61- OC Josh Myers
#4.123- RB Kylin Hill
#4.131- DE/OLB Malcolm Koonce
#5.161- TE Kenny Yeboah
#6.211- CB Jason Pinnock
#7.244- WR Cade Johnson

SeaMock 2021.0

By Jared Stanger

Hello everybody! It’s been awhile. 2020 has been such an insane year that writing mock drafts, and even just keeping up on watching prospects, has really fallen so much by the wayside. But hopefully things are starting to settle down.

We can start to get an idea of what a Seahawks 2021 draft could look like. The first thing to do is to set the board. To my surprise; Seattle currently looks to be starting with five picks. The big headlines told us that the 1st and 3rd rounders this year are gone (to NY in the Jamal Adams trade), then there was the trade that brought Carlos Dunlap here, and thank God they took BJ Finney as part of the deal so that draftwise we only lost a 7th rounder. But, what was somewhat forgotten was that we had gained a 2021 7th rounder in exchange for our 2020 5th rounder in the Quandre Diggs trade last year. So we’re still left with one of two 7th’s, plus native 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th round picks.

I worked out a rough estimate of conditional pick allotment per round expected for this year, so that I can more accurately approximate Seattle’s current projected pick locations. The resulting numbers go: 2.60, 4.127, 5.166, 6.208, 7.249. After that, I’ll project one trade back just to get the inventory up a bit. We’ll do #60 to Houston for pick #3.68 + #4.121.

I think draft boards across the league are going to vary more widely this year than ever before. We have too many unknown variables with how teams will value players that opted out of 2020 vs players they actually got to scout this season. Gonna be some wide discrepancies between teams targeting high ceilings and teams targeting safe, high floors. Players they know more accurately where they’re at in their development vs players they simply THINK have more upside based on 2019.

#3.68

Sketching out a rough snapshot of what is available here, as well as considering what positions this draft class has most depth in that could be found later, I sort of come down to an OT or a DL here.

This draft is slowly building a nice group of undervalued, true Defensive Ends. By that, I’m not talking 250lb linebackers that rush the QB…I’m talking guys that are 265-285lbs and tall/long (some could also rep as 3tech). Many of those guys don’t have a ton of hype right now, and certainly there isn’t a consensus of what order and how early they come off.

The problem is…Seattle has drafted a bunch of these types recently, and for various reasons none are currently working. Collier might be a useful piece, but it’s looking more and more like he should be inside at passrush DT. Green led the team in sacks last year, but has basically done nothing this year. Taylor has literally done nothing this year and I’m starting to worry about another Malik McDowell pick. And Robinson seems decent, but also that he’s not in the coaches good graces. Would I bypass drafting another one of this type? No. Would Pete/John? Probably.

Just for point of documentation; I’ll mention Vandy DL Dayo Odeyingbo as a guy that is currently discussed about this range and that I really like. A few years ago I really coveted Preston Smith for Seattle; he ended up going #38 overall…Dayo gives me the same vibe as Preston did, and he may also end up going earlier like Preston did.

This leaves me with Offensive Tackle. I don’t like the high-end OT availability this year, but I think taking a shot in the 3rd round makes more sense. I’m currently sitting on two OT that I think are sneaky upside players. One, is definitely not currently projected this early, but may be after the Combine. The other guy is one I’ve been on for a while, and I think he already fits this value.

Offensive Tackle, UNI, Spencer Brown

Spencer is a monster. Listed 6’9″/322lbs and carrying it really well. I think he’s got plenty of athleticism…good footspeed and strong upperbody, and some very underrated flexibility. Out of all the OT I’ve watched this year; I think Brown has the worst temperament. By that I mean: he’s the nastiest. He played RT for UNI last year, but I wonder if he couldn’t be a future LT. We need to replace Duane Brown in these next two drafts, so getting one in the 3rd this year, with a year to redshirt him, would be a coup. But the floor, I think, might be a Lane Johnson at RT.

#4.121

This particular spot in the draft…early-to-mid 4th round, at the beginning of day 3 of the draft…is typically one of the most efficient drafting chunks. Teams will frequently go really hard Best Player Available after thinking about the pick all night after day 2.

In my sketch I had a couple CB I liked here, I had some WR, could be a few RB, and this might be the last chance at OT before that group falls off the cliff (if you haven’t already addressed it earlier). I think this year you can find CB later than this. You can kinda always find WR. RB we may talk about momentarily.

