Inside the Mariners Draft Central
Ways to Follow the MLB Draft:
With former Mariners outfielder Mike Cameron and Northeast Area Scout Brian Nichols representing the Mariners from MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey, the rest of Mariners Baseball Operations and Scouting departments are hunkered down in Seattle going over scouting reports and finalizing the Mariners first round selection in the 2012 June Draft. Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik and Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara and their staffs have spent the last six months traveling all over the country watching hundreds of games and individual players to determine the next 41 players that will be part of the Mariners organization.
The Ellis Pavilion at Safeco Field is transformed every year into the Mariners “war room” two weeks before the draft begins. It’s the place where the future takes center stage. Over 30 members of the Baseball Operations and Scouting departments fill the room. With only a break for lunch, McNamara and his staff have been pouring over scouting reports and finalizing the draft order for hundreds of players.
The draft boards are posted around the room with approximately 500 names that are broken down into regions, positions and ability levels. There is a list for right-handed and left-handed pitchers, catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, shortstops, left fielders, center fielders and right fielders. Below each position player is the ranking Outstanding, Above Average, Average, and Below Average. Each name is code-colored. Players are also categorized as high school, college, junior college or a fifth-year college player.
The selection order of the First-Year Player Draft was determined by the reverse order of finish at the close of the previous championship season. For the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, compensation picks have been assigned to Clubs whose Type A or Type B free agents signed with other Clubs and/or to Clubs that did not sign a player who was chosen in the first three rounds of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Per the new Basic Agreement, the Draft will have 40 rounds, instead of 50. A Club may pass on its selection in any round and not forfeit its right to participate in other rounds.
As the start of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft approaches, the Mariners staff settles in for the fast-paced draft that will consume the next three days. The Mariners have only one pick, the 3rd overall selection, on day one of the draft which consists of the first round and first round supplemental portion of the draft (first 60 picks). All 30 Major League teams are connected by conference call and once all teams are dialed in Commissioner Bud Selig begins the draft.
It may look calm and quiet now, but soon phones will be ringing, folks will be congratulating each other and handshakes will be distributed throughout for a job well done this season.
After the Mariners make their selection today, both Zduriencik and McNamara start making the rounds of media interviews. Their evenings are planned with radio interviews with both local and national shows, as well as meeting with the local beat writers and one-one interviews with local televisions stations. The Mariners media’s “war room” is located in the Main Interview Room at Safeco Field. The interview room as been transformed in to a media workroom with tables set up for writers to blog, Tweet and write their draft day stories. By the end of the day we will know everything and more about the Mariners first round selection.
Once the first 60 picks are made on Monday the Mariners staff will continue work through the night to determine their plan of action with updated draft boards and player availability for the next two days. The Draft will resume at 9:00 a.m. (PDT) on both Tuesday, June 5th and Wednesday, June 6th via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York City. Tuesday, June 5th will cover rounds two through 15, and Wednesday, June 6th will cover rounds 16 through 40. The intervals between selections will last five minutes during the first round and one minute during the compensation round. Rounds two through 10 will have one minute between selections, and the remainder of the selections will be made without delays.
By the end of the 3-day, 40-round draft, many names familiar only in their own households will begin to become familiar names in the Mariners family.