Seattle adds pitching, thump in middle rounds
Right-hander Wilcox on board in sixth round; slugger Uhl taken in seventh
SEATTLE -- The Mariners continued their pursuit of pitching as the 2015 Draft shifted to rounds 6-10 on Tuesday afternoon, selecting hard-throwing Kyle Wilcox out of Bryant University in the sixth round, Indiana prep standout Cody Mobley in the eighth round and Arizona State reliever Darin Gillies in the 10th.
Of the Mariners' first 10 selections, six were right-handed pitchers and three are from the prep ranks in second-rounder Nick Neidert, fourth-rounder Dylan Thompson and Mobley.
"The high school guys, I really think all three can be starting pitchers," said scouting director Tom McNamara. "They're all good athletes, good deliveries, good heads on their shoulders. I'm excited to see them develop. We hope those three all sign and go through the system together. That would be kind of neat."
Wilcox is another right-hander who could help. The athletic, 6-foot-3 hurler went 7-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) and was named the Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Year for Bryant University in Rhode Island.
With a fastball clocked in the mid-90s, Wilcox had some command issues, with 38 walks and 50 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings, but gave up just 61 hits and continued improving on his strikeouts-to-walk ratio after walking 50 batters with 60 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings his first two seasons.
Wilcox was a four-year varsity letter winner in baseball and basketball at Newtown High School in Sandy Hook, Conn., where he graduated in 2012, the same year of the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"Baseball definitely helped," Wilcox told ESPNBoston.com of dealing with that tragedy. "It's something I can use to keep my mind off things. The whole town of Newtown all dealt with this. Everyone was supporting each other at the same time."
The Draft concludes Wednesday with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on MLB.com beginning at 9 a.m. PT.
Round 7: 1B Ryan Uhl, Indiana University (Pa.)
The Mariners landed a thumper with the 215th overall pick, as the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder was a monster in his senior season, leading NCAA Division II hitters with 29 home runs while batting .415 with 74 RBIs and a 1.085 slugging percentage.
Uhl totaled 13 homers and 74 RBIs his first three seasons, but broke out in a big way this year with the second-most home runs by any player in D-II history. The 22-year-old struck out only 21 times while walking 33 times in 142 at-bats in 44 games.
In four seasons at IUP, he combined to bat .337 with a .646 slugging percentage. Uhl attended the same high school (St. Mary's, Pa.) as Mariners left-handed reliever Joe Beimel.
Round 8: RHP Cody Mobley, Mount Vernon (Ind.) High School
The Mariners went back to the pitching route to select Mobley, a 6-foot-3 190-pounder, with the 245th pick. The 18-year-old went 6-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 54 innings over 12 games this spring as a senior.
Mobley was a Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American this year and two-time All-Southwest Indiana All-Star, having gone 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings as a junior. He has committed to the University of Evansville.
Round 9: 3B Conner Hale, Louisiana State
Hale is a 22-year-old senior at LSU, where he's hit .343/.389/.458 with 17 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 56 RBIs in 61 games this season for the top-ranked team in the nation, heading now into the College World Series. Hale played first and second base as a junior after transferring from State College of Florida.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder isn't one of LSU's most heralded players, but he was an All-SEC selection this year and has hit well everywhere he's played -- including a .505 average at Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Fla. -- and was a Cape Cod League All-Star when he hit .327 prior to his senior season at LSU.
Round 10: RHP Darin Gillies, Arizona State
Gillies became the sixth right-handed pitcher selected by Seattle in its first 10 picks. The ASU senior pitched primarily as a reliever in his four college seasons, ranking sixth in school history with 84 appearances. He was 9-16 with a 4.62 ERA in his career, with 165 strikeouts in 195 innings.
The 6-foot-4, 214-pounder struck out a career high 58 in 49 1/3 innings this past season in 28 appearances (three starts), as he posted a 3-6 record and a 3.83 ERA. A three-time All-Pac-12 Academic honorable mention selection, he graduated in May with a degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology.