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Mariners might take college hurler in 1st round

Club selected collegiate pitchers with six of first 10 picks in '17
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- After making numerous trades and dealing with injuries to some of their top prospects, the Mariners will look to bolster their farm system depth when they take part in the MLB Draft.

SEATTLE -- After making numerous trades and dealing with injuries to some of their top prospects, the Mariners will look to bolster their farm system depth when they take part in the MLB Draft.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3 p.m. PT. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 9 a.m. PT.

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying. Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Mariners, whose first selection is the 14th overall pick.

In about 50 words
General manager Jerry Dipoto prefers to tap college talent with his top picks and that trend likely will continue when Seattle selects in Monday's first round. The Mariners are thin on top-level prospects, but love the athleticism of their last two first rounders -- outfielder Kyle Lewis and first baseman Evan White. Now they need to keep those two healthy after some injury issues and add to the mix.

The scoop
This will be Scott Hunter's second season leading the Mariners' Draft as their director of amateur scouting. The Mariners tabbed college pitchers with six of their first 10 picks last year and could follow a similar patch this time, particularly after trading youngsters like Nick Neidert, Andrew Moore, Luiz Gohara and Ryan Yarbrough in the past two years.

First-round buzz
Callis projected the Mariners to take left-handed pitcher Ryan Rolison from Mississippi with their first-round selection in his latest mock draft. Callis agrees that the Mariners are targeting college pitchers, with Stetson right-hander Logan Gilbert, Florida right-hander Jackson Kowar and South Florida left-hander Shane McClanahan also possible. If the Mariners opt for a college hitters, Oregon State outfielder Trevor Larnach is a possibility.

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 $125,000 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.

This year, the Mariners have a pool of $7,555,200 to spend in the first 10 rounds, including $3,883,800 to spend on their first selection.

Shopping list
The common theme of "best available athlete" rings truer than ever for the Mariners, with Dipoto looking to build up a farm system that he used heavily to acquire more advanced Major League-ready players the past two years. Pitching tops the list, but Seattle will look to add catching depth and could use young help in the pipeline across the infield as well.

Trend watch
During Dipoto's first two Drafts for Seattle, the Mariners took nine college players in the top 10, but used the second-round to tab a promising prep prospect and saved money elsewhere to sign those players above their slot value. Last year it was pitcher Sam Carlson out of Minnesota after tabbing third baseman Joe Rizzo in 2016. Carlson is Seattle's No. 3 prospect, though he's dealt with arm issues since being selected. Rizzo is playing third base for Advanced-A Modesto as a 20-year-old.

RECENT DRAFT HISTORY

Rising fast
Two relievers drafted last season by the Mariners are opening eyes already at Modesto in the Cal League. Wyatt Mills, a third-round pick out of Gonzaga, has already moved up to No. 10 on Seattle's prospect list, per MLB Pipeline. Seth Elledge, a fourth-rounder from Dallas Baptist, is currently at No. 18. Both have been used in the closer role for Modesto and Elledge has a 1.33 ERA in 16 outings, while Mills is at 3.00 in 17 appearances.

Cinderella story
Art Warren was a 23rd-round pick out of Ashland University in 2015, but broke through with a big season last year and a powerful showing in the Arizona Fall League. The big right-hander is No. 8 on Seattle's MLB Pipeline prospect list and currently pitching at Double-A Arkansas, where he put up a 2.00 ERA and a pair of saves in seven outings. Warren is currently on the DL with some arm soreness, but is expected back soon.

In The Show
Because Dipoto has made so many trades since arriving in Seattle, only four of the players on the current 25-man roster were initially drafted by the Mariners -- third baseman Kyle Seager (third round, 2009), left-hander James Paxton (fourth round, 2010), catcher Mike Zunino (first round, 2012) and reliever Dan Altavilla (fifth round, 2014).

The Mariners' recent top picks
2017: Evan White, 1B (Advanced-A Modesto). 2016: Kyle Lewis, OF (Modesto). 2015: Nick Neidert, RHP (Double-A Jackson with Marlins). 2014: Alex Jackson, C (Double-A Mississippi with Braves).2013: D.J. Peterson, 3B (Triple-A Louisville with Reds).

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners