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Mariners go heavy with pitching in Draft

Seattle selects 25 pitchers, including seven lefties, among 40 players

SEATTLE -- Even without a first-round pick, Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara came away pleased after plucking 40 names in the Major League Baseball Draft that concluded Wednesday.

The Mariners selected 25 pitchers, including seven left-handers, as well as nine infielders, four outfielders and two catchers, and McNamara believes it's a balanced group that will bolster the club's system. He said in a way, forfeiting the first-round pick for signing Nelson Cruz wound up allowing the scouting department to spread its focus wider.

"We picked 60th this year, so we felt we had an advantage over other clubs by seeing more of less," McNamara said. "It's hard to explain that, but our goal this year was to see as many players as possible instead of sitting on three or four top guys and watching multiple times. We felt we did our homework and saw a lot of players. I'm very happy with some of the high school players selected after the 10th round. We spread out the depth and took a lot of pitchers. We're pretty satisfied."

After grabbing six right-handed hurlers in their first 10 picks on Monday and Tuesday, the Mariners leaned toward lefties in the early rounds of Wednesday's session with Dylan Silva of Florida State (11th), Matt Clancy of St. John's (13th), Washington State's Joe Pistorese (17th) and Michigan State's Anthony Misiewicz (18th).

But the Mariners went hard after right-handed high school pitchers in this Draft and on Wednesday added Jio Orozco of Salpointe Catholic in Arizona with a 14th-round pick, Ryne Inman of Georgia in the 15th and local product Parker McFadden of Yelm High in the 20th. They join early rounders Nick Neidert (second), Dylan Thompson (fourth) and Cody Mobley (eighth) as prep hurlers with big upside potential.

Seattle took several college right-handers as well with Andre Moore of Oregon State with their Competitive Balance B pick on Monday and Kyle Wilcox of Bryant University (eighth), Darrin Gillies of Arizona State (10th), then added seven more college right-handers in the final 20 rounds.

The emphasis on arms was no coincidence as the Mariners have traded or promoted many of their top young pitching prospects in the last few years and would like to restock that area in their Minor League system.

The Mariners drafted a pair of Washington State University players with Pistorese in the 17th round and his catcher, P.J. Jones, two rounds later. Both are seniors at WSU, with Pistorese hailing from Kettle Falls, Idaho, and Jones from Mountain View High in Vancouver, Wash.

McFadden, the prep standout from Yelm, is also a Washington State signee and hard-throwing right-hander with a mid-90s fastball who was projected by many to go much higher than the 20th round. McFadden told he'll likely go to college, but McNamara isn't ruling anything out.

"I can't get into the signabilty part, but we know him pretty well and he's got a good arm," McNamara said. "I just sat back in my chair and said this kid is our backyard, let's take him and see what happens. He's a good kid with a good arm and we're glad we drafted him."

The Mariners picked a trio of familiar names in the late rounds. Colton Sakamoto, a center fielder from Westview (Ore.) High School and son of Mariners area scout Jeff Sakamoto, was tabbed in the 37th round. He has signed a letter of intent to Oregon.

Dante Ricciardi, a shortstop from Worchester Acadamy (Mass.) and son of former Blue Jays general manager and current Mets special assistant to the general manager J.P. Ricciardi, was taken in the 39th round. He's signed with Georgetown.

Seattle's final pick was Mike Rojas, a catcher out of Gulf Coast (Fla.) High School, who is the son of Mariners bullpen coach Mike Rojas. He's signed with Chipola Florida.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.
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