At OT, my Combine winner wildcard is BYU RT Chandon Herring. No one is currently talking about him, so he’s no where near the 4th round at the moment. I barely see him spoken about as draftable. Projecting him here is me anticipating a bump from UDFA to middle of the draft. Maybe a good Combine raises him up higher than this…maybe it only raises him from UDFA to 5th. But I feel like this is solid middle-ground.

If you decide to go DL in the 3rd; Herring is my fallback at OT. But, if you go OT in the 3rd; my fallback for the 4th might be DL. I talked earlier about the true DE’s in this class…I think the depth of that spot extends further down than here. But, with this pick I’m trying to hit that George Kittle guy. Someone/something that is undervalued either in general or in this class, which creates a wormhole for him to fall this fall, but with more talent than you should be able to find here.

Defensive End, Buffalo, Malcolm Koonce

Malcolm is listed 6’3″/250lbs. He is more the OLB/LEO type than what is more commonly found in this class. That size/profile seems to be falling out of favor in the league. Teams lately are more interested in guys like Marcus Davenport or Yetur Gross Matos (or, ahem, Darrell Taylor), than Josh Uche, Zack Baun, Chase Winovich, Maxx Crosby. And, really, a version of Crosby is what you’re hoping for here…6’3″-6’5″, 245-255lb, DE/OLB out of the MAC Conference that you can pull from the 4th round, who turns into a 10 sack per year player.

#4.127

Much like the previous pick…we’re just looking for that Kittle player. RB, like TE, is a position where talent is often overlooked until later in drafts. Be it our own Chris Carson, or Marlon Mack, or Aaron Jones, or James Conner…it’s not unheard of to find RB talent after pick #100.

Running Back, Oklahoma, Rhamondre Stevenson

I think there are a handful of RB that will be available here that I’d be interested in, but Rhamondre is the one I’d be most ecstatic for (and probably least likely to fall this far). With Carson coming quickly into free agency and currently no deal; not to mention all of the RB injuries again this year (including Carson); any self-respecting “balanced pass/run” team needs to get a RB pretty much every year.

Mondre is listed 6’0″/246lbs. Which is crazy for how well he moves. I haven’t found much I don’t like about his tape, and hopefully his limited work in 2020 (50 carries in 3 games after missing the first 5 games with injury) will let him fall a bit.

#5.166

This is the easiest pick for me this mock.

Cornerback, Central Arkansas, Robert Rochell

Rochell is listed 6’2″/195lbs, he visually looks to have the prerequisite 32″ arms, and his athleticism will be eye-popping at the Combine. Getting him this late is the only question. Fortunately, in a sense, he hasn’t played much in 2020 due to non-existent season for his conference, and his 2019 tape is at his small school.

#6.208

This pick is such a shot in the dark. In terms of players declaring, draftstock months from now, and what will be surrounding this spot. But, as a general rule, I feel safe thinking that there will be some WR that I like still on the board. This year is very strong in slot WR, but I don’t have a strong feel for which ones aren’t valued as high as the rest. So this pick I’m not projecting a slot guy, but instead going with someone I feel more confident will be available this late.

Wide Receiver, Nevada, Romeo Doubs

Romeo is listed at 6’2″/200lbs, which could be what is missing on a roster with 5’10” Lock and 6’4″ Metcalf. Doubs is a Junior, so I am going out on a limb a bit thinking he’ll declare, but if he does declare the value is right. The intent is sort of trying to find this year’s Travis Fulgham. I like that Doubs is consistently running the right side go-route, as Lock and Metcalf seem stronger, for whatever reason, on the left. He’d be another awesome deep threat for Russell.

#7.249

The defense has been such a disaster in 2020. We’ve seen some progress on the passrush since the addition of Dunlap, but the corners are still huge questionmarks. Both Griffin and Dunbar are impending free agents, and I’m not sure you can pay either of them. They probably will pay one, but certainly the position needs reinforcements. And two shots at it could be a smart move in this deep CB class. This pick is one of my personal favorites in the entire draft.

Cornerback, Pitt, Jason Pinnock

I like Pin because he’s got the right size, 6’0″/200, he’s got excellent technique, but he’s also basically unspoken for in the draft community. So he’ll almost definitely be available where Seattle likes to find their Corners…day 3. I think there is a very high floor here…he may never become a Seattle starting Left CB, but I feel safe that he would be a solid Right CB in our scheme.

