SEATTLE MARINERS

Who will the Mariners take at No. 2?

Jun 6, 2011, 7:12 AM | Updated: 1:05 pm

Today is the day. The First Year Player Draft gets underway at 4 p.m. While the team is getting ready to take on the White Sox, most eyes of the organization will be on who the Pirates take with the No. 1 pick. After that, the Mariners select what should be a big piece of the puzzle of what this team will be and how it will sustain itself in the future.

Most experts have the Mariners taking Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon with the second overall pick. Rendon has had an interesting season disrupted slightly by a shoulder injury and the introduction of new bats to college ball which has resulted in numbers being down. The bats are not a concern in the evaluation process, but the shoulder has been. The team has been working hard to get as concrete answers as they can and the popular opinion is the injury was not significant. Popular opinion is obviously not enough and if the Mariners do not select Rendon I would assume that they were not able get the answers they needed to hear.

I would not be surprised if they did indeed select Rendon but I would also not be surprised if they elected to go in the direction of a high school player either. They are very high on three of them.

Francisco Lindor, a shortstop out of Florida, has impressed them. Scouts say he is the best fielding infielder in the draft. He is a smaller shortstop 6-foot and 170 pounds but he hit .528 in 21 games this year with six home runs. Those who have watched him expect his power numbers will go up as he matures. Lindor worked out for Mariners officials at Safeco Field last week.

Right handed pitcher Dylan Bundy is expected to go high as well and the Mariners have had eyes on him. Bundy, at 6-foot and 200 pounds, has impressed scouts with his array of pitches and velocity. While he can sit 94-97 mph with the fastball, one report has him hitting 100 mph on the radar gun.

Highschoolers’ signability can be a factor as college is often an option, but Lindor and Bundy are expected to sign. There is more intrigue with the third player the Mariners have had an eye on – Bubba Starling. If not for questions about his signability (he has the option of playing football at Nebraska) Starling may well have been the consensus No. 1 right now.

The one thing the Mariners have been adamant about is that they will go with the best athlete available, they will not draft for need. Jack Zduriencik has been very involved with this draft having spent a good amount of time on the road with scouting director Tom McNamara in the last month. We will learn more later this afternoon.

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Who will the Mariners take at No. 2?