Top Draft picks awed by visit to Safeco Field
Neidert, Moore, Bishop introduced before starting pro careers with Mariners
SEATTLE -- Growing up, Nick Neidert said he didn't go west of Alabama for baseball.
The last week for the right-handed pitcher from Peachtree Ridge High School in Lawrenceville, Ga., however, has been a West Coast whirlwind.
The Mariners' top Draft pick signed his contract Monday, visited the Mariners' Spring Training complex in Peoria, Ariz., and was back in Seattle on Wednesday to be introduced alongside Competitive Balance B selection Andrew Moore and third-round pick Braden Bishop.
"It's incredible, just the journey I've been on," said Neidert of his visit to Safeco Field. "It's incredible in here. I could tell by just walking into the stadium that the atmosphere is just going to be ridiculous."
Neidert said he will use his time in Peoria, which starts its Arizona League season Saturday, to develop command and consistency with his offspeed pitches as well as add a few pounds to his 180-pound frame.
"I don't really want to push it, but just get it to where I little by little put it on so I can stay loose and don't get too tired," Neidert said.
Bishop, an outfielder from the University of Washington, agreed to a $607,700 signing bonus Tuesday. He is headed to Class A Short-Season Everett, where Moore, a former Pac-12 rival at Oregon State, will join him as a teammate.
Bishop and Moore both recalled a 15-pitch battle between the now-teammates last year in Corvallis in which Bishop eventually drew a walk.
"He's just someone who plays the game right and has a great approach and if you make a mistake, he'll make you pay for it," Moore said of Bishop. "I'm looking forward to watching him this summer and watching his development."
Moore and Neidert said they were excited to be able to watch in person as two of the game's best pitchers -- Felix Hernandez and Madison Bumgarner -- competed against each other Wednesday night.
"Two of the best competitors and athletes in the game right now, so it's going to be cool to see them go head-to-head," Moore said. "Both of them are very talented, so it'll be a great matchup."
Neidert said he met with a few current Mariners, including Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, on Wednesday. But he said he has been in awe of Hernandez and Safeco Field since his first workout with the Mariners earlier this year.
"One of the first questions I asked was, 'That's where The King stands, right?'" Neidert said. "That was pretty cool to throw off the same mound [Hernandez] does."
Fourth-round selection Dylan Thompson, a right-handed pitcher out of Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and left-handed pitcher Dylan Silva, an 11th-round Draft pick out of Florida State, signed with the Mariners on Wednesday. The Mariners have now signed 29 of their 40 2015 Draft picks.