Mets go several different avenues with their Draft
NEW YORK -- The Mets found power and speed, proven studs and projectable prospects. Through 40 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft, the club added a versatile mix to its farm system.
The Mets also put some focus on two different types of players: those who can take some time to develop and others who might make their way to the top of the organization quickly.
In the early rounds of the Draft, the Mets took high-school talent. They didn't select a college player until they took UConn second baseman L.J. Mazzilli in the fourth round.
"At that point, we really turned -- once we got to the fourth round -- to some college players, just more advanced players and players that can move a little bit more quickly through our system," said Mets vice president of development and scouting Paul DePodesta.
But the high-school players the Mets did take have impressed scouts, especially their first-round pick.
Dominic Smith from Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif., is a first baseman with a great bat. He's more of a run producer than a power hitter, and at 17 years old, he's only going to continue to improve as he moves through the system. He has such a pure swing that some have compared him to former Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry.
While Smith doesn't possess too much power at this point, the Mets selected some other power hitters in the later rounds. They took outfielder Ivan Wilson from Ruston High School in Louisiana in the third round. With a unique combination of power and speed, Wilson projects to be a solid player for years to come.
After they selected Mazzilli -- son of former popular Met Lee Mazzilli -- in the fourth round, the Mets continued to draft college players through the ninth round.
In the fifth round, the Mets chose Jared King, a left fielder from Kansas State University. Even the Mets were surprised to still see him on the board when the fifth round rolled around. He hit .327 with six home runs and 51 RBIs for the Wildcats this past season.
The selection of King fills a hole in the Mets' system since there aren't too many highly touted outfield prospects in the organization. Only two of the club's top 20 prospects, according to MLB.com, are outfielders.
With Matthew Oberste in the seventh round, the Mets found themselves a 6-foot-2, 220-pound power-hitting first baseman out of Oklahoma. His numbers for the Sooners this season were extremely impressive, as he hit for a .377 average with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs. Oberste also had a .628 slugging percentage and a .460 on-base percentage.
DePodesta said finding a particular mix of players was a point of emphasis.
"They all bring different skills to the table," DePodesta said. "But we certainly emphasized both speed and power."
Still, the Mets didn't neglect pitching.
Their second-round pick -- Andrew Church from Basic High School in Henderson, Nev. -- has the potential to pitch in the middle of the rotation. Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said he watched Church in the high-school playoffs, and Church hit 93 mph on the radar gun late in the game.
Casey Meisner, one of the Mets' two third-round selections, is a lanky 6-foot-7, 190-pound right-hander who has a good arsenal of pitches. As he continues to develop, he should add some muscle to his frame, allowing him to hit 94 mph with his fastball consistently. Right now, his fastball typically sits around 90 mph.
As the Draft progressed, the Mets continued to select plenty of pitchers to add to their system, including 28th-round pick Robert Coles.
The 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander from Florida State went 4-1 with a 1.16 ERA as a reliever for the Seminoles.
When all was said and done, the Mets drafted a versatile collection of hitters and pitchers, as well as a mix of high-school and college talent.
In the Pipeline
In this year's First-Year Player Draft, the Mets selected a solid mix of hitters and pitchers, but all of their new players are still going to need some time to climb through the system. Until then, the Mets have a stock of players already on their way to the bigs, especially when it comes to pitching.
From top to bottom, the Mets have talented pitchers. Highly touted right-hander Zack Wheeler is on the cusp of reaching the Majors and may even pitch for them next week. Toward the lower rungs of the organization, Class A Advanced St. Lucie's Noah Syndergaard is a right-hander who has plenty of potential and upside as he continues to develop. Right-handed pitcher Rafael Montero is another right-handed pitcher at Double-A Binghamton who might be seeing the bigs soon enough.
Shortstop Wilmer Flores is having a tremendous season for Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .299 with five home runs and 44 RBIs.
The catching position is another strong spot for the Mets. Considered the Mets' top prospect, Travis d'Arnaud is currently recovering from a broken left foot. At Class A Savannah, Kevin Plawecki, who was drafted last year, is another talented catcher.
The Mets have a number of quality prospects already, and the system was bolstered with this year's Draft.