The Mariners’ shoot-for-the-moon strategy early in the MLB draft gave way to a more reasoned (and necessary) approach with their final selections.

On the last day of the draft, the Mariners selected seven college pitchers among their final 10 picks Tuesday. One of those late selections was University of Washington right-hander Stefan Raeth, whose wipeout slider made him one of the Huskies’ most effective arms out of the bullpen this spring.

Scott Hunter, the Mariners’ director of amateur scouting, said he and his scouting staff, along with GM Jerry Dipoto, were pleased with how their 20 selections unfolded over the past three days.

“In the six years we’ve done this, we’re all high-fiving and hugging at the end of it (every year),” Hunter said. “But in a year that the draft was kind of wide open with a lot of injuries, a lot of moving parts with this year’s class — especially in depth wise, not having the normal college pitching depth at the top of the draft — I mean, as Jerry said to me today, this might have been his favorite draft of all time. Not because it had the greatest talent, but (because) there was so many options in the draft that we could have made poor decisions, and we made the best out of all of our picks, no matter what round.”


The Mariners made Raeth their 17th-round pick Tuesday. A 6-foot-1 right-hander out of Lafayette, California, Raeth was 5-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 30 appearances for UW this spring. He had four saves and struck out 89 in 66 innings.


Hunter said Raeth’s slider — which has registered a spin rate of more than 2,400 revolutions per minute — is already on par with the average MLB slider.

“If not ‘plus’ right now,” Hunter added.

Hunter was quick to point out that Penn Murfee, a revelation in the Mariners bullpen this season, was a 33rd-round pick in 2018. And perhaps Raeth — or Jacob McNairy or Brandon Schaeffer, their 16th- and 18th-round picks Tuesday, respectively — could wind up being the next Murfee.

“If we can get (Raeth) in our pitching program and throwing it a little harder and maximizing that spin rate on his slider, he could be one of the later-round guys that fit in that mold of some of the other guys we talked about creating value,” Hunter said.

Because the Mariners took calculated risks on four high-school players in the first two days of the draft — and thus requiring the Mariners to go above the designated dollar figure assigned to those draft slots — they had to be more prudent with their last 10 picks Tuesday.

With less leverage, most junior and senior college players sign for the draft slot value ($125,000 for the later-round selections).

“We were at our (bonus) cap,” Hunter said. “So we really just dug in deep on the college ranks … and we really zoned in on making sure we prioritized the pitching because we’ve done such a good job with it (as an organization).”


Among the Mariners’ 20 selections in this draft, 16 were college players and 11 were pitchers. In addition to Raeth, McNairy and Schaeffer, the M’s selected four other college right-handers Tuesday: Texas Christian’s Marcelo Perez (11th round); UC-Irvine’s Troy Taylor (12th); UNC Pembroke’s Darren Bowen (13th); and Central Arkansas’ Tyler Cleveland (14th).

Hunter sounded optimistic the Mariners would be able to sign all 20 draft picks. The team is stilling “ironing out” the last few details with their first-round pick, high-school shortstop Cole Young; but Hunter expects Young to fly to Seattle to complete his deal this weekend.

Note: Hunter’s son, Cade, was selected in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Reds on Monday — 29 years after Scott Hunter was taken in the fifth round of the 1993 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cade is a left-handed hitting catcher out of Virginia Tech, and Scott choked up when asked about his son Tuesday. “I would say half of Major League Baseball scouts didn’t even have him written up as a prospect going into the season … and to see what he did and the amount of work he put into it, the opportunity’s special,” Scott Hunter said.