The Seattle Mariners seem to have zeroed-in on three position players ahead of the 2011 MLB Draft, though nothing is ever definite when it comes to drafting. Anthony Rendon is the clear consensus pick of many analysts, and it seems more than likely that the Mariners will go with his upside if concerns about injuries can be put to rest. Francisco Lindor also workout out well, and boosted his stock with Seattle in recent weeks. The third in the trio seems to be Bubba Starling, an incredibly gifted athlete who sits at a crossroads as he chooses football or baseball out of high school.
Starling has the chance to be a scholarship quarterback at Nebraska, but will, in all likelihood, be a top-10 pick in Monday's first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He's incredibly talented, and oozes athleticism on the baseball field and in the pocket on the football field. In centerfield, his defense is outstanding, and combined with his hitting prowess and speed, Starling has a chance to make an impact on the diamond for whomever drafts him.
But there is the signability question. Will Starling sign and give up football? Will he use the scholarship to Nebraska as a negotiating ploy, demanding millions through MLB super-agent Scott Boras? Would a team such as the Mariners blow a top-5 pick not knowing whether he'll ever don a major league uniform? As with most players in the MLB Draft, signability and slotting are always concerns.
Starling is a hell of an athlete and if he chooses baseball, he has a shot at being a standout. But there are many buts, and a significant amount of risk in drafting him. He's a tantalizing prospect, but the same physical tools that have scouts drooling are the tools luring him to the football field.
We'll find out what the Mariners do at 4 p.m. as the first round of the MLB Draft gets underway on MLB Network. 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.