M's Analysis: '05 Draftees, '04 Draft-and-Follows

The M's signed three more 2004 draftees and are 10-deep into the 2005 draft held earlier this month. InsidethePark.com's Joseph A. Yencich takes a closer look at the 13 newest Mariners.


LHP, Rollie Gibson, 30th Round
RHP, Michael Schilling, 40th Round
3B, Erwin Jacobo, 42nd Round

Like a lot of his fellow draft-and-follow signings, Gibson has some interesting potential, but is not without flaws. The stocky southpaw has a fastball with above-average velocity and some movement, a curveball he can throw at any time in the count, and an effective change-up, but he has a lot of effort in his delivery and his command comes and goes. This was most evident when the former 30th round pick had 42 walks and ten hit batters against 90 strikeouts in 87.1 innings this season.

Joining Gibson will be one of his teammates from Fresno City College in Schilling, a 40th round pick last year. The big right-hander is an extreme sinkerball pitcher, throwing a fastball, a slider, and a change all with significant weight to them, but his issue has been getting into games. It's not as if his mechanics are bad, but for whatever reason, he logged only 32.2 innings this season, missing a good portion of the season, and last year was a similar story. If he can stay healthy, there's some interesting potential in his arm.

At Palm Beach Community College this season, Jacobo made himself useful to his team in a variety of ways. On the mound as a right-hander, he topped out 92 mph, on the field, he served as a capable, sure-handed third baseman with a line drive stroke, and when he wasn't busy doing either of those, he worked as the catcher in the bullpen. The scouting report describes him as a late bloomer who has only played the game a few years, but he doesn't have many glaring flaws. He may be someone to watch later on.

LHP Justin Thomas, 4th Round
LHP David Asher, 8th Round
SS Reed Eastley, 13th Round
RHP Nick Allen, 21st Round
OF Alex Gary, 22nd Round
C Kevin Gergel, 24th Round
LHP Lance Beus, 28th Round
3B Corby Heckman, 32nd Round
LHP Rufus "Worth" Lumry, 46th Round
1B Andy Hargrove, 47th Round

Thomas was the conference pitcher of the year in the Horizon League this season, and that was enough to get him selected in the fourth round by the Mariners. He has a fastball in the 90s and the makings of a good breaking ball and change-up, so he may be a guy who improves with more and more time as a pro. He racked up 250 strikeouts in 253.1 innings though, so it's not like he's an extreme project pick.

Shortly after Andy Hargrove agreed to a contract, so did Asher, the Mariners eighth round pick out of Florida International University. Asher is a mentally tough left-hander who throws a low 90s fastball, a sinker, and a slider, so his groundball tendencies should benefit from the organizational emphasis on good defense.

Usually a shortstop, Eastley spent his senior year as a designated hitter due to a broken arm he suffered in the preseason. He still hit .272/.378/.421 in 35 starts though, but in previous seasons when he's been completely healthy, he's hit even better than that. His selection in the 13th round may look like a little bit of a reach right now, but it's a pick that could pay off in the long term.

Whenever Allen comes up in articles, it has to be mentioned that he threw a no-hitter this season, the first for Villanova in 43 years. In addition he threw five other complete games, and led the team in innings pitched by more than twenty, so you know he's capable of going deep into games. His velocity is only average, but he gets the job done and that earned him a selection in the 21st round.

Gary hit .284/.438/.473 in 54 games for the Rams this year, which is good, but Virginia Commonwealth is not a university that is particularly known for its baseball program, and their most notable product appears to be Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge. He led his team with 27 steals in 28 attempts, so there is some potential in his game, and the Mariners spent a 22nd round pick on him.

A catcher and first baseman with Kennesaw State, Gergel put up some absolutely crazy numbers for the Owls this year, batting .387/.474/.694 in fifty games, which was good enough to earn him a selection on the All-American third team. The bad news is that his conference was kind of weak, which is probably why he slipped to the 24th round. He fits well with this draft's trend towards left-handed batters.

Another player who probably slipped due to injury concerns, Beus had arm surgery in the fall of 2004, and his numbers tend to reflect that, as he gave up a bunch of hits and walks both this season and last. The strikeouts aren't bad though, as he was averaging a little under eight per nine innings pitched, and that may have caught the eye of the Mariners when they took him in the 28th round.

Heckman is much like another former late-round pick by the Mariners out of Indiana University in Eric Blakeley. Like Blakeley, he can play just about anywhere in the infield, and this season he added a little more with his bat, hitting .328/.403/.423 in 54 games with the Hoosiers. That was enough to get him a 32nd round pick as a fifth-year senior.

A senior reliever at Princeton, Lumry was a 46th round pick by the Mariners. This season, he pitched 20.1 innings out of bullpen and had an 8.41 ERA with sixteen walks against five strikeouts and a .274 opponents batting average. Those numbers may be a little deceiving though, as he's a submarine-style southpaw and left-handers only hit .200 off of him this season. His performance against righties seems to have skewed things a bit. He should already be fairly familiar with the organization, as his father is one of the people invested in the team.

Of all the 48 players drafted by the Mariners in the recent draft, it's a little odd that their first signing would be their 47th round pick, who just happens to be the manager's son. The younger Hargrove batted .271/.405/.391 in 133 at-bats during his senior season at Kent State, so like his father, he seems to know how to get on base, but lacks the traditional power expected of a first baseman. Unfortunately, due to new rules devised to speed up pace of the game, he probably won't have his father's "Human Rain Delay" antics in the batter's box.

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