Mariners continue down prep path with later Day 1 picks

July 10th, 2023

SEATTLE -- The Mariners entered the 2023 MLB Draft knowing that, good or bad, there was a strong chance they could shape the club’s long-term trajectory given their bounty of picks on Day 1.

Seattle had an MLB-high four selections on Sunday, using each of its first three on high-school players -- not an unsurprising strategy given that Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto reiterated in the weeks leading up to the main event that it was the best high-school position-player group he’s seen in years.

That outlook, coupled with so many college players selected earlier in the first round, allowed the Mariners to swing more aggressively with a younger group that might offer more upside but comes with risk.

“We always go into these things, trying to be smart and say to ourselves that we'll balance our picks,” Mariners director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter said. “But this year, we really identified the high school class as the group that we should take the chance on.”

The Mariners took left-swinging shortstop Colt Emerson out of John Glenn High School in Ohio with the No. 22 overall pick, then continued in the high school ranks.

OF Jonny Farmelo (Westfield High School; Chantilly, Va.)
Prospect Promotion Incentive round, No. 29 overall

Listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Farmelo was ranked the No. 39 overall Draft prospect, the No. 10 outfield prospect and the No. 16 high school position player by MLB Pipeline. He’s a commit to the University of Virginia.

Farmelo was named to the Class 6 All-State Baseball Team by the Virginia High School League in 2023. The 18-year-old went 51-for-126 with 60 runs scored, 22 doubles, one triple, seven homers and 29 RBIs for a slash line of .385/.546/.773 (1.319 OPS) in 48 games at Westfield. He struck out just 25 times and had 41 walks.

“We see Jonny developing into a middle-of-the-order bat that will hit for both average and power, as well as make things happen with his elite speed,” Hunter said.

The Mariners earned this selection as a result of Julio Rodríguez winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award after being named in at least 2-of-3 top 100 prospect lists from ESPN, MLB Pipeline and/or Baseball America and accruing a full year of service time.

SS Tai Peete (Trinity Christian School; Sharpsburg, Ga.)
Competitive Balance Round A, No. 30 overall

Peete, who had committed to Georgia Tech, has huge upside as the toolsiest player that the Mariners selected on Day 1, with plenty of room to polish that skillset. His bat speed has been touted among the best in the class despite being just 17 years old. He was Pipeline’s No. 53 Draft prospect.

“We see Tai as a potential five-tool player that will possess the rare combination of speed and power,” Hunter said. “We are excited to add this type of athlete with this type of potential to our organization.”

In his senior season, Peete went 36-for-87 with 47 runs, eight doubles, four triples, 12 homers and 40 RBIs for a slash line of .414/.536/1.011 (1.548 OPS). He also impressed at the MLB Combine last month, leading all hitters in longest average distance during batting practice (350 feet) and longest average drives (338 ft). He also recorded a 6.64-second 60-yard dash at the 2022 Perfect Game National Showcase.

Moreover, he felt at home with the Mariners during pre-Draft meetings.

“Those two meetings were some of the most real meetings I had,” Peete said. “I had the area scout telling me, just kind of being real with me, telling me what I'm doing, how he likes how I'm playing, what he likes to see me do. It's all down to Earth.”

3B Ben Williamson (William and Mary College)
2nd round, No. 57 overall

Given that he didn’t rank among Pipeline’s Top 250 prospects and that he’s 22 years old, it’s likely that Williamson will sign below slot value.

Williamson was named the 2023 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Player of the Year, becoming the first William & Mary player to receive the honor since 2014. This season, he led the CAA in on-base percentage (.513) and OPS (1.175). His OBP ranked 13th overall and 6th among infielders nationally.

He was also awarded CAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 between third base and shortstop. Williamson was named First-Team All-CAA in three consecutive seasons (2021, 2022 and 2023), the first player in William & Mary program history to accomplish the feat.