Mariners Draft Report Card
Analyzing Seattle's 2008 draft class
After taking Josh Fields and Raben with their first two picks, the Mariners didn't get many players with high upsides. They'll recoup the No. 21 pick in 2009 if they can't sign Fields, and as it stands now, they spent less on the draft ($2,545,000) than any club.
BEST PURE HITTER:
OF Dennis Raben (2) is best known for his power, but he's also the top hitter in a pitching-focused draft for the Mariners. Unless he makes more consistent contact, he's more of a .275 hitter. >> BEST POWER HITTER:
Scouts considered Raben the best power hitter in the Cape Cod League in 2007, though back problems slowed him as a Miami junior in 2008. Strong and aggressive, he can drive balls and has adjusted easily to wood bats. >> FASTEST RUNNER:
OF Jarrett Burgess (6) was bothered by leg injuries as a high school senior, but he has plus-plus speed and stole 17 bases in 21 tries during his debut. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:
C Travis Howell (18) is a good receiver and threw out 42 percent of pro basestealers. 3B Nate Tenbrink (7) has athleticism and arm strength, though his throws can get erratic and he made 17 errors in 46 pro games.
BEST FASTBALL: RHP Joshua Fields (1), who's still negotiating with the Mariners, pitches in the mid-90s and tops out at 98. Among the pitchers under contract, RHP Aaron Pribanic (3) ranges from 91-94 mph and peaks at 96. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: If he signs, it will be Fields, whose power curveball can make hitters look silly. RHP Brett Lorin (5) has a hard three-quarters breaking ball.
ODDS AND ENDS
BEST PRO DEBUT:
Raben hit .275/.411/.560 with five homers in 27 games at short-season Everett despite missing most of August with a finger injury. RHP Blake Nation (22) used his solid stuff to record a 2.74 ERA and 11 saves at Rookie-level Pulaski. >> BEST ATHLETE:
Burgess has enticing raw power and arm strength to go with his speed. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:
OF Henry Cotto's (41) father Henry played for the Mariners and was their hitting coach at Everett in 2008. Pribanic's grandfather, Jim Coates, was an all-star pitcher, while OF Ryan Royster's (13) uncle Jerry also played in the majors. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS:
Even after an extended holdout, Fields could make the Mariners at some point in 2009 if he signs. They showed with 2006 first-rounder Brandon Morrow that they're not afraid to rush pitchers. Seattle could use Raben's power and will put him on the fast track. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK:
RHP Luke Burnett (14) projected as a first-round pick after showing a mid-90s fastball and a nasty slider as a reliever in the Cape Cod League in 2007. But he lost arm speed and his stuff as a starter at Louisiana Tech last spring, causing his stock to plummet. Signed for $200,000, he'll be a bargain if he regains his power arsenal. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY:
2B Matt Jensen (11), who elected to attend Cal Poly, has a chance to be an offensive middle infielder.