Posts Tagged ‘MLB Draft’

By Steven Inman

If the Mets were right, Michael Conforto can breeze through the minor leagues

If the Mets were right, Michael Conforto can breeze through the minor leagues

When Sandy Alderson became general manager of the New York Mets, his plan was to build a competitive team in the short-term while creating a great minor league farm system in the long-term. While the former hasn’t happened the ladder is actually coming together. The Mets farm was ranked in the mid-20’s when Alderson and company took over. In Keith Law of ESPN’s bi-annual prospect ranking he ranked the Mets farm fourth best in all of baseball.

In Law’s top 50 midseason prospect rewrite (Insiders Only), four Mets prospects made his top 50. Noah Syndergaard (16), Michael Conforto (32) Brandon Nimmo (34) and Dom Smith (49) all made Law’s top 50.

Syndergaard has had a rough year in Triple-A. His ERA is over five, he has spent time on the disabled list, and there is a chance now that we don’t even see him in the majors this season. That being said in the extreme hitter friendly PCL him just racking up innings has to be seen as a positive. Syndergaard is actually only 21 and seems to get better every time he advances a level with exception of this season of course. He should be fine and compete for a rotation spot early next season.

LF Michael Conforto made his professional debut for the Cyclones a few days ago. Unlike other top picks in the Sandy Alderson era, Conforto is expected to reach the big leagues rather quickly. Some have even predicted he would be the first from the 2014 draft class to reach the majors. While I wouldn’t go as far to say that since the Mets are generally much slower at advancing their prospects, Conforto should provide the Mets power rather soon.

Brandon Nimmo is the surprise on this list. He was constantly compared to all-star starter Jose Fernandez after Miami selected their flamethrower one pick after the Mets selected Nimmo. Nimmo didn’t show much power until this season when he escaped Savannah. Savannah’s park has always seemed to zap left –handed hitters of their power. Nimmo is hitting .282 along with a .411 OBP, nine homers and 40 RBI in 92 games between High-A and Double-A this season. Nimmo looks like he can legitimately contribute in some way to the Mets next season.

Lastly Dom Smith has also performed well against older completion in Savannah. The first basemen is hitting .299 with a .357 OBP in a tough place to hit. Like Nimmo it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he breaks out “power wise” next season when he gets away from the Sand Gnats.

It is very surprising to me after all of these years that three of the Mets four top prospects are now position players. The Mets are going to need to continue to develop these guys to help fix what is currently a poor major league offense.

By Steven Inmanphoto

With their first round pick in the 2014 MLB draft the New York Mets selected Oregon State OF Michael Conforto. Conforto He was ranked the eighth best player in the draft by Keith Law of ESPN. Law said he has very good plate disciple but is “a high-floor pick but without a huge ceiling because he’s limited to left field.”

Conforto, 21, batted .351 this season, his junior year, with a .506 OBP and .557 slugging percentage and is a two time Pac-12 Player of the Year. He is also a finalist for the Golden Spikes award, which is awarded to the best college player each year.

Conforto doesn’t have the upside of former Met first round picks like Dominic Smith and Brandon Nimmo but he should be able to move through the minor league system quickly. He projects as a middle of the order bat who should be good enough defensively in left field. The Mets can probably hide him in left field. As long as he hits it should be a good pick.

The Mets were deciding between Conforto, college SS Trea Turner and Hartford LHP Sean Newcomb.

Conforto brings something that not many teams in baseball have, left-handed power.

Mets scouting director Paul DePodesta was thrilled that Conforto was available to the Mets at 10. “This is a pretty polished college player” DePodesta said after the pick.

Of Sandy Alderson’s four first round picks as Mets General Manager, Conforto was the first college player selected. All four have been hitters but none are all that close to the big leagues.

The Mets will likely send Conforto to the Brooklyn Cyclones should he sign his professional contract quickly.Top bracket

What do you think of the Mets first round pick?

