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Saturday, July 10, 2021

What If the Mariners Had Taken Francisco Lindor in the 2011 Draft?

So in the interest of exploring all their options, they brought a 17-year-old shortstop from Florida’s Montverde Academy up to Safeco Field for a workout. This kid wasn’t considered a serious top-five pick, but various Mariners scouts had fallen in love with his glove, athleticism, and personality, and wanted to give him one last look in front of the club’s top brass.

He passed the test with flying colors, erasing any lingering doubts on the field and charming everyone he met off it. And the Mariners quickly became tempted to throw caution to the wind and draft him far higher than consensus would’ve deemed reasonable.

“He had so much fun,” says Tony Blengino, who was then a special assistant to Zduriencik. “There was not a nervous or tentative bone in his body. He was just all juice, all fun. … We took him out to lunch and ‘face of the franchise’ is all you could think of. This was the kind of kid who’d be in the big leagues when he’s 20, and if he hits for power—which was my only concern going in—then you’ve got a superstar on your hands.”

The shortstop had flown to Seattle on his own, so after the audition, two senior Mariners executives—McNamara and national cross-checker Mark Lummus—dropped by his hotel to check on him. “I thanked him for flying out by himself and wished him the best in the upcoming draft,” McNamara told me over email. “He gave me a hug and said, ‘I hope you guys take me.’”

They didn’t. With the no. 2 pick in the 2011 draft, Seattle chose Danny Hultzen, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Virginia. And six picks later, Cleveland took the kid: Francisco Lindor.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2021 at 10:44 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: francisco lindor, mariners

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: July 10, 2021 at 12:36 PM (#6028479)
I assume they would have traded him to Cleveland for Nick Swisher a few years later.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: July 10, 2021 at 12:39 PM (#6028480)
either way, the Mets would be stuck with his $341 million contract in 2021.

:)
:(
   3. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: July 11, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6028571)
The real story in that draft was Rendon making it all the way to the Nats. No way they win their world series if they'd had Hultzen or somebody
   4. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: July 11, 2021 at 05:33 PM (#6028626)
This article should be an argument in favor of letting teams trade draft picks.
   5. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 11, 2021 at 08:06 PM (#6028661)
Fun fact: Hultzen has pitched exactly 36.1 innings since 2013. (He turns 32 in November.)
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 11, 2021 at 10:15 PM (#6028678)
This article should be an argument in favor of letting teams trade draft picks.

Why?
   7. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: July 12, 2021 at 07:03 PM (#6028825)
The premise of the article is that the Mariners passed on the player they wanted because they couldn’t justify taking him with that pick. In the NFL or NBA the Mariners could have traded down and gotten the player they wanted while receiving additional compensation from a team that wanted to move up in the draft.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 13, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6028917)
The premise of the article is that the Mariners passed on the player they wanted because they couldn’t justify taking him with that pick. In the NFL or NBA the Mariners could have traded down and gotten the player they wanted while receiving additional compensation from a team that wanted to move up in the draft.

They could have just taken him. No need to trade.
   9. kubiwan Posted: July 13, 2021 at 11:15 AM (#6028926)
They could have just taken him. No need to trade.


This. This, this, this, this. 1000 times this. The goal of a drafting team must be "get good players," not "make picks that roughly match the industry consensus so you don't get criticized immediately." All the maneuvering and trading up/down doesn't matter one bit if you don't actually draft good players.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 13, 2021 at 11:49 AM (#6028929)
This. This, this, this, this. 1000 times this. The goal of a drafting team must be "get good players," not "make picks that roughly match the industry consensus so you don't get criticized immediately." All the maneuvering and trading up/down doesn't matter one bit if you don't actually draft good players.

Concur. If you think the guy is the best player available, how can you not "justify taking him with that pick"?

Football and basketball are a little different in that you have lineup considerations, since top draftees start right away. In MLB it's easy; always take the player you think is going to have the best career.

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