Unlike the NFL and NBA, the MLB Draft lacks immediate results, and some of its appeal comes from the unknown. Players who have just graduated high school are eligible, the draw spans 50 rounds and all we know is that we don't know. The players picked won't be immediately seen in the major leagues, and many will take years to advance through the minors to play on the sport's biggest stage. And when projecting the MLB Draft, the best we can do is throw darts at a board and hope.
Baseball Nation's Jeff Sullivan, who also spends his time writing SB Nation's Seattle Mariners blog, Lookout Landing, put together a primer for the 2011 MLB Draft. It's not your average primer; Sullivan embraces the unknown and breaks down some of the buzzwords and evaluations you'll likely hear over the next three days and beyond. Players have upside, polish and tools, which is all a fancy way of saying "eh, we're not sure."
The majority of these people have never actually seen the players play. Thorough scouting reports are generated by a select few, and these reports spread like a brushfire. Which isn't to say that the reports are wrong. Many reports are accurate. But scouting is a subjective art, and scouting opinions should never be taken as gospel
As he says, the draft is a trap and we all fall into the pitfalls. Leading up to the draft, fans fall in love with prospects, and zero-in on who they think their team should pick. It's natural, and happens in every professional league, but with 50 rounds of picks to work through, we have plenty of inventory to parse.
Mariners fans have fallen in love with Anthony Rendon, Trevor Bauer, Dylan Bundy and others. With the second pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, the options are aplenty, and everyone has an opinion. But in the end, what we think doesn't matter, and the amount of information publicly available pales in comparison to the information the Seattle front office has at its disposal.
When it comes time to evaluate the Mariners' draft, keep Sullivan's words in mind. Nothing is guaranteed and no pick is safe. We won't know whether any of these picks will work out for years, and in many cases these players will never see a major league field. But that's part of the fun.
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.