Mets add Allan, bevy of college seniors on Day 2

MLB Pipeline's No. 13 prospect headlines New York's Round 3-10 picks

June 5th, 2019

NEW YORK -- In taking first-round talent Matthew Allan with their third-round Draft pick Tuesday, the Mets spent the rest of the afternoon loading up on college seniors. Unlike college juniors, who can use the prospect of going back to college as financial leverage, or top high schoolers, who are generally committed to Division 1 programs, college seniors tend to lack leverage, and thus sign for less. So the Mets selected seven of them as a way to clear enough money to sign Allan.

That’s not to say that those seven lack talent. To the contrary, Mets Draft bosses Tommy Tanous and Marc Tramuta called Tuesday one of the most exciting Draft days that they’ve ever had.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on beginning at noon ET. Until then, here’s a look at the seven college seniors the Mets chose after drafting Allan:

Round 4, 118th overall: Jake Mangum, OF, 23, Mississippi State
The Mets liked Mangum enough to draft him twice -- last year in the 32nd round as a college junior and again in the fourth round this year as a senior. This time around, Mangum should sign, giving the Mets an athletic center fielder who hit .356 with 55 stolen bases over a four-year college career. There’s not a lot of power in Mangum’s profile, but plenty of defensive chops -- he’s hit 93 mph as a pitcher -- and speed. Mangum recently learned how to harness that speed in a productive way, swiping 21 bags this season.

More than anything, Mangum can hit. Compiling 375 hits over his four-year college career, Mangum broke a 21-year-old Southeastern Conference record.

“As you can imagine, some pretty hefty names have come through that conference,” said Tramuta. “He’s a very good baseball player. He’s an above-average runner, an above-average defender, an impact bat -- just … a kid that has a lot of tools and knows how to play the game the right way. We’re excited to get him this time around.”

Round 5, 148th overall: Nathan Jones, RHP, 22, Northwestern State
Not a hard thrower out of high school, Jones has added velocity and ability throughout his career at Northwestern State. He struck out 80 batters in 81 innings as a senior, with the lowest ERA (2.78) of his four-year career. He’s also old enough that he can potentially rise quickly through the system.

Round 6, 178th overall: Zach Ashford, CF, 22, Fresno State
Fresno State’s leadoff hitter during its NCAA Tournament run, Ashford played alongside Ryan Jensen, the Cubs' first-rounder in this year’s Draft. The Bulldogs’ starting center fielder, Ashford hit .381 with a .488 on-base percentage, the latter mark one of the highest in the country. He also stole 10 bases and hit four triples.

Round 7, 208th overall, Luke Ritter, 2B, 22, Wichita State
Ritter played second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield at Wichita State, where he led the Shockers this season with a .333 average, nine home runs, a .458 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging mark, reaching base safely in 44 consecutive games. Scouts predict that he’ll land as a second baseman or a left fielder in the pros, due to average arm strength and speed.

“Mangum and Luke Ritter are two of the highest vote-getters as far as two of the best seniors in this year’s draft,” Tramuta said, noting that both scored highly on MLB Pipeline and other national publications.

Round 8, 238th overall, Connor Wollersheim, LHP, 22, Kent State

Wollersheim broke in as a freshman when Kent State ace Eric Lauer, now a successful member of the Padres’ rotation, was a junior. While he couldn’t quite duplicate Lauer’s 0.69 ERA over 104 innings -- the lowest in the nation in more than 30 years -- Wollersheim developed into a legitimate prospect in his own right. He struck out 97 batters in 83 2/3 innings as a senior to earn the call from the Mets in the eighth round.

Round 9, 268th overall, Joe Genord, 1B, 22, South Florida
Genord passed up a chance to turn pro when the Dodgers selected him in the 15th round out of Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, Fla. He instead went across the state to South Florida, where he improved enough to vault six rounds up the Draft board.

“Playing professional baseball is definitely what I really want to do,” Genord said in a South Florida-produced biopic. “That was my dream growing up, to play professionally. I got that opportunity. I came to [South Florida] to get better.”

Improve he did, hitting 29 home runs and knocking in 105 runs during his junior and senior seasons. Genord topped out with a .333 average as a senior.

Round 10, 298th overall, Scott Ota, OF, 21, University of Illinois at Chicago
After hitting 13 home runs in his first three college seasons, Ota exploded for 20 as a senior. He also increased his batting average to .357, after hitting between .281 and .283 during his first three years on campus. Essentially, Ota transformed from a decent offensive player to a star, and one of the best hitters in Division I.

“Twenty home runs this year, strike zone control, so yeah the numbers popped out,” Tramuta said. “The kid’s always hit, and with the jump in power, maybe that’s something he’ll continue to do.”