NEW YORK -- At the upper levels of the Mets' farm system, position players rule. Amed Rosario has established himself as one of the most exciting prospects in all of baseball. Dominic Smith is not far behind. Years of drafting and signing talented young hitters has given the Mets, understandably,
NEW YORK -- At the upper levels of the Mets' farm system, position players rule. Amed Rosario has established himself as one of the most exciting prospects in all of baseball. Dominic Smith is not far behind. Years of drafting and signing talented young hitters has given the Mets, understandably, a glut of talented young hitters.
Years of graduating some pitching prospects to the Majors and trading away others, conversely, have left the Mets lacking impact arms at the upper levels of their farm. The team began addressing that need during the 2016 Draft, and continued doing so in this year's Draft.
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First-round pick David Peterson highlighted a Draft haul that included seven college pitchers in the first 10 rounds, and another 20 arms on Day 3.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
"We did go hitter-heavy in previous years," Mets vice president of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said. "But the last few years with the success of the team, we picked 19th and we picked 20th. Just how the Draft has gone and how other teams draft, it can be a little more difficult to take that special hitter with the picks we have. There's a little bit more volume of pitching there."
That's not to say the Mets played things entirely safe with college players. Twice on Day 3 they took what Tanous called notable "shots" at high schoolers boasting early-round talent and strong college commitments. One, 19th-rounder C.J. Van Eyk, will pitch at Florida State if he does not sign. Another, 34th-rounder Jake Eder, is slated to attend Vanderbilt. MLB.com ranked both pitchers among its top 120 Draft prospects, meaning if the Mets are able to pry either away from his college commitment, they would gain a legitimate prospect.
"This year, we felt like every player we targeted, we got," Tanous said. "So we felt really, really good."
Now, the onus falls to Mets director of Minor League operations Ian Levin, his staff and coaches throughout the Mets' system to mold their newest players into big leaguers. That process begins as soon as the Mets start signing a group of players they feel is special.
"Any scouting director, vice president you ask is going to tell you how happy they are," Tanous said of his thoughts at the end of a long three days in Florida. "We are legitimately happy after every Draft. How happy we are after five years, that's the real question."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.