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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.

June 5, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Live-blogging the second day of Mariners’ draft

Welcome back to the continuation of the major-league draft, which will feature rounds two through 15. The Mariners have the fourth pick in the second round (Oakland sneaks in with a compensation pick for losing Josh Willingham to the Twins). That will be No. 64 overall.

They pick again with the third pick in the third round (No. 98), and then with a compensation pick after the third round (No. 120) because they didn’t sign last year’s third-rounder, Kevin Cron.

That is the final compensation round. Starting with the fourth round, through the 40th and final round, the Mariners will have the third pick, behind the Astros and Twins.

One more note: I’m going to do this chronologically, adding the latest information at the end, rather than putting it on the top, as we do in game threads. I just find that more logical and easier to read. So when you re-open the thread, scroll to the bottom to find the latest news. I will update with information on each Mariner selection.

SECOND ROUND, No. 64 overall: Mariners select Joe DeCarlo, a shortstop from Garnet Valley HS in Pennsylvania. He is the 287th-ranked prospect by Baseball America, so you have to wonder if this is a signability pick as teams try to stay within their pool of signing bonus money. The Mariners have $8,223,400 to spread out among their 11 top ten picks, with severe penalties for teams that go over their amount. According to Baseball America, DeCarlo is likely to move to third base at the next level. They say he has a strong arm and good hands, with solid power at the plate. He’s committed to the University of Georgia after what Baseball America termed “a little inconsistent” performance this spring “and some scouts were left with more questions than answers.” BA lists him at 6-0, 205, while MLB lists him at 5-10.

Here’s a scouting video of DeCarlo from And here’s more video.

I’m having trouble finding his stats, but here’s an article from the Philadelphia paper on DeCarlo.

I did find some statistics on the school’s website — but only through 11 games. DeCarlo was 10-for-18 at that point.

THIRD ROUND, No. 98 overall: The Mariners take Edwin Diaz, a right-handed pitcher from Caguas Military Academy in Puerto Rico. Diaz is ranked as the 31st-best right-handed pitcher by Baseball America, which characterized him as a second-round talent. Diaz is their 75th-ranked prospect overall — much higher than the Mariners second-round pick, Joe DeCarlo, who was No. 287. He’s 6-3, 163 — plenty skinny — and according to BA, sits 92-95 mph and has touched 97. Diaz is headed to Miami Dade JC if he doesn’t sign. BA says, “Like many tall, gangly pitchers, (Diaz) sometimes has trouble controlling his limbs, which leads to spotty control and an inconsistent curveball. That, along with the fact he doesn’t use his changeup much, leads many scouts to believe he fits best as a power reliever in pro ball.” His cousin is Jose Melendez, who pitched three games for the Mariners in 1990.

Here’s the scouting report on Diaz: It’s a very good year for talent in Puerto Rico, with two potential first-round picks in Carlos Correa and J.O. Berrios, as well Jesmuel Valentin, the son of former big leaguer Jose. Diaz isn’t far behind. The rail-thin right-hander can light up a radar gun, touching the upper-90s at the Excellence Tournament in Puerto Rico in May. It’s easy velocity, but the other parts of his pitching game are a bit behind. His breaking ball is inconsistent, and he doesn’t use his changeup all that much — not uncommon for a high schooler. The team that feels he can fill out, gain better command and improve his secondary pitches will take him high, though his pure arm strength alone will have many teams intrigued along the way.

Here’s a video of Diaz that gives a good indication of how gangly he is. But it also shows some good arm action. There’s potential here.

While we await the next pick in the compensation round — No. 126, compensation for losing third-rounder Kevin Cron — who homered in his first three NCAA regional games for TCU — here is today’s Mariners minor-league report.

COMPENSATION ROUND B, No. 126 overall: The Mariners take Tyler Pike, a left-handed pitcher from Winter Haven, Florida, high school. Here’s the scouting report: In a deep class of high school arms from Florida, Pike’s pure stuff may not jump out, but his pitchability should. The Florida State recruit has a three-pitch mix, with a fastball that will sit in the 90-91 mph range, though he can reach back for more at times, a curve and a changeup. A good athlete who could be a two-way player should he go to college, Pike has a clean delivery that should allow him to have excellent command throughout his career. While there are others from Florida’s prep ranks who will go before him, there’s bound to be a team who will be interested in his left arm in the first few rounds.

Baseball America has him sitting 88-89 with his fastball and touching 92-93. They write,

“He raised his profile early in the season when he matched up with Tampa Jesuit’s Lance McCullers Jr. and threw hard and well. He has natural deception in his easy delivery, and his ability to repeat helps him control the strike zone well.”

