On Thursday, the Mariners will have two picks: No. 11 overall and then No. 50.

Share story

In his first year with the Mariners, general manager Jerry Dipoto will have something that he didn’t in his first two years of his tenure as general manager of the Angels — a first-round draft pick.

On Thursday, the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft — a three-day affair — will begin with the first and second round selections and accompanying supplemental lottery rounds, which will be televised on MLB Network, starting at 4 p.m.

The Mariners will have two picks on Thursday: the No. 11 overall pick of the first round and the No. 50 overall pick in the second round.

The estimated time of their first pick is somewhere near 5 p.m.

It’s a little different from Dipoto’s first season with the Angels. The team had signed free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in that offseason and didn’t pick until the third round.

The following year, the team forfeited its first-round pick because of the signing of free agent Josh Hamilton.

The Mariners dealt with a similar situation last season not having a first-round pick. They forfeited it with the signing of Nelson Cruz to a free-agent contract — an understandable sacrifice.

Had the Mariners lost just one more game in last season’s frustrating 76-86 season, they would have the No. 10 pick overall, which is protected under MLB rules.

Protected from what?

It’s protected from being forfeited with the signing of a free agent that had refused a qualifying offer from their team. And that was a major consequence that weighed heavily in the decision-making for Dipoto this past offseason when acquiring players.

At the winter meetings, Dipoto simplified the thinking when viewing free agents with qualifying offers as not only paying inflated market value in free agent money, but also giving up a draft pick.

It’s a reason why they made the move to acquire Wade Miley via trade when they thought Hisashi Iwakuma was lost to the Dodgers, instead of shopping the overpriced free-agent market.

So this first-round pick has some importance.

“We’re picking at 11 so I wouldn’t say it’s no man’s land,” said Mariners’ director of amateur scouting Tom McNamara. “It’s a lot more comfortable picking 11 then it was picking 60 last year.”

How good of a spot is the No. 11 pick?

“It’s a good — but not great — spot to be in,” said Christopher Crawford, draft analyst for Baseball Prospectus. “The Mariners are fortunate, because this is a draft that’s more about quantity than quality, so the guy they are going to get isn’t going to be too much different from the guy who gets picked at No. 5 or 6. That being said, because of the Mariners needs along with the reports of the players they’re interested in, it could prove problematic, as there are teams who have similar needs picking directly in front of them.”

McNamara was retained from former GM Jack Zduriencik’s staff in the same role. But Dipoto and vice president of player personnel Tom Allison will also have a fair amount of input. Dipoto and Allison worked together in Arizona on the amateur scouting side and were responsible for drafting all-stars Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock.

McNamara has felt the differences of working under Dipoto and Allison.

“There’s definitely more resources,” he said. “More balancing information, more common sense, more experienced evaluators. We have ex-players that have come on the pro side that are out seeing players; we have some of our player-development instructors, some of our catching guys out seeing catchers. There’s a lot more emphasis on risk statistics, so it’s been an education, but it feels good. We feel like we are doing everything humanly possible to make the best decisions for this organization.”

Things like risk statistics — which try to evaluate a player’s success going forward — are something that Dipoto brought to the organization.

Crawford believes Dipoto’s influence has been noticeable leading up to the draft.

“The only names I’ve heard attached are college players, and that was certainly Dipoto’s M.O. when he was with the Angels,” he said. “The Mariners have been college heavy at times as well, but there’s no question that he’s already implementing what he wants to see out of early draft picks.”

Most mock drafts have the Mariners taking right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn out of Boston College.

Dunn, a reliever turned starter, has an electric fastball and impressive numbers in 17 appearances, including seven starts, he’s 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA. In 60 1/3 innings, he’s struck out 66 batters and walked 10. He was named a third-team All-America by Baseball America.

The Mariners have also been linked to high school outfielder Blake Rutherford and power-hitting catcher Zack Collins out of the University of Miami. Louisville University outfielder Corey Ray would be a possibility if he fell that far, but he’s projected to go in the top 10.