Mariners excited to get RHP Carlson at No. 55

Mariners excited to get RHP Carlson at No. 55

SEATTLE -- Sam Carlson, a prep pitching standout from Minnesota whom the Mariners had targeted as one of their contingency plans in the first round of Monday's MLB Draft, instead fell to Seattle in the second round with the 55th overall selection. And that made for some very happy folks in the Mariners' Draft Room.

"We'd even heard some rumors he might go before us (with their No. 17 pick in the first round)," said Mariners director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter. "This is a kid we are extremely surprised was there at 55."

Carlson was ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Draft by MLB.com, three spots ahead of Evan White, the first baseman from Kentucky whom they drafted In the first round.

Carlson, an 18-year-old right-hander, has committed to the University of Florida, but Hunter said he's optimistic the youngster is ready to sign and expects he'll join the team at a minicamp next week in Peoria, Ariz., as long as he passes a physical exam on Friday in Seattle.

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General manager Jerry Dipoto isn't a big proponent of using high picks on high school pitchers, and the Mariners likely will have to go above the $1.2 million slot money projected for the No. 55 spot to lure Carlson away from college, but Hunter indicated those won't be problems in this case.

"We were able to be somewhat flexible with our bonus pool with the support of Jerry and the organization," Hunter said. "High school pitching isn't the best demographic in the history of the Draft, but this is one Jerry might have been more excited than I was when we pulled his name."

Carlson was 5-0 with a 0.54 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for his Burnsville High team in Minnesota this year.

Hunter said pitching in a cold-weather state like Minnesota makes it a little tougher to project a high school pitcher, but the Mariners saw plenty to like, including a fastball in the 95-96-mph range and "an advanced feel for a high school kid."

Carlson is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota this past season.

"The velocity continues to be on the uptick," said Hunter. "He has a chance to be a true power pitcher in the middle of a rotation some day if he meets expectations."

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

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.