With the No. 74 pick, the Mariners went young, right-handed and powerful — again.
And Canadian — again.
Sometimes it seems that Tom McNamara’s crew just loves certain teams.
Like the 2009 North Carolina Tar Heels, from which they picked Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Brian Moran.
Or the 2011 Virginia Cavaliers, from which they drafted Danny Hultzen, Chris Taylor, John Hicks and Steven Proscia.
Now it’s the Team Canada 18-and-Under squad. Last year they took Tyler O’Neill and Lachlan Fontaine, and now they’ve grabbed Gareth Morgan.
Morgan is listed at 6-foot-4, 220, but despite the size, he’s very athletic and fast.
In other words, he’s more in the Upton prototype of player — the proverbial “five-tool” guy — not something the Mariners have really had since Griffey (no, James Jones doesn’t count).
Obviously, lots of the supposed “five-tool” guys don’t pan out, and Morgan’s stock has actually been falling, so we can’t really get ahead of ourselves here.
It seems that when Morgan was 15 he was already on the national team, and at 16 he was the youngest player at the Under-Armour game. At that time, he was apparently widely considered a possible top-10 pick in this draft, and was getting comparisons to Byron Buxton.
Of course, Buxton went No. 2 overall in 2012 and is quite rightly considered the best prospect in all the land (despite current wrist injury), and someone who ought to be a Griffey-type, or at least the better version of an Upton, in the majors.
Obviously, Morgan is not that good or he wouldn’t have fallen to No. 74.
At 16, he was listed at 6-3, 195, which makes me wonder if maybe he grew too quickly and has been adjusting. Regardless, he obviously wasn’t considered a top-of-the-draft guy anymore, though sometimes the best picks are the ones that were scouted highly then “lost their helium” for whatever reason (the M’s have seen plenty of Sonny Gray this year, the top-5 guy who slid to No. 18).
Here’s a feature story from Canadian TV that gives one a bit of pause. I’m sure Ben Johnson is fully rehabilitated, and I’m sure he’s a super-fast dude even without chemical help, but he’s an interesting choice as mentor.
It didn’t help that Jack Zduriencik was dropping Ryan Braun comparisons yesterday (probably more for Alex Jackson).
Not saying there’s any red flags, just interesting.