Baseball drafts go under the radar for multiple reasons. The players are often drafted out of high school and aren’t expected to produce results at the major league level for around four years. It’s hard to know when a team’s draft is a success if out of 20 players, a team would be happy with three reliable starters. Here is how this year’s draft broke down for the Seattle Mariners.
Catcher: Harry Ford (Round 1), Andy Thomas (5), Charlie Welch (19)
At 12th overall, Ford was drafted out of North Cobb high school in Georgia. The Mariners don’t usually draft many prep students, but the indicators show a fair amount of merit. He is an 18-year-old who has already shown superb athleticism and might be able to transition to any outfield or infield position, providing the ultimate form of utility. Of course, there are major risks when it comes to drafting a high schooler. But this is a risk that the Mariners opted to take.
Thomas spent his college career at Baylor, posting a career .327 batting average and a .910 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage). On two occasions in different summer leagues in 2017 and 2019, he posted a .969 fielding percentage. However, his 14 passed balls and 16 stolen bases showed his defensive weakness. In his senior year, he posted a .337 batting average with 11 homers in 65 hits. He also had a solid plate presence, walking 24 times to his 29 strikeouts.
Welch was drafted in the 19th round at the tail end of the draft. Drafted 14 rounds after Thomas, his stats indeed look like that of a strictly worse player. He had a college career .284 batting average, .884 slugging with 18 stolen bases against, which are all worse than Thomas’ stats.
Infield: Edwin Arroyo (2), James Parker (8), Ben Ramirez (13), Cole Barr (15)
In contrast to their usual methods, the Mariners drafted three straight high schoolers to start the draft. The 17-year-old Arroyo was the second. He throws with both hands and hits from both sides with elite defensive skills. Supposedly a little inconsistent at the plate, but that’s to be expected from a 17-year-old.
Parker was a career .303 hitter with a .827 OPS in his three years with Clemson, but nothing really jumps off the stat sheet. He leans heavier into contact, hitting just 10 home runs in his college career. But he’s not a speedster either, posting zero triples and just five stolen bases. He doesn’t strike out much (74 times in 317 plate appearances), but also walks rarely. His walk percentage was under 10.
Ramirez had a breakout season in his senior year with Southern California, despite posting just a .284 career batting average and a .772 career OPS. He hit .304 with career highs in hits (58), triples (3), home runs (10) and walks (26). He has a standard batting profile, but with a somewhat questionable value on defense (10 errors in just 160 chances in two different summer leagues).
Hailing from Indiana, Barr profiles as a power-first righty bat. Of his 121 career hits, he hit 27 homers, drove in 99 runs and accumulated 72 walks. His downside is that his 161 strikeouts balanced him out at a .269 batting average, despite his .398 on-base percentage.
Outfield: Colin Davis (7), Spencer Packard (9), Corey Rosier (12)
The weak outfield class for the Mariners is headlined by Davis out of Wolford College in South Carolina. His .320 batting average and .953 OPS is supplemented by a really solid 35 homers. He also drove in 146 RBIs, hit 54 doubles and stole 46 bases. He doesn’t strike out much, walks a fair amount and didn’t record a single error across three separate summer leagues.
Packard falls into a similar status as Parker. He put up a solid .324 batting average but didn’t necessarily showcase big power (14 home runs) or speed (zero triples, six stolen bases). He did, however, walk more than he struck out over his college career. There will always be a place for a reliable player who you can trust to get on base at an above-average clip.
Rosier only attended UNC Greensboro for a single year, but he impressed us. He hit .354 with a 1.038 OPS, smacking 12 home runs in 75 total hits. His strikeout rate is impeccable (28 strikeouts in 212 at bats) and almost exactly on par with his walk percentage. He can be trusted to put the ball in play with good power potential, supposing everything translates to the major leagues.
Pitchers: Michael Morales (3), Bryce Miller (4), Bryan Woo (6), Jordan Jackson (10), William Fleming (11), Andrew Moore (14), Jimmy Kingsbury (17), Riley Davis (18), Troy Taylor (20)
Pitching is almost always heavily featured in the draft. This year was no exception. Morales is a control-first pitcher who showed extreme work ethic to bounce back from a knee injury and rise in the draft. Miller posted a questionable 4.07 earned run average (ERA) with Texas A&M as a reliever with a troublesome 7.6 hits per nine innings. Woo kept the home runs down (0.5 per nine) but that didn’t stop him from dropping a 6.36 career ERA with Cal Poly.
Jackson’s impeccable 1.57 ERA in his first year was balanced by a 5.19 in his second year with Georgia Southern. He did, however, keep the walk numbers real low. Fleming capped off his already bad college career by transitioning to starting pitcher where he posted a 6.03 ERA in his senior year. Moore stands at an imposing 6 feet 5 inches and his velocity peaks at 98 miles per hour, the highest in the MLB Draft League this year. Joyce had a rough start to his career until he seemingly turned a corner with Hofstra in his senior year, really racking up the strikeouts. Kingsbury was a proven college prospect, starting all four years with Villanova. Davis posted three complete games in his 13 starts with Alabama-Birmingham in his senior year. Taylor looks like a promising bullpen arm if he can properly utilize his combination of a 94 mile-per-hour fastball and a low-80s slider to generate strikeouts.
These are the players that will look to be the future of the Mariners. Only time will tell, and it’s far too early to cast judgment, but hopefully at least a couple of them turn out to be the next big thing.