Through 10 rounds, the Mariners have drafted 10 college players. On Day 2, they picked up a highly touted catcher, a side-arming reliever and a two-way standout born and raised in Japan, who's also eligible in the Nippon Pro Baseball draft.
The Mariners stayed consistent to one aspect on Day 2 of the Major League Baseball draft — college players.
Seattle made eight picks and all came from the college level to go with the two college players selected in the first two rounds of the draft.
“We stayed with our core values and getting some impact and some upside players as well,” said Scott Hunter, the Mariners director of amateur scouting. “We aren’t trying to be risk adverse. And it wasn’t a plan going in with all the college players. But we had quite a few different plays going on. We were trying to work some magic with some high school players on the first day and early Day 2. With the way this year worked, it was really crazy with Tampa Bay and Kansas City and one other team that had multiple picks. It was hard to lock in those high school guys that we targeted because they were coming off the board faster than we expected. We were trying to mix and match and adjust on the fly.”
Seattle took four pitchers — two starters and two relievers, two catchers, an outfielder and infielder in the eight picks.
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“Catching was something we did want to target a little bit,” Hunter said.
Third round: Cal Raleigh | C | Florida State
- Bats: Both | Throws: Right
- Height: 6-3 | Weight: 225
- Hometown: Cullowhee, NC
- 3rd Round | 90th Overall
Raleigh, 21, hit .326 (75 for 230) with 44 runs, 18 doubles, a triple, 13 home runs, 54 RBI, 51 walks, a .447 on-base percentage and a .583 slugging percentage in 62 games with the Seminoles this season. Raleigh led his club in batting, hits, RBI and slugging percentage. He was named 1st-Team All-ACC.
He was considered the No. 2 college catching prospect available in the draft by Baseball America.
From Baseball America’s scouting report on Raleigh:
The thick-bodied switch-hitter slugged 10 homers and was a BA Freshman All-American that season, but he slipped considerably his sophomore year, batting just .227 and struggling at times defensively. Now in his third season, Raleigh has seemingly rebounded at the plate, with nine homers and a .313/.446/.534 slash line through 176 at-bats. Raleigh has above-average raw power, but his struggles as a sophomore and his lack of track record with a wood bat leave some scouts skeptical he’ll be able to consistently tap into it. Raleigh is an average receiver with an average throwing arm. He projects to stick behind the plate at the next level, but his value is primarily tied to his power potential. While his stock isn’t as high as it was in 2016, Raleigh’s strong junior season has restored at least some of the confidence in his offensive skill set.
Hunter on Raleigh: “It’s a small world. His uncle and I played together in Double A in Binghamton, New York. He’s the son of a coach and a three-year starter at Florida State. He’s got power from both sides. He walks more than he strikes out. He controls the zone, which is a very big value we look for and something we preach and teach at our minor league level. He’s a catcher that is going to play a long time. Now if he becomes an every day guy because of his skill-set, great. I got lot of text messages from scouts around the game that said, ‘Wow, that guy is going to play a long time.’ I think some people were disappointed behind us that we were able to go up and get him in the third round.”
Fourth round: Michael Plassmeyer | LHP | University of Missouri
- Bats: L | Throws: L
- Height: 6-2 | Weight: 197
- Hometown: St. Louis, MO
- 4th Round | 118th Overall
Plassmeyer, 21, went 5-4 with a 3.05 ERA (31 ER, 91.1 IP) with 103 strikeouts and 17 walks in 14 starts with the Tigers during his junior season in 2018. He recorded 2 complete games this season, including 1 shutout. Over three seasons with Missouri, he has posted a 5.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio (199 K, 35 BB).
He’s a pitch-ability lefty that seems to profile similar to current Mariners starter Marco Gonzales.
From the Baseball America scouting report:
Plassmeyer is a back-of-the-rotation starter who has earned notice as a useful draftee because of his reliability and plus control. Plassmeyer gained a tick to his fastball this year, although he still sits at a modest 86-90 mph although he’ll now bump 92 early in outings. He’s also improved his slider this year, refining it into an average offering. His changeup is a below-average pitch at this point. Plassmeyer went 5-4, 3.05 during Missouri’s regular season, with 103 strikeouts in 93 innings.
Hunter on Plassmeyer: “He’s a cold-weather kid that pitched his butt off in the SEC. We had three or four supervisors see him along the way. He’s a strike thrower with a three-pitch mix and he’s actually kind of connected to our bullpen coach Brian DeLunas, who has a pitching lab out in the Missouri area. DeLunas came in and said, ‘That Plassmeyer, he’s an athlete and I think there’s 2-3 more miles per hour in his fastball. He’s 88 to 92 mph right now. He misses bats and throws a ton of strikes and he’s been a winner at Missouri.”
