Seattle stocks up on infielders, hitters

Seattle stocks up on infielders, hitters

Seattle stocks up on infielders, hitters
SEATTLE -- With just one pick for the Mariners the first day of the First-Year Player Draft, there was much more watching than selecting. But as the second day rolled around, the Mariners had plenty on their plate, as they selected 15 players on Tuesday.

Nine were infielders, led by second-round selection Joe DeCarlo (64th overall). A shortstop -- the first of three the Mariners selected on the day -- out of Garnet Valley High School in Pennsylvania, DeCarlo is rated the 57th high school best prospect by Baseball America.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pounder is committed to Georgia as a third baseman and Mariners director of amateur scouting Tom McNamara said DeCarlo could move to third or second. The Mariners drafted two other shortstops, as well, with McNamara saying high schooler Timmy Lopes (sixth round, 191st overall) could also eventually change positions.

2012 Draft Central

McNamara did say University of Virginia player Chris Taylor (fifth round, 161st overall) was a "pure shortstop." But he also stressed that the players selected were viewed less as fielders and more as hitters.

"These are offensive players," McNamara said. "That's the way we look at them. Taylor's the old-school, pure shortstop. But Lopes and DeCarlo and [third baseman Patrick] Kivlehan are guys we think can bang the baseball. And let's not forget about [first baseman Taylor] Ard, either. I was told a long time ago, 'If you can hit, they'll find a place for you in the big leagues.' "

Offense seems to be the name of the game for the Mariners through the first two days of the three-day Draft. Out of 16 players selected, Seattle has taken 12 position players. Aside from Taylor, McNamara highlighted each player with their abilities on the offensive side. With the third overall pick on Monday, the Mariners took Florida catcher Mike Zunino.

"We balanced it out with some hitters, with some physical hitters that we definitely were looking at this year; we like what we've done," he said. "I'm thinking positive right now, I'm thinking all of them are going to hit. You have to think positive after a day like today."

The Mariners, who have stockpiled top pitching talent the last few years via the Draft, took just four hurlers Tuesday, but are excited about each one. Headlining the pitchers selected is Puerto Rican right-hander Edwin Diaz, who can throw up to 97 mph.

The Draft concludes Wednesday with rounds 16-40. The Mariners will have the third pick in each round.

Mariners second-day selections

• Joe DeCarlo (2nd round): A shortstop from Garnet Valley High School, DeCarlo could eventually move to either third or second base. McNamara said the Mariners were happy to draft him because he was a "good-looking hitter" and a "physical kid," among other reasons.

• Edwin Diaz (3rd round): In Diaz, the Mariners get a right-hander that can touch up to 97 mph on his fastball. Standing at just 6-foot-2, 160 pounds, the 18-year-old is part of a strong group of draftees out of Puerto Rico this year.

• Tyler Pike (Compensation Round B): McNamara called Pike "a guy with feel, touch and a real good upside." The left-hander, from Winter Haven High School in Florida, is a 17-year-old that has plenty of room to develop.

• Patrick Kivlehan (4th round): Kivlehan has been back in baseball for just six months. Having not played since high school, Kivlehan had a four-year football career with Rutgers before returning to baseball. Despite his absence from the sport, the third baseman was the Big East Player of the Year after hitting .410 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs in conference play. McNamara said he could eventually be moved to the outfield.

• Chris Taylor (5th round): McNamara calls Taylor an "old-school, pure shortstop." Even though Taylor's not known for his offense, the Mariners saw plenty of him last season while scouting former Virginia teammate Danny Hultzen, and liked enough of what they saw this year to nab him in the fifth round.

• Timmy Lopes (6th round): Lopes is a young shortstop out of Edison High School in Southern California. McNamara said the Mariners like his offensive potential, and he could eventually move to a different infield position.

• Taylor Ard (7th round): A local product out of Washington State, Ard, a first baseman, is a pure hitter. McNamara said: "He's a physical kid, he's confident, he knows the strike zone and he can drive the baseball."

• Nick Halamandaris (8th round): Another first baseman, Halamandaris is a high school player from California. At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, the left-handed hitter has plenty of power potential.

• Jamodrick McGruder (9th round): McGruder is a speedy second baseman from Texas Tech. McNamara said McGruder could eventually be a utility player, able to man multiple infield and outfield positions.

• Grady Wood (10th round): A Northwest product out of Western Oregon, Wood is the first college pitcher the Mariners selected in the 2012 Draft. Wood was 12-0 with a 1.69 ERA, 89 strikeouts and 12 walks in 96 innings for Western Oregon, which competes in Division II.

• Kristian Brito (11th round): Just 17-years old, Brito was the second Puerto Rican the Mariners selected. Big and strong, Brito has plenty of power potential and McNamara said they would get him to Peoria, Ariz., to get adjusted to professional baseball.

• Michael Faulkner (12th round): Another speedster, Faulkner is a true center fielder out of Arkansas State. This year, he stole 41 bases in 42 attempts and posted a .369 on-base percentage.

• Blake Hauser (13th round): Hauser is a reliever out of Virginia Commonwealth that had 10 saves and 66 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings this year. McNamara said he has an above-average Major League slider.

• Brock Hebert (14th round): Another player with speed, Hebert swiped 36 bases for SE Louisiana this year. The second baseman also hit .374 with a pair of home runs.

• Dario Pizzano (15th): Pizzano was the Ivy League Player of the Year this season, as well as a three-time first-teamer at Columbia. A left-handed hitter, Pizzano adds another physical, big bat to the Mariners draft class.

Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.