For the Mariners, the long, convoluted MLB Draft process has finally wrapped up for 2017. Who did Seattle draft and when can we expect to see them (if at all) in the Major Leagues?
If you’re confused by the MLB Draft this year, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. The shifting rules and competitive advantage picks are over, and the Mariners added a collection of new prospects to a minor league system in need of talent. Who did the Mariners select, and is there hope for the future?
This isn’t a definitive list, but an attempt highlight a few players we could see in the big leagues in the coming years:
Evan White, 1B, Kentucky
White has the body type (6’3″ 177lbs.) to be a power-hitting first baseman, just not the numbers to back it up. What caught General Manager Jerry Dipoto’s eye was not White’s lack of power, but his excellent athleticism and defense. If the hitting instructors in the Mariners minor league system can convince him to hit the ball over the fence more, he’ll stick at first and could become a major leaguer there. If not, he could find himself competing with the rest of the athletic outfielders Dipoto loves so much.
Sam Carlson, RHP, Minnesota
Before the draft, Carlson was thought of as a top-end pitching prospect. The 18-year-old has three plus pitches: a low-nineties fastball, developing slider, and polished changeup, all with command. Somehow, Carlson fell all the way to pick 55 for the Mariners.
It’s possible that Carlson’s tumble from the first round possibility to Seattle’s 55th pick was caused by signability concerns, but he appears committed to sign with Seattle after his high school season is concluded.
David Banuelos, C, Long Beach State
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Banuelos was regarded as the best defensive catcher in the MLB Draft this year. Long Beach State announcers loved to exalt him with their “don’t run on Banuelos” saying throughout their playoff run that ended in the Super Regional game against Cal State Fullerton. His plus arm strength and his unquestioned leadership and presence behind the plate give him a shot at the big leagues in a few years.
J.P. Sears, LHP, The Citadel
The 5’11” 180-pound master of deceit and location led all Division I pitchers in strikeouts in 2017. Sears struck out 142 batters in only 95.1 innings for The Citadel. He walked only 27 and posted an ERA of 2.64. Sears doesn’t have the raw power of higher draft picks (he was selected in the 11th round by the Mariners), but he’s shown a penchant for location and for being unpredictable with his pitch selection.
The Mariners drafted 40 players, and I’ll be looking more in-depth at a few more of them in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and keep an eye on these young players as they (hopefully) rise in the organization.