Greetings from the palatial Courtyard by Marriott. Day 2 of the 2014 MLB amateur draft – rounds 3-10 – begins in about seven minutes. I won’t be doing time updates, but pick updates for the Mariners and maybe a few local kids if they get selected.
From today’s paper … here’s my story on the Mariners first two picks last night – Alex Jackson at No. 6 and Gareth Morgan at No. 74.
“We’re very happy with how our day went today,” Mariners amateur scouting director Tom McNamara said late last night. “Both Alex and Gareth are athletic players with bat potential. We’ve had a chance to scout both guys extensively over the past several years and have liked them for a while. In Gareth’s case, he has played with Team Canada for several years, so we’ve seen him in Florida, Arizona and the Dominican playing against very good competition.”
Columnist Larry Stone wrote this column on the Mariners coveting power. While the Mariners may not draft for positional need, the lack of middle of the order bats within the entirety of the organization is an issue. Right now, DJ Peterson, who is at Class A High Desert, is the best prospect in that regard. But if you look at Class AA and Class AAA – true depth, it is noticeably lacking.
Remember Jackson is a high school player – a very advanced high school player – but to start projecting him on the big league roster in the next few years is extremely premature.
It’s even more difficult to project Morgan, who is very raw. Here’s a nice story from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun and another one introducing Morgan. Also here’s plenty of video of Morgan in this scouting report.
Third round — pick No. 80: Austin Cousino, CF, University of Kentucky.
Here’s his stats over his career.
From Baseball America …
Cousino has a long track record of success, though scouts worry that the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder may have already reached his physical peak. He was MVP of the IBAF World Championship in 2009 for USA Baseball’s 16-and-under national team, and he played for the college national team in 2012 after his boffo freshman season at Kentucky, showing power while playing center field. But after hitting nine homers and slugging .515 that season, Cousino appeared to change his approach. His plate discipline has gone south (36-7 strikeout-walk in 2014), and he doesn’t get on base enough to take advantage of his excellent basestealing instincts. (He is 44 of 47 stealing bases for his college career.) Scouts grade his power as below-average, but it’s just enough to get him in trouble. He’s a solid-average defender in center field with an average arm and good instincts. Some scouts view him as a tweener and fourth outfielder type rather than a true center fielder.
Video: Here’s his MLB.com scouting video. Here’s some video of him making a few nice catches. Here’s some highlights from a game against Florida where Cousino went 3-for-5 with four RBI, including a homer. Also here’s another great catch from Cousino.
From the Mariners:
The Mariners selected center fielder Austin Cousino (KOO-zin-oh) out of the University of Kentucky with their 3rd-round draft pick (No. 80 overall). Cousino batted .308 (81×263) with 23 extra-base hits (2B – 15, 3B – 4, HR – 4) and 38 RBI in 61 games for the Wildcats. The speedy center fielder was also 19-for-20 in stolen bases. In the outfield he recorded 17 career outfield assists (8 as a junior), was a three-time SEC All-Defensive Team selection and was awarded a Rawlings® Gold Glove in 2013. In three seasons in Lexington, Cousino batted .295 (216×732) with 47 doubles, 7 triples, 19 home runs, 106 RBI and 48 stolen bases in 178 games. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2012 after batting .319 (83×260) with 31 extra-base hits and 15 stolen bases. Cousino also played two summers with the USA Baseball National Team (2012-2013), combining to bat .301 (31×103).
Fourth round — pick No. 111: Ryan Yarbrough, LHP, Old Dominion
Yarbrough went 6-7 this season with a 4.50 ERA. He made 18 appearances (14 starts). He threw a completed game shutout. In 86 innings pitched, he struck out 64 batters and walked 15. Opponents hit .286 against him.
The analysts on MLB.com were surprised by the pick.
From the Mariners …
Left-handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough (yarr-bro) out of Old Dominion University was the Mariners 4th-round selection (No. 111 overall). The 6-foot-6, 210-pound left-hander pitched two seasons at ODU, after transferring from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL. Yarbrough went 6-7 with a 4.50 ERA (43 ER, 86.0 IP) and 64 strikeouts in 18 G/14 GS during his senior season in 2014. He recorded four starts of 7.0 or more innings while not allowing a walk. He was selected in the 20th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by Milwaukee, but returned to ODU for his senior season.
Fifth round – pick No. 141: Dan Altavilla, RHP, Mercyhurst College.
Here’s his stat line …
He was the NCAA Division II pitcher of the year.
