Mariners mum on who they're targeting
Seattle seeking out another can't-miss prospect in '07 draft
The Mariners have had their share of early first-round draft choices over the years, but only one of their No. 1 selections reached the Major Leagues with less than one full season in the Minor Leagues. And it was neither Ken Griffey Jr. nor Alex Rodriguez.After touring the country looking for a can't-miss prospect last year, Bob Fontaine, the club's bushy-mustachioed scouting director, decided that right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow from the University of California should be the organization's first selection -- the fifth pick overall. It turned out to be a brilliant selection. Morrow pitched in eight Minor League games, logged 16 innings and, as the contract he signed stipulated, was invited to Spring Training this year. He pitched so well in Arizona that he earned a spot in the seven-man bullpen and has become the eighth-inning bridge to closer J.J. Putz. And so, Mariners fans are wondering, what in the world can Fontaine do for an encore this year? Well, stay tuned for the answer. MLB.com will broadcast every pick of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 7-8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. Day 1 coverage begins at 11 a.m. PT with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. Video coverage of the remaining rounds on Day 1 will air at MLB.com, with live interviews and analysis from Orlando by Casey Stern, Jonathan Mayo and Perfect Game USA's Dave Rawnsley.
Day 2 of the Draft will get under way at 8:30 a.m. PT and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com with analysis from Mayo and Perfect Game USA's Allan Simpson.Also once again this year, fans can follow every pick with MLB.com's live Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft eligible player featuring biographical data, statistics, scouting reports and rare scouting video. Thanks to an improved regular-season record last season, the Mariners dropped a little in the draft order this year and will select 11th. Seattle loaded up on pitchers last season. The first five draft choices were hurlers and so were eight of the first nine. Most of those arms are currently in the low Minors and a few years away from becoming factors in the big leagues.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
The Mariners believe in the theory that an organization never has too much pitching, but if a stud hitter is available when it's their turn to select in the first round, they might take him off the board -- especially if he's a left-handed hitter projected to become a Major League hitter with power.Catcher Jeff Clement, a left-handed hitter and the organization's top pick in 2005, is advancing at a decent pace, as is first baseman Bryan LaHair, who had an impressive Spring Training and bats from the left side, which fits Safeco Field perfectly. A corner outfielder with some pop would be difficult for the Mariners to pass up on. As usual, the organization won't tip its hand on which way it's leaning -- pitcher or position player, high school or college player. The mystery is intriguing. Here's how recent first-round draft picks are faring: 2006: RHP Brandon Morrow -- A starter and reliever in college, he started his big-league career as a reliever, but probably will become a regular member of the rotation, possibly as early as next season. Pitched only 16 innings in the Minors last season. 2005: C Jeff Clement -- Another Pac-10 product, Clement suffered a torn ligament in his left knee last season, costing him almost two months of the season. Currently playing for Triple-A Tacoma, Clement is having a so-so season, hitting in the low .200s, but ranks among the team leaders in home runs and RBIs. 2004: 3B Matt Tuiasosopo -- Drafted as a shortstop out of Woodinville (Wash.) High School, the right-handed hitter experienced the "Betancourt Factor" and was moved to another position two years ago, when it became apparent that Yuniesky Betancourt would become the Mariners' everyday shortstop. Tuiasosopo could be the heir apparent to Adrian Beltre at third base. Rising Fast: Left-handed starter Justin Thomas, the Mariners' fourth-round draft choice out of Youngstown State in 2005, is about a year ahead of schedule on what is expected to be an eventual landing spot in Seattle. A sore elbow in April shut him down for about a month, but he's back and throwing well at Double-A West Tennessee. Cinderella Story: Catcher Adam Moore, a sixth-round draft choice in 2006 out of University of Texas-Arlington, hit 10 home runs, drove in 35 runs and batted .290 in his first 138 at-bats this season at Class A High Desert (California League). After hitting just seven home runs in his first 208 Minor League at-bats, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed batter is developing some serious pop in his bat. In the Show: 2006: RHP Brandon Morrow; 2005: None; 2004: RHP Mark Lowe