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Mariners’ Dipoto: 1st-round pick Harry Ford is ‘freakish athlete’ with ‘rare combination’ of skills

The Mariners did something last Sunday that general manager Jerry Dipoto had never done in Seattle – draft a high schooler in the first round of the MLB Draft.

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Yes, after five years in a row of Dipoto and his staff drafting college players in the first round, that crew bucked the trend and selected Harry Ford out of Georgia with the 12th pick in the draft.

The 18-year-old Ford, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound catcher/outfielder and has been billed by some experts and analysts as one of the best pure athletes in this year’s draft class, if not the best athlete.

That athleticism is a big part of what drew the Mariners to select Ford in the first round.

“Harry’s a freakish athlete,” Dipoto told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Thursday’s edition of The Jerry Dipoto Show. “I mean, he’s really, really physically strong (at) 18 years old. The explosiveness that he brings to the table, it’s very noticeable the first time you run into him.”

So just what does that explosiveness and strength mean in terms of evaluating Ford’s future?

“He can hit, he can throw,” Dipoto said. “On (the 20-80 scouting scale), he’s about a 65 runner and we feel he has 70 or maybe more potential power upside. And that’s a really rare combination in any draft.”

Ford wasn’t the only high schooler Dipoto and the Mariners selected early this year, as Seattle also took Florida shortstop Edwin Arroyo in the second round and Pennsylvania pitcher Michael Morales in the third. Prior to this year’s draft, the Mariners had only drafted two high school players – Joe Rizzo in 2016 and Sam Carlson in 2017 – in the first three rounds since Dipoto’s first draft with Seattle in 2016.

So what drew the Mariners to targeting high schoolers early this time around?

“We thought we had an opportunity to add upside to what has been a very good minor league system to start these two years, especially,” he said. “Adding talent like Harry and Edwin Arroyo and Michael Morales, and as we got (deeper) in the draft, we got some nice college players in the later rounds that we were pretty excited about adding where we did.”

Listen to this week’s Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the player below.

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