Today on BrokeMets.com, we have a special treat for all of our readers. Alex Giobbi, of Minorleaguemadhouse.com has agreed to do a guest post on the Mets plan for the MLB Draft next week. Alex specializes in prospects and I highly recommend this article as well as his website. He looks at the track record of Sandy Alderson’s previous three drafts as Mets GM to determine who can be a target for the Mets with the 10th overall pick. alex rod steroids

What name will Bud Selig call for the Mets on June 5th?

With a week remaining before the 2014 MLB Draft kicks off, the Mets have a very big decision to make. Armed with the tenth pick, which was protected from being lost to a team that let go of a big money free agent, the Mets have myriad options for their next big prospect.

Before going into who the Mets should take, let’s take a look at the first round strategy of GM Sandy Alderson.

Ever since Alderson took over as the Mets’ GM, he’s opted to take high ceiling talent out of high school; in fact, of the five first round picks he’s had (this includes the compensatory picks he’s gotten from losing Pedro Feliciano and Jose Reyes), only one, catcher Kevin Plawecki of Purdue University, came out of college. The players he’s taken in the first (and compensatory) rounds are as follows:

2013: Dominic Smith, first baseman, Serra High School, Los Angeles, CA.

Dom Smith is holding his own in Savannah despite being less than a year out of high school.

Dom Smith is holding his own in Savannah despite being less than a year out of high school.

2014 Team: Savannah Sand Gnats (Low A)

Smith, who was viewed as one of the top hitters in his class, was valued for his stroke as well as his fielding ability. He’s been compared to Adrian Gonzalez, and in a particularly weak year for first base prospects in MLB, he’s ranked second, although he’s made strides to justify that ranking after a slow start in Low-A Savannah. Given the team’s unsurprising trade of former top pick Ike Davis and commitment to Lucas Duda (who will be 31 or 32 by the time Smith makes his MLB debut) it’s almost a certainty that Smith will be playing first base at Citi Field in the latter half of the 2010’s.

2012: Gavin Cecchini, Shortstop, Alfred M. Barbe High School, Lake Charles, LA

Cecchini is a big time hit or miss prospect who was taken for his value as a defensive star. Although he’s had a slow start to his career due to injury, the fact that he’s only 20 years old serves as a reminder that high school talent often takes more time to develop, meaning he could conceivably be held in the minors until 2017, much like Smith. Cecchini seems to be destined to make up half of a double play combo with one of two top international prospects: Dilson Herrera, who was acquired in the Marlon Byrd trade, or Amed Rosario. Whomever is the odd man out in that group is either going to be traded or coerced into playing third base. Should Cecchini lose out on the shortstop battle, he could be tried out as a third baseman, in fact, his older brother Garin is a top third base prospect for the Boston Red Sox.

Kevin Plawecki, Catcher, Purdue University

Kevin Plawecki has moved through the minor leagues much faster than most anticipated.

Kevin Plawecki has moved through the minor leagues much faster than most anticipated.

When Kevin Plawecki was drafted, one of the big things that stood out about him was the fact that he’s a guy who constantly gets on base. A guy who also rarely strikes out, Plawecki reminds some Mets people of Daniel Murphy, except he’s slower and plays a more challenging position. As I’ve made mention before, teams are starting to understand the importance of carrying two starting level catchers on the big league club, and Plawecki with Travis d’Arnaud could actually prove to be a solid combination. Should the Mets opt to deal him, he may have some value for a team that could use a starting catcher, as evidenced by the Mets’ discussions during the offseason between the Diamondbacks.

2011: Brandon Nimmo: Outfield, Cheyenne East High School, Cheyenne, WY

Alderson’s first pick as a Mets GM is either going to be one of the biggest gem finds or a major novelty gone bad. Nimmo, who gained fame for not playing high school ball (Wyoming doesn’t sanction baseball as a sport in interscholastic competition), was valued for his athletic upside. Nimmo has overcome a predictably slow start in the minors and is currently tearing the cover off the ball in High A St. Lucie, enough to land him in the top 100 prospect list at the final spot. Should he continue that pace, expect him to make a return appearance to the Futures Game in Minnesota.

