Next up we have a question from @zipkidcw. Chris would like for us to talk about what weighs on the mind of Jerry Dipoto on draft day:
I think there is a bit of a misconception surrounding Dipoto’s drafts as GM of the Seattle Mariners. A lot of fans seem to believe that Dipoto places a higher premium on “floor” rather than a ceiling. While I can see how many come to that conclusion, we need to remember some key factors.
First, as GM of the Mariners, Dipoto has held the 11th, 17th, 14th, and 20th picks in the first round. Most draft classes don’t have 5-8 All-Star level talents, let alone 11 to 20 of them. Dipoto has never had a chance to draft a potential star as Mariners GM as we will this year with the 6th pick.
Second, all the players he selected with those picks: Kyle Lewis, Evan White, Logan Gilbert, and George Kirby, all do have some serious upside. While none are likely to be “superstars” both Lewis and White have a chance to hit in the middle of the order and Gilbert and Kirby appear to be likely #3 starters and high-end ones to boot.
Now, to answer your question, I don’t think this distinction comes into play at pick number six. Assuming one of our Top 6 prospects is the pick, they’ll all fly to the big leagues and could challenge to be the top prospect in the system.
As for the rest of the draft, I think Dipoto would place a little more weight towards guys who are closer to the big leagues. But if a college arm whom they grade as a 53-grade prospect is on the board in the second and a prep bat whom the grade as a 60-grade prospect is there as well, I believe they’d take the bat. But if the pitcher was a 53-grade and the prep bat a 55, I think they’d take the arm with a chance to get to the big leagues inside 2 years.
As for your second question, we should remember that Dipoto spent his first two second-round picks on prep players Joe Rizzo and Sam Carlson. So this does show that Dipoto is willing to spend a high draft pick on a prep player. We also know that Dipoto and his scouting team viewed Jarred Kelenic as a Top 5 talent in his draft class and was going to take him at 14 if he miraculously fell to them.
So to answer your question, will Dipoto ever spend his first-round pick on a prep player? Yes. Will it be this year? Hopefully not. There is no need to take a Veen or an Abel as college players who possess higher ceilings and floors with significantly quicker ETA’s will be available with the 6th pick.