2014 Draft is upon us…
The Seattle Mariners have the 6th overall selection in this year’s amateur player draft. Trying to figure what a baseball team needs is harder than most professional sports because of the differences. While players can be drafted out of high school, the biggest factor is the massive minor league system that Major League Baseball has developed.
Factoring in current team needs, the Mariners have a lot of holes to fill on the roster. The front office is going to have to dig deep to fill those holes, because it is extremely difficult for a baseball prospect to reach the big leagues.
Mariners fans know the pain of past drafts that still have us scratching our head. Jeff Clement, anybody?
With a minor league system full of talent, the Mariners have lots to work around this weekend.
Here are the team’s 3 biggest needs before the draft.
After the tumultuous start to his young career, you have to wonder if Nick Franklin was over-hyped on his path to Seattle. Franklin’s current predicament is not pretty: subject of trade talks all season long, he has been demoted to the minors twice already after low production in Seattle.
Whether he’s traded or not, the Mariners need to get more bodies into the 6 hole.
While Brad Miller could be a viable option, it will take some time to figure that part out. Groomed as a second baseman, things changed rather quickly after the signing of Robinson Cano. With second base literally stolen from him, Miller was given a second chance by being allowed to take over for Franklin – with mixed results.
There are so premiere shortstops in the Mariners system right now. Adding one with the first pick send a clear message to both Franklin and Miller: produce or be replaced.
My top choice at SS for the Mariners would be Nick Gordon. He is a pure shortstop who plays good defense and can hit for power.
His father is former pitcher Tom Gordon and his brother, Dee, is currently a top-ranked prospect for the Dodgers.
While he may not fall to #6, Gordon MUST be taken if still available. The team is rumored to be interested in NC State Shortstop Trea Turner as well.
The same goes for first base as it does for shortstop. With the ups and downs that Justin Smoak has had as a Mariners, most fans are ready for a new experiment.
While they have some veterans on the bench who can fill in or other position players who could convert, the team lacks a solid everyday first baseman of the future – not just in the big leagues, but in their minor leagues, too.
If the Mariners could shore up first base with a young player, the infield could stay intact for years to come and make a legitimate team in the Emerald City.
There are two big hitting first basemen in the draft who could possible fall to Seattle in the second round if the team is lucky: Casey Gillaspie from Wichita State or A.J. Reed from Kentucky.
Defense is secondary when it comes to the position and these two could add the power the Mariners need to help them in the future.
You can never have enough pitching. Ever. And while the team’s rotation is getting younger by the season, the team should still be stockpiling young pitching talent.
Whether it be to challenge for a starting spot in 2-4 years, transform into a relief pitcher or become trade bait, every team – not just the Mariners – need to try out as many arms as possible until they are good enough to make the team.
At the team’s #6 spot, we will most likely see either LHP Sean Newcomb from SC State or RHP Aaron Nola from LSU.
One thing is for certain – the Mariners almost can’t go wrong this year. With the amount of talent oozing from this year’s draft pool, the team can easily fill the voids in the roster if they choose wisely.