M's 2005 Draft: Another Look

The minor league season is complete and the signed draftees have made their professional debuts. Aside from the statistics, how did the M's draftees fare this summer? Let the evaluation process begin.

The Seattle Mariners have signed more than half of their 48 draft picks, including nine of their first 11 selections. The M's drafted 24 pitchers and 24 position players, 24 from four-year colleges, 10 out of junior colleges and 14 high school players.

Of the 14 high schoolers, the M's drafted just one in the top 10 rounds, and as of the end of the minor league season, have signed only two.

Could this be an indication of a change in the way the Mariners scout and draft each June?


In the past two drafts the M's have selected just 32 high school players, while taking 43 four-year college players and 21 players from junior colleges.

From 2001 though 2003, the M's drafted 78 high school players, an average of 26 per year. It's clear that the Bob Fontaine-led scouting department sees things very differently than the previous regime.

Leaning heavily toward the college athlete, the new philosophy in Seattle has produced more quality talent in the farm system, aiding the proper development of each young player in the organization. Translation: No rushing the kids.

Without picks in round two or three due to the free-agent signings of Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson, the M's opted for experienced college arms after their top pick, Southern California catcher Jeff Clement, whom the club tabbed with the third pick overall.

How did the new M's philosophy fare this summer?

1st Round - Jeff Clement, C – Southern California
Clement started off his career slowly, but the left-handed hitting backstop exploded two weeks into his tenure with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Midwest League. Even after less than 200 professional plate appearances, including the postseason, it is already clear that Clement possesses plus power, a quick bat, and the plate discipline required to move quickly through the system.

4th Round – Justin Thomas, LHP – Youngstown State
Thomas' arm grew a bit fatigued after signing and joining the Everett AquaSox in July but the southpaw showed why the Mariners think so highly of his future. Thomas was equally aggressive as a starter and reliever and his ability to throw strikes with three pitches bodes well for his future in the rotation. The 21-year-old missed some bats and adjusted well to the pro game, pitching inside more often than he did in college, a tactful strategy when facing the wood bat.

5th Round – Stephen Kahn, RHP – Loyola Marymount
Kahn served as the closer for Everett this summer and slammed the door in the postseason for the Timber Rattlers, showing off his plus fastball and solid curve ball. Kahn may still end up in a starting role and his aggressive nature and good stuff could land him in the big leagues within a few seasons.

6th Round – Lance Lynn, RHP – Brownsburg HS (Ind.)
Unsigned - Lynn signed with Ole Miss.

7th Round – Robert Rohrbaugh, LHP – Clemson
Rohrbaugh may have been the surprise performer out of this year's draft, posting quality numbers in Everett and then throwing two gems int he Midwest League playoffs. Rohrbaugh displayed mound presence and solid pitchability. His future could equal that of Thomas and 2003 8th round pick Thomas Oldham.

8th Round - David Asher, RHP – Florida International
Asher showed up in Everett and was reliable from day one. Taking the ball in short and middle relief, Asher's propensity to throw strikes and keep the ball in the ballpark suggest he may be a valuable bullpen arm for years to come. Asher may be able to miss enough bats to move quickly as a bullpen commodity.

9th Round – Bryan Sabatella, 1B – Quinnipiac University
Sabatella was inconsistent at the plate, fanning 45 times in less than 200 plate appearances and posting a subpar .373 slugging percentage. The 6-foot-3 first baseman only occasionally displayed the power swing that the M's were looking for in their 9th round pick.

10th Round – Ronald Prettyman, 3B – Cal State Fullerton
Prettyman handled the hot corner in Everett with grace, good footwork and great hands – just as scouted. Offensively, he produced more like a second baseman, but Prettyman may be best suited as a utility infielder.

11th Round – Brian Contreras, OF – Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Unsigned - Contreras is an athletic outfielder with a solid throwing arm and plus speed. Offensively, the switch hitter could develop average power at both sides of the plate, as well as the ability to cover ground in center field.

12th Round – Anthony Varvaro, RHP – St. John's
Varvaro had Tommy John surgery this summer, but signed with the club in August, becoming the second elbow surgery recipient to be drafted in this round and signed by the club – joining Steve Uhlmansiek. Varvaro's low-to-mid 90s heater and power curveball suggest to some scout that he may become a closer in the future, but others that know the Red Storm star, see the "pitcher" in him and believe he'll become an effective starter.

13th Round – Reed Eastley, SS – Niagara University
Eastley had a strong first season as a pro, maximizing his offensive potential with Everett – as a utlility infielder. Eastley is unlikely to play the left side of the infield beyond this season but his bat may be good enough for a regular role in the lower minors.

14th Round – Brad Boyer, 2B – U. of Arizona
Unsigned - Boyer is likely to opt to return to college in attempt to stay more consistent. Many scouts think with a steady senior season that Boyer is a talent that could go in the top four rounds.

15th Round – John Holdzkom, RHP – Rancho Cucamonga HS (Calif.)
Unsigned - Holdzkom was thought to be as signable as any player in the top 25 rounds due to his run-ins with his high school coach. The right-hander doesn't have any four-year options but if he puts it altogether in Juco, he could land among the top 10 rounds next season. Still a signable selection for Seattle.