Michael Fulmer, Pitcher, Deer Creek High School, Deer Creek, OK

Fulmer is the only pitcher that Alderson has drafted in the first round, and for good reason. 2011 was a great year for Oklahoma prep pitchers, and Fulmer has followed Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley’s success pattern. Although he suffered a setback from his development after injuring his leg, he should be with the major league club by 2017, likely as a long reliever/spot starter.

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Sandy Alderson’s strategy deviated from his predecessor, Omar Minaya, who drafted low ceiling/high floor talent. Although most of Minaya’s choices were destined to be average (or in the case of 2007 and 2008 first rounders Nate Vineyard, Reese Havens and Brad Holt, marred with injury and unfulfilled promise) Minaya does have the claim to fame that his final first round pick, Matt Harvey, is one of the best young pitchers in baseball.

Moving on, the question remains: Who should Alderson select with the tenth overall pick?

Generally, given the amount of time prospects take to develop, coupled with the choice between high school, JUCO and college talent, general managers go with the Best Player Available. Although Alderson didn’t necessarily need a first baseman, and many experts thought he would have gone after a college outfielder like Fresno State’s Aaron Judge, Smith was the best player available.

If we went by the best player available based on Baseball America and MLB.com’s top 200 and 100 prospect lists, then the Mets would have two different choices: Baseball America’s #10 player in their top 200 is LSU ace Aaron Nola, who’s bounced up and down the draft board, going as low as the 20’s and as high as top ten. MLB.com has University of San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer as their ten pick. Zimmer has stayed pretty consistent, getting picked in the top 15 in most mocks.

Looking at the Mets’ top 20 prospects, which is what I use as a basis for my mock drafts, it’s clear that once Noah Syndergaard makes his big league debut, the Mets will not have a legitimate top ten right handed pitching prospect. With Rafael Montero and Jake deGrom likely up for good, and Syndergaard coming up, Alderson, unless he invests his pick in a bona fide arm, will not have a top pitching prospect to advance through the system and excite and distract the fan base. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the options that Alderson has:

First, let’s get one thing abundantly clear: Carlos Rodon will not fall out of the top three. Despite his struggles this year at NC State, Rodon’s still got an impressive resumé, as well as covetable attributes that will make him a top pick. The same goes for Brady Aiken, the prep star from Cathedral Catholic. His stock has risen to the point where he’s in the conversation to be the top pick as well. That, and they are also left-handed pitchers. Tyler Kolek, the consensus top right handed pitching prospect, will also not fall out of the top five.

Let’s take a look at the pitchers that are in range, and that’s 5th best player to 15th best player on Baseball America’s and MLB.com’s lists:

BA:

Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina (6)

Erick Fedde, UNLV (8)

Aaron Nola, LSU (10)

Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs Christian High School, Florida (13)

Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt (15)

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And now MLB.com’s list:

Nola, (5)

Beede (7)

Hoffman (8)

Grant Holmes, Conway High School, South Carolina (12)

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In my two mock drafts, I had the Mets taking a right handed pitcher for the reason stated above: They will need to add a right handed pitching stud in order to balance out their top ten prospects. In the first mock, I picked Touki Toussaint: a high school arm whose raw talent, coupled with his loose arm could make him a deadly young pitcher with #2 starter potential. However, given Alderson’s Moneyball background, which actively discourages the drafting of prep arms in the first round, the chances of Toussaint wearing a Mets jersey seem slim.

In the second mock, I had the Mets taking Tyler Beede. Beede is a familiar name, as he was a first round pick three years ago by the Toronto Blue Jays. However, Beede decided against going pro and went to play for Vanderbilt. Beede’s game is great, but some mechanical fine tuning could make it better. He’s been consistently challenging both Nola and Rodon as the top college pitcher this year, and his Golden Spikes nomination last year indicates he has high level pro potential.