He’s also a good hitter who could play both ways at FSU. BA regards him as a tough sign who could go in the first three rounds if teams think he’ll pass up school. Since the Mariners picked him this high, they must think they have a chance to sign him.

Keith Law of ESPN has Pike as No. 94 on his top 100 prospect list. He writes, “Pike doesn’t jump out at you in a uniform or even after a few pitches, but slowly wins you over with advanced feel for his craft. … His approach to pitching is reminiscent of vintage Barry Zito.

At younger than 17 1/2, Pike may be the youngest player drafted in the early rounds, so there is room for development.

FOURTH ROUND, No. 131: Mariners take Rutgers third baseman Patrick Kivlehan. Tom McNamara, the Mariners’ scouting director, who is from Pearl River, NY and went to Dominican College in NY, loves to find sleepers from East Coast universities.He has a very interesting story, having played football at Rutgers for four years (as a backup defensive back) before returning to baseball this season. In his only college season, he won the Big East triple crown with a .399 average, 14 homers and 50 RBIs, with a .484 OBP and .710 slugging. He was Big East Player of the Year. He’s listed as 6-2, 210. Here’s an article on him with some details. And another one. Baseball America believes he’ll move to the outfield as a pro. He has average to above-average power, they say, and is a good athlete who runs well.

FIFTH ROUND, No. 161: The Mariners take University of Virginia shortstop Chris Taylor. They are familiar with Virginia players after taking Danny Hultzen, catcher John Hicks and third baseman Steven Proscia last year. Here’s the scouting report: “Most of Taylor’s value comes from his defense. Taylor has good range and instincts with a plus arm. Offensively, he has shown off his plus speed on the basepaths . Right now, he mostly just has gap power, and he is not likely to hit many home runs at the next level. If a team thinks that he can hit, they could take a chance on him in the early going. ” And a video.

The question on Taylor is how much he’ll hit, because as indicated above, he’s a good defensive player. Baseball America sees him as a “useful utility player.” Taylor hit .284 this year for the Cavs with five homers and 47 RBI. He had just 23 extra-base-hits in 236 at-bats, with a .382 on-base percentage and .445 slugging.

SIXTH ROUND, No. 191: The Mariners take a high school shortstop, Timmy Lopes, from Edison HS in Southern California. Here’s the scouting report: “Lopes’ older brother, Christian, was the Blue Jays’ seventh-round pick in 2011, and Timmy has a chance to be even better than his older brother, while almost surely being picked higher than him. Lopes has above-average range and instincts in the field but has an average arm that will likely mean a move to second base. On the basepaths, he has slightly above-average speed that plays up due to his great instincts. He makes consistent contact and is above average at handling the bat, which allows him to make hard contact to all fields. He also gets high marks for his makeup.”

Lopes is committed to UC Irvine.

In their first seven picks, the Mariners have taken three shortstops. So far, they have taken four high school players and three from college; two pitchers and five position players.

SEVENTH ROUND, No. 221: The Mariners stayed home, taking Washington State first baseman Taylor Ard, a 6-1, 235-pound redshirt junior.

Ard was drafted twice before — in the 35th round by the Marlins out of Mt. Hood, CC in 2010, and in the 25th round by the Red Sox out of WSU last year. Baseball America says scouts believe he is ready to sign this time, despite another year of eligibility. They say, “His calling card is his power. Ard is a solid hitter with above-average power to all fields. He was the only player in the Pacific 10 conference to hit double-digit home runs last year and was battling Oregon State freshman Michael Conforto for the conference lead this year.”

Ard has hit well with wood bat, both at Mt. Hood, the West Coast League, and the Cape Cod League, where he had the fourth-most doubles in 2010 (nine) and the fourth-most homers last summer (four).

Ard is from Prairie High School in Vancouver — the same school that produced Richie Sexson. He was All-Conference in the Pac-12 for the second year in a row, hitting .332 with 12 homers (third-most in the Pac-12) and 50 RBIs, with 16 doubles. He had a .412 OBP, and a .577 slugging percentage.

EIGHTH ROUND, No. 251: The Mariners go for Nick Halamandaris, a left-handed first baseman from Stevenson School in Carmel, California. He’s 6-1, 220, another power hitting prospect.

Here’s something new on Joe DeCarlo, the second-round pick, with stats and news he may sign soon.

NINTH ROUND, No. 281: The M’s take second baseman Jamodrick McGruder from Texas Tech. I’m pretty sure he’s the first “Jamodrick” in team history. And that’s “McGruder,” not MacGruber. He’s a left-handed hitter, listed as 5-7, 170. Not surprisingly, his best tool is blazing speed. He ranked among the NCAA Division 1 leaders in triples (eight), walks (45), on-base percentage (.500) and steals (39 out of 44 attempts). Baseball America says that he has little power, and there is concern about his hands at second base.

