Jan 11, 2013; Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA; Old Dominion forward Yannick Smith right) battles with Maryland defender Taylor Kemp (left) during their game at Central Broward Regional Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports.

There Is Choosing The Best Player Available And Then There Is Choosing The Best Player Available


I’ve been writing since early 2009 and while writing about the Mariners, I specifically took interest in the June rule IV amature draft, aka the major league baseball draft. I followed it rather in depth. I saw an irrational number of college games in the ACC, PAC12, and SEC.  I followed high school kids via local newspapers and I took special time and care to meet people that were looking at these kids.What I found out is that everyone values talent differently and can even have conflicting thoughts about a single player.

Once I heard a Colorado Rockies scout that just wasn’t comfortable with one high school pitcher because of his throwing motion and arm angle, but then I heard an Angels scout that loved the same kid because he simply got results on the mound. I listened to these two guys talk about differentiating opinions and it came down to how each organization thought. What they catered too and how people above them were looking to grow the farm system.

Best Player Available is a rather ambiguous term and people throw it out as if it actually means something.

In 2010 the best player available to the Mariners at the second pick was, in the view of most fans, Anthony Rendon. A great hitter and by all accounts a very good third basemen. But, to the front office it was a Danny Hultzen. The majority of credible draft boards all placed Hultzen behind Rendon and considering the Mariners desire to find elite hitters it seemed like a good match. But in their mind they went best player available, that was Hultzen. Today Hultzen is considered by many to be among the top-10 in all of baseball for prospects while Rendon, though not exactly chop liver, still dwells approximately 20 spots below.


It’s fair to see that there are some legitimately good talents out there in the Superdraft. I can’t really speak to where the total depth and high end talent ranks in comparison to past years, but I understand that many consider it weak. In these cases the difference in grading players can often be very slight and purely about preference.

Last year we saw the Sounders draft someone they felt they needed and wasn’t going to be available at their next opportunity in Andrew Duran. They got the player they felt would make the best impact to their team. You could, potentially, make an argument that its a variation and interpretation of best player available. I don’t know if I would necessarily agree or go that far, but I would say they did what they felt was best of the organization and regardless of what you think of the end outcome, you can’t hate on that.

The talent pool is going to be quiet close together come Thursday and while it’s easy to think they should go with player A or player B, the realization is that there isn’t too much that separates the two. Most likely it’ll come down to who is a better fit for the tactics and formation that is being implemented among the Emerald City coaching staff.

There is also the things that we can’t see. How hard does he work off the field, does he lead, does he do the little thing. It’s the typical list of immeasurable. But they are all important and in a true team sports they ooze what seems like so much more importance than Baseball, or even Curling for that matter! We can’t know how any of these young men really interact with the coaches or their teammates in these short spans and really, who knows how much credence to give these ever quick open-and-shut windows of time before the draft on Thursday.

The real thing that should be stressed is patience. The Sounders have proven that they have a strong understanding of what they are doing with their roster and will continue to do things that are in the best interest of the club and for the purpose of winning trophies.

Tags: Andrew Duran

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