Mariners' new front office takes on first Draft

Mariners' new front office takes on first Draft

SEATTLE -- The 2016 Draft will take place from Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 77 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 12:30 p.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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 1,500 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.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Mariners, whose first selection is No. 11 overall.

In about 50 words
New general manager Jerry Dipoto takes over, looking to improve the depth in a system that is very thin on top prospects following a succession of first-round misses. Although they had five Top-12 picks in the past seven years, none of those players are on the current Major League roster.

The scoop
While former GM Jack Zduriencik went after power bats in recent years in an attempt to find offensive players who could hit at Safeco -- with first-rounders D.J. Peterson and Alex Jackson and second-rounders Gareth Morgan and Austin Wilson -- Dipoto favors athletic players with high on-base skills and likely will look to bolster the organization with more of those type position players as well as adding pitching depth.

First-round buzz
The Mariners are believed to be very interested in Boston College right-hander Justin Dunn and Louisville center fielder Corey Ray. While this draft class is thick with top high school arms, Dipoto is leery of spending a high first-round pick on a prep pitcher. If the Mariners do go the high school route, athletic outfielder Blake Rutherford of Chaminade Prep in Canoga Park, Calif., might be a likelier target if he's still on the board.

Top 2016 MLB Draft Prospects

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

To sign their first 10 picks, the Mariners have been allocated a pool total of $7,136,000, which is 17th among MLB's 30 teams. That's a significant hike from last year, when the Mariners had a pool figure of $4,186,900, which ranked 27th in MLB. Last year's figure was smaller because Seattle didn't have a first-round pick after signing free agent Nelson Cruz.

Seattle has no compensatory picks this year. The Mariners' second pick will be in the second round, the 50th overall selection and their third-round pick will be No. 87 overall.

The Mariners have an allocation of $3,286,700 to spend on their top choice. But that doesn't mean the club will spend that entire amount on one player. Some teams sign high picks for less than their recommended slot value in order to have more money for lower-round choices.

Shopping list
The Mariners would love to add some power arms to their farm system as well as beef up their positional depth across the board with players who fit the new regime's "control the zone" philosophy. That means pitchers who throw strikes and hitters willing to work counts and value on-base percentage.

Trend watch
Dipoto only had two late first-round picks in his four years as Angels GM and used both on college players -- catcher Taylor Ward with the 26th pick last year and left-hander Sean Newcomb with the 15th pick in 2014. The Angels gave up their top picks his first two years as compensation for signing veteran free agents. Don't be surprised if the Mariners go the college route this year as well.

Recent Draft history

Top Prospects: Diaz, SEA

Rising fast
Right-hander Edwin Diaz, a third-round pick in 2012 out of the Caguas Military Academy in Puerto Rico, is on the fast track after being converted to a relief role in Double-A Jackson last month and promoted to the Majors on Saturday. The slender 22-year-old was the organization's top-rated pitching prospect already, but the Mariners believe he has more upside in the bullpen and he's been dominant in that role since the switch.

Right-hander Andrew Moore, last year's compensatory second-round pick out of Oregon State, was promoted to Jackson two weeks ago after going 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in nine starts for Class A Advanced Bakersfield. He pitched well for Class A Everett last year as well (2.08 ERA in 14 games, eight starts).

• Mariners' Top 30 prospects

Cinderella story
A couple of picks from 2013 are opening eyes, including 28th-rounder Zach Shank, an infielder out of Marist College who was recently promoted to Triple-A Tacoma after hitting well at Jackson. Also from that class, third rounder Tyler O'Neill continues putting up big numbers for Jackson as a power-hitting outfielder out of Canada and 10th-rounder Emilio Pagan -- drafted out of Belmont Abbey College -- has been outstanding as Jackson's closer.

In The Show
With the promotion of Diaz, the Mariners now have five of their own former picks on the current 25-man roster. Three are from the 2010 class with Taijuan Walker (first round compensatory pick), James Paxton (fourth round) and Stefen Romero (12th round).

The other pick still with the club is Kyle Seager, who was a third-round selection in 2009.

The Mariners recent top picks
2015: Nick Neidert, RHP, Class A Clinton
2014: Jackson, OF, Clinton
2013: Peterson, 1B, Jackson
2012: Mike Zunino, C, Tacoma
2011: Danny Hultzen, LH, rehabbing in Peoria, Ariz.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.