BY SPNW Staff 02:03PM 06/04/2012

Mariners amateur draft: What could have been

The Mariners could have selected Cal Ripken Jr. in the 1978 draft, but instead opted for Tito Nanni, who never reached the majors. / Wiki Commons

Baseball’s annual amateur draft is Monday, with the Seattle Mariners holding the No. 3 overall pick behind the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins. The consensus of most of mock drafts (yes, they even have them for amateur baseball players), is that Seattle will select a catcher, probably Mike Zunino of the University of Florida, who hit .323 with 16 home runs last season.

Regardless of Seattle’s pick, it will take anywhere from three to five years before the pick can be judged a gem or a dud.

Every major league team has a history of big hits and major misses in the June free agent draft. In the case of the Mariners, had they drafted a little differently, they could have put together an entire roster of Hall of Famers and near Hall of Famers from the players they bypassed.

For example, the Mariners could have assembled a rotation consisting of Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Orel Hershiser, David Cone and Mike Mussina, and filled out a lineup card featuring Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Manny Ramirez, among a host of other luminaries.

Who else was out there when the Mariners made their picks (it’s still too early to judge players drafted since 2007):

Year First Pick Rnd/No Also Available
1977 D. Henderson 1/26 #86 Ozzie Smith, #106 Tim Raines
1978 T.Nani 1/6 #48 Cal Ripken, #511 Ryne Sandberg
1979 A. Chambers 1/1 #440 Orel Hershiser, #493 Don Mattingly
1980 D. Coles 1/6 #10 Kelly Gruber, #201 Eric Davis
1981 M.Moore 1/1 #58 Tony Gwynn, #232 Fred McGriff
1982 S. Owen 1/6 #189 R.Palmeiro, #391 Jose Canseco
1983 D. Akerfelds 1/7 #19 Roger Clemens, #22 Ricky Jordan
1984 B. Swift 1/2 #31 Greg Maddux, #47 Tom Glavine
1985 M. Campbell 1/7 #22 R. Palmeiro, #94 David Justice
1986 P. Lennon 1/8 #40 Kevin Tapani, #105 Bo Jackson
1987 K. Griffey Jr. 1/1 #9 Kevin Appier, #22 Craig Biggio
1988 T. Martinez 1/14 #17 Charles Nagy, #1390 Mike Piazza
1989 R. Salkeld 1/3 #7 Frank Thomas, #23, #288 Trevor Hoffman
1990 M. Newfield 1/6 #20 Mike Mussina, #175 Troy Percival
1991 S. Estes 1/11 #13 Manny Ramirez, #16 Shawn Green
1992 R. Villone 1/14 #19 Shannon Stewart, #23 Johnny Damon
1993 A. Rodriguez 1/1 #20 Torri Hunter, #389 Keith Foulke
1994 J. Varitek 1/14 #20 Terrence Long, #37 Troy Glaus
1995 J. Cruz Jr. 1/3 #8 Todd Helton, #17 Roy Halladay
1996 G. Meche 1/22 #301 S. Hillenbrand, #435 Kevin Gregg
1997 R. Anderson 1/19 #20 Adam Kennedy, #185 Tim Hudson
1998 M. Thornton 1/22 #50 Adam Dunn, #265 Mark Teixeira
1999 R. Christianson 1/11 #52 Carl Crawford,  #85 Hank Blalock
2000 S. Hayes 4/116 #124 Laynce Nix, #223 Dontrelle Willis
2001 M. Garciaparra 1/36 #72 Dan Haren, #243 Kevin Youkilis
2002 J. Mayberry 1/28 #57 Jon Lester, #80 Curtis Granderson
2003 A. Jones 1/37 #74 Chris Ray, #78 Ryan Garko
2004 M. Tuiasosopo 3/93 #184 Ben Zobrist, #254 Mike Carp
2005 J. Clement 1/3 #5 Ryan Braun, #7 Troy Tulowitzki
2006 B. Morrow 1/5 #10 Tim Lincecum, #41 Joba Chamberlain
2007 P. Aumont 1/11 #27 Rick Porcello


  • Pixeldawg13

    S. Owen
    #189 R.Palmeiro, #391 Jose Canseco

    D. Akerfelds
    #19 Roger Clemens, #22 Ricky Jordan

    B. Swift
    #31 Greg Maddux, #47 Tom Glavine

    M. Campbell
    #22 R. Palmeiro, #94 David Justice
    So in ’82, Palmeiro was drafted but didn’t sign, then was drafted in ’85?

  • Cruddly

    It is fun to wonder what might have been if the Mariner’s had made the correct picks so many years ago, but in that case, you have to take the good with the bad.  If the Mariners had taken Roger Clemens or Ozzie Smith or Cal Ripken, or some other franchise changing player, their presence on the team probabably would have affected the Mariners’ position in future drafts because the team would have been a vastly improved.  If they had Cal Ripken in the lineup, for example, the Mariners probably would not have had the number 1 pick in 1987, when Ken Griffey Jr was chosen.
    It’s like that sci-fi scenario where this guy goes back in time to prehistoric days, picks a flower along the way, and then returns to the present to discover that his seemingly trivial little action had drastically changed the course of history.  Roger Clemens, playing for the Mariners, would have had a similar effect.