Jack Zduriencik prepares for the draft

May 24, 2011, 1:10 PM | Updated: 2:53 pm

Jack Zduriencik is not with the team on this road trip as he stayed back in Seattle to prepare for the upcoming draft. Over the weekend the scouting staff was called back to the Safeco Field offices for meetings. They will head back out on the road to scout state and college tournaments when those meetings wrap up later today.

Zduriencik has logged miles as well, looking at possible draft picks traveling to Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas among other states scouting both college and high school talent.

With a chance to grab a player that could have an impact sooner rather than later, Zduriencik, who is always highly involved in the draft, has been even more so this year.

While there are many possibilities for the number two pick, one thing is certain: the Mariners will not be using the number two pick to fill a specific need.

“Best athlete,” Zduriencik said when I asked him how he balances need versus the athlete in the draft.

“In our sport it often takes a guy three years if you are fortunate and in a lot of cases five, six years. Needs change, situations change during that period of time so I never like focus in on on a particular team need. Take the best athlete.”

There is no such thing as having too much of anything at any one position if that player is a good athlete, according to Zduriencik, who backed up that theory by drafting first basemen in three consecutive years while with the Brewers. All three were good athletes and only one is still at first base.

Brad Nelson was a highly touted first baseman who is struggling in the outfield to be a big leaguer. Prince Fielder is a star. Corey Hart is also a star but in the outfield. He didn’t pass up on Fielder or Hart because they didn’t appear to fill a particular need. There was a place for them.

As for what is available this year Zduriencik agrees that it is a deep draft. Is there a clear cut number one or two? We have seen movement in mock drafts. What does Zduriencik make of this?

“People can be reactionary,” he said. “We heard the name Gerrit Cole so often and now he has had a couple of bad outings and all of a sudden people are going to change their opinions. You have heard the name Anthony Rendon. He’s had some injuries, and then you hear the names of a few other players but those are two guys that people thought would go in the top of the draft but now there are circumstances and there are other players that come on.

“A clear-cut number one? You could probably take a group of a few and say I would be happy with any of these guys (at) number one.”

When the scouts return from the road they will meet with the cross-checkers, scouting directors and members of the front office. The final draft board will then be set. Whose name will be at the top? This remains to be seen but it is clear that Zduriencik is excited about a number of players and with such a deep draft the M’s have a good chance to get an impact player with their second pick (No. 62) as well. These are big picks that could benefit the Mariners for a long time to come.

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