If I were Alderson, I’d want a battle tested pitcher, a pitcher that has faced top flight competition. Right off the bat, that eliminates Toussaint and Grant Holmes, a big pitcher from Conway High School. Because high school baseball talent is relative to the state that it’s played in, even if Toussaint and Holmes were among the best talents that year, keep in mind they were facing typical prep talent. Not every South Carolina and Florida prepster is going to play division one ball in college, and even if they did, they wouldn’t all play in the power conferences like the SEC or the ACC.

The second aspect of a battle tested pitcher is the college conference they play in. The Mountain West and Conference USA, once upon a time, were college hotbeds, but now they’re essentially a tick below the real power conferences. Sure, pitchers like Hoffman and Fedde may get the opportunity to play a power conference team here and there, but ultimately, unless it was consistent, it’s a waste of time for Alderson to even think about Fedde and Hoffman.

This leaves it to two pitchers: Nola, and Beede.

Nola, the ace at LSU, is a pitcher who, while he isn’t going to blow you away with any special pitch, has great command and control of his offerings. He won’t be an ace at the major league level, but his dependability will be an asset to any team that needs a pitcher who can go deep into innings.

Beede, on the other hand, is an anti-Nola. His fastball is his best major league offering, going from the low to mid 90’s, and his ceiling is a front-end starter, possibly as high as #2. What Beede lacks in his game is pitch consistency. While Beede does have devastating offerings, like his fastball, curve and change up, they are only effective if he can consistently locate the strike zone.

So who should Sandy pick if it comes down to Nola and Beede?

In a perfect world, Nola will fall to the tenth spot where Alderson can nab him. His consistency and even strength in his offerings mean that either he’s going to be an above average hurler with little to no need to tinker, or, if there is room for improvement, establish a dominant pitch or make each pitch better. Nola’s mechanics are excellent and he is battle tested against the highest possible level of competition in college baseball. It seems that Nola is one of the very few high ceiling/high floor talents, and although Alderson isn’t the type of general manager who goes for safe picks, getting that combination will pay off rather quickly.

Thanks again to Alex for this fantastic post and make sure to check out his website Minor League Madhouse. He has all of your draft needs covered.

By Steven Inman

Photo by CBS Sports

Photo by CBS Sports

Cardinals rookie right-hander Michael Wacha has captivated the baseball world in the month of October, generating a ton of buzz and shutting down championship caliber teams like the Dodgers and Red Sox. His story with the Cardinals almost didn’t happen however, as Wacha could have been taken by 18 other teams, including the Mets. Wacha, the NLCS MVP, has gone 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the postseason so far. He is expected to start Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway Park.

Wacha was taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 year’s draft. The Mets had the 12th overall pick that year and took high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini. Look 18 teams could have had Wacha so I’m not blaming the Mets for not taking him. I’m blaming them for the reason why they didn’t take Wacha. “Our guys liked Wacha a lot in 2012, one of the top college pitchers on the board,” Mets Vice President of Player Development Paul DePodesta told Mike Puma of the New York Post on Friday. “We were really focused on position players at the top of the 2012 draft,” DePodesta said. “We didn’t even sign a pitcher in that draft until our fifth selection. So, we really liked Wacha, and he was high up on our board, but as an organization we needed to use our high picks that year to create more value in our position player prospects.”

The idea that the Mets would pass on stud pitchers just because their farm system is lacking position players is just absurd to me. The MLB draft is a crapshoot at best and you must take the best available player especially in this scenario when it doesn’t look like money was a factor. The thought that they just zoned out on half the talent pool (pitchers) early on in the draft only makes their scouts jobs even more difficult. It doesn’t make a ton of sense. Keep in mind they did the same thing the year before when they took OF Brandon Nimmo (who didn’t have high school baseball in his state and is still in High A) over Jose Fernandez who was taken one pick later. That year they also suggested they were only looking at position players. The Mets in 2013 also only were focused strictly on position players with their first round pick.