Fifth round: Nolan Hoffman | RHP | Texas A&M
- Bats: R | Throws: R
- Height: 6-4 | Weight: 190
- Hometown: Lincoln, NE
- 5th Round | 148th Overall
Hoffman, 20, went 3-1 with 14 saves and a 1.15 ERA (7 ER, 55.0 IP) with 53 strikeouts and 12 walks in 33 relief appearances with the Aggies during his junior season in 2018. Hoffman led the SEC in appearances this season, while also ranking 2nd in saves. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander was selected as one of 20 finalists for the 2018 Pitcher of the Year Award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation, in May. Hoffman’s 14 saves this season equaled the Aggies single-season record (also: Jason Jester, 2013).
He’s not a power reliever, instead he relies on a sidearm delivery and sinking movement on his fastball that touches 93 mph on his best days.
From Baseball America:
Hoffman is a true sidearm reliever who has enough fastball (88-93 mph) to make life difficult for same side hitters. But in pro ball he’s going to have to figure out how to master either a changeup or a sweepy slurve. Right now he relies almost entirely on that fastball, but he can work his fastball to arm-side or glove-side, so hitters can’t get comfortable leaning out over the plate.
Hunter on Hoffman: “One of my intriguing picks of the day. This was really a team effort from our scouts and our analytics department. He was a kid that was traditionally a high 3/4 arm slot. This year, he decided to drop down a little bit and is throwing from a low 3/4 slot and his velocity increased to the low to mid 90s at times. He has a groundball rate quite similar to Wyatt Mills last year. This kid has really impressed our scouts, but also our analytics department with all the different trackman data. He has the ability to miss bats and get groundballs. He’s more of a situational specialist in the Pat Neshek’s of the world. He could be a guy that if he goes out early and performs, he could be a fast mover in our system as well. Maybe even have some Major League impact if all goes well.”
Here’s video of Hoffman.
Sixth Round: Joey O’Brien | RHP | Southern Nevada
- Bats: R | Throws: R
- Height: 6-2 | Weight: 205
- Hometown: Okinawa, Japan
- 6th Round | 178th Overall
O’Brien, 20, went 6-4 with a 2.61 ERA (15 ER, 51.2 IP) with 69 strikeouts and 16 walks in 17 games, including nine starts, with the Coyotes during his sophomore season in 2018. He limited opposing batters to a .214 (40 for 187) average against while allowing just one home run. He also hit .330 (60×182) with 54 runs, 11 doubles, 1 triple, 9 home runs, 52 RBI, 36 walks, a .457 on-base percentage and a .549 slugging percentage in 57 games this season.
He has an interesting back story. His father, John, served in the Marines and was stationed on a military base in Japan. He married a Japanese woman and stayed there. Joey O’Brien was born and raised in Okinawa, graduating high school there and came to the U.S. to play collegiately. He was a two-way standout out in college, but the Mariners list him as a pitcher. He has a fastball that can touch 96 mph. He’s committed to Hawaii and is also eligible for the Nippon Professional Baseball draft as well.
Hunter on O’Brien: “We had a workout right before I came to Seattle (for draft preparation) in Peoria. And he was one of the kids that impressed. He’s got a three-pitch mix. He’s got a delivery that is kind of similar to Hisashi Iwakuma. I think Iwakuma is one of his idols because in the Mariners minor league complex and he was standing to the Ichiro and Iwakuma photos and taking a lot of pics. It was quite exciting to see him get the experience of being at our spring training complex, but also when I called him today, he was quite excited. He’s a guy that sits in the low 90s but can touch 95 and has a splitfinger fastball that gets a lot of swings and misses.”
Seventh Round: Jake Anchia | C | Nova Southeastern University
- Bats: R | Throws: R
- Height: 6-1 | Weight: 210
- Hometown: Miami Lakes, FL
- 7th Round | 208th Overall
Anchia, 21, hit .340 (71×209) with 49 runs, 12 doubles, 22 home runs, 64 RBI, 14 walks, a .402 on-base percentage and a .713 slugging percentage in 51 games with the Sharks during his junior season in 2018. He was selected 3rd-Team All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association following his recently-completed junior season.
He was named D2CCA 2nd-Team All-Region following his sophomore season in 2017 in which he hit .326 (58 for 178) with 17 home runs and 55 RBI.
Hunter on Anchia: “Very intriguing kid from Dan Rovetto, who is one of our better scouts and helped us lsat year get Tommy Romero, who we just traded. This is a kid that has big power. I believe one of our scouts in the room said he has over 40 home runs in his career. They showed me some youtube video where they called him the home run king of D2 baseball. I can’t express enough how much our organization has embraced not only our pure scouting looks, but also our analytics look. Sometimes in this day and age, you get the old-time scouts that are anti-analytics and the analytics guys that aren’t for the old-time scouts. Our organization has done a great job of balancing both. Jake was a kid kind of popped on our scout looks, but also really supported on our analytics in regards to his catching metrics that we have from the Cape Cod League and his power and exit velocities as well as some of his cognitive testing that we do and some of our filters with our advanced eye tests — he scored really high. He’s a kid that we are kind of excited about. He’s a great addition.”
