Seattle Mariners

Yelm’s McFadden says he’ll turn down Seattle

Puyallup High School catcher Brendan Illies, a North Carolina commit, gears up for practice at Heritage Park in Puyallup on Thursday, Mar. 19, 2015.
Puyallup High School catcher Brendan Illies, a North Carolina commit, gears up for practice at Heritage Park in Puyallup on Thursday, Mar. 19, 2015. The News Tribune

Parker McFadden said he’ll pass on signing with the Seattle Mariners.

The right-hander who played most his games the past four years about 60 miles southwest of Safeco Field at Yelm High School was drafted by the Mariners in the 20th round of the MLB draft on Wednesday.

But he told Greg Johns of that he plans to, instead, head to Washington State University and attempt to increase his draft stock.

“I think I’ll honor my commitment (to WSU),” McFadden said. “It was going to depend on where I was drafted. I think my signability was too high. I can get more mature and increase my stock a little bit, develop more quality pitches.”

Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara sidestepped answering questions about McFadden’s signability. McFadden’s fastball had been clocked at 97 mph and he was the No. 81 overall prospect by Baseball America. But he told that he was leaning toward college once he wasn’t drafted in the first three rounds (he was the 605th overall selection).

McFadden chose WSU over turning pro despite the firing of Donnie Marbut a little more than two weeks ago. The program hired Marty Lee to replace him.

“I can’t get to the signability part, but we know him pretty well,” McNamara said. “He’s got a good arm, and I kind of just sat back in my chair and said, ‘This kid is in our backyard. Let’s take him. Let’s see what happens.’”

McFadden was one of a trio of area high schoolers picked Wednesday that must now decide between becoming a professional or going to college.

▪  Auburn Mountainview right-hander Justin Marsden went two rounds later to the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s a Central Arizona College signee.

▪  Puyallup catcher Brendan Illies was selected by the New York Mets in the 33rd round (989th overall). He had signed a letter of intent with the University of North Carolina.

Auburn Mountainview coach Glen Walker said he had heard earlier in the season that Marsden could be drafted as high as the third round. But he said Saturday that one scout told him Marsden would go no earlier than the 15th.

The first two rounds (held Monday) came and went — as did rounds 3-10 (held Tuesday).

Baseball America tabbed Marsden as the 222nd overall prospect in the draft. He was the 658th pick.

For Illies, it’s unlikely he signs with the Mets rather than becoming a Tar Heel.

A pair of Tahoma graduates were drafted Wednesday. Taylor Saucedo, who transferred from Tacoma Community College to Tennessee Wesleyan College, went in the 21st round to the Toronto Blue Jays, and Brian Olson in the 34th round out of Seattle University to the Minnesota Twins.

Other locals selected:

▪  Chimacum grad Landon Cray, a left-handed hitting center fielder, went in the 18th round to the Rays out of Seattle University.

▪  Todd Beamer grad Matt Bower, a left-handed pitcher, went in the 23rd round to the Houston Astros from Washington State University.

▪  Decatur grad Christian Meister, a right-handed pitcher, went in the 29th round to the Cleveland Indians out of Green River Community College.

▪  Kentwood graduate Taylor Jones, a right-handed first baseman, was selected in the 35th round to the Chicago Cubs out of Gonzaga. His brother is Kentwood right-hander Jordan Jones, one of The News Tribune’s second-team All-Area selections this year.

Staff writer Bob Dutton contributed to this report

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677