Mariners draft Stetson righty Gilbert at No. 14

'This kid fit every checkpoint of a pitcher we'd want to select,' Hunter says

June 4th, 2018

SEATTLE -- Logan Gilbert became the highest pick ever out of Stetson University when the Mariners grabbed him with the 14th selection in the first round of Monday's MLB Draft, but that doesn't mean his school hasn't produced some standouts in the past.
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If Gilbert comes anywhere near a couple other Stetson right-handers -- of the Indians and of the Mets -- the Mariners will be plenty happy.
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The Mariners landed center fielder Josh Stowers, a speedster out of University of Louisville, with their second-round selection. The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 10 a.m. PT.
"This is awesome," Gilbert said after his name was called by the Mariners. "This is everything I ever dreamed of, all the way since I started playing baseball. It finally happened. But this isn't the end. This is just the beginning. I'm ready to get to work now."
The 21-year-old junior still has a little work still to do at Stetson, however, for a team headed to the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend to play North Carolina. Gilbert has gone 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 15 starts this year, with 157 strikeouts and 23 walks in 107 innings and was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Scott Hunter, the Mariners director of amateur scouting, said there's a lot to like about the 6-foot-6 right-hander, who is less than two semesters shy of graduating with a degree in business systems and analytics from the private school of about 3,000 students in DeLand, Fla.
"In the Cape Cod League he was throwing 94-97 mph with an easy fastball," Hunter said. "He's tall, athletic, with a loose, easy arm. He's got four pitches and throws a ton of strikes. And if you look at his stat line over the last three years, he misses bats. That's something we value here. This kid fit every checkpoint of a pitcher we'd want to select and we were pleasantly surprised he was still sitting there."
Hunter said Gilbert was ranked in the top 3-4 players in the Draft last summer by many scouts in the Mariners organization after his Cape Cod showing. But eyebrows raised -- and some other Major League teams backed off a bit -- when his velocity began dipping midway through his collegiate season.
Gilbert said he just tired a bit from the long year on the mound, but bounced back after a week's rest and is topping out again now at 95 mph with his fastball. Hunter credited Rob Mummau, the Mariners' area scout in Southwest Florida, for staying on top of Gilbert's progress and recognizing that he was quickly back to form.
"He's been pitching lights-out the past month," Hunter said. "We actually started getting worried he might [get selected] before us, but there were a couple surprise picks with some high school hitters that we didn't expect to go that pushed Logan down to us. We're pretty excited to get this kind of arm where we did."

Once Stetson's season is done, Gilbert sounds ready to sign, and Hunter said he'd likely initially pitch in the Arizona Rookie League and perhaps with Class A Everett, though much depends on the amount of work accumulated since he's already thrown 107 innings this college season.
"That was something we discussed with his advisor," Hunter said of signing. "Once they're done playing, that was part of the agreement verbally. They are in a regional, but once he's done playing, I would like to think he'll be in a Mariner uniform and up here quite quickly."
Gilbert said he wasn't highly recruited out of high school, where he was a 4.0 student at Wekiva High in Apopka, Fla., so he jumped at the chance to go to Stetson, which has a tradition of producing top pitchers. Kluber was a fourth-round pick by the Padres in 2007 and deGrom was a ninth-rounder by the Mets in '10.

Over three seasons at Stetson, Gilbert posted a 23-2 record with a 2.38 ERA in 51 games, including 32 starts.
The Mariners hadn't drafted a pitcher in the first round since 2011, when they took Virginia's Danny Hultzen with the second overall pick.
Seattle went for an impact position player with its second-round pick as Stowers is a 6-foot, 205-pounder who stole 36 bases this season while posting a .336/.477/.559 line with nine home runs in 62 games as a junior at Louisville.

"Josh becomes another one of the athletes we're putting into the system," Hunter said. "He's a top-of-the-scale speed guy who has some power. A very athletic guy who controls the strike zone. He walks more than he strikes out, has power and is a gamer. We're very excited to add another athlete to the program."
Stowers got off to a slow start in his junior year, but Hunter said his stock rose quickly once his offensive game took off again after a strong Cape Cod showing as well.
The 21-year-old has already agreed to sign with Seattle and Hunter expects him to be at the team's post-Draft minicamp next week in Arizona and to start the season in Everett.
Hunter said both first-day picks have plenty of room for continued development.
"Having this type of athlete and this kind of upside in college players, who are both on the younger side of the college age, we're excited about it," he said. "Hopefully they can start pushing Evan White and Kyle Lewis [the first-round picks the previous two years] and get in that mix where we start building waves of talent that every year we have guys coming and can eventually help our Major League team."