SEATTLE MARINERS

Mariners take college corner IF, HS pitcher with pair of 2nd-round picks

Jul 17, 2022, 10:00 PM | Updated: 10:16 pm

Mariners draft...

Robert Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball, opens the 2022 MLB Draft on July 17, 2022. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Mariners rounded out the first day of the 2022 MLB Draft with two very different second-round selections, first taking slugging corner infielder Tyler Locklear before using their final pick on Sunday on right-handed pitcher Walter Ford, one of the youngest prospects in this draft cycle.

Mariners draft HS SS Cole Young and his ‘beautiful swing’ 21st overall

Here’s a look at those two selections along with thoughts from Mariners director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter.

58th pick: Corner IF Tyler Locklear, VCU

Locklear, a big corner infielder who hits right-handed, slashed .361/.513/.704 in three seasons at VCU, compiling 37 home runs, 152 RBIs and 101 walks to just 78 strikeouts in 132 career games. He was also the Atlantic 10 conference’s Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in 2021, his redshirt-freshman season.

 

Standing 6 foot 3 and weighing 230 pounds, Locklear pretty evenly split his time between first and third base in 2022, and his calling card is his power.

MLB Pipeline, which had Locklear rated as this draft’s 98th-best prospect, gave him a 55 grade (above average) for his power. He also received an average (50) grade for his arm and below-average grades for his speed, hit tool (45) and glove (40).

From MLB Pipeline’s breakdown of Locklear: “Locklear’s carrying tool, obviously, is his raw power from the right side of the plate, which is better than plus. He’s shown he can use it in his mid-Major conference, and he’s strong enough to hit the ball out with wood in his hands as well. He makes a lot of contact at this level and has walked more than he’s struck out in his college career, though his strikeout rate did climb a little on the Cape (Cod League). He’s much more strength over bat speed, though, and scouts are worried that his stiff swing will keep him from barreling up the baseball consistently against better pitching.”

Pipeline also said that Locklear’s bat will need to carry him to a big league debut.

Baseball America gave Locklear a 60 grade for his power and wrote that he will likely be a first baseman going forward as a professional and that he’s done “nothing but mash” between 2021 and 2022.

Hunter said that Locklear comes with a “physical background” and draws similar comparisons to one MLB star slugger.

“It’s top-of-the scale power. A lot of body comps and game comps as maybe we got a Pete Alonso type,” Hunter said, referencing the New York Mets first baseman. “So (we) take a chance on right-handed power, and this one definitely has special power.”

Hunter said that while the initial thought would be that Locklear winds up at first, he thinks there’s some numbers to show he could play third base going forward.

“After the athletic testing – and actually there’s some video online of him playing football – I mean, this kid is a special athlete,” Hunter said. “He’s gonna have every chance to stay at third base. And if it doesn’t work out, he’s plenty athletic enough to go to first base.”

74th pick: Walter Ford, RHP, Florida HS

The Mariners went back to the high school ranks with their third and final pick of Sunday evening, selecting the right-handed Ford out of Pace High School in Pace, Fla.

Ford, who stands 6 foot 3 and weighs 185 pounds, is an Alabama commit who went 10-2 with a 1.00 ERA in 70 1/3 innings in 2022, picking up 126 strikeouts to 30 walks.

MLB Pipeline rated Ford as this draft’s 53rd-best prospect while Baseball America tabbed him at No. 57. He was originally slated to be a 2023 draft pick but reclassified to the 2022 draft. That makes Ford one of the younger prospects in this class as he doesn’t turn 18 until the end of December.

“He should be a high school junior right now and he’s topping 96 mph,” Hunter said. “He’s really an electric-wired body.”

Ford utilizes a three-pitch mix, per Pipeline, led by a low- to mid-90s fastball with some life as well as a low-80s slider and a changeup.

Pipeline said Ford has had issues repeating his mechanics in the past, but being a good athlete – a two-position player in high school – should help get that under control going forward.

“We’re really banking on the athlete and then just the pure arm talent for our pitching guys to really take under their wing and develop, but the ingredients are all there,” Hunter said.

With Ford as well as Locklear and first-round pick Cole Young, Hunter doesn’t see any issues with getting the players signed. That’s especially pertinent with Ford given he’s so young and has a commitment to Alabama.

“He was quite excited when I got on the phone and called him, so I don’t think it’s going to take too long to get him out to Arizona after the conversation I had,” Hunter said.

The 2022 MLB Draft continues Monday morning with rounds three through 10. Keep up with every pick on SeattleSports.com’s Mariners Draft Tracker.

Mariners Draft Tracker: Follow every M’s 2022 MLB Draft pick

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Showers And Thunderstorms
High 58° | Low 46°
No game today.

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners reliever Ryne Stanek...

Shane Lantz

Mariners open key series with 3-2 victory over Rangers

Luis Castillo pitches six strong innings and Mitch Garver blasts a two-run home run in a 3-2 victory for the Seattle Mariners.

25 minutes ago

Seattle Mariners DH Mitch Garver...

Zac Hereth

Watch: Mariners’ Mitch Garver greets former team with game-tying HR

Seattle Mariners DH Mitch Garver hits a two-run home run to tie the game against the Texas Rangers in the first inning.

2 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Scott Servais...

Brent Stecker

Mariners’ series win ‘underscored’ why there’s urgency this season

The AL West "is making it so clear that this is the Seattle Mariners' division to win or lose," MLB Network's Jon Morosi said.

7 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Luis Robert JulioR odríguez =...

Brent Stecker

Want Luis Robert’s bat in Mariners lineup? It may not be the right fit

Luis Robert Jr. looked plenty comfortable at T-Mobile Park this week, but MLB Network's Jon Morosi explains why he doesn't seem like a Seattle Mariners trade fit.

9 hours ago

Houston Astros José Abreu Seattle Mariners...

The Associated Press

AL West Check-In: Astros release ex-MVP with over $30 million left on contract

The Houston Astros released José Abreu on Friday, cutting ties with the former AL MVP less than halfway through a three-year, $58.5 million contract.

10 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Cody Bolton Cal Raleigh...

Brent Stecker

Mariners call up reliever ahead of big series vs Texas

The Seattle Mariners have set their bullpen up a little better ahead of perhaps their biggest series of the season so far.

11 hours ago

Mariners take college corner IF, HS pitcher with pair of 2nd-round picks