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

June 6, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Mariner scouting director Tom McNamara on Thursday’s picks

Tom McNamara, running his fifth Mariners draft, called this “a good day for the Seattle Mariners.” Time will tell, but he said he was thrilled to land New Mexico third baseman DJ Peterson with the No. 12 pick and Stanford outfielder Austin Wilson with the 49th pick.

Here’s what McNamara had to say:

“We’re very happy to select DJ 12. Obviously, we drafted him out of high school. We were surprised he got to us, but we were very happy. Good looking hitter, much improved defender. I caught his interview right after we picked him, and those three years in college, he said he’s grown up a lot. We’re really happy to have a hitter like DJ become a Seattle Mariner.”

How close did you come to signing him out of high school? “That’s a good question. I’ve got a small story. The first time I went to see DJ, I got there real early. I was the only person there. He showed up to the game and walked out on the field. He was standing there, and he was the only player there. I introduced myself. He said I’m DJ Peterson. I said, I’m here to see you. It’s kind of funny we ended up getting him in the first round three years later.”

Do you agree with him that he can stay at third base? “Yeah. Good feet. He’s really improved there. He’s got good hands, he improved his body. But his main tool is his bat. That’s he does. He’s a physical guy, a confident hitter, and there were a lot of high fives in that room after that selection.”

On Austin Wilson: “He’s a guy we’ve been scouting since high school – Harvard Westlake. He’s a big guy. We talk about tools – he’s a five-tool guy, and we think his better days are ahead of him. He’s got power. He came here to our pre-draft, and it was pretty exciting, the show he put on. We just added two bats, two physical guys, two good hitters. It’s a good day for the Seattle Mariners.”

“I think he (Wilson) is just scratching the surface. He needs to go out and play professional baseball. We’ve seen him in the Cape. Each year he’s shown steady improvement. He’s 6-5, he runs, he throws, he’s got raw power, and he’s got aptitude, obviously. To be a student at Stanford, you’ve got to be pretty intelligent. We’ve seen  him since high school. The improvements are steady. We’re really looking forward to getting him in uniform.”

On Wilson’s elbow, which he injured in 2013: “His medical is fine. We’re real thorough on medical and vision and signability and home visits. He’s fine. Medically he’s fine. He’s kind of a momentum guy toward the end of the season. Sometimes that happens. All of a sudden, a guy just starts to come of age for the draft toward the end of spring. To where you say this is the guy I’ve wanted to see for the last three years, everything coming together. The last time I saw him was at Arizona State, and he hit a couple of balls right on the screws, ran, played with a lot of freedom. We’re happy he was there for us to pick.”

Are you confident in their signability? “Yes. Yep.”

Does Peterson project as a 30-homer guy? “That’s a pretty big tag to put on someone. He’s a good hitter. It’s pretty obvious you guys have read, he’s one of the better hitters in college baseball. We liked him out of high school. We liked his bat. He actually came here for the pre-draft workout as a senior in high school. He’s a likeable guy. He’ll be a good clubhouse guy. But most importantly, he can hit.”

On Peterson’s brother also being drafted, by the Padres:  “Somebody in the room said they’d be sharing the same complex. That’s pretty good.”

In hindsight, was it good Peterson went to college? “About six hours ago I’d probably have a different attitude. When I saw him play this year, a couple things were going through my mind. When you see a high school guy you really like and don’t sign him, the player could develop into something a little better than you originally thought. We liked the bat in high school and we’re just glad he was there for us to take.”

On judging a power hitter in high altitude: “We’ve seen DJ a lot. We’ve seen him in the summer, we’ve seen him since high school. He can hit.”

On the debate over picking high school vs. college, and the Mariners’ philosophy: “It’s not really a philosophy. If there’s a high school player we think is better than the college player, we’ll take the high school player. If I showed you our draft board a few hours ago, you could see what I mean. We take the best player, high school or college. We have taken some high school players – (Nick) Franklin and Taijuan Walker. We took the best player available in this year’s draft, for us, and we thought it was DJ Peterson. We feel good about it.”

Did the draft fall the way you thought it would? “Not really. It went pretty well for a little while, then before you pick you see a couple guys sitting up there and you kind of sit back in your chair and say, ‘Hey, it’d be great if this guy is there.’ And you know what? It happened.”





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