Mets sign final Draft pick, 2nd-rounder Ginn

June 30th, 2020

NEW YORK -- The Mets capped their aggressive Draft strategy on Tuesday by announcing that they signed second-round pick J.T. Ginn to an above-slot deal. Ginn, widely considered a first-round talent whose stock fell due to Tommy John surgery, agreed for $2.9 million, according to a source -- more than double his slot value of $1.4 million.

The Mets were able to offer Ginn so much because they signed their final four picks of the Draft to below-slot -- and in two cases, significantly below-slot -- deals. That left more than $1.1 million in extra funds to offer Ginn on top of his $1.4 million slot value. The Mets then added additional money to push the total deal to $2.9 million.

“I think we [went] into it knowing that we better sign these guys,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said of the Mets’ aggressive strategy. “If you take players and you can’t sign them, then we haven’t done our part because then the players don’t become part of our farm system. So we go into it with the belief we can [sign them].”

Altogether, the Mets outspent their $7.1 million Draft pool by a little less than 5 percent, meaning they’ll absorb a penalty of less than $300,000. (Had the Mets offered more, they would have faced the loss of a future Draft pick.) Those totals include the signing of first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong to a $3.36 million deal.

Upon selecting Ginn 52nd overall last month, Van Wagenen called him “premium talent that is going to require real investment in terms of dollars.” Ginn was a first-round selection of the Dodgers out of high school in 2018, but he turned down a reported offer of $2.4 million at that time.

Instead, Ginn went to Mississippi State, where he posted a 3.13 ERA in 17 starts as a freshman, capping his season with six scoreless innings in a College World Series start against Louisville. Scouts pegged him as a first-round pick before he underwent surgery early this year; Ginn won’t climb atop a mound again until next season, but when he does, the Mets are hopeful his upper-90s fastball and three-pitch mix will allow him to develop into one of baseball’s premium pitching prospects.

In sacrificing other areas of their Draft to make Ginn a focal point, the Mets repeated the strategy they used a year ago in snapping up first-round talent Matthew Allan, who fell to the third round over signability concerns. The Mets inked later picks to below-slot deals as a way to pool together extra money for Allan, who ultimately signed and is now the organization’s top pitching prospect -- a mantle that Ginn may soon challenge.

“We feel very happy, very pleased with the work that the staff did, very pleased with the talent that we brought in,” said Mets special advisor Omar Minaya, who oversaw the team’s Draft strategy. “Overall, I’m very pleased with the work that we’ve done. … I think we were able to have a good Draft.”