#3.68 – OT Spencer Brown
#4.121 – DE Malcolm Koonce
#4.127 – RB Rhamondre Stevenson
#5.166 – CB Robert Rochell
#6.208 – WR Romeo Doubs
#7.249 – CB Jason Pinnock

Mariners Upside Draft

By Jared Stanger

The Mariners during the Jerry Dipoto years have shown themselves to be staunchly in favor of drafting college players in the first five rounds, and exclusively a college player every 1st round under him.

2019- 6×6 college, 5 pitchers, 1 bat
2018- 5×5 college, 3 pitchers, 2 bats
2017- 4×5 college, 3 pitchers, 2 bats
2016- 4×5 college, 1 pitcher, 4 bats

It’s a 90% college tilt in the first five rounds. 57% pitching, 43% bats.

So it only makes sense that pretty much everyone is expecting them to draft a college player again in the 1st round this year, and more college players the rest of the draft.

But I wonder if we’re all wrong.

There was something I first noticed last year. 2019 was a draft that seemed pre-draft very heavy towards position players…and the eventual results showed the same (2 pitchers, 14 bats drafted in the first 16 overall), but Seattle drafted five consecutive pitchers to start their draft. Was this a conscious attempt to find value by zagging while the league zigged?? If so, what would be the contrarian move in the 2020 draft? By all accounts…the league “zig” will be to do what Seattle usually likes to do: draft super heavy on college players.

Which means, if the theory is correct, the zag would be for Seattle to target high-upside prep players.

And the thing is…it kinda makes sense for a few other reasons. 1) Bonus pool allotment this year is use-it-or-lose-it. There is no stashing money for players after the first five rounds. Those guys get $20k or go back to school. You just need to pay six draftpicks and you have $10.265mill to do it. 2) The Mariners farm system is in a pretty good place. The first major wave will hit between this year (if it happens) and next. You could look to draft for upside knowing you’re not desperate for players that will be quick-to-the-show. 3) If you draft/acquire the right prep players; they can actually travel through the farm system as fast, if not faster, than a college player. And those type of players arrive at MLB 2-3 years younger (see Kelenic, Rodriguez, and soon Marte).

On top of all of this; if Dipoto’s own words are to be taken seriously, and not as some kind of misdirection; “I do think there’s a greater likelihood for us to take risks that we might not have been quite willing to take in ’16/’17.”

With all this in mind, I sketched out an entire mock based on upside, and I think the results are pretty interesting.

#6 – RHP Mick Abel

This is the biggest speculation of this mock. Dipoto also made comment that they would, “prefer middle of the field athletic, offensive players near the top of the draft”. He made these comments before the draft was confirmed to only go five rounds, so we need to wonder how much of this draft qualifies as “top of the draft”. It might be the whole thing. It might be the first three picks. As a “preference”, are you okay getting two middle defenders and one pitcher in the first two rounds?

I’m pretty sure there was also a line from Jerry that referred to not taking three consecutive right-handed prep pitchers at the top because of the inherent, well-documented risk around drafting HS RHP. But does this exclude them from taking ONE??

I like Abel here for a few reasons.

  • I think he’s the best prep pitcher in this draft, but getting downgraded because of the conventional thinking against prep righties. Which means: value.
  • I think he’s got the kind of frame Seattle prefers, and some pretty promising rapsodo metrics to build on. He actually kinda reminds me of Logan Gilbert.
  • He’s a Northwest product…essentially from Portland, so getting to play for the major league team closest to home may be a strong incentive to sign away from college commitment to Oregon State.
  • Abel’s draft projection is between, roughly, #8-11 overall. If you draft him at #6, you could theoretically give him bonus money for pick, say, #9 and he’d take it.

I’m offering Abel $5mill to sign (slot is $5.7m), and moving the rest down to lower rounds.

(Alternate pick: SS Ed Howard)

#43 – C Drew Romo

Romo is a switch-hitting backstop with arguably the best defense/arm of any catcher this class, pretty underrated bat, and he has projection as roughly a mid-30’s pick. To accomplish this pick I’m counting on two things: 1) the overall dropping of high school talent in this draft, 2) underslot savings from the 1st round allowing you to give Romo bonus of the 36th pick at #43.

I’m giving Romo $2million bonus ($270,200 overslot) to pull him away from his LSU commitment.

(Alternate pick: RHP Justin Lange)

#64- SS Harold Coll

In my opinion, Coll is one of the more under-the-radar gems in this draft. If present value doesn’t have him as a five-tool guy; I think his future value will. The infield arm is very legit. Glove is a 60. Bat seems really good and the power is quickly coming.

We still have $472,700 surplus from the 1st round, so I’m moving most of that to Coll and signing him away from North Carolina for $1.5mill.

(Alternate pick: C Daniel Susac)

#78- LHP Liam Norris

Norris is a well-built prep LHP that reminds me of former Mariner James Paxton.

Norris is committed to North Carolina, so I’m borrowing from future rounds to bump his bonus to $1mill.

(Alternate pick: OF Chase Davis)

#107- 2B Anthony Servideo

With this mock showing Seattle hypothetically missing or passing on 2B Nick Gonzales at #6, I wanted to compensate with a similar player before the draft ended. Servideo, like Gonzales, played primarily shortstop for his college team this year, but whose bat would fit better at 2B.

At 5’10″/175lbs, Servideo is a solid defender, with plus speed (24×26 stolen bases in 2019, 9×10 in 2020), sneaky power (5 HR in 59 AB’s), and a great eye at the plate (.390/.575/1.270).

Here’s one of Servideo’s 2019 homers, and if you look again, he hits it off likely top 5 pick Asa Lacy. Left on left crime.

After all of the previous over-slot deals; we’re down to $765,500 to spend on our last two picks. If we need to go higher on Servideo, we can still go “senior-signing” guy in the 5th (maybe like $50k), and spend most of the remainder now. I’m gonna try to split the $765k pretty close to down the middle so that I can draft a couple college juniors and save all the seniors for those undrafted $20k deals. We’ll do $400k for Servideo.

#137- C Michael Rothenberg

As I said, I want to try to get a college junior here that wouldn’t otherwise sign after the draft. Dipoto says he wants middle of the field defenders and we’ve covered SS, 2B, and one C already. We could go centerfielder here, but my sense is there are some that are Seniors you could sign in UDFA. I don’t see many middle infielders left to double-dip on. And I really like the depth of the catcher class…most of whom are juniors.

Rothenberg is another switch-hitter, with a nice arm, very good power, and above-average running for the spot.

Rothenberg gets the entirety of the remaining bonus pool: $365,500. Which will be better than the offer he’d get if he returns to school and has to become a senior signing in next year’s loaded draft.

6- RHP Mick Abel
43- C Drew Romo
64= SS Harold Coll
78- LHP Liam Norris
107- 2B Anthony Servideo
137- C Michael Rothenberg

I consciously went 4 bats to 2 arms for a couple reasons, but one is that my list of seniors has more interesting pitchers than position players. I’m trying very hard to sign LHP AJ Block out of WSU, RHP Jake Smith out of State College of South Florida, and RHP Brian Van Belle out of Miami as starters. For the bullpen; RHP Mac McCarty, RHP Christian Peters, RHP Brandon Young, RHP Luke Boyd, and LHP Antonio Velez.

Undrafted position players include: OF Parker Bates, OF Brandon Henson, UT Braden Zarbnisky, IF Anthony Warneke, and UT Brett Auerbach.

Mariner Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

It was confirmed earlier this month that the 2020 MLB Draft will only consist of five rounds, and then this week we received notice that the draft will be held over two days: June 10th-11th. While the short nature of the draft is pretty disappointing (especially in light that running a mere 5 rounds more would only cost MLB owners about $900k more), it does create some pretty interesting dynamics in terms of game theorizing the draft.

With only five rounds (and known competitive balance picks); we’ll end up with exactly 160 players drafted. In a normal draft year we’ll see about 1200 players drafted. What does the world do with those additional 1000 players?? Any of them that choose to are free to sign to a team of their choosing as undrafted players. BUT…MLB has determined UDFA can’t sign for more than $20,000. In a normal year, any player drafted after the 10th round can still be signed for up to $125,000 without pulling from the team’s bonus pool.

Additionally, MLB is saying that guys that ARE drafted this year can’t receive more than $100,000 of their bonus money this year. The rest will be paid out across 2021 and 2022. So even if a 1st round pick gets a $4million bonus, his 2020 check will be $100k, and he’ll get $1.95mill in 2021 and $1.95mill in 2022. This will create a situation where players have to wonder, “if I’m not getting paid until 2021, might as well not sign until 2021”. Which means re-entering the draft next year as a college senior or JUCO player.

The downside to re-entering the draft in 2021? A) the market is going to be flush with talent from all of the 2021 HS seniors, this year’s sophomores becoming eligible as 2021 college juniors, and then all of the 2021 college Seniors and any JUCO talent. So the market will be crazy saturated. B) the guys that are Juniors now will lose what is basically their only negotiating chip: the threat of returning to college for their Senior year, and be forced to become a 2021 “senior signing”…the guys that get massively underslot deals because they have no negotiating power.

