SEATTLE -- For Mariners amateur scouting director Tom McNamara, things are different this year. And not just because his team is picking 11th in the first round of today's MLB Draft.
That is welcome news after Seattle had to wait until 60th overall to make its first pick last season, but McNamara said there's also a different approach to the whole process under new general manager Jerry Dipoto.
"There's definitely more resources," said McNamara, who is in his eighth season with the Mariners. "More balancing information, more common sense, more experienced evaluators. We have ex-players that have come on the pro side that are out seeing players; we have some of our player-development instructors; some of our catching guys out seeing catchers. There's a lot more emphasis on risk statistics, so it's been an education, but it feels good. We feel like we are doing everything humanly possible to make the best decisions for this organization."
McNamara said "risk statistics" are about discerning which types of players have the best chance of succeeding.
"We don't want to give out all our secrets, but I would say more history on players," he said. "The history on high school right-handed pitchers, the history of high school catchers, players that may have big tools but there are holes in their statistics somewhere. Why? What's going to get a player at the end?"
The Mariners have set their Draft board and now will wait to see who is still available when they make their first selection.
The 2016 Draft will take place today through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 3 p.m. PT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 4 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 9:30 a.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 10 a.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.
The Mariners have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Boston College right-hander Justin Dunn, Louisville center fielder Corey Ray and California prep outfielder Blake Rutherford at No. 11, but they're not tipping their hand, and there's no guarantee who will be available when their turn comes.
"I've probably said this in the past, but we're not too sure who is going ahead of us this year, and that starts at No. 1," McNamara said. "It depends on what the other teams are looking for. There aren't guys etched in stone ahead of us, so it'll be interesting."
Dipoto drafted college players with his two first-round picks during his time with the Angels, with the team not having a first-rounder his other two years. But McNamara said the Mariners remain open to finding the best player regardless of age.
"I've had some conversations with Jerry, and he's made it clear that if the best player is a high school right-handed pitcher, go for it. Or a high school position player," he said. "There is nothing etched in stone that we can't do this or can't do that. A high school pitcher that you think can be a No. 1 or 2 or 3 starter someday in the big leagues, you're not going to walk past that."
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.