Mariners' top pick signs, takes big league BP

July 27th, 2022

SEATTLE -- Cole Young is quickly finding himself acclimated to Perry Hill’s animation, and in a few years, the new Mariners shortstop could be regularly playing under the watchful eye of the infield coaching guru, as he was on Tuesday.

Seattle’s first-round Draft selection, in town to officially sign with the team, took part in a full pregame workout at T-Mobile Park ahead of the club’s game against Texas. The afternoon began with the prep shortstop in a navy suit and a No. 21 jersey for photo ops, the pomp-and-circumstance formalities of being the big-ticket pick. Yet underneath his navy dress shoes, he donned Nike socks that came in handy when he changed into workout attire and took infield drills with Hill and shortstops J.P. Crawford and Dylan Moore.

Hill watched intently, made instructional gestures on Young’s double-play feeds and even barked “Stop it!” on a few grounders. Hill’s trademark saying can confuse outsiders thinking they’re being admonished, but it actually is a positive reinforcement, meaning the play was so good that Hill can’t take it anymore.

“Oh yeah, I love that stuff,” Young said of Hill. “I can field ground balls all day long, especially with someone great like him, it’s amazing. He was just trying to get me better, which I enjoy doing. I’m starting to understand [‘stop it’] a little bit.”

Young, taken with the No. 21 overall pick, took extended BP in front of Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and assistant GM Justin Hollander. Cut after cut, the lefty-hitting 18-year-old dispensed homers into the right-field bleachers, displaying the sneaky pop that the Mariners raved about after drafting him.

“It was definitely a little bit different than going out to the local field and taking BP,” Young said. “But, no, it’s definitely a dream come true to come out here and hit with the big leaguers. I mean, to be part of such a great organization means a lot to me.”

Young will report to the Mariners’ Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz., where he’ll spend the rest of the season working with their high-performance staff to build out a professional routine, train and play in Arizona Complex League games later this summer now that his contract is finalized. He signed for $3.3 million, according to a source, just over the $3,292,000 slot value for the pick.

“I haven’t really processed anything, it’s kind of been one thing to the next,” Young said. “J.P., Ty France, [Adam] Frazier, all of those guys were super welcoming to me. I definitely really appreciated that.”

After batting .437 with 23 RBIs and six home runs in 27 games as a junior last year, Young hit .433 with 15 RBIs in his senior season for North Allegheny High School in the Pittsburgh area. His raw hit tool has stood out the most, and it’s what made him a first-round target.

The Mariners are bullish on the youngster’s chances to stick at shortstop.

“It was a really cool process, especially having the MLB Combine this year,” Young said. “I think just meeting everyone. I felt comfortable with certain organizations. It was just great to meet higher-up persons with each organization and to learn about every different team, it was good. I think [the Mariners] were at some of my high school games, and I’m glad that they went to some of the games just to understand me as a player.”