16th Round – Grant Gerrard, OF - Souther Illinois U.

17th Round – James Russell, LHP – Navarro JC (Texas)
Signed - DNP

18th Round - Curtis Ledbetter, C/1B - Nebraska
Ledbetter has pop in his bat, but whether there is enough there to warrant playing first base or not has yet to be determined. Ledbetter's bat plays better at his natural position at catcher, where he played at Nebraska, but the defensive skills aren't as projectable as his offense.

19th Round – Bret Bannister, RHP – Southern California
Nephew of former Mariner Floyd and brother of Mets prospect Brian, Bret Bannister has the stuff to eventually get by in the big leagues - especially a potential plus breaking ball to set up a slightly better than average fastball.

20th Round – Travis Scott, C – Lincoln Land CC (Ill.)

21st Round – Nick Allen, RHP - Villanova
Allen did everything expected of him in the Northwest League. He threw strikes, dominated at times, and though he tired near the middle of the short-season schedule, battled for every last out, never giving in to hitters with his average fastball and plus command.

22nd Round - Alex Gary, OF – Virgina Commonwealth
Gary displayed solid athleticism and good power at the plate, despite hitting just .237. His 17 extra-base hits in 42 games is a strong showing, but he must clean up the 58-9 strikeouts-to-walks ratio or risk topping out in High-A ball.

23rd Round – Ryan Lindgren, RHP – Stillwater Area HS (Minn.)

24th Round – Kevin Gergel, C – Kennesaw State U. (Ga.)
Gergel hit well in the Arizona Summer League, including 16 extra-base hits in 36 games. Gergel, 23, struggled making contact consistently. His future is still unknown, as are most rookie league performers.

25th Round – Will Brown, LHP – Downey HS, Modesto, Calif.

26th Round – Ari Kafka, RHP – Quinnipiac U.
Kafka's 6-foot-6 frame make for an intriguing pitching prospect, even this late in the draft. The right-hander fanned 14 in 13.1 innings of work in the ASL. watch him in Everett or Wisconsin next season.

27th Round – Jeremy Hill, RHP – Ohlone JC (Calif.)

28th Round – Lance Beus, LHP – Brigham Young
Beus paid immediate dividends for the M's, serving as a valuable relief arm in Everett. Beus, 22, struck out 34 in 36.2 innings. The southpaw may move as quickly as any '05 draftee if he can get left-handed batters out.

29th Round – Eric Thomas, OF – Buchholz HS, Gainesville, Fla.

30th Round –Aric Van Gaalen, LHP – Lethbridge JC (Alberta)

31st Round – Jeff Gilmore, RHP – Stanford U.
Gilmore, like Beus, gave the M's a reliable arm in the lower minors. The right-hander was the best pitcher on the Sox staff the latter half of the year and could skip a level next summer.

32nd Round – Corby Heckman, 2B – Indiana U.
Heckman displayed the plate patience and discipline as expected but was mainly a singles hitter all season - as expected with a 32nd rounder.

33rd Round – Julian Henson, C – Cordova HS (Tenn.)
Signed - DNP

34th Round - Andrew Schneider, RHP – Franklin HS (Texas)

35th Round – Blake Amador, OF – Modesto JC (Calif.)

36th Round – Max Kwan, C – Seattle Prep, Bellevue, Wash.
Unsigned - Kwan has a full ride to Stanford waiting for him. One scout loved his upside as a hitter but most clubs questioned his future behind the plate. High School catchers are nearly as tough to project as pitchers. Kwan could resurface down the road.

37th Round – Jesse Costa, RHP – Magnolia HS, Anaheim, Calif.

38th Round – Joe Agreste, 1B – Greenbrier Christian Academy, Chesapeake, Va.
Signed - DNP

39th Round – Duke Welker, RHP – Seminole State JC (Okla.)

40th Round – Eugene Edwards, OF – Long Beach CC (Calif.)

41st Round – Joe White, 1B – Georgia Perimeter JC

42nd Round – Kevin Reynolds, OF – Quincy U.

43rd Round – Philip Roy, RHP – Southridge HS, Miami

44th Round – Paul David Patterson, RHP – Northern Kentucky U.

45th Round – Luis Coste, OF – Cochise County CC (Ariz.)

46th Round – Worth Lumry, LHP – Princeton University
Lumry struggled in just about every way possible in Peoria this summer. Command issues that led to 15 walks in 25.2 innings also produced just seven strikeouts and 34 hits allowed for a 6.66 ERA in 16 games. Ouch.

47th Round – Andy Hargrove, 1B –Kent State U.
Hargrove, like his father the former Texas Rangers all-star and current M's skipper, showed patience at the plate and the ability to put good swings on the right pitches. The 23-year-old drew 34 walks in 45 games. But was quite old for the rookie schedule.

48th Round – Matthew Gardner, RHP – Grayson County CC (Texas)

49th Round – Dennis Raben, 1B – St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale

50th Round – Xavier Scruggs, 1B – Poway HS (Calif.)
Unsigned - Scruggs was leaning heavily toward signings with UNLV when the draft occured. The power-hitting first baseman may resurface in future drafts with better consistency. Has a power bat that could develop in college.

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