The Seattle Mariners have agreed to terms with their top two draft picks from the 2015 amateur draft, right-handers Nick Neidert and Andrew Moore. Jim Callis of MLB.com reports that Neidert, the No. 60 selection overall, will receive a bonus of $1.2 million — above the slot value of $1.026 million. Chris Cotillo of SBNation reports that Moore, the No. 72 overall pick, will receive a bonus of $800 thousand — under the slot value of $852.8 thousand.
Neidert is a right-handed pitcher out of Peachtree High School in Suwanee, Georgia. His fastball has been clocked at 96-to-97 miles per hour but comfortably sits in the 92-t0-94 range. Neidert’s changeup is average to above and works well with his fastball. The development of a third pitch — right now he utilizes a slider — will be the next step. He commands the ball well and FanGraph’s Kiley McDaniel noted in the fall that he had cleaned up his delivery some.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Neidert isn’t an intimidating force on the mound. He does have an athletic body though and should be able to fill his frame out a little more — he may still have another inch or two to grow yet as well.
According to Mariners director of amateur scouting, Tom McNamara, Neidert was a target for the club entering the draft. It’s possible that the right-hander would have gone higher in the draft — possibly late in the first or supplemental round — if not for a case of tendonitis in his elbow during the high school season. Seattle had no concerns about his elbow, however, and the club reports he is at full health.
Neidert was committed to the University of South Carolina but will forego post-secondary education for professional baseball. The last prep pitcher drafted by the Mariners within the top 60 picks was current member of the big league rotation Taijuan Walker back in 2010. Another notable selection of a high school pitcher would be Chris Tillman, now with the Baltimore Orioles, who was taken No. 49 overall back in 2006.
It hasn’t been announced which affiliate Neidert will begin his pro career with, but for a kid fresh out of high school, a start in the Arizona Rookie League would not come as a surprise. There is also a possibility he sees some time with the Low-A Everett Aqua Sox this year. Left-hander Luiz Gohara made 11 starts for the Aqua Sox in 2014 as an 18-year old, but had more than 30 innings at the rookie level under his belt previously.
Moore is a right-handed pitcher selected as a junior from Oregon State University and was born in Eugene, Oregon giving him some local appeal. He finished off an excellent junior year with a fastball in the 92-to-94 MPH range that can touch 95. The fastball cuts and sinks and he also throws a curveball and a changeup. The stuff itself isn’t particularly exciting, aside from the life on the fastball, but Moore makes his living by commanding the ball very well.
Several pundits consider the selection of Moore in the second round to be a reach. He projected to go between rounds four and ten with some thought that he’d return for his senior year at OSU. There isn’t any reason for concern, however, as the Mariners know Moore as good or better than anyone and McNamara sounded very pleased that they were able to make the selection.
The right-hander’s stature is similar to Neidert at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds and the intention is to have his playing weight closer to 195 pounds. Both have received comparisons to current San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Hudson who is of similar height and weight and has relied on command getting him through a 17-year career.
Moore is slated to begin his pro career with the Aqua Sox who open their season on June 18 at home. Also of note in Everett, right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to make a rehab start on Saturday as he nears a return to the Mariners rotation.
Without a first-round selection this year due to the signing of Nelson Cruz this offseason, the Mariners were shut out from an impressive crop of potential early draftees. Instead they have to find value with their other picks and between Neidert and Moore they’ve added a pair of intriguing right-handers to the farm system.