SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Hot Stove: Get to know ’21 top pick Harry Ford, a look at Julio in ’22

Feb 9, 2022, 12:05 PM | Updated: 12:21 pm

Seattle Mariners base general...

A general view of a base before a Seattle Mariners game in 2021. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

If you missed the latest 7 p.m. Tuesday night broadcast of the Mariners Hot Stove on 710 ESPN Seattle, well, you know the drill by now. We have a podcast.

One hour of Mariners talk started with a “get to know you” interview with Harry Ford, the Mariners’ 2021 first-round pick (12th overall). The 18 year old detailed the early struggles he encountered adjusting to pro ball in Arizona, and he relayed a couple of fun stories of being on his own away from home for the first time and living with fellow straight-out-of-high school draftees Edwin Arroyo Jr. (second round, No. 48) and Michael Morales (third round, No. 83).

Capable of playing just about anywhere on the field, Ford talked about how he ended up behind the plate and why he is a catcher at heart. He has always been baseball first (perhaps that should not be taken for granted), and we learned that while he was born and raised in Georgia, trips to see close relatives require a passport.

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The conversation continued off air with one tidbit I will share. Ford, who is known for being a workout fanatic, is excited to spend time around Jarred Kelenic in spring training.

“I watched his workout videos when I was in high school,” he said.

What I would give to see Ford walk up to Kelenic in Peoria and say, “I watched you when I was growing up…” A funny thought, but it does reinforce just how young this team could get.

Ford likely is years away from the majors, but he can look to Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez and see a path for youth. Hard not to find that thought exciting.

Want more? James Osborn had that covered as we dug into FanGraphs and ESPN analyst Dan Szymborski’s eye-opening comment on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk Show that Rodríguez could be more than a player that just breaks into the bigs in 2022, but rather sees him as a potential difference maker for the Mariners.

“I think he’s one of those players who could be the Mariners’ version of one of the phenoms – you know, (Fernando) Tatís (Jr.), (Ronald) Acuña, (Juan) Soto – so that’s a huge source of upside the Mariners may be able to tap this season” Szymborski said while explaining why he thought the Mariners could outperform their ZiPS projection of 80 wins next season.

The show also includes a little help in better understanding projections as Gary Hill breaks down WAR in his weekly, now officially titled “Gary Hill is Going to Make Us Smarter” segment. And we learn a little bit more about Jake and Stacy co-host Stacy Rost’s baseball as we continue to get to know those who bring you baseball Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to game time, on 710 ESPN Seattle.

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