The Mets have some nice starting pitching in their minor leagues but they don’t have nearly enough to simply stop looking for more talent.

Look maybe Nimmo and Cecchini become solid players for the Mets but they only should have been selected if they were the best available according to the Mets, they shouldn’t have been taken just because the Mets don’t have a ton of position player prospects. Alderson has taken a position player in the first round all three drafts and they still don’t have a position player prospect that is thought of all that highly elsewhere except for Travis d’Arnaud who was acquired in a trade.

For the record at the time I wouldn’t have drafted Wacha either so I can’t completely kill the Mets here. My reports on Wacha were that he was supposed to be one of the first guys from this draft to the big leagues (he was) but he was probably more of a mid to back end starter. The name I kept hearing was Jon Garland and I wouldn’t have drafted a young Garland in the first round. The Mets have the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft and hopefully they take the best available talent, no matter what position he is.

Mets will draft 10th in the 2014 draft

Posted: September 30, 2013 in Future Mets, News
Tags:

By Steven Inman

The Mets will have the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft. That means the pick is protected so the Mets are free to sign any free agent they want without fear of losing the pick as compensation for another team like last offseason. This draft is considered to be much better than the last two.

1. Astros (51-111)
2. Marlins (62-100)
3. White Sox (63-99)
4. Cubs (66-96)
5. Twins (66-96)
6. Mariners (71-91)
7. Phillies (73-89)
8. Rockies (74-88)
9. Blue Jays (74-88)
10. Mets (74-88)
11.  Blue Jays (for not signing 2012 10th pick)
12. Brewers (74-88)
13. Padres (76-86)
14. Giants (76-86)
15. Angels (78-84)
16. Diamondbacks (81-81)
17. Orioles (85-77)
18. Yankees (85-77)
19. Royals (86-76)
20. Nationals (86-76)
21. Reds (90-72)
22. Rays/Rangers (91-71)
23. Rangers/Rays (91-71)
24. Indians (92-70)
25. Dodgers (92-70)
26. Tigers (93-69)
27. Pirates (94-68)
28. Athletics (96-66)
29. Braves (96-66)
30. Red Sox (97-65)
31. Cardinals  (97-65)

Jacob Gatewood showed fans and scouts alike the power he possesses in the Home Run Derby last July

Jacob Gatewood showed fans and scouts alike the power he possesses in the Home Run Derby last July

The prize of the 2014 draft is North Carolina State’s Carlos Rodon. A lefty pitcher who is almost guaranteed to go number one to the Houston Astros. Here are a couple names to consider for the Mets at 10.

SS Jacob Gatewood

The Mets are very familiar with taking  high school kids in the first round under Alderson but Gatewood is not nearly as raw as the Mets former first-rounders. He is remembered as the high school kid who put on a show in between rounds of the home run derby at Citi Field in July. He should be one of the top 10 picks next June.

OF Derek Fisher

This isn’t NBA champion point guard Derek Fisher but rather a power hitting outfielder at Virginia. Fisher is a candidate for college player of the year in what will be his last college baseball season in 2014. He is one of the more polished hitters in this draft. He should be one of the top 15 picks next June.

SS Trea Turner

Rodon’s teammate at NC State, Turner has drawn comparisons to the Braves Andrelton Simmons. He likely won’t get to the Mets at 10 but is a name to remember.

SP Tyler Beede

Beede was taken in the first round by the Blue Jays a few years ago and he may have been right not to sign. The right-hander went to Vanderbilt and has turned into one of the top arms in the country. He throws very hard and is not far away from the big leagues. He could be a fast riser through the minor leagues. Beede will likely be taken in the 5-10 range.

By Steven Inman

If the Mets have to give up their first round pick, the Shin Soo Choo sweepstakes will be over before it even starts for the Mets

If the Mets have to give up their first round pick, the Shin Soo Choo sweepstakes will be over before it even starts for the Mets

The Mets currently at 64-78 and have the 7th worst record in baseball. Last year the Mets finished with the 11th overall pick and it drastically changed their free agency plans.

