Mariners Scouting Director gives insight to what the team will do in upcoming draft

With the draft coming up in a few weeks, what will the Mariners do to add to the farm system?
Seattle Mariners v Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners v Arizona Diamondbacks / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

While the Mariners seem to struggle at times with trading for veteran bats, they have been the opposite when it comes to player development. Sure, the prospects have not made it yet and there is always a chance some of these guys will not make it to the Big Leagues, but the Mariners are building a bank of prospects that could turn into trade pieces or homegrown talent.

Last year, the Mariners had three first round picks. They selected Colt Emerson, Jonny Farmelo, and Tai Peete, all high school bats. A few years ago, they took college arms early in drafts, like Emerson Hancock, Logan Gilbert, and George Kirby. By picking players who are close in age and experience, the Mariners have created these talent waves that help out the big club. Look at the pitching staff right now, all of the starters (Except Luis Castillo) are home grown and on their first contracts. By having players come up in waves, you create sustainability throughout the organization.

What would start to pair well with the young hitter wave the Mariners have coming? How about some young pitching? While I know I would love the Mariners to keep all of their current starting pitchers, the reality is they can't pay everybody. Eventually, we may have to face the fact that George Kirby and Logan Gilbert will wear a different uniform. That is still years away, so no need to worry now, Mariners fans.

So, what direction will the Mariners go in this year's draft? They only have one pick in the first round this year with the 15th overall pick. Mariners Scouting Director Scott Hunter met with the media yesterday before the game to discuss the upcoming draft. When asked about this year's draft class as compared to last year's class, Scott had this to say:

"This is a different one. It's going to be more of a challenge, we're going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting and figuring out and extracting the players that we believe in for what the Mariners do. The depth of the draft is a lot different. It's a weird class, there's a lot of high school pitching which we haven't really done much at the top of the draft, which is really in play for us because we have to consider every demographic in the draft."

Scott Hunter, Director of scouting

High school pitching, eh? Not since Taijuan Walker in 2010 have the Mariners drafted a starting pitcher straight out of high school. Drafting pitchers out of high school comes with a ton of risk. Have they seen premier talent? Probably not. High school arms tend to take a lot longer to reach the big leagues, rather than taking a college arm who is used to throwing every 7th day against higher end talent.

"You have to take what the draft gives you. It's never about what you're taking, it's about what you're walking by. And in this year's draft, if the right high school player falls to us, I think we would do it again. And I think even in this case, people don't believe us, but we will consider high school pitching as well."

Scott Hunter, Director of scouting

While that is telling, it does not mean they will not take a college arm or bat, but he talked about high school pitching quite a bit. This could be smoke and mirrors to deflect who they really want, but I know that I was surprised to hear how much he defended taking a high school pitcher. So, who are some high school pitchers that could be the Mariners first round pick? LHP Cam Caminiti (Arizona), RHP William Schmidt (Louisiana), RHP Ryan Sloan (Illinois) or LHP Kash Mayfield (Oklahoma), among others.

Whoever the Mariners draft this year, I know I won't be worried. The track record over the past 5 or so seasons has proven itself. The Mariners' player development department is one of the best in all of baseball, and it shows by the 8 top 100 players in Baseball America's top 100 prospect ranking.

As always, Go Mariners!