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Mariners dip into college ranks

Mariners dip into college ranks

SEATTLE -- The second day of the First-Year Player Draft for the Mariners started on Wednesday with a trip to one of the best-known amateur baseball programs in the country.

The Youth Service League in Brooklyn, N.Y., has produced the likes of Manny Ramirez, Shawon Dunston and Alex Arias, so perhaps Long Island University outfielder James Jones could be the next.

"When I went to bed last night," Mariners amateur scouting director Tom McNamara said, "he was the guy I wanted to pick today. There was only one team [Nationals] picking ahead of us, but I had two names in mind just in case. But I was hoping [Jones] would be available."

He was and the Mariners selected the left-handed speedster in the fourth round.

By the end of the second day of the Draft, the Mariners had selected 32 players: 14 pitchers, nine infielders, five outfielders and four catchers during the first 30 rounds. The final 20 rounds will be on Thursday.

McNamara was thrilled that Jones was still around for the second day, which the club executive described as "the guts of your Draft.

"We like him as a position player," McNamara said of Jones. "His position is left field, but he can play right field and is a real good defensive first baseman. He also pitches."

Jones, whose fastball has been clocked at 94 mph, started 12 games for Long Island University this past season and struck out 64 batters in 69 1/3 innings. But he also batted .364 with 32 RBIs and hit a team-high nine home runs.

"There are not too many things he can't do," McNamara said. "He's a New York City kid that has a pretty good feel for the game. We talked to the coaches at LIU and they felt he was a better position player [than pitcher]. So we're going to try to sign him and let him go."

The first 30 rounds were dominated by college players.

Of the 32 players selected, 27 of them played college ball this past season. McNamara said that was not by design.

"A lot of the high school guys flew off the board," McNamara said. "Two of our first three picks -- Nick Franklin and Stever Baron -- were high school guys. Yes, we did take a lot of college guys [on Wednesday] and a lot of left-handed hitters."

Was that by design?

"Not really," McNamara said.

Among the players selected on Tuesday was sixth-round choice Shaver Hansen, a third baseman from Baylor University. His father, Stan Hansen, was better known as "The Lariat" during his professional wrestling career.

During the mid-to-late 1970s, Hansen wrestled in Georgia Championship Wrestling, where he teamed with Tommy Rich and Ole Anderson. He also competed in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he feuded with promotional ace Antonio Inoki and teamed with Hulk Hogan and Dick Murdoch.

Hansen temporarily returned there in 1990 for the first time in nine years, and formed a tag team called "The Lariat Combo," due to both using a lariat clothesline as their finisher. Hansen's lariat became a much respected finisher in Japan, and commentators would often yell "LARIATO!" hysterically when Hansen performed his finisher.

"I asked him about his father and if he really was a pro wrestler with Hulk Hogan," McNamara said, "and he said 'Yeah'. I don't even know what a lariat is."

Mariners -- Top five selections
Pick
POS
Name
School
2CFDustin AckleyUNC Chapel Hill
27SSNicholas FranklinLake Brantley HS
33CSteven BaronJohn A. Ferguson School
511BRichard PoythressU Georgia
822BKyle SeagerUNC Chapel Hill
Complete Mariners Draft results >

Other Day 2 tidbits:

• Left-handed pitcher Brian Moran, the seventh-round pick, is the nephew of former Brewers star B.J. Surhoff.

• Trevor Coleman, a catcher for the University of Missouri and the ninth-round selection, is the son of a former pro tennis player.

• Regan Flaherty, the Mariners' 28th round selection, is the younger brother of Ryan Flaherty, who starred at Vanderbilt and was drafted in the second round by the Cubs (41st overall) last year. Their dad is the baseball coach at Southern Maine.

Now comes the third and final day of the annual extravaganza.

"Let's be creative and take a couple of players here that could be big league players some day," McNamara said, looking ahead to Thursday. "We still have 20 rounds to go, but the easy part of the job is over."

The tough part is getting players signed. With so many college players being selected, the organization faces an Aug. 17 signing deadline. College players that have completed their eligibility and high school players are not under the same deadline.

Here's a look at the Mariners' other Day 2 selections:

Round 4, James Jones, OF, Long Island University: The left-hander hit for the cycle in a game against Sacred Heart on April 17, ending it with a game-winning home run. Combines speed (20 stolen bases) with power (team-high nine home runs). Also saw action on the mound and has reached 94 mph on the radar gun.

Round 5: Tyler Blandford, RHP, Oklahoma State: Compiled a 7-4 record and 5.31 ERA during senior season, but struck out 97 batters in just 78 innings, a testimony to his overall stuff. Started 13 games for the Cowboys and held opposing hitters to a .210 batting average.

Round 6: Shaver Hansen, 3B, Baylor University: Led the Bears with 17 home runs this season and compiled a .633 slugging percentage. He also struck out a few times -- 57 in 218 at-bats while walking 19 times. His dad, Stan, was a professional wrestler who went by name of "The Lariat."

Round 7: Brian Moran, LHP, University of North Carolina: Played on the same team as Mariners No. 1 Draft choice and second overall pick Dustin Ackley. Next stop for both is the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Round 8: James Gilheeney, LHP, North Carolina State: The Johnston, R.I., native posted a 12-8 career record with 11 saves and a 4.23 ERA in three years at NC State. He struck out 163 batters and walked 69 in 178 1/3 innings. He went 6-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 13 starts for the Wolfpack in 2009, striking out 75 and walked 34. 

