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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

April 28, 2009 at 1:03 PM

41 days until the MLB draft

A little bit of draft news today — MLB announced that the draft will be moved to prime time and expand from two days to three, with the first day held in Studio 42 at MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey.

My first impression: It’s going to make our deadline for writing stories for the next day’s newspaper a little tighter. But that’s our problem, and nothing we can’t handle.

I suppose it’s inevitable that baseball keep trying to turn its draft into the same kind of showcase event that the NFL has transformed into a true spectacle. The fatal flaw, of course, is that casual fans have never heard of the vast majority of college and high school draftees. It’s hard to work up any sort of froth over largely anonymous names. The exception this year is Stephen Strasburg, who has garnered an uncommon amount of publicity that is threatening to turn him into some sort of Sidd Finch-like mythological character. I suspect the Strasburg hype will help ratings considerably.

The draft will begin Tuesday, June 9 at 3 p.m. Seattle time. The first day will consist of the first 111 picks — round one, compensation round A after the first round, round two, round three, and the second compensation round.

The draft will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. our time, with the fourth round; it is tentatively scheduled to go through the 30th round. The draft will conclude on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds.

MLB Network will broadcast the first-round selections live,and air a live video stream beginning with the compensation round through the remainder of the day’s selections.

The Mariners will figure prominently on the first day. They are one of five clubs with two picks in the first round (No. 2 overall, as well as No. 27; the latter is compensation from Philadelphia for signing Raul Ibanez). Others with two picks are Washington (No. 1 and 10), Colorado (No. 11 and 32), Arizona (No. 16 and 17), the Angels (No. 24 and 25).

The Mariners also have the 33rd overall pick (which is the first pick of compensation round A, also the result of the Ibanez signing). They have the 51st overall pick (which is the second pick of the second round), as well as the 82nd pick (the second pick of the third round).

It’s a major opportunity to fatten up the farm system, as well as get a star-caliber player with the No. 2 overall pick. I remain steadfast in my belief that Strasburg will be taken by the Nationals. If not, the M’s would have a chance to pick the pitcher that is regarded as the best college arm of the last 10 years. Which, of course, is absolutely no guarantee he will become an ace.

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