What to know about the Mariners in the 2023 MLB Draft
Jul 5, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: Jul 9, 2023, 4:42 pm
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
The 2023 MLB Draft is just a few days away and the Seattle Mariners are in a unique position when it comes to selecting their next prospects.
No, this isn’t the highest first-round pick of the Jerry Dipoto era dating back to the 2016 MLB Draft. But this is the most draft ammo Dipoto and Co. have had in Seattle.
2023 MLB Draft details
This year’s draft will start on Sunday, July 9. And because the All-Star Game is in Seattle, the 2023 MLB Draft will be here, too. It will take place right across the street from T-Mobile Park at Lumen Field, home of the Seahawks and Sounders. The draft will then continue through Tuesday.
The first two rounds and the compensatory rounds will take place Sunday while rounds 3-10 are Monday and 11-20 are Tuesday.
More details about times, where to follow along and more can be found here.
What picks the Seattle Mariners have
The Mariners own three of the first 30 picks in this year’s draft. They’ll first pick at 22nd, which is their original first-round pick.
Seattle then picks back to back at 29 and 30. The M’s have the 29th overall pick due to Julio Rodríguez winning American League Rookie of the Year last season after starting the year on the opening day roster. Seattle’s 30th overall selection is a Competitive Balance A pick. That’s the result of an MLB formula of winning percentage, revenue sharing and market score, which you can read about here.
All in all, the Mariners will pick 22 times in the 20-round MLB Draft – three times in the first 30 picks and one each in rounds 2-20.
Seattle’s money situation
A big part of the MLB Draft is money.
Each team is allotted a total amount of money to spend on signing their selections, and each pick slot has a certain amount of money tied to it.
But organizations can be creative in how they use that money, such as spending more on one pick to get them signed and spending less on other players if they’ll agree to it. We saw that with the Mariners in 2021 when they paid third-round high-school pitcher Michael Morales above-slot money to get him to sign his pro contract. A lot of the time, overspending for a pick has to do with high schoolers more so than college players, but that’s not always the case.
The Mariners’ pool total is $13,170,900 for their 22 picks. That money total is seventh-most in the draft, and the M’s are the only team in the top 10 of pool total that’s not picking in the top 10.
The 22nd pick has a slot value of $3,496,600, pick 29 is $2,800,700 and pick 30 is $2,732,500.
So going back to spending – the Mariners could theoretically spend more on that 22nd pick and less on one or both of 29 and 30. Or they could do the exact opposite, spending less on 22 and more on one or both of 29 and 30. And then there’s the “simplest” route of just paying the full slot amount for each pick.
Again, they’ve got plenty of options there.
What to know with this draft class
So how about the players?
For rankings, we’ll use MLB Pipeline’s list.
Of the site’s top-10 players, seven are college players and three are high schoolers. Additionally, six are hitters and four are pitchers. All but one of those top-rated arms were in college this past spring.
The first three picks are all expected to be college players – LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, LSU pitcher Paul Skenes and Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford in some order.
When looking at MLB Pipeline’s top-50 draft prospects, it’s a 27-23 split in terms of high schoolers and college players. And it’s bat-heavy.
There are 13 pitchers in the top 50 (eight high schoolers and five college pitchers) compared to 36 hitters (16 high schoolers and 20 college hitters). There’s also one two-way player in Virginia prepster Bryce Eldridge, a 6-foot-7 first baseman and pitcher who throws right-handed and hits lefty.
How good is this year’s draft class?
If you ask the man who runs the Mariners’ front office, this is a pretty, pretty, pretty good draft.
“This is the deepest draft that I’ve ever seen,” Dipoto told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk recently. “And I’ve been doing this a fair bit of time now. The top of this class has four or five players that have a chance to be iconic for whoever gets a chance to put them in their uniform … There’s top-end (talent) in this draft, there are stars throughout the first round.
“You’re going to get the opportunity in this draft to take everyday players beyond the first round, which is a very unusual thing in a baseball draft. There’s depth, particularly among position players. This is a position player-rich draft. And it’s high school, it’s college. As good as I’ve ever seen … I think we’re going to do some real damage on draft day and put talent into our system that truly would take us multiple drafts to accrue.”
The Seattle Mariners’ draft approach
This will be the eighth draft Dipoto and Co. will lead for the Mariners, and there have been some clear trends in the first round.
In 2016 and 2017, the M’s went with college bats in Kyle Lewis and Evan White.
From 2018-20, it was all about college pitchers as they took Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and Emerson Hancock.
And the last two years have been very different as the Mariners went with high school hitters in the first round in Harry Ford (2021) and Cole Young (2022).
That it’s hitter-heavy could be of help to a Mariners organization that has largely struggled to develop hitting prospects into MLB regulars.
On the pitching side, there’s a strong case to be made to load up there early as just five of the Mariners’ top-15 prospects, per MLB Pipeline, are pitchers and one of them – Bryan Woo – is already in the big leagues. Pitchers often tend to rise up through the system faster than bats, too.
But considering this draft is hitter-heavy and there are just a few top arms – and all could very well be gone by the time the Mariners pick at 22 – it’s likely we see Seattle target bats early, taking at least two with those first three picks.
Over the next few days, I’ll have some preview pieces on some college and high-school hitters and pitchers to keep an eye on when the Mariners are making those first three picks on July 9.