M's draft pitcher in 1st round
Breaking with recent tradition, the Mariners used their first selection in the 2018 amateur draft on a pitcher, drafting Stetson University sophomore Logan Gilbert with the 14th overall selection.
Gilbert was named Atlantic Sun Conference pitcher of the year and a second-team Collegiate Baseball All-American in 2017 after going 10-0 with a 2.02 ERA over 89 innings pitched (12 starts, 15 appearances overall). For his entire college career (three seasons), Gilbert is 22-2, 2.38, with 293 strikeouts in 238 innings. He also pitched in the Cape Cod League last summer, going 1-2 with a 1.72 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in seven starts. His fastball has been clocked at 97mph and he also features all three other standard pitches (slider, curve, and changeup).
The Mariners have had mixed results drafting pitchers in the first round. Though they hit the mark with Taijuan Walker (2010), Brandon Morrow (2006), Gil Meche (1996), and Billy Swift (1984), they also were disappointed by Danny Hultzen (2011), Phillippe Aumont (2007), Ryan Anderson (1997), Roger Salkeld (1989), and plenty of others. Even some of the better arms picked by the Mariners over the years were mishandled or traded away, never to wear a Seattle uniform (did you know Lance Lynn and Barry Zito were drafted by the M's?)
Of course, much of the Mariners' draft history isn't relevant now, as this is only the third Seattle draft under GM Jerry Dipoto and seventh for Dipoto overall (he held the reigns with the Angels during the 2012-2015 drafts). Jerry being Jerry, he traded some of his draftees right away to address other needs, but partly that was because during his time in Anaheim the Angels didn't have much in the way of early-round selections, having forfeited them with various free-agent signings. One first-rounder the Angels did make under Dipoto was Sean Newcomb, drafted in 2014 and currently a member of the Atlanta Braves' starting rotation. Beyond Newcomb, Dipoto's success rate is still TBD; most of his draftees remain in the low minors, but given the short timeframe, that's to be expected.
The Mariners' second pick this year went to fleet-footed outfielder Josh Stowers, who has three NCAA seasons with the University of Louisville under his belt. This season, the 21-year-old Stowers posted a line of .343/.471/.564 with 36 steals, giving him a cumulative NCAA slash of .325/.444/.526. Like Gilbert, Stowers played last summer in the Cape Cod League and batted .250/.337/.345.