It’s very much they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

High school players have much more flexibility. They can accept the $100k now with further bonus installments coming in the next two years. They can go the JUCO route where they will be draft-eligible again immediately next year (when the draft will be overloaded). Or, they can honor their college commitments where they’ll need to attend for three years before becoming eligible again in 2024 when things will, presumably, be much more calmed down societally.

While these are all of the questions the players will be facing; these are also the questions personnel departments have to try to figure out in order to come up with the most beneficial draft strategy. And while teams have the advantage of still talking to players and their representation during quarantine to figure out who is willing to sign and at what price; the media basically has lost months of time normally spent sorting out which teams are scouting which players and which players are signable, etc.

The other thing that will be unique to this year: the designated draft bonus pool is use-it-or-lose-it. In normal years, teams are designated a certain pool of bonus money based on each of their picks in the top 10 rounds. If you go underslot for your top 10 rounds, you can move any of that leftover money to any of your picks rounds 11-40 and offer them an overslot deal. None of that this year.

You have X number of picks and X amount of dollars to spend on those picks. In the Mariners’ case, they have $10,265,500 to spend on six draftpicks. This is relevant because, while I think the most-basic strategy these draft circumstances suggest is hard BPA; I do think with proper gauging of the market you can predict points where certain types/positions of players will fall en masse, and then you may be able to draft your 2nd best player with your 3rd or 4th pick.

The following is not only my basic mock draft of players, but also the game-play I’m thinking marks the best strategy to maximize talent acquisition for this unique draft.

Let’s begin.

My first theory is that, because high school players are really the only group with any kind of negotiating power, the draft will skew really college heavy the entire draft, but especially early on. This could be unfortunate for teams like Seattle that really favor college players early. But I think the counterpoint to that will be that some of the best prep talent will become available relatively later than they normally would. So the broadstroke, for me, will be focus on college in roughly the first two picks, and then start looking for prep upside in the picks round 2c and 3.

#1.6 – 2B Nick Gonzales

I’ve been on Nick Gonzales for a really long time. I’ve watched him climb up into the top 10, then top 5, and now we’re seeing lots of signs of him flattening out directly into this slot as the 6th player off the board. Lots of media are projecting him to Seattle.

I love his bat. He’s hit literally everywhere he’s been, so while the power numbers (12 HR, 36 RBI in 16 games for shortened 2020 season) were likely inflated playing home games in New Mexico; I still think he’s shown enough in the Cape and in road games to project as a 20 HR, high OBP, 2nd baseman of the future.

  • Nick Gonzales ranks in the Cape Cod League 2019: Average- 2nd, Doubles- 1st, Triples- 1st, Homeruns- 6th, Runs- 1st, Hits- 1st, RBI- 2nd, BB- 8th, SB- 21st

I think the run and glove tools are both being nitpicked a bit too much. Gonzales can steal a base or two, and he’ll play a very solid 2B. And Seattle really doesn’t have anyone in the system that projects as a major league 2B. It’s a great marriage of need and best player available.

Slot bonus for #6 overall is $5,742,900. In 2018, the Mets drafted Jarred Kelenic at #6 overall and signed him for $1,025,000 under slot. I’m going to try to get Gonzales signed for $5mill and stash $742k so that I can go overslot on later picks.

#2.43 – LHP Jared Shuster

I think the first major run will be on college bats. I think the second major run will be on college arms. From, like, pick #20 to #50 is thick with college pitching. Prep pitching will drop in lieu of “safer” college hurlers.

Shuster is probably my 2nd-favorite college lefty in this draft after Asa Lacy. Reid Detmers is close, but potentially getting Shuster 30 picks after Detmers is such great value.

At 6’3″/210lbs, he’s got good size and I think potential to add velocity to what is already a 95mph fastball. His change is the out-pitch. In his four starts this year, Shuster posted an excellent 10.75 SO/BB rate. Other rates included 0.95 WHIP, 14.70 SO/9, and only 1 HR allowed over 27 innings.

I’m signing Shuster for underslot (but still sizeable) $1.4mill, saving $329,800 of bonus money. We now have over $1million in surplus for the next four picks.

#2.64 – SS Harold Coll

Jerry Dipoto talked on a recent podcast about looking for up-the-middle defenders early in this draft. I don’t like the value of OF here. I think this is actually a nice class of catchers, but one can be found later. I don’t see a ton of middle-infielders. If you can secure a 2B and a SS in the first two rounds; I think you’re doing very well.

