My take on Morrow
Yes, like 99.9999% of my M's blog-o-sphere mateys, I was very disappointed that the Mariners didn't take the "BAP" (Best Available Player) -- considered to be Miller in the case of this particular draft. I, too, was baffled as to why they didn't take Lincecum, although I was more prepared to deal with that decision. I'd heard rumblings that the M's weren't interested, so I was already aware that it was possible they'd pass on him. But Miller -- who darn near everyone rated as the best player in the draft? Hmmmpfffh.
If you can recall, I was hoping that the M's wouldn't draft Jeff Clement last year. So what do they go out and do? Exactly what I was hoping they wouldn't. This year, I saw very few scenarios where both Lincecum AND Miller fell to the M's, and abosolutely zero circumstances where we'd pass on both of them. What do the M's do? Exactly what I was saying they wouldn't.
Gee, you think I've developed a sense of learned helplessness from this team yet?
Moving on, I guess, past my disappointment, I'd like to try and objectively look at what Morrow brings to the table.
Reasons to be excited about Morrow:
1) Pitching Motion.
I finally took a look at the scouting video on him today, and watched the stuff they put on the news. I'm not nearly the pitching analyst Jeff Sullivan or Dave Cameron are -- not even close -- but I will say that indeed Morrow looks like a pitcher who's a good one. In the clips I saw, I'd definitely agree that his pitching motion is a thing of beauty. He looks like a polished major-leaguer right now. I can't think of who he reminds me of right now, but I'm sure it'll come to me.
2) Pitching Style
He's not the soft-throwing crafty lefty that the M's have an abundance of in their minor league system. He's definitely a power pitcher. It's nice to have one of those, really. 'Specially since the M's treatment of B-Liv has me a bit worried.
3) Bob Fontaine REALLY Wanted Him
Look. The M's have been watching Morrow for years. They know what they're getting. They're very excited about it. He seems to be excited to come here. He's a good fit for the organization, and will probably sign quickly. No dinkin' around here. Bob Fontaine has a very decent track record, and I trust his judgment far, far greater than I trust my own.
Reasons to be concerned about Morrow:
1) All this talk about moving him to the bullpen...
When you draft this highly, and you need starting pitching depth, you don't draft a guy who's upside is being a relief ace. In this Morrow's case, folks are saying that that's probably his floor, and his ceiling is a MOR starter. It'd be okay by me if they ease him into the majors as they did with Pineiro -- as a regular reliever coming out of the 'pen after starting for a few seasons in the minors. But even were he to develop into a dominant closer, I still would've preferred a starting pitcher. We've got guys who are already being developed as closers. Pretty good ones, too. Need I repeat the "Free George Sherrill" mantra? Our system desperately needs ace-type rotation support. And a lot of it.
2) Doesn't have a complete aresenal of pitches or pin-point control.
Again, this is why some folks see him in the bullpen. Hard-throwing righty with 2 plus/plus-plus pitches. Soriano, anyone? Of course, I'm not sure I believe that is all that big of an issue. I'm just pointing out what others believe. Count me as one of the "Soriano for Rotation" bandwagoners. I'm fairly confident that Morrow will overcome this and develop into a nice starting pitcher.
3) Sat out the end of the 2005 season with a sore shoulder.
Great. That's all we need. Another pitcher with labrum issues. Morrow himself thought it was torn. This is actually the thing that frightens me the most. Certainly the time off should've helped. And his relatively low innings with Cal this season don't seem to be an issue. He didn't lose his velocity in 2006, and has pitched very well. But still, that frightens me faster than you can say "Gil Meche!"
I'm nowhere near qualified to really make any further judgments on any of the other players we selected. Looks like we snagged two of Jim Callis' April 20th list of Top-20 Players. That's probably a good thing, granted we sign 'em. It might take me a bit to get over passing on Miller. The thing that really yanks my chain, though, is that the M's used 2/3rds of their first-day picks on RHPs. Were there no power bats available? At all? We picked up Adam Moore, a catcher from Univ. Texas (Arlington) that seems to have some power. But so far, that seems to be it.
We definitely could use some serious offensive reinforcements. Here's to hoping we find one or two in the 32 rounds later today...