Here’s a (real) video of McGruder.

10TH ROUND, No. 311: The Mariners dip into college pitching for the first time, taking right-hander Grady Wood from Western Oregon. It took 11 picks for them to finally select a college pitcher. The word about this draft is that the college ranks were very, very thin — among the weakest crop ever. The Mariners got the best position player in Zunino.

Wood was 12-0, 1.69 for Western Oregon (which competes Division 2), with 89 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 96 innings. with a .184 opponents average. He’s 6-2, 195 and was Great Northwest Athletic Conference pitcher of the year for the second year. According to Baseball America, he pitches in the 90-91 mph range with a lot of sink and late life, throwing from a three-quarters arm slot.They call him “an intense competitor” and see him as a “ground-ball producing back-end starter or a middle reliever at the next level.”

Here’s a video of Wood.

11TH ROUND, No. 341: The Mariners took a 6-foot-5 first baseman from Ramon Quinones Medina HS in Puerto Rico, Kristian Brito. Here’s a look at the young man.

Brito doesn’t even turn 18 until December — one of the youngest players in the draft — and is alrady 6-5, 230. According to Baseball America, his raw power rates a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. That sounds good. But then there’s this: “Getting that power to translate into games is his biggest challenge. He’s likely going to be a below-average hitter.” Still, you can’t ignore that kind of power. Sometimes, big, strong kids develop skills in surprising ways.

12TH ROUND, No. 371: The picks are flying fast and furious now, with no lapse in between selections. In the 12th round, the Mariners take another speedy outfielder, center fielder Michael Faulkner from Arkansas State. (As I explained on Twitter, the next pick on was named William. On first glance, I thought the Mariners had taken William Faulkner). This Faulkner is 5-9, 165-pound. Could the Mariners to stocking up on future leadoff candidates?

In looking at his stats for the Arkansas State Red Wolves, he’s exactly the sort of player I envisioned. Faulkner hit .291 with no homers and 31 RBIs, but had 41 steals in 42 attempts, and a .369 on-base percentage. Here’s how he looks at the plate.

13TH ROUND, No. 401: Mariners take RHP Blake Hauser from Virginia Commonwealth. He’s 6-2, 180, and kudos to for having a scouting report ready for a player taken this late: “Hauser has worked out of the bullpen at VCU and has the potential to be a shutdown closer. This year, Hauser has stuck out close to two batters an inning and hasn’t walked many. He has shown a fastball that sits in the mid 90s, along with a slider that could be a plus pitch in the future. He does use his slider often, and that could hurt him in pro ball. Other than that, he could move quickly through the Minors and be in the big leagues in short order.”

Of course, after reading that, I understand. He sounds impressive. Baseball America isn’t quite so rosy, writing: “He has worked almost exclusively in relief and hasn’t taken a big step forward, but scouts still like his fastball.” Opponents hit just .130 off him this year, and he sat 93-95, though they say he lost velocity as the year went on. According to BA, scouts believe he throws his slider too much — as much as 80 percent in some outings. That said, they think it can be a plus pitch.

Hauser had 10 saves, 66 Ks in 35 2/3 innings, and opponents hit just .136 off him with only five extra-base hits. Hauser is BA’s 149th ranked prospect, and the Mariners got him at 401, which makes me wonder about his signability.

14TH ROUND, No. 431: The M’s take 2B Brock Hebert from Southeast Louisiana. I suspect he’s related to Bobby Hebert, but I’ll check on that.

OK, there’s no mention in Brock Hebert’s bio of being related to Bobby.

The M’s seem to be loading up on speedy guys. Hebert hit .374 for SE Louisiana with two homers, 37 RBIs and 36 steals. He had an on-base percentage of .474 with 30 walks and — get this — 15 hit by pitches.

15TH ROUND, No. 461: With their final pick of the second day, 15th round, the Mariners take OF Dario Pizzano from Columbia. He’ll be the brains of the operation. Pizzano, a left-handed hitter, batted .360/.471/.547 for Columbia, with four homers and 36 RBIs. And here he is:

Here are the final stats, from the Mariners:

In the first 15 rounds, the Seattle Mariners selected 16 players including 4 pitchers (3 RHP, 1 LHP), 1 catcher, 9 infielders (3 1B, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 SS) and 2 outfielders. Of the 12 position players selected, 3 are left-handed hitters. Seattle selected 10 college players and 6 high school players.



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