Here’s Anchia hitting in the Cape Cod League home run derby
Eighth round: Joey Gerber | RHP | University of Illinois
- Bats: R | Throws: R
- Height: 6-4 | Weight: 215
- Hometown: Maple Grove, MN
- 8th Round | 238th Overall
Gerber, 21, went 1-1 with 14 saves and a 3.14 ERA (10 ER, 28.2 IP) with 45 strikeouts and 14 walks in 25 relief appearances with the Illini during his junior season in 2018. He was named 3rd-Team All-Big Ten as a relief pitcher. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander was also named to the 2018 Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List. He has a fastball that has topped out at 96 mph and a slider that he’ll use to offset it. He’s been a reliever his entire college career.
Gerber successfully converted 14-of-14 save opportunities this season, including 8 saves during Big Ten action. His 14 saves are tied with Tyler Jay for the Illinois single-season program record.
Hunter on Gerber: “He’s up to 97 mph. He’s a power-arm reliever — another one that misses bats, throws hard and is very aggressive coming out of the bullpen. Tom McNamara, our former scouting director, actually high five me on this pick and said, “That’s a quick to the big leagues guy that we got.” Mac’s history is that he likes those big hard-throwing arms, so that made me feel good when we took him. We got the right guy.”
Ninth round: Keegan McGovern | OF | University of Georgia
- Bats: L | Throws: R
- Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220
- Hometown: Willacoochee, GA
- 9th Round | 268th Overall
McGovern, 22, hit .319 (69×216) with 68 runs, 14 doubles, 1 triple, 18 home runs, 50 RBI, 37 walks, a .431 on-base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage in 58 games with the Bulldogs during his senior season in 2018. McGovern earned numerous accolades this season: 3rd-Team All-America (Baseball America), 1st-Team All-SEC and SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He led the SEC in runs while also ranking 4th in slugging, T4th in home runs, 5th in total bases, T8th in RBI, 11th in on-base percentage and T12th in walks.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound outfielder was a co-captain for the Bulldogs this season and ranked among the team leaders in several offensive categories: runs (1st, 68), doubles (1st, 14), home runs (1st, 18), on-base percentage (1st, .431), slugging (1st, .644), RBI, (2nd, 50), walks (2nd, 37), batting (3rd, .319) and hits (3rd, 69). A four-year starter, McGovern appeared in 219 over his career with the Bulldogs, tied for 8th-most all-time in program history.
He is the first Georgia Bulldog to earn SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year since Gordon Beckham in 2008. McGovern, who is majoring in biology, is an annual member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team.
Hunter on McGovern: “He’s a senior sign, but not your true senior cost saver. We did pay him a little bit more than what most seniors get from our organization. He’s a kid that didn’t have a great year as a junior in his first draft year. But he made some swing adjustments. I believe he went over the Green Monster in the regional this past weekend. Our scouts say he can actually run for big guy so he’s not going to be a guy that has to go over to first base. He’ll stay in the outfield and he’s a solid to average runner. This was a power bat that we felt would be a good addition to the Everett club. He is a little older since he is a senior, but the power and the bat was so intriguing, we figured we’d take a shot.”
Matt Sanders | INF | Troy University
- Bats: R | Throws: R
- Height: 5-8 | Weight: 175
- Hometown: Madison, AL
- 10th Round | 298th Overall
Sanders, 21 (turns 22 on June 7), hit .378 (99 for 262) with 90 runs, 19 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 28 RBI, 44 walks, a .463 on-base percentage and a .538 slugging percentage in 63 games with the Trojans during his senior season in 2018. Sanders led NCAA Division-I players in runs scored with 90, while also ranking T4th in hits. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound infielder was named to the All-Sun Belt 2nd-Team this season.
He’s a senior sign and likely going to receive a minimal bonus, which gives the Mariners some cost savings in their bonus pool for other picks.
Hunter on Sanders: “He’s the smallest out of top 10 picks in regards to size. He is a senior. We took him and he’s going to be a middle of the field player and he has a speed element. He can play shortstop and our guys say he can play second and third as well. It’s more of a utility-type play, but the athleticism and the culture he brings in regards to control the zone — another guy that does a great job at that. He gives us the opportunity for maybe a few surprises on Thursday. He gave us some flexibility with the bonus pool.”
Mariners picks from Day 2 of the draft
Round by round results of every pick …