For prep players…obviously there are basically zero 2020 performance stats to look at (not that those are of much use vs other HS players), but really you’re drafting them based on tools. In the research I’ve done on Coll I’ve found testing numbers that include 100mph infield velocity, 100mph exit velocity at the plate, and pretty solid 60-yard dash time. The glove is one of the best I’ve seen in the class.

Coll is committed to North Carolina, so to get him to turn pro I’m offering an overslot deal at $1.25mill.

#3.78 – RHP Alejandro Rosario

This pick is the most speculative. I’m projecting that the best value in this draft will come from high school righthanded pitching taking the biggest collective fall. Prep RHP is notoriously the most volatile group to draft. Add in this year’s complications…it feels like something to watch for.

I think Rosario and Justin Lange are the two most desirable prep righties, and I think in a normal year they get drafted well earlier than this spot (a la Sam Carlson drafted at #55 in 2017). But this year they may drop.

Lange looks more like a Mariner type with his 6’4″/185lbs build, but that (and his 100mph velo) will make him more of everyone’s type. Rosario is more undersized at 6’1″/170lbs which may make him the more plausible name to fall this far.

Rosario rocks a very good 97mph fastball with armside run, and the outpitch is listed as a splitter but looks like a diving change, to me.

I believe Rosario is committed to Miami, so we’ll be going overslot again here and trying to get him in the system for $1.1mill.

#4.107 – UT Nate Clow

This pick is the one I struggled with the most. I considered going “senior signing” and moving that money to targeting a tough-sign high schooler in the 5th round, but that just seems like such a generally terrible strategy. Shouldn’t you draft the more talented guy here while he’s still on the board and then the senior signing in the 5th??

Clow is a current shortstop out of Federal Way with a college commitment to USC. Most draft boards have him outside of the top 160 draft slots and moving to center, but I like him enough as an infielder to pick him here. Wherever he ends up defensively; it seems it will be up the middle.

The swing is beautiful with a great feel to barrel balls. He’s a smooth athlete, too, both in the field and on the base-paths.

In order to keep him from going to USC it’s gonna cost, but I think the format of this draft will allow you to bookmark an even $1mill for him ($450k overslot), and the ability for him to play 30 minutes from home should help.

#5.137 – C Michael Rothenberg

I mentioned earlier that I like this catching class and I think it’s gonna allow you to wait until your last pick in the draft to take one. I’ve got college Senior Kale Emshoff, Kent, WA product via U of San Diego Shane McGuire, VTech’s Carson Taylor, and Rothenberg all still on the board at this point. From that group you’ve got one righty, one lefty, and two switch hitters. All were having stellar starts to their 2020 seasons with great OBP rates.

Emshoff: .417/527/1.327
Taylor: .431/.541/1.231
McGuire: .469/.561/1.249
Rothenberg: .349/.551/1.156

I never looked into Taylor’s caught-stealing rate, but the other three were all over 33%, with Rothenberg nailing an even 50% of would-be stealers to start the year. I’m giving his overall offensive/defensive balance the edge over some of the better bats from the group.

In 2019, Seattle went overslot on 11th round catcher Carter Bins (slot $125k, paid $350k). With the savings banked from going underslot on the first two picks; we’ve still got a little extra to offer Rothenberg as well. I’m offering him $109k over slot and pushing his bonus to just over a half-mill: $515,500.

Final draft:

2B Nick Gonzales
LHP Jared Shuster
SS Harold Coll
RHP Alejandro Rosario
SS Nate Clow
C Michael Rothenberg

4 Bats, 2 Arms. 4 athletic, up-the-middle defenders. 1 Righty, 1 Lefty. 3 college, 3 high school.

After the draft, who knows if any underclassmen will take only $20k to give up their senior years; but I did do some digging on some Seniors that might have to. The only question is where they’d prefer to sign.

With only two pitchers drafted, and no outfielders; I went pitching and outfield heavy in UDFA.

RHP Christian Peters – a starting pitcher for University of Portland and originally from Olympia, WA. Posted a 0.63 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 10.99 SO/9, 11.67 SO/BB season in 4 starts this year.

RHP Mac McCarty – a junkballer from UAB with a funky delivery and a ton of energy that originally came out of Port Orchard. Mccarty finished 2020 without giving up any runs over 10 relief appearances and 16.0 innings. 5 saves, 8.00 SO/BB.

