The Mariners made three selections on the first day of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, and all three were college pitchers.
And if history is a guide, all three have a chance to be assigned to short-season Everett this summer once their collegiate campaigns end.
Seattle chose right-hander George Kirby out of Elon (N.C.) University with the 20th overall selection in the first round, TCU left-hander Brandon Williamson with the 59th overall pick in the second round and finished the night by choosing Arkansas right-hander Isaiah Campbell with the 76th overall selection, in the second competitive balance round.
Kirby went 8-2 with a 2.75 earned run average in his junior season at Elon, which plays in the Colonial Athletic Conference. He was the league’s Pitcher of the Year after leading all NCAA Division I pitchers with a 17.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound Kirby fanned 107 batters while walking just six in 881⁄3 innings pitched.
Baseball America rated him as having the best control among all draft-eligible pitchers.
“George is an extreme strike thrower with big velocity,” said Scott Hunter, Seattle’s director of amateur scouting said in a team release. “He is a very accomplished college pitcher. He is a strikeout pitcher who controls the zone.”
Williamson went 4-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 16 starts for the Horned Frogs.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound southpaw struck out 89 batters and walked 16 this season in 771⁄3 innings of work.
Campbell is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander who out-dueled seventh-overall pick Nick Lodolo from TCU over the weekend in an NCAA regional game, throwing eight innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts and no walks.
He is 11-1 with a 2.27 ERA in 103 innings for the Razorbacks, and has struck out 108 batters against 19 walks.
Kirby and Williamson are finished with their college seasons, so if they sign professional contracts, they could be headed to Everett early in the summer.