Top Draft pick Crow-Armstrong signs with Mets

June 25th, 2020

NEW YORK -- The Mets officially completed their goal of becoming a more athletic organization on Thursday, signing first-round Draft pick Pete Crow-Armstrong to a $3.36 million contract.

The deal, which matched Crow-Armstrong’s slot value as the No. 19 overall selection, bolsters New York’s farm system with a premium center-field defender. Crow-Armstrong, 18, hit .514 through 10 games at Harvard-Westlake School (Los Angeles) before the coronavirus shutdown put an end to his senior season, striking out just once in 42 at-bats.

Where Crow-Armstrong shined throughout his amateur career was on defense, where his hands and reads in center field tantalized Mets scouts.

“All spring, I called him the left-handed magician in center field,” Mets vice president of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said earlier this month.

For the Mets, it’s a perfect fit. Entering the 2020 Draft, the organization had just three outfielders ranked among its Top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. None of them were in the Top 10, and none had played above Class A ball. Although Crow-Armstrong won’t be big league ready for several seasons, he gives the Mets' farm system a dimension it has lacked since trading former first-rounder Jarred Kelenic to the Mariners two years ago.

“He was one of the kids you saw last summer, one of the rare kids that you would watch batting practice and watch him play defense,” Tanous said. “He had such a knack for the ball. He would fool around in center field, catching balls between his legs and kind of showing off. When I see a defensive player -- whether it’s a shortstop, a catcher or a center fielder -- who likes to show their tools and likes to show off in pregame while he is getting his work done, I know you have a pretty advanced defensive player.”

Crow-Armstrong's signing leaves the Mets with just one Draft pick yet to agree to terms: second-round pitcher J.T. Ginn, a first-round talent whose stock fell due to Tommy John surgery. The Mets saved approximately $1.2 million by agreeing to below-slot deals with their other four selections, which will allow them to offer Ginn roughly double his slot value of $1.4 million.