The Seattle Mariners are in an excellent position in the 2011 MLB Draft after a tough campaign in 2010 left them with the second-worst record in baseball. But on the positive side, the Mariners have a chance to draft a difference-maker, and many are available at the top of the draft. Gerrit Cole is expected to be the first pick in the draft, and reports are already emerging indicating the Pittsburgh Pirates will draft him No. 1 overall. But who might the Mariners take? Keith Law or ESPN has a few ideas.
In his latest 2011 MLB mock draft (insider), Law took a stab at the first round, and it's a bit of a mess after Cole at No. 1. For now, Law has Anthony Rendon, a third baseman from Rice who's struggled with injuries in the last year, as the Mariners pick at No. 2. But Seattle has plenty of options in play, including Francisco Lindor and Bubba Starling.
I know Francisco Lindor worked out for Seattle, but I'm not alone in thinking that would be a crazy move with Rendon (or Cole) sitting right there in front of the Mariners. Bubba Starling is also a possibility here as he's apparently a favorite of GM Jack Zduriencik.
Before the injuries, Rendon was the consensus, no-brainer No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. But with injuries bringing about concerns regarding his long-term health, he's slipped, and may slip beyond the Mariners if those worries can't be eliminated. Seattle has his medical records, and are doing due-diligence in evaluating him, but he may be too good to pass up.
If Law is to be believed, the Mariners will snatch up Rendon at No. 2 and be done for the day, with only one pick to take care of before the draft kicks into high-gear on Tuesday.
We'll be tracking the projections and handing out information about the day's events in our 2011 MLB Draft StoryStream. For a local look at what the Mariners are planning, head over to SB Nation's Lookout Landing.