Mariners Draft Report
M's grab Morrow
SEATTLE--The Mariners made it no secret they were looking for a pitcher, and like many expected, they took a hard-throwing righthander from the Pac-10 Conference with the fifth overall pick in the first round.
The surprise to some was that it was California junior Brandon Morrow
, and not Tim Lincecum
, who was setting records just up the road at Washington. The Mariners also passed on lefthander Andrew Miller
from North Carolina, whom many thought would be drafted No. 1 overall.
"We have followed Brandon for many years and watched closely as he has made huge improvements," said scouting director Bob Fontaine
And that's not overstated. After going 0-1, 9.36 as a sophomore, Morrow went 7-4, 2.05 this season. This all came after a solid summer in the Cape Cod League, where he struck out 24 batters in 15 innings with a 1.84 ERA and notched three saves.
Morrow's fastball, which tops out in the upper 90s, is not the only thing that sets him apart. Morrow, 21, was diagnosed with Type One diabetes more than three years ago. He's had to monitor his health during games, which speaks volumes about his maturity.
"Really, it's more of an inconvenience than anything else," Morrow said. "I wear an insulin pump and I check blood sugar between innings. I just try to keep it very even, and as a pitcher, it really isn't that hard."
Harnessing his increased velocity the past couple of years hasn't been as easy. He got that figured out this spring with the Golden Bears, striking out 97 and walking 39 in 96 2/3 innings. Morrow said because of his velocity, he was not surprised to be drafted No. 5 overall.
"I think I deserved to be drafted high," he said. "I feel like I am comparable to any other pitcher across the board. I was very happy to be drafted by Seattle. They are on the west coast and a good organization."
In addition to his plus fastball, Morrow also throws a changeup, a slider and a split-finger fastball.
Morrow noted that while Seattle fans might have wanted Lincecum, Giants fans might have wanted Morrow, who is from Rohnert Park in Northern California.
"It's kind of like we swapped teams," Morrow said. "Hopefully, the Seattle fans will be my fans soon."
Morrow is the first pitcher Seattle has taken in the first round since 1998, when it selected lefty Matt Thornton
. The last righthanded pitcher taken in the first round by the Mariners was Gil Meche
• The Mariners stayed with the pitching theme through the first five rounds, not taking a position player until the sixth, when they selected catcher Adam Moore
from Texas-Arlington. The Mariners took a catcher with their first pick last year, taking USC's Jeff Clement
with the No. 3 overall pick. Seattle also took pitchers in the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds.
• Seattle took a local player with its 10th pick: Stanford shortstop Chris Minaker
. A senior, Minaker is from the Seattle suburb of Lynnwood. He is hitting .363 for the Cardinal, with a team-high 11 home runs and 68 runs batted in.