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Mets excited about 2014 Draft selections

It'll be years, probably, before any of the players the Mets selected in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft make a consistent, significant impact at the Major League level, and many more before the true value of this year's class can be accurately measured. But on Saturday night, less than two hours after selecting their 39th and final player, team executives were pretty happy with how it all played out.

"We wrapped up what we feel is a successful Draft," said scouting director Tommy Tanous. "We had some targeted players after Round 10 and were successful in drafting them.

"I think that in the later rounds, you're looking for some upside and taking some shots with some guys that you feel have high potential, but for whatever reason fell in the Draft, whether it was signability or maybe a little bit of performance. And we feel like we executed that plan pretty well today."

If by "upside" Tanous is indirectly referring to high school pitchers, then yes, the Mets found exactly that. The final five pitchers New York took -- and six out of the last seven -- were all out of high school. The Mets selected 23 hurlers overall, 12 of whom are high schoolers.

The first two collegiate arms were righty Josh Prevost of Seton Hall University (fifth round) and righty Connor Buchmann of the University of Oklahoma (11th). Buchmann tossed only 12 innings for the Sooners this spring, but he's still raw -- he converted to pitching only three seasons ago, when he attended Howard College.

According to Howard coach Britt Smith, Buchmann has a "plus arm" and reached 98 mph in 2013.

"So if he can get more experience in a Minor League setting, where wins and losses are not at a premium," Smith said via email, "he has a chance to develop into something special."

The Mets also snagged five left-handers, which pleased Paul DePodesta, vice president of player development and amateur scouting, since "that positional group in particular has been a little skinny for us the last few years."

In terms of position players, the Mets spread out their 16 such picks pretty evenly -- seven infielders (three shortstops), five outfielders and four catchers.

Two to keep an eye on are high school shortstop Milton Ramos (third round) and junior college corner infielder Eudor Garcia-Pacheco (fourth).

"He's definitely an offensive player," Tanous said of Garcia-Pacheco. "We feel like he'll be fine at third base, but when you draft this type of guy, you take him for his bat."

The Mets took a handful of local products on Day 3, including pitchers Jim Duff and Tyler Badamo, who hail from Garden City, N.Y., and Mount Sinai, N.Y., respectively.

Another late-picked local was 21st-rounder Luke Bonfield, who grew up in New Jersey but transferred to the Pendleton School and IMG Academy in Brandenton, Fla., for his senior year. He was ranked 168th by and 187th by Baseball America -- plenty good enough to go during Rounds 3-10 during Day 2 -- but fell due to signability concerns. He is committed to Arkansas.

"Cool to get drafted by my hometown team," Bonfield tweeted. "But it's gonna take a lot for me not to attend Arkansas at this point. We will see what happens."

Added Tanous, speaking generally: "Sometimes you take shots on guys in the lower rounds. Sometimes things change and we get a chance to watch them this summer and evaluate them. Sometimes the players change their minds about professional baseball. For many reasons, sometimes the players slide and you get a chance at getting a player -- which we feel like we did several times -- that really doesn't belong in the [late rounds], and you take a shot at times."

Most notable among all of the draftees, though, is Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, whom the Mets took in the first round (10th overall). The left-handed hitter was the first of 19 collegians (compared with 20 high schoolers) New York chose.

Conforto is the organization's crown jewel after many months of preparation and 16 hours of drafting.

"I think everyone's pretty tired at this point," DePodesta said. "At the same time, I think we're very excited about this crop of players.

"There were times in past years where we had a plan going into Day 3 and other teams got in the way [by] taking some of the guys we wanted. Certainly that happened, but it didn't happen nearly as often as I remember in years past. We were pleased about that, that we had them lined up in the right order. I think we're excited about some of our guys that we expect to sign, and even some others we're excited about taking a shot at."

Tim Healey is an associate reporter for

New York Mets