LHP AJ Block – a 6’5″/220lb lefty starter out of WSU via Newport HS in Bellevue. Block posted 1.19 WHIP, 11.06 SO/9, 6.80 SO/BB in his four starts this year.

LHP Antonio Velez – a senior southpaw reliever with a 0.58 WHIP, 10.90 SO/9, 7.00 SO/BB in 6 appearances, 5 out of the pen.

RHP Brandon Young – another big-bodied pitcher at 6’6″/210lbs used mostly as a starter for Louisiana-Lafayette. 0.89 WHIP, 13.50 SO/9, 4.11 SO/BB in 24 innings. Nice 3-pitch mix.

RHP Brian Van Belle – a guy I was strongly considering using a draftpick on, but with 8 of first 9 picks in 2019 draft being pitchers for the M’s; I figure we should try to get a couple more bats this year. Van Belle isn’t the biggest guy, nor the hardest thrower (only tops out at 92mph), but he locates well and demonstrates a nasty changeup. 0.68 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 12.99 SO/9, 9.50 SO/BB as Miami’s Friday starter.

RHP Luke Boyd – reliever with closing experience (6 saves in 2020), 0.73 WHIP, 13.09 SO/9, 16.00 SO/BB. Not overpowering, but well located fastball and nasty slider.

OF Brandon Henson – .370/.564/1.416 with 4 HR, 5×6 stolen bases in only 9 games.

OF Parker Bates – Decent sized guy with good pop and a solid glove in center. Doesn’t strike out much and hit 6 homers in only 15 games this year. Kinda reminds me of Jim Edmonds.

UT Brett Auerbach – I’ve seen him play C, 2B, and OF. Posted .506 OBP and stole 12 bases in 17 games this year.

OF Braden Zarbnisky – Not only an interesting 4th OF option with great basestealing, but a decent relief pitcher.

 

March SeaMock

By Jared Stanger

I figured while things are in a freeze that I’d fire up the ol’ laptop and put together a new mock draft. So now, not only do we have data from the Combine, we also have the knowledge that there will, most likely, be a LACK of data on many players that couldn’t test at the Combine nor their school’s pro day. This will cause guys with under the radar athleticism to hold steady (maybe drop), while teams bump up the players that they know more definitely how athletic they are. So a Zack Baun is now most likely picked before a Josh Uche simply because of fewer unknowns on Baun.

The other thing we now know is the exact draft board for all 255 picks, including comp picks. Seattle landed at 8 picks (as I’ve been saying for months). With as many holes as the roster currently has; I just don’t see them standing pat with 8 picks. I think they look to get up to 10.

I now have a little bit better idea the make-up of the 1st round; and with some degree of sadness I now relent to the idea that Seattle will once again trade off their 1st round pick. I feel fairly confident Seattle will still have roughly seven players they still really like when they hit the clock at #27. Logic dictates you trade back with that kind of number. Conservatively, you move back to #34. But conservative trade-backs won’t give you as big of a return.

So my theoretical perfect trade back is moving from #27 all the way down to #44 in a trade with the Colts that also nets you their #75 in the 3rd and #211 in the 6th. This single trade puts Seattle at 10 picks, and re-centers the draft board into the 40-80 range where the Hawks would pick at #44, #59, #64, and #75. I think this is the epicenter of this draft’s value.

This mock is NOT a “what I think they will do” draft in terms of players. I think Seattle will draft a DT and a RB higher than I am willing to. I think Seattle is not very interested in drafting an OT, which I don’t agree with, but one could speculate they like Jamarco Jones at RT. I don’t trust his durability.

#44 – DB Jeremy Chinn

Jeremy Chinn is simply one of my “must-have” players in this draft. It was easier when he was a 4th round player, but his Combine numbers have clearly catapulted him to top 50 status. I’m not sure he even lasts until #44, but we’ll see.

Chinn gives you the single most athletic player at this year’s combine, with comparables to Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick. That also brings with it some position flexability. He’s built like a strong safety, has the speed and range to play free safety, and I think you could coach up his technique to play corner.

This play I only saw recently, and it blows me away.

#59- OLB Josh Uche

Uche is the other guy I have to have. But, unlike with Chinn, Uche’s lack of Combine and pro day testing will (hopefully) drop his stock. The other thing running against Uche is his size: 6’1″/245lbs. An undersized quote-unquote speed-rusher with no confirmed 40 time?? That might be a guy that drops.