From MLB.com scouting report …
As the top starter for Mercyhurst, Altavilla had a dominant spring that has helped to boost him up many Draft boards. Altavilla’s fastball will sit in the low to mid 90s and touch 95 mph on occasion, with good tailing action that allows him to generate ground balls. His slider is still developing, but has the chance to be a solid pitch for him and his changeup has good movement, although it lacks deception. Altavilla has good command of all three pitches but has a good amount of effort in his delivery. This, along with his height – he’s 5-foot-11 – will most likely make him a reliever at the next level.
Here’s some video of Altavilla.
From the Mariners …
Right-handed pitcher Dan Altavilla (alt-uh-villa) out of Mercyhurst College was selected in the 5th round (No. 141 overall). Altavilla was named the 2014 ABCA/Rawlings Division II National Pitcher of the Year and captured the inaugural Brett Tomko Award as Division II’s most outstanding pitcher. During his junior season he went 9-1 with a 1.23 ERA (11 ER, 80.1 IP) in 12 starts and recorded 5 shutouts. The right-hander struck out a school-record 129 batters, including 9 starts where he struck out 10 or more batters, including a 19-strikeout performance May 1 vs. West Chester (7.2 innings).
Sixth round – pick No. 171 — Lane Ratliff, LHP, Jones County JC
Here’s a quick stat line …
More detailed stats …. here
Seventh round — Pick No. 201 — Taylor Byrd, LHP, Nicholls State
Here’s his game logs …
Eighth round: Pick No. 231 — Kody Kerski, RHP, Sacred Heart University
Here’s his stat line for this season.
From Baseball America …
Kerski has been a starter for four years at Sacred Heart, and his performance has improved every year. His track record, competitiveness and pitchability make him a valuable senior sign who could go in the top 10 rounds. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound righthander has a quick arm and strong build that lacks projection. His velocity diminished as the season wore on, sitting at 92-94 mph, touching 95, at his best before pitching more at 88-92 mph, touching 93. His curveball flashes average, and he has also thrown a slider. His changeup has been inconsistent and shows average potential. The 22-year-old’s control has improved every year, and scouts like his bulldog mentality and competitiveness, though most see him as a future reliever.
Ninth round: Pick No. 261 — Peter Miller, RHP, Florida State University
Here’s Miller’s stats for the year. He went 3-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 41 innings pitched – 17 appearances, seven starts. He struck out 53 batters and had 31 walks. His numbers were better as a junior where he went 6-2 record with a 3.55 ERA in 58 1/3 innings of work…registered 47 strikeouts and allowed 21 walks. He was taken in the 16th round of the 2013 draft by the Angels. But chose to return to FSU.
Tenth round: Pick No. 291 — Adam Martin, C, Western Carolina
Also from his bio …
Career Notes: Hit his 34th career home run in the SoCon Tournament, finishing his WCU career ranked tied for 12th in program history, matching Mike Tidick (34, 1990-94) … Finished 16th in program history with 158 career RBI … Was hit by a pitch 32 times over four years, finishing in a tie for 11th with three others … Recorded 195 career base hits including 36 career doubles and four triples.
2014 (Senior): Played in 54 of the team’s 55 games on the season, making 53 starts including 33 at catcher, 15 in right field, three in left field and once apiece as the designated hitter at third base … Missed the meeting with Buffalo (March 8) in Athens, Ga., after being hit in the batting helmet by a pitch against North Florida (March 7) … Finished the year with a .307 batting average, collecting 62 hits in 202 at bats … Finished tied with the team-high of 14 homers, matching for the SoCon lead … Drove in a career-best – and SoCon-leading – 65 RBI this season … Had two sizeable hitting streaks on the year including a career-long tying 11-game streak from March 12 through March 30, and an eight-game streak (April 11-23) … Earned Southern Conference Player of the Month accolades in March, batting .415 in 17 games with 35 RBI and scoring 20 runs – more than half of his 27 hits in the month went for extra bases including eight homers, five doubles and a triple … Picked up SoCon Player of the Week accolades (March 10-16), hitting .421 (8-for-19) on the week including a 7-for-12 (.583) mark in sweeping defending Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season champion, Rider … Collected a career-high eight RBI against the Broncs (March 15)… Matched a career-best with four hits against Clemson (March 4) … Sparked a come-from-behind victory in the regular season finale series that clinched the championship, belting a grand slam home run in game one against Davidson (May 15) … Named first team All-Southern Conference at catcher by both the league’s head coaches and voting media … Was a preseason All-SoCon selection.
Here’s a handy chart to the first 10 picks …