Round 9: Trevor Coleman, C, University of Missouri: The 6-foot-1, 211-pound catcher started 49 games for the Tigers this season, batting .260 with six home runs and 32 at-bats. He finished second on the team with 35 walks and struck out just 28 times.

Round 10: Vincent Catricala, 3B, University of Hawaii

Round 11: Timothy Morris, 1B, St. John's University: A first team All-Big East selection, Morris started in all 52 games and batted .415 with 12 home runs, 17 doubles and 62 RBIs. The first baseman scored 69 runs, slugged .677 and added a .492 on-base percentage. The junior led the team in batting average, runs, hits, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Round 12: Andrew Carraway, RHP, University of Virginia: The right-hander went 8-1 during his junior season and had the second-best winning percentage on the team. His 4.13 ERA was compiled over 16 appearances, 14 of them as a starter. He walked 20 and struck out 71 in 85 innings.

Round 13: Matthew Cerione, OF, University of Georgia: The junior outfielder from Alphratta, Ga., batted .291 for the Bulldogs in 2009 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs in 48 games. His teammate, Rich Polythree, was selected in the second round by the Mariners.

Round 14: Adam Nelubowich, 3B, Vauxhall High School

Round 15: Blake Keitzman, LHP, Western Oregon State: As a junior, Keitzman was named to all three NCAA Division II All-American teams, including first team honors by the Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association. He finished his lone season with the Wolves with a 2.08 ERA and a perfect 9-0 record while striking out 92 batters in 86 1/3 innings. Keitzman also held opponents to just 61 hits and two home runs for a .197 batting average against while averaging 9.59 strikeouts per nine innings.

Round 16: Tilman Pugh, OF, Gateway Community College: A 2007 graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., Pugh earned two letters in both football and baseball. He played running back for traditional high school football power De La Salle, scoring 15 touchdowns and gaining 1,137 yards.

Round 17: Joseph Terry, 2B, Cerritos College: Terry, who led his team with a .426 batting average, also led the squad in hits (72), runs (50), doubles (14), triples (14), home runs (4), RBI (57), total bases (126) and slugging percentage (.746). He helped the team advance to the Southern California Regional Playoffs, was named first Team All-Southern California All-American as a designated hitter.

Round 18: Anthony Vasquez, LHP, University of Southern California: The lefty from San Antonio transferred from baseball power Texas A&M to join the Trojans. He posted a 4-6 record and 4.33 ERA this season. He appeared in 16 game, including nine starts, and pitched one shutout.

Round 19: Eric Thomas, RHP, Bethune-Cookman: The senior pitcher/outfielder has professional athletes in the family. His brother, Lamar, played professional football for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins and his first cousin is Jason Williams of the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

Round 20: John Hesketh, LHP, University of New Mexico: The senior left-hander from Langley, British Columbia, posted a 6-4 record for the Lobos this past season. He had a 3.45 ERA in 15 starts, surrendering 88 hits in 88 2/3 innings.

Round 21: Daniel Cooper, RHP, University of Southern California: The senior reliever from Costa Mesa, Calif., posted a solid 2.08 ERA in 22 relief appearances for the Trojans in 2009. Power is not his game as he struck out 18 batters (and walked 16) in 34 2/3 innings.

Round 22: Andrew Hays, RHP, Vanderbilt: Known as "Drew" on campus, the right-hander posted a 4-3 record and 5.56 ERA in 18 games with the Commodores in 2009, striking out 51 batters and walking 30. He held opposing hitters to a .253 average.

Round 23: David Rollins, LHP, San Jacinto, Junior College: Rollins finished the 2009 season with an 8-3 record and a 4.61 ERA in 11 starts and tossed one shutout. He also had 69 strikeouts and 39 walks.

Round 24: Carlton Tanabe, C, Pearl City High School

Round 25: Brandon Josselyn, RHP, Yale: The 6-foot-3 right-hander landed Ivy League Pitcher of the Year honors after posting a 3-1 record and 3.41 ERA in league games in 2009. Overall, Josselyn was 5-3 with a 4.29 earned run average as the ace of the Bulldogs' staff.

Round 26: Chris Sorce, RHP, Troy University: The right-hander was named to the second team All-Sun Belt team as a reliever this season. He was 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA in 24 relief appearances, striking out 53 batters in 38 2/3 innings.

Round 27: Austin Hudson, RHP, University of Central Florida: The junior right-hander made six starts and 10 relief appearances for the Golden Knights his season and finished with one save. He struck out 30 in 41 innings. Four of the strikeouts came in a four-inning stint against then-No. 1 ranked Louisiana State.

Round 28: Regan Flaherty, 1B, Deering High School: Older brother Ryan Flaherty was a star shortstop for Vanderbilt from 2006-08, and was drafted in the second round (41st overall) by the Cubs in the 2008 Draft.

Round 29: Brandon Haveman, OF, Purdue: The senior center fielder was a unanimous choice as first team All-Big Ten after setting school record with a .422 batting average overall and .464 in league games. Haveman finished his college career with a .399 batting average overall and hit .453 in Big 10 games

Round 30: Brandon Bantz, C, Dallas Baptist University: Bantz finished his senior year with 10 home runs, 38 RBIs, a .557 slugging percentage and a .399 on-base percentage. He was a four-year starting catcher for the Patriots, while building on his offensive performance each year.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }