The Breakdown: A look at each of the Mariners’ 6 MLB Draft picks
The Mariners have put a very different and much shorter 2020 MLB Draft in the books.
This year’s edition of the annual draft lasted just five rounds, or only an eighth as long as the usual 40-round event, a result of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had not just on MLB, but baseball as a whole in the country. The Mariners and the rest of the MLB’s teams will turn their attention now to signing undrafted free agents, a new concept for the league.
As for what the Mariners did during the draft, we have it covered here. Below is a list of all six picks made by Seattle – one in each of the five rounds, plus a competitive balance pick that came after the second round – plus some details and video.
This is meant as just a quick look at each player selected by the M’s, so be sure to click the link to the full story on each player to read much more about them.
Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
No. 6 overall pick
6-4, 215 pounds
The @Mariners are getting something special!
— Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) June 11, 2020
The Mariners already have a bunch of talented young arms in their farm system, including their past two first-round picks, Logan Gilbert (2018) and George Kirby (2019). So you’d think it would take a pretty impressive pitcher for the M’s to go that route in a third straight first round – especially since a lot of mock drafts had them taking New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzales, and he was still on the board at No. 6, too.
Well, it turns out that if Emerson Hancock was still available when the Mariners were up, there was no way they weren’t going to take him.
Hancock was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick prior to 2020, but a lat injury and less than stellar numbers in the shortened 2020 season hurt his draft stock. But the Mariners believe they got the best pitcher in the draft, so they may have come up with a steal.
For some important stats, he posted a 1.99 ERA with 97 strikeouts while walking just 18 in 90 1/3 innings as a sophomore in 2019. That earned him Second-Team All American and First-Team All-SEC member. And while he had a 3.75 ERA in four starts this year, his 34 strikeouts to just three walks still jump off the page.
“Emerson is a prototype, top-of-the-rotation pitcher package, really,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant. “He is a smart kid who is driven. He is very focused on what his doing, really fits culturally with what we have been trying to do over these last five years.”
• Full story: M’s add to pitching depth with Georgia’s Emerson Hancock
• Drayer: M’s received a nice surprise with Hancock available at No. 6
• Dipoto: In Mariners’ eyes, they got the draft’s top pitcher in Emerson Hancock
• Mariners Draft Takeaways: How does Hancock fit?
Zach DeLoach, OF, Texas A&M
No. 43 overall
6-2, 210 pounds
While DeLoach had a nice college career with the Aggies, what we really need to talk about is what he did in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2019.
DeLoach was the prestigious wood bat league’s batting champ, helping the Falmouth Commodores win the regular season title by hitting .353 with five home runs, eight doubles, a .428 on-base percentage and a .969 OPS in 37 games.
Zach DeLoach made a whole lot of noise in the Cape Cod League. 💥 pic.twitter.com/XzOkKYHJXm
— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) June 11, 2020
The lefty-swinging outfielder kept things going in his shortened junior season with Texas A&M, hitting .421 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 18 games.
• Full story: Mariners take OF Zach DeLoach in second round
Connor Phillips, RHP, McLennan CC (Texas)
No. 64 overall (competitive balance round B)
6-2, 190 pounds
The Mariners under Jerry Dipoto have shown a penchant for drafting college arms in the early rounds of the draft, but there’s something different about Phillips – he’s just 19.
There’s another thing that separates him from the pack that includes Hancock, Kirby, Gilbert, Brandon Williamson and Isaiah Campbell, and that’s the fact he could be headed for a bullpen role, as reported by Shannon Drayer, Mariners insider for 710 ESPN Seattle.
The thought by some is Phillips might be better suited for a relief role -needs a 3rd pitch- but he is only 19. M's can give him time to develop further before making that decision.
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) June 11, 2020
The fact that Phillips was playing junior college ball was intentional on his part, because while he did commit to play at LSU, a perennial NCAA championship contender, he decided to go to McLennan in order to be draft eligible in 2020, two years earlier than if he had join the Tigers.
Adding another dominant arm to the farm. 💪
Get a breakdown on RHP Connor Phillips. pic.twitter.com/HYPtWOXWan
— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) June 11, 2020
Kaden Polcovich, 2B, Oklahoma State
No. 78 overall
5-8, 180 pounds
Polcovich had limited time to show what he can do with the Cowboys, as 2020 was his first season at Oklahoma State after transferring from a junior college in Florida. He shined in 18 games this year, however, hitting .344 with two home runs and 21 RBIs.
Polcovich has experience playing second, third and shortstop, and further adding to his versatility is the fact that he’s a switch hitter.
With a 3-2 count and two outs in the ninth, Kaden Polcovich blasted a bases-clearing double to tie the game. pic.twitter.com/gtTUyGFLJr
— Chatham Anglers (@ChathamAnglers) August 1, 2019
He would join fellow former Oklahoma State second baseman Donovan Walton, who made his MLB debut last year with the M’s, in Seattle’s farm system.
His dad, Kevin Polcovich, played two seasons as an infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1990s.
Tyler Keenan, 3B, Ole Miss
No. 107 overall
The pick of Keenan immediately turned heads because of his size and hitting prowess. His powerful lefty swing is certainly fun to watch, and at least in this video it appears he has no problem going the other way.
He was a Collegiate Baseball First-Team All-American for the shortened 2020 season, hitting .403 with seven homers, five doubles and a whopping 33 RBIs in just 17 games. More stats of the staggering variety are his .791 slugging percentage and 1.279 OPS from this year. Small sample size, sure, but those are still some big ole numbers from a big Ole Miss product.
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 6, 2020
• Full story: Mariners add big Ole Miss 3B Tyler Keenan
Taylor Dollard, RHP, Cal Poly
6-2, 175 pounds
The Mariners went back to the college pitching well for their final pick of the draft with Taylor Dollard, a righty from Cal Poly. He was initially a reliever by trade, however, so it does deviate from the former college arms that populate their list of top prospects, though he did switch to starting this year.
Dollard’s performance in the Cape Cod League last summer stands out, as he allowed just three runs in 11 appearances, and all of those runs came in the same game. He finished his season with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox with a 1.55 ERA and 27 strikeouts, allowing nine hits and just one walk over 17 1/3 innings.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 14, 2020
• Full story: Mariners wrap up draft with Cal Poly RHP Taylor Dollard