06/07/06 9:18 PM ET
Mariners draft features plenty of arms
Organization selects 34 pitchers, focuses on size and power
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
Seattle drafted 13 more pitchers on the first day of the draft and then selected 20 more on Wednesday, including two local products -- Cam Noble of Jackson High in Everett, Wash., (19th round) and Kyle Parker of the University of Washington (24th round)."Our goal coming into the draft this year was to focus on pitching," Fontaine said, "and we feel like after today, we drafted a lot of quality pitchers both from the college and high school level." Other than seven of the 34 pitchers who are left-handed, most of them will look a lot alike in uniform, as the many fit a certain profile -- big, strong-armed pitchers who deal in power. Third-round pick Tony Butler of Oak Creek High School (Wisc.) is 6-foot-7, seventh-round pick Doug Fister of Fresno State is 6-foot-8. Not big enough? Try 6-foot-9 Kameron Mickolio of Utah Valley State, who was Seattle's 18th round selection. All told, the Mariners drafted 21 pitchers that stand 6-foot-3 or taller. As excited as Fontaine was about the collection of arms that team landed in draft -- especially the thunderbolt of a right arm that Morrow has -- he was pleased and even a bit surprised to see the pitcher Chris Tillman's name on the draft board in the second round. Tillman, a 6-foot-5 right-hander from California's Fountain Valley High School, was pegged as a first-round pick before the season, though he didn't meet expectations and went 5-5 during the season. Still, Tillman throws in the low 90s and has a big curveball. This draft certainly looked little like Fontaine's first two drafts with the Mariners. In 2004, the Mariners -- who didn't have a first-round pick -- found a talented shortstop in Matt Tuiasosopo, who had first-round skills according to many scouts. A year ago, the Mariners had the No. 3 overall pick and selected Southern California left-handed-hitting catcher Jeff Clement, who advanced so quickly that he opened the season at Double-A San Antonio before he needed two minor surgeries in April. This year, it was all about arms. "Overall, we're extremely pleased with the quality of players we drafted." Fontaine said. We look forward to many of these young men signed and in uniform."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.