Lack of 1st-round pick no worry for Mariners

Seattle expects plenty of talent to be available at No. 60 in Draft and well beyond

Lack of 1st-round pick no worry for Mariners

SEATTLE -- For just the third time in franchise history, the Mariners will enter the Draft on Monday without a first-round pick. But you won't hear any complaints, given that they forfeited that selection by signing free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz, who has been outstanding in his first two months with Seattle.

"Yeah, he's pretty good," Mariners amateur scouting director Tom McNamara said with a laugh. "That's not a bad first rounder."

But for a club that has had a top-three pick in the first round in three of the past six years and a top-12 pick two other years, this will be unfamiliar territory. Seattle's first selection will come Monday in the second round -- the 60th overall pick -- and the Mariners also have a Competitive Balance Round 2 pick (72nd overall) on the first day.

After that, they'll have one pick in each of the remaining 38 rounds, with rounds 3-10 on Tuesday and 11-40 on Wednesday.

McNamara says there's no question the Mariners will still get a couple of very talented players in their initial selections.

"I've read and heard all kinds of things about how this is a bad Draft," he said. "I don't see that. There is a lot of depth. It's not easy putting up all our boards, and that's a good sign. We'll see where it goes. But there's enough [talent] to go around."

Only twice have the Mariners had later picks with their first selection. They drafted Woodinville (Wash.) High School shortstop Matt Tuiasosopo with the 93rd overall pick in the third round in 2004 after forfeiting their top two picks as compensation for signing Eddie Guardado from the Twins and Raul Ibanez from the Royals.

And in 2000, they took Waco (Texas) High School left-hander John Hays with the 116th overall pick in the fourth round after giving up their top three picks as compensation for signing free agents John Olerud from the Mets, Aaron Sele from the Rangers and Arthur Rhodes from the Orioles.

Tuiasosopo played for the Mariners from 2008-10, and he currently is in the White Sox organization. Hays never got above Class A before arm problems ended his career.

The Mariners also didn't have their regular first-round pick in 2010, but they did have a first-round supplemental pick (43rd overall) and used it to land Yucaipa (Calif.) prep pitcher Taijuan Walker, who is now a member of the Mariners rotation at age 22.

McNamara said that Draft was a great example of how sometimes a player the organization really likes will be available much later than expected.

"I remember like it was yesterday," McNamara said. "We picked 43 and we had one player on the board [at No.] 14 and the other player was [No.] 16 on our 1-through-30 board. Then the player at 14 was taken, and there was one name left. His magnet was sitting there, and it was Taijuan Walker.

Walker's scoreless outing

"So that was kind of neat. It just worked out. So I keep telling our guys there might be somebody 1-through-30 on our board that is there at 60. It happens. It happened in 2010.

"And sometimes you can jump around a little," McNamara said. "In 2009, we just had a gut instinct about [Kyle] Seager and we just took him. We didn't really have him in a spot on our board that said this guy is a third-round pick. It just felt right and we took him."

Those are the kind of stories that make McNamara believe the Mariners can help themselves even without a high pick. Seager was the 82nd player selected that year. Brad Miller was the 62nd pick in '12 -- the same year Carson Smith was plucked with the 243rd selection (eighth round). James Paxton was the 132nd pick (fourth round) in '10.

The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 3 p.m. PT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 4 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.