Mariners no strangers to success through Draft
A round-by-round look at notable selections as organization prepares for 2014 picks
SEATTLE -- Like every Major League club, the Mariners have had their hits and misses in the First-Year Player Draft since they made their first selection in 1977. That first pick turned out to be a pretty good one -- center fielder Dave Henderson, taken with the 26th selection in the first round out of Dos Palos High School in California.
And while not all of their picks developed into 14-year Major Leaguers with All-Star credentials, the Mariners have found their share of gems over the years. Here's a look at the Mariners' best selections in each of the first 15 rounds in their franchise history.
Round 1: Ken Griffey Jr., 1987
With the first pick in the 1987 Draft, Seattle landed an 18-year-old high school center fielder from Cincinnati who turned into one of the greatest players in the history of the game and the man who put the Mariners on the map with his sensational play through the '90s. Griffey hit .284 with 630 home runs and 1,836 RBIs, earned 13 All-Star berths, 10 Gold Gloves and an American League MVP Award and will be a sure-fire Hall of Fame selection when he becomes eligible in 2016.
Seattle took Alex Rodriguez with the first pick in '93 and he, too, developed into one of baseball's greats and ranks fifth on the all-time home run list, one spot ahead of Griffey, and has a higher career WAR (116 to 83.6) while winning 14 All-Star berths, two Gold Gloves and three MVPs. But Griffey played 13 years with Seattle to A-Rod's seven, and didn't have the issues that have plagued Rodriguez's career. This one seems pretty clear -- it's difficult to beat Junior as the best Draft pick in Mariners history.
Round 2: Mark Langston, 1981
The lefty out of San Jose State won 179 games and was a four-time All-Star in a 16-year career. And though he played just the first six of those with Seattle, the Mariners traded him to Montreal in 1989 in a deal that brought a young Randy Johnson in return.
Round 3: Phil Bradley, 1981
Though Kyle Seager may eventually challenge for this spot, for now Bradley stands as the best third-rounder as he went on to an eight-year Major League career with a .286 career average. The outfielder from the University of Missouri hit .301 in five seasons with Seattle and was a 1985 All-Star.
Round 4: Lee Guetterman, 1981
Guetterman played 11 years in the Majors, including five with the Mariners and five with the Yankees. Primarily a reliever, he posted a career mark of 38-36 with a 4.33 ERA in 425 games. Current Mariners James Paxton and James Jones are two recent fourth-rounders who could someday challenge for this spot.
Round 5: Bret Boone, 1990
The Mariners landed a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove second baseman with the fifth-round selection out of USC. Boone had two stints with Seattle, playing seven of his 14 Major League seasons with the Mariners in a career in which he hit .266 with 252 home runs and 1,021 RBIs. Boone was traded after his second season to the Reds in a package that brought catcher Dan Wilson, then returned as a free agent in 2001 and hit 37 home runs and an AL-leading 141 RBIs on a 116-win club.
Round 6: Alvin Davis, 1982
Seattle landed a future Mariners Hall of Famer and a man who became known as Mr. Mariner out of Arizona State. Davis was AL Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 1984 and went on to hit .281 with 160 home runs and 667 RBIs in eight seasons with Seattle before finishing his career with 40 games with the Angels in 1992. Davis works for the Mariners as a Minor League coordinator.
Round 7: Doug Fister, 2006
In his sixth season in the Majors, the 6-foot-7 right-hander has developed into a quality Major League starter. Though his record was just 12-30 in three years with Seattle, he posted a 3.81 ERA in 60 games before being traded to Tigers. He went 32-20 with a 3.29 ERA in 2 1/2 seasons with the Tigers and was a big part of Detroit's playoff success the past three years before being dealt to the Nationals last offseason.
Round 8: Derek Lowe, 1991
Though he spent just a half-season with the Mariners before being swapped to the Red Sox, Lowe went on to a 17-year Major League career during which he went 176-157 with a 4.03 ERA in 681 games (377 starts) with seven different teams. The two-time All-Star was a versatile pitcher who led the AL with 42 saves for the Red Sox in 2000 and then won 21 games as a starter in '02. He pitched in the postseason in eight seasons for the Red Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees before retiring in 2013 with the Rangers.
Round 9: None
The Mariners have never drafted a player in the ninth round who has gone on to make their Major League club or had a significant career with any other MLB team.
Round 10: Bob Stoddard, 1978
Stoddard spent seven seasons in the Majors, including his first four with Seattle, where he went 16-24 with a 4.01 ERA in 76 games (43 starts). For his career, the right-hander out of Cal State University was 18-27 with a 4.03 ERA before retiring in 1987.
Round 11: Michael Saunders, 2004
The Mariners took the athletic outfielder from British Columbia in 2004 and he's now in his sixth season in the Majors. After a couple rough seasons in which he split time between Triple-A Tacoma and Seattle, Saunders hit .247 with 19 homers and 21 stolen bases in 2012 and has since been a regular contributor while being regarded as one of the club's premier defensive players.
Round 12: Joel Pineiro, 1997
The right-hander from Puerto Rico was drafted from Edison Junior College in Florida and rose quickly through the system, pitching seven years with Seattle (58-55, 4.48 ERA), including a 16-win season in 2003. He wound up playing 12 seasons in the Majors with a 104-93 record and 4.41 ERA, finishing up with stops in Boston, St. Louis and Anaheim.
Round 13: Ed Vande Berg, 1989
The lefty out of Arizona State led the AL with 78 relief appearances as a rookie in 1982 when he went 9-4 with a 2.37 ERA. He wound up pitching four seasons with Seattle (21-21, 3.75 ERA in 272 games) before finishing up a seven-year career with the Dodgers, Indians and Rangers.
Round 14: None
The Mariners have never drafted a player in the 14th round who has gone on to make any Major League club.
Round 15: Clay Parker, 1985
The right-hander out of LSU pitched four seasons in the Majors, including two in two different stints with Seattle, posting a 7-10 record with a 4.42 ERA in 62 games (27 starts). He also pitched for the Yankees and Tigers. The Mariners drafted first baseman Gaby Sanchez in the 15th round in 2002, but he chose to play college ball instead and wound up being selected in the fourth round by the Marlins in 2005. He is in his seventh season in the Majors, playing for the Pirates, and was a 2009 All-Star with the Marlins.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 3 p.m. PT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 4 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 9:30 a.m. PT on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.