The team wanted to sign Michael Bourn but refused to give up their unprotected 11th overall pick to sign him. A similar situation could be upcoming as the Mets wrap up another tough season. Only the top 10 picks are protected and the Mets will not sign a premiere free agent if they finish with an unprotected pick.

While the Mets are probably thankful they didn’t sign Michael Bourn last winter, they would like to sign a bat or two and that could cost picks should they be offered a $13 million dollar qualifying offer by their former teams.

As of now the Mets will have their pick protected with the 7th overall pick but their are still too many games left to be sure. It is in the Mets best interest to have a “top 10” worst record going into an offseason where they plan on spending free agent dollars.

I am not in anyway saying the Mets should tank but a hot streak to end their season, (while not likely) isn’t in the team’s best long term interest. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

To keep track of this situation check out MLB Trade Rumors Reverse Standings Page which is updated everyday.

By Steven Inman

Mets second round pick Andrew Church

Mets second round pick Andrew Church

After selecting 1B Dominic Smith in the first round and pitcher Andrew Church in the second, the Mets went with a few more high schoolers with their next few picks.

In the third round (#76 overall) the Mets drafted high school outfielder Ivan Wilson. Here is what Keith Law of ESPN wrote about Wilson in an insider piece. “Wilson is all kinds of raw right now, but for a team that likes to draft athletic kids and try to teach them how to play baseball, he’s got enough ceiling (above-average regular) to be appealing in the third round or so. Wilson is strong and well-built at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with good bat speed but a deep load that bars his lead arm and creates excessive length, meaning he can’t always get to the potentially plus power from his wrist strength and big hip rotation. His swing path is also very inconsistent, and like many kids from very rural high schools he doesn’t recognize offspeed stuff well yet. He’s an average runner, a little slow out of the box and better underway, with plenty of arm for right field.”

With the Mets second third round pick (#84 overall) they took Casey Meisner, a righthand pitcher out of Cypress Woods High School in Texas. He is 6′ 7″ and 190 lbs. Meisner has a nice arm but it may be difficult to sign him away from a commitment to Texas Tech.

In the fourth round (#116th overall)the Mets took UCONN 2B L.J. Mazzilli, yes Lee’s kid. Lee Mazzilli was taken by the Mets in the draft exactly 40 years ago. L.J. Mazzilli wasn’t just drafted for his bloodlines though this kid can play. I got the opportunity to call a few St. John’s UConn games last season and Mazzilli was definitely the best player for either team on the field. Mazzilli, a senior signing out of College, shouldn’t be too hard to sign.

Mets fourth round pick L.J. Mazzilli

Mets fourth round pick L.J. Mazzilli

In the fifth round (#146th overall) the Mets took Jared King, a leftfielder and switch hitter out of Kansas State University. King is listed at 6′ 1″ and 200 lbs and is 21-years-old. King can hit for average and power, according to reports. As a sophomore at KSU, King hit .377 with 15 doubles, seven home runs and 47 RBI in 56 games. “I thought he was at worst a third-round pick,” MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said of King. He was listed as the 68th best prospect by Baseball America.

The Mets first few picks clearly show what Sandy Alderson, John Ricco, Paul Depodesta and J.P. Riccardi have been doing with their drafts and that is constantly picking upside over “project ability”. The Mets picked guys who may not be in the big leagues for five years, but if they make it they could be stars. Smith looks like he could be a star first basemen but not for a very long time.

I think Keith Law said it best when he said this Met regime likes drafting athletic kids and teaching them how to play baseball.

Ivan Wilson is still learning how to play baseball, but he could be a dynamic outfielder down the road. Now here comes the tough part and that is signing these guys. The deadline is July 15th to sign these guys or they will no longer be Mets property.

The team has $6.99 million to spend on the first ten rounds. Then they will try to sign them as soon as possible in an effort to get them into professional baseball games this year.