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Mets bolster system's lower tiers in Draft

Pitching the focus of restocking Minor Leagues

NEW YORK -- This year already, the Mets have debuted seven rookies in the big leagues, shifting the strength of their farm system from the upper levels to the lower ones. Triple-A Las Vegas' recent 10-game losing streak was no coincidence; it directly corresponded to the Mets' mass immigration of players from Nevada to New York.

But the Mets never looked at the 2015 Draft as a way to replace those talents. Instead, their recent high Draft picks -- the Michael Confortos and Gavin Cecchinis of the world -- will make their way to Vegas in the not-so-distant future, leaving holes at the lower, more developmental levels of the farm.

With all that in mind, the Mets focused on regrowth from the bottom up in the 2015 Draft, starting with their top overall pick, second-rounder Desmond Lindsay. Two high school left-handed starting pitchers followed, kicking off the Mets' real Draft focus: 28 of the 39 players they selected were pitchers, including 16 of their first 21 picks.

"We feel good about what we've done the past few days," Mets vice president of amateur scouting and player development Paul DePodesta said Wednesday evening, shortly after the conclusion of the 40-round event. "Certainly it's centered around pitching. .. We approached this Draft in a very similar fashion as the last four. We have certain strategies in place that have been consistent from Draft to Draft. But ... I think the biggest thing is we've taken what the Draft has offered us."

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Among the Mets' most intriguing new pitchers are lefties Max Wotell and Thomas Szapucki, the 88th and 149th overall picks. But the club also took plenty of high-upside arms later, including 19th-round selection Nic Enright, who is committed to Georgia Tech. The Mets focused on pitchers in large part because their recent prominent Latin American signings have almost all been position players.

The organization's new top hitters are ones that DePodesta and scouting director Tommy Tanous have targeted for months, including Lindsay and fourth-round pick David Thompson -- the national collegiate leader in home runs and RBIs. The Mets also selected the collegiate leaders in batting average (ninth-round pick Kevin Kaczmarski) and ERA (seventh-rounder Corey Taylor), infusing their system with statistical prowess.

The hope is that years from now, those players will become the next featured names in a consistently strong farm system.

"We were certainly happy with the depth of the Draft," DePodesta said. "We felt like there were going to be a lot of good players as we continued to move through some of the middle rounds. We were certainly excited about what we did [Day 2] and even [Day 3]."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
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