But the subplots on Uche are 1) for a 6’1″ frame, he has a 6’8″ wingspan. 2) for a “speed-rusher” he has unexpected power. 3) he’s smarter than almost every DE I’ve studied this year. It’s kind of like Russell Wilson…fell because he was short and only a running QB, but the reality was he had long arms, big hands, and in fact WAS a pocket passer. And he was smarter than every QB that came out that year. It’s fine to acknowledge the talking points, but it’s better to know if there aren’t mitigating circumstances that cancel out the spoken negatives.

#64 – OT Matt Peart

As I wrote earlier, I’m drafting a RT this year. But it doesn’t seem like Seattle is thinking of doing so. They’re trusting that Jamarco is a thing the same way they trusted that Tedric was a thing. I don’t trust their self-scouting. Or maybe they’ll pay a RT in free agency. I’d be okay with that.

Peart is one of two RT that I see lasting this far that I can also see some upside left in. The other is Isaiah Wilson. In some ways I could see Wilson being more of a Solari pick. But I think Peart fits better. It’s a bit counter-intuitive because Peart is built like a LT and Wilson is built like a rock-biter, but Peart is the better run-blocker, and therefore the better fit for Seattle.

#75 – DT Davon Hamilton

Again, signs are pointing toward Seattle seeking a pass-rushing 3tech early, but I think Hamilton has better passrush from the 1-tech than most of the 3’s. As a team that struggled to passrush but also fell off in terms of their run-defense; I like the fit of Hamilton’s versatile skillset. It reminds me somewhat of the year Kawann Short came out.

#101 – OL Jonah Jackson

Jackson is another guy where the athleticism isn’t as good as the tape. Tough to predict which he gets drafted off, and how high. At this spot, I’m trusting he gets pushed down a round due to his lack of athleticism.

I love Jonah’s tape at guard, but I’m also intrigued by the idea that he has college experience at center.

#133 – WR Isaiah Hodgins

There are so many thoughts and options regarding a WR in this draft. I love Van Jefferson as a possession guy with special teams ability. I love Chase Claypool in the redzone, potentially a TE, and on special teams. I love Antonio Gandy Golden as the right side redline target on day three.

I’m taking Hodgins here because he’ll be underdrafted due to his 40 time, but his route-running is comparable to Jefferson, his redzone is close to Claypool, and his redline is not too far below Golden. In summation: a nice combination of skillsets at a great value range for a team that only needs a WR3.

#144 – RB AJ Dillon

I know Seattle is gonna draft a RB this year. I think they’ll do it in the 2nd round. But I just don’t want to. Dillon is the RB consolation prize. He’s huge. He’s athletic. He was really productive in college. He might be Seattle’s attempt to get a Leveon Bell on day 3.

#162 – DT Khalil Davis

The Davis twins out of Nebraska are still pretty under the radar even though they both ran sub 4.9 second forties at 300+ lbs. Khalil was the more athletic (4.79s) and the more productive passrusher last year posting 8.0 sacks and 11.0 TFL. So if Seattle REALLY wants a 3tech, why not get the most athletic one at the best value??

#211 – CB Madre Harper

I’m a huge fan of Reggie Robinson, but the buzz on him after his top 5 CB Combine performance has put too much heat on him. So move it to the next guy. Harper is a 6’1″/196lb corner originally recruited to Oklahoma State, played his last two years at SIU, that tested pro day at Northwestern where he posted a 4.41s forty, 40″ vert, 11’02” broad, 4.10 shuttle, 6.70 cone.

He’s an aggressive player with solid tackling, 2 INT, 14 pass defenses last year. With both Shaq and Tre returning as starters, Seattle can take a flyer on an athletic guy with enough agility to play the nickel, and the size to play outside, and just groom him for a year or two.

#214 – WR/RB Joe Reed

This is a highly speculative pick. I’m guessing Seattle drafts two WR, including one that needs to be able to return on special teams. I’m projecting that Reed could also make a transition to more of a full-time RB role and be a sort of new Prosise. It’s a very specific profile and Reed ticks off so many of the boxes.

He’s 6’1″/224lbs, ran a 4.47s forty with good jumps, led the country in kickoff returns with over 33 per, and Virginia used him periodically in and out of the backfield.

Recap:

#44 – DB Jeremy Chinn
#59 – OLB Josh Uche
#64 – OT Matt Peart
#75 – DT Davon Hamilton
#101 – OL Jonah Jackson
#133 – WR Isaiah Hodgins
#144 – RB AJ Dillon
#162 – DT Khalil Davis
#211 – CB Madre Harper
#214 – UT Joe Reed

5 offense, 5 defense. Heavy on defense early. 5 total line of scrimmage players.