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Revisiting the 2023 Mariners MLB Draft class after the conclusion of the minor league season.
Best Pure Hitter: Shortstop Colt Emerson (1) stood out for his excellent hand-eye coordination, vision plate and offensive approach in high school, but even his biggest supporters might have been surprised with how quickly he hit the ground running in pro ball. He hit .374/.496/.550 in 24 games with the contact skills you might have expected, but perhaps more power than was advertised.
Best Power Hitter: Third baseman Charlie Pagliarini (19) homered 24 times for Fairfield during the spring season and boasted massive exit velocity data in his pro debut in rookie ball. In an admittedly small sample, Pagliarini put up a 92.6 mph average exit velocity and had a 105.3 mph 90th percentile mark.
Fastest Runner: Outfielder Jonny Farmelo (PPI) consistently turns in 70-grade run times and flies out of the lefthanded batter’s box, which puts a ton of pressure on opposing infielders. He also covers a lot of ground in the outfield, where he has a chance to be an above-average center fielder.
Best Defensive Player: The Mariners are excited about what third baseman Ben Williamson (3) can do over at the hot corner. He has played shortstop in the past, but fits better at third, where he moves well to his side and on balls in front of him and has enough arm to make all the necessary plays. Farmelo (PPI) would be a solid candidate here as well given his range in center.
Best Fastball: There are a few interesting candidates in the Mariners’ 2023 class for best fastball, including righthander Teddy McGraw (3) and righthander Ernie Day (14), who got up to 99 mph in his pro debut. Seattle also really likes the fastball of righthander Daniel Ouderkirk (18). He’s been up to 96-97 mph with the pitch and misses bats at a solid clip with it.
Best Secondary Pitch: Righthander Logan Evans (12) has a mid-80s slider with high spin rates in the 2,800-3,000 rpm range that features a significant amount of horizontal movement and sweepy action. It’s a high-usage pitch and generated a 35% miss rate last spring with Pittsburgh.
Best Pro Debut: Emerson (1) had perhaps the best pro debut of all high school players in the 2023 class and showcased a well-rounded offensive skill set, while playing both shortstop and second base and being on the younger side for the class. He’s a quick up-arrow prospect with that debut.
Best Athlete: Shortstop Tai Peete (1s) has natural athleticism and was a legitimate prospect as both a pitcher and a hitter. The team’s highest on him seemed most excited about his hitting upside, and the Mariners drafted him as a hitter. He has a solid toolset with power, speed and big arm strength.
Most Intriguing Background: Shortstop Brock Rodden (5) was one of three players who were drafted among the top 10 rounds in 2022 but opted not to sign. The move paid off for him as he went back to Wichita State, homered 17 times and jumped up five rounds where he signed for $200,000 with the Mariners in 2023.
Closest To The Majors: There are a few polished, older college players in the Mariners’ class who could fit this category, but one is righthander Ryan Hawks (8), who started six games in his pro debut, posted a 2.77 ERA and struck out 14 batters compared to five walks.
Best Day Three Pick (Or NDFA): Seattle is excited about the potential of lefthander Brandyn Garcia (11), who throws from a lower, three-quarters slot and gets a ton of sink and run on a low-to-mid 90s fastball and pairs it with a mid-80s slider that got lots of miss in a solid pro debut. He threw 10 innings out of the bullpen and posted a 1.80 ERA with eight strikeouts and three walks.