== One month to go … ==
First the complex quantum-physics-like explanation of where Seattle will pick.
- The first Mariners pick will be No. 6. This pick was “protected” and therefore not forfeited when Robinson Cano was signed.
- It is now virtually certain that the M’s will not get a compensation pick for Kendrys Morales, since he remains unsigned, and no one’s going to do it now unless some catastrophe happens — seeing as how they can sign him on the day after the draft and not lose a pick.
- As it happens, if they had gotten that pick, it would have been forfeited due to the Cano signing. It would have been, hypothetically/mythically, No. 28, except that it wouldn’t have been. If that makes sense. It would have existed solely for the purpose of being forfeited.
- What that means is that the M’s second-round pick — No. 47 — will be forfeited for Cano. The value of getting the hypothetical pick was that then we would have kept No. 47.
- Which means that the M’s won’t pick again after No. 6 until No. 80. I think. MLB.com says 81, but that’s because they still have the M’s at No. 47, and 47 won’t exist and therefore everyone after 47 will move up one.
OK. Now that we have that squared away, obviously the big deal is who will be there at No. 6.
We now know, since the “plugged in” draft gurus agree, that pitching is the strength of the draft. We also know that the two college pitchers at the top of the list just a few weeks ago — N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon (LHP) and East Carolina’s Jeff Hoffman (RHP) — have now flipped places with high school arms Brady Aiken of California (LHP) and Tyler Kolek of Texas (RHP).
Everyone also agrees that California prepster Alex Jackson (a catcher who probably won’t stick there) is pretty much the only position player worthy of a top-5 pick.
Gordon likes Jackson, but likes Georgia high schooler Michael Gettys better (he can play center field). Aiken is his top pitching choice, but it seems pretty unlikely that he’d fall to No. 6.
So there’s a fairly clear consensus on the “top 5” … Aiken, Kolek, Rodon, Hoffman and Jackson. MLB.com had its two experts pick, and, while they were in different order, they both had the “top 5” as the top 5.
So — first question — will one of the “top 5” fall out of the top 5 … and, therefore, be available at No. 6?
That will depend on whether one of the teams picking there (Houston, Miami, White Sox, Cubs, Minnesota) wants a position player other than Jackson. Or whether someone’s stock falls.
The “top 5” guy who seems to be falling the most is Hoffman. He appeared to have steadied himself when he fanned 16 in an April 16 start, but he hasn’t appeared on the mound since due to “discomfort” in his throwing arm in a bullpen session.
So he’s kind of a wild card. But he moved up to the top of the draft with overpowering performances in the Cape Cod league, and that stuff is probably still there. And, as Gordon notes, he’s got upside.
Rodon looked like he might slip, too, but then on April 25 he struck out 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, and ended up with 15. So folks aren’t projecting him to drop out of the top 5.
If Hoffman falls to No. 6, he’d be the Mariners’ likely pick.
But if the top 5 goes according to form, then the issue would most likely be: Tyler Beede (RHP Vanderbilt) vs. Aaron Nola (RHP LSU).
A position player might pop up there, but the stock of N.C. State shortstop Trea Turner seems to have faded significantly. The only other hitter mentioned to be going as high as No. 6 is Florida high school shortstop Nick Gordon, half-brother of Dodger shortstop Dee Gordon, and son of former MLB closer Tom “Flash” Gordon.
Since I don’t see the M’s “reaching” for Gordon or Turner, I would assume that it would come down to the Beede vs. Nola choice, and both look plenty solid.
I gotta say this self-deprecating video makes me want Beede.
Nola comes across as more of soft-spoken “aw shucks” type, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Nola’s stats this year are better: 1.58 ERA, 102 K in 85.2 IP vs. Beede 3.60 ERA, 76 K in 70.0 IP.
And the MLB.com experts both slot Nola to the M’s at No. 6.
But there is a lot of sentiment for Beede, and Gordon ranks him at the top of the college pitchers.
So if it does, in fact, come down to that choice, I’m not sure that the Mariners can go too wrong. It’s a good draft year when that’s the case.
Personally, I would lean toward Beede if he’s still available. But if he isn’t, that probably means that Hoffman is.