SEATTLE -- After wrapping up his first MLB Draft as the Mariners' new director of amateur scouting, Scott Hunter took a deep breath Wednesday afternoon and said things couldn't have gone much better.The Mariners landed athletic first baseman Evan White out of the University of Kentucky in the first round
SEATTLE -- After wrapping up his first MLB Draft as the Mariners' new director of amateur scouting, Scott Hunter took a deep breath Wednesday afternoon and said things couldn't have gone much better.
The Mariners landed athletic first baseman Evan White out of the University of Kentucky in the first round Monday and then were thrilled to have prep pitching standout Sam Carlson from Minneapolis fall to them in the second round in what MLB.com analyst Jim Callis said might be the steal of the Draft.
They followed that by loading up on more pitching -- primarily from the college ranks -- as well as a trio of well-regarded catchers and an assortment of athletic position players. In their 40 rounds, Seattle selected 23 pitchers, including 13 of their first 17 selections.
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Thirty-two of the players are from the college ranks and, most importantly, Hunter said he expects about 35 of the 40 selections to sign relatively quickly. The club will have a mini-camp at its Peoria, Ariz., facility from Sunday through Wednesday and he expects nine of the top 10 picks to be signed and in camp, with Carlson the lone exception as he's still pitching in his high school season.
• Day 1: Mariners take White with pick No. 17
White, the 17th overall pick, is flying to Seattle on Friday to take his physical and will be in Peoria and then head to Seattle to take batting practice with the big league club and have a press conference at Safeco Field on June 22 before reporting to Short-A Everett.
The other players will report directly to various Minor League affiliates after the mini-camp.
"It's a sigh of relief, to say the least," Hunter said after wrapping things up. "I talked to our [Draft] room at the end. You spend so much time with these guys, we're pretty much nomads. It was kind of an emotional moment for me after getting through this first Draft, just thanking them for their communication and trusting in the few changes from our last regime to now. Everybody bought in."
The Mariners picked a trio of Washington high schoolers in the late rounds, taking Seattle Prep center fielder Jesse Franklin in the 37th round; Mercer Island shortstop Jack Smith in the 39th; and third baseman Zach Needham from nearby Edmonds Community College -- another local prep product from Puyallup High -- in the final round.
They also tabbed Kolby Somers, a left-handed pitcher from Century High in Hillsboro, Ore., in the 38th round.
• Day 2: Mariners find local talent
All those players are committed to four-year colleges -- Franklin to Michigan, Somers to Oregon, Smith to Washington State and Needham to Houston -- and are unlikely signees that late in the Draft, but Hunter said the club wanted to identify them as quality local players and lay potential groundwork for the future.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [