The MLB Draft And You: A Primer


Happy Draft Day! What, you didn’t realize today was the MLB draft? It’s okay, you’re not alone. In fact, most people probably have no idea that the draft starts today. Plenty of baseball fans, even. That might sound weird, but it’s also fairly easy to explain.

There’s virtually no fanfare surrounding college baseball, so even the top-flight talents are unknowns. There’s no Johnny Manziel for everyone to freak out over, and there almost never is. The MLB draft also takes place two months into the season, at a time when most attention is rightfully being paid to the actual games. Drafted prospects are prospects, sure, but a majority of them never become major leaguers. Those who do usually take years to arrive. All this considered, it’s amazing anyone notices the draft.

Today the Seattle Mariners are positioned to add another premium, high-end talent to the organization, as their sluggish 2013 season netted them the #6 overall pick. While obviously it sucks that the Mariners are almost always bad, it has at least brought them a series of top draft picks. The results, of course, are incomplete, but it’s safe to say that recent drafts have netted the organization some serious talent despite frustrating results thus far.

Dustin Ackley was #2 overall in 2009, with Danny Hultzen joining the organization from the same draft slot two years later. 2012 brought with it the #3 pick, which the Mariners used on Mike Zunino. The Mariners spent their 2010 first rounder on Chone Figgins, but let’s not talk about that. Last year’s #12 overall pick, D.J. Peterson, has a .313/.365/.551 line at A+ Clinton this year. While Ackley’s obviously been frustrating, Zunino is already a top-flight defensive catcher at the game’s highest level. Hultzen’s a sad reminder of why you should never, ever fall for a pitching prospect. Pitchers break. They break their arms, and our hearts.

The 2010 draft, the one without a first rounder, actually illustrates another neat thing to know about the MLB draft: later picks matter, a lot. Despite not having a first rounder, the Mariners had a spectacular, much-acclaimed draft. In the supplemental round, which comes between the first and the second, the Mariners selected Taijuan Walker. They grabbed James Paxton in the fourth round and Stephen Pryor in the fifth. Stefen Romero showed up in the twelfth round. Major leaguers can be found at any point in the draft.

There’s one big, important rule to drafting in baseball: don’t draft based on need. No matter what, do not draft based on organizational needs. There was something of an uproar when the Mariners took Hultzen over Anthony Rendon and others, mainly because the team had a dearth of productive position players. The same was said when the M’s took Zunino, as people simply said “but wait, we have Jesus Montero.” Guys get hurt all the time. Guys unexpectedly suck all the time. Having too many talented players for a position is an exceptionally great problem. Teams know this, and so they take the top available talent, regardless of position. Teams that draft based on need are dumb and bad, and mostly no longer exist.

So you want to watch the draft. Weirdo! Just kidding, that’s neat. Festivities start at 3pm pacific time, and can be viewed live on and the MLB Network. It’s free to watch online, and remember, the M’s are off today. Day two starts at 9:30am and is only viewable online. Day three is not something you or I or anyone will or should watch. So if you will, watch the draft this afternoon. Something interesting very well might happen.

Who will the M’s pick? Great question. Nobody knows! Here are some names to watch: high school shortstop Nick Gordon, high school catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson, college righty Aaron Nola, college lefty Sean Newcomb. Those are the guys most often mentioned in conjunction with the Mariners, but these things are a crapshoot until the draft actually happens. So watch and see what happens.

Keep in mind that the Mariners have no second round pick. This is because the Mariners have Robinson Cano, who is better and more valuable than a second round pick. Thank heavens for Robinson Cano!

Okay, that’s the essentials. Mariners pick sixth overall, and it’ll be a good prospect they draft. Their next pick is #74. So enjoy the hype of their top pick, then prepare to wait awhile.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter