After waiting for over four and half hours and watching 59 players selected, the Mariners finally got to make a pick in the MLB amateur draft, selecting right-handed high school pitcher Nick Neidert in the second round with the 60th overall pick. Then the Mariners wrapped up their first day of the draft by taking...
After waiting for over four and half hours and watching 59 players selected, the Mariners finally got to make a pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball amateur draft, selecting right-handed high school pitcher Nick Neidert in the second round with the 60th overall pick.
And about 10 minutes later, the Mariners wrapped up their first day of the draft by taking right-handed pitcher Andrew Moore with their competitive-balance second-round pick, the 72nd draft choice overall.
The Mariners were without a first-round pick after signing designated hitter Nelson Cruz as a free agent in the offseason. It meant that Mariners director of amateur scouting Tom McNamara had to watch as potential selections came off his draft board.
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“I think I’m going to need a new shirt, I was sweating so bad,” he said jokingly.
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But Neidert, 18, was worth the wait and anxiety for McNamara. He was a player the Mariners targeted as a strong possibility before the draft and were more than happy when he was still available.
“He was the guy we wanted,” McNamara said. “It was a long wait. At 60, we were pleasantly surprised he was still there.”
Neidert, from Peachtree Ridge High in Lawrenceville, Ga., was rated 55th in Baseball America’s top 200 prospects and a first-team All-American by Perfect Game. He is not a typical big and imposing right-hander. At 6-1, 185 pounds, he’s drawn comparisons to veteran right-hander Tim Hudson of the Giants.
“I know a lot of people say that I remind them of Tim Hudson because I’m not very tall,” he said. “I stride out like he does and my changeup is one of my more dominant pitches.”
Neidert’s fastball this year touched 97 mph, but sits right around 93-94 mph. He throws a slider to go with the changeup.
“He’s a projectable, loose, athletic kid,” McNamara said. “He’s got good command. We think his slider has got a lot of potential and he’s also features a changeup that he’s got feel for.”
Neidert came to Safeco Field in late May for a pre-draft workout.
“It was like a business interview,” McNamara said. “He impressed.”
Neidert missed part of his high-school season because of elbow tendinitis and also battled mononucleosis, but said he’s healthy now.
“It was about midway through my high-school season,” he said. “It tightened up on me midgame. It wasn’t too bad. But just as a precaution so it didn’t get any worse, I took some time off and did some physical therapy.”
Neidert is committed to play for the University of South Carolina, but will likely sign a professional contract.
“I’m still debating, but I think my clear choice is to play baseball for Seattle,” he said.
Moore also does not have a big frame. He’s listed at 6-0, 185 pounds.
“I think I’m up to 186 now, so you guys can update that,” Moore said with a laugh. “The plan is to get up to 190-195 next year.”
Moore, 21, was a first-team all-Pac-12 for the Beavers this past season as a junior. He posted a 7-2 record with a 1.91 ERA in 16 starts. In three seasons with OSU, he went 27-9 with a 2.10 ERA. He had 251 strikeouts and four shutouts in his college career.
McNamara raved about Moore’s fastball command. The velocity of it was up to 92-94 mph and touched 95 mph this season.
McNamara called Moore’s coach at Oregon State, coaches from Team USA, coaches at the University of Washington and Moore’s mother, who was working as his adviser for the process.
“I saw him against the University of Washington,” McNamara said. “The thing about him that really impressed all of us was his body language and his fastball command.”
Moore said the Mariners called him a few picks before he was selected and was asked if he would sign for $800,000 if he was taken at pick No. 72.
“Of course, we said, ‘yes,’ ” he said.
A native of Eugene, Ore., Moore said he’s been to Safeco Field for seven or eight times to watch games, mentioning Felix Hernandez.
“Just seeing Ken Griffey Jr. up there, calling my name,” he said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”