Here’s the first installment of the new series, and it is about the Mets. They are my favorite team, so they naturally get priority. Back in 2016, I was not too happy about this draft, but lets see if my mind changes by the time this article ends.
Minor League Team Key
Short Season-Brooklyn Cyclones
Low A-Columbia Fireflies
High A-Port St. Lucie
AA-Binghamton Rumble Ponies
AAA-Las Vegas 51’s
1-19 Justin Dunn-RHP
Dunn was somewhat of a surprise pick by the Mets considering at the time they were very deep at pitching. Then this season’s fiasco happened and suddenly it is great that they have more high end depth. I am not going to lie, as a fan of the Mets, I was not a fan of the pick then, and I still am not a fan of it now. Dunn has a great fastball(90-94) and slider as well as being super athletic, but he has not developed anything softer besides a curve that flashes average on occasion, and I can’t help but think that he will end up in the bullpen, although trusted with high leverage situations. He is ranked number 4 in the organization by Fangraphs, so maybe I am wrong.
His season this year was not a lights out season that I expected after his good season in 2016. He posted a 5.00 ERA(4.35 xFIP) and 7.08 K/9 and 4.53 BB/9 in 95.1 innings in high A ball. The walk rate is concerning, and his 41.9% GB percentage is nothing special either. I know I have been bearish on his this entire write up, but I do have faith that after a year of pro ball, he can make adjustments and I think his athleticism will allow him to continue to improve.
1-31 Anthony Kay-LHP
Kay had Tommy John surgery in late 2016 and it forced him to miss all of last year, so there is not much to say. Hopefully he ends up like Steven Matz, another Mets lefty who battled arm injuries, and is able to get through it. I will say that I love his changeup, but besides that there is not a lot else. Should be an end of the rotation guy.
2-64 Peter Alonso-1B
Alonso was brought in to pound the baseball, and that is what he did this year at high A and at his stint in double A. In 346 PA in high A ball, he hit 16 homers with a .286/.361/.516 slash line and a 157 wRC+. The scary part was that he did not take many walks(7.2% in A+,4.3% in AA) but his K% was only 18.5%. I think it would have been foolish to expect him to take a lot of walks, but taking more walks is something he has to work on. The power is really nice though and he has potential to be a regular at first.
3-100 Blake Tiberi-3B
Tommy John hit the Mets twice in the first five rounds, getting Tiberi this year. He managed only 22 plate appearances before getting the surgery. The scouting report on him is that he can really hit, but he wasn’t able to show that in lower A ball in 2016, hitting just .235. Hopefully he can get back healthy and regain his hitting stroke next year.
4-130 Michael Paez-SS
Paez was listed as a shortstop in the draft, but he might be better suited for second base. He’ll get lots of time at short, but I think his ceiling is either an everyday second baseman or a utility guy who is able to play every position in the infield. Paez got called up midway through the season from low A to high A ball and it was a mixed bag. He slashed .290/.376/.509 with 8 homeruns(wRC+ 152) in low A, but really struggled in high A hitting just .200/.324/.270 and 2 homers(wRC+ 82). However, his walk rate went up and his strikeout rate went down in high A. Give him another half season at A+ and I think he will be fine.
5-160 Colby Woodmansee-SS
Woