LOS ANGELES -- Among Brodie Van Wagenen’s first acts as Mets general manager was to dip into the organization’s depth. In acquiring Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz, and to a lesser extent J.D. Davis, Van Wagenen spent some of the Mets’ ripest assets. Gone to Seattle were Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, two of the Mets’ past three first-round picks. The team also graduated Pete Alonso to the Majors, leaving the upper levels of the Minors mostly barren.
At the 2019 Draft, Van Wagenen has his first opportunity to fill in those gaps. Leaning on two holdovers from the previous front office, vice president of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous and director of amateur scouting Marc Tramuta, the Mets hope to replenish what their farm system has lost.
“The Draft is about acquiring talent that you can use and convert either to have graduate to the Major League level, or to help us acquire talent that can help us in the near-term,” Van Wagenen said. “Acquiring assets and getting premium talent that has value in the game -- both for us and other people -- is really important.”
In addition to Tanous and Tramuta, the Mets will rely on assistant general manager Allard Baird and special assistant Omar Minaya as they look to fill out their farm system. Because the Mets’ usual war room in Port St. Lucie, Fla., is under renovation, they’ll head to a temporary home in Florida to call in their picks.
The 2019 Draft will take place tonight through Wednesday, beginning with tonight's Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 41 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.
Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, mock Drafts from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.
Here’s how the Draft is shaping up for the Mets, whose first selection is the 12th overall pick.
In about 50 words
After sending two of their most promising prospects to the Mariners for Cano and Diaz and bringing up Alonso to the Majors, the Mets are looking for high-impact talent in Van Wagenen’s first Draft. The first-time GM will lean on an experienced scouting staff as he seeks to rebuild New York’s farm system.
What they’re saying
“We’ve had a lot of consistency in the staff and the leadership of our amateur scouting department. We’ve really just tried to bolster our scouting department and bolster the quality of our looks. With the Draft, we obviously want to not only get the highest impact players, but also create depth and infrastructure to our system, to be able to keep a pipeline of players coming through.” -- Van Wagenen
Who might they take?
MLB.com’s first three mock Drafts all linked the Mets to University of Kentucky left-hander Zack Thompson, a talented pitcher who would project higher if not for shoulder issues in high school and a recent elbow injury. Fallback options include a pair of collegiate position players: Baylor University catcher Shea Langeliers, considered one of the best defensive backstops the Draft has seen in years, and UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott.
To ensure competitive balance, MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that each team has a bonus pool to spend based upon the number and position of its Draft picks. The more selections a team has and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. Any club that overspends its budget is subject to taxes and, in extreme cases, a loss of future picks.
Any team that goes up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage, plus the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
This year, the Mets have a pool of $8,224,600 to spend in the first 10 rounds, over $1.2 million less than their allotment last year. That includes $4,366,400 to spend on their first selection.
The Mets seem set on the left side of their infield for the foreseeable future, with Amed Rosario under team control for four more seasons and their top four prospects -- Andres Gimenez, Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos and Shervyen Newton -- all either shortstops or third basemen. The organization’s weakest area remains the outfield, particularly at the upper levels, which explains why New York recently signed Carlos Gomez, Rajai Davis, Matt Kemp and other veterans to Minor League deals. Particularly after trading Kelenic to the Mariners, the Mets could use an impact outfielder to headline their system.
After loading their system with position players throughout the past decade, the Mets began shifting their focus back to pitching in recent years. Of their top 10 picks in the past two Drafts combined, New York has selected 13 pitchers -- all but one from the college ranks. The organization has been more eager to go the high school route for position players, selecting both Kelenic and third baseman Vientos high in recent Drafts.
Recent top picks
2018: Jarred Kelenic, OF (Class A West Virginia, traded to Mariners organization in December 2018)
2017: David Peterson, LHP (Double-A Binghamton)
2016: Justin Dunn, RHP (Double-A Arkansas, traded to Mariners organization in December 2018)
2015: Desmond Lindsay, OF (Class A Advanced St. Lucie)
2014: Michael Conforto, OF (Mets)