Mariners turn focus from power at plate to pitching

Staff writerJune 7, 2014 

SEATTLE — The first day of the 2014 Major League Baseball first-year player draft was all about adding power, as the Seattle Mariners used their top two picks to add a pair of outfielders they hope will provide impact bats in the near future.

The second day was mostly about pitching.

Six of the Mariners’ eight selections Friday, in rounds 3-10, were pitchers — three left-handed, three right-handed — and all but one of them are products of four-year colleges.

Ryan Yarbrough, a 6-foot-5 left-hander out of Old Dominion, was Seattle’s fourth-round pick. He started 14 games and made 18 total appearances in 2014, finishing with a 6-7 record to go along with a 4.50 earned-run average.

Yarbrough was a 20th-round selection of the Milwaukee Brewers after his junior season in 2013, but he chose to return to ODU for his senior year.

Ninth-round pick Peter Miller, a right-hander out of Florida State, had been drafted twice before — first as a high school prospect in 2010, when the New York Mets took him in the 38th round, then in 2013 after his junior season, when the Los Angeles Dodgers picked him in the 16th round.

A pair of M’s picks played their college ball in obscure locations. There’s fifth-round pick Dan Altavilla, a right-hander who pitched at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, and has become the highest-picked MLB prospect in school history.

He was a starter at Mercyhurst, but MLB.com tabbed him as a likely reliever in the pros.

Lane Ratliff, a left-hander from Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi, was taken in the sixth round. Ratliff, who played one season at JCJC, is the youngest player the Mariners selected Friday, after the club took two high school prospects Thursday.

Ratliff compiled an 8-3 record in 2014 in 13 starts and posted a 3.08 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 642/3 innings.

Seattle did use its first pick of the day — 80th overall in the third round — on another outfielder, Austin Cousino from the University of Kentucky. Unlike Thursday’s selections of Alex Jackson and Gareth Morgan, Cousino is known more for his glove and was a standout center fielder in college.

He also batted .308 during his junior season at Kentucky with four home runs, 15 doubles and 38 RBIs in 61 games.

The Mariners drafted six consecutive pitchers before using their 10th-round pick (291st overall) on catcher Adam Martin from Western Carolina. As a senior in 2014, Martin posted the best power numbers of his career for the Catamounts, hitting 14 homers and 10 doubles while driving in 65 runs in 54 games. His RBI total led the Southern Conference.

Like first-round pick Jackson, Martin is a catcher who also appears to have the ability to play the outfield — he started 33 games at catcher in 2014 but also made 15 starts in right field and another three in left field.

The draft concludes Saturday with rounds 11-40. It begins at 10 a.m.

M’S PICKS FRIDAY

ROUND 3 (Pick 80): Austin Cousino, center field, University of Kentucky, bats left, throws left, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds

ROUND 4 (Pick 111): Ryan Yarbrough, left-handed pitcher, Old Dominion, R/L, 6-5, 205

ROUND 5 (Pick 141): Dan Altavilla, right-handed pitcher, Mercyhurst College (Erie, Pennsylvania), R/R, 5-11, 200

ROUND 6 (Pick 171): Lane Ratliff, left-handed pitcher, Jones County Junior College (Ellisville, Mississippi), L/L, 6-3, 185

ROUND 7 (Pick 201): Taylor Byrd, left-handed pitcher, Nicholls State, L/L, 6-2, 195

ROUND 8 (Pick 231): Kody Kerski, right-handed pitcher, Sacred Heart, R/R, 5-10, 185

ROUND 9 (Pick 261): Peter Miller, right-handed pitcher, Florida State, R/R, 6-1, 193

ROUND 10 (Pick 291): Adam Martin, catcher, Western Carolina, R/R, 6-2, 230

christian.caple@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners christian.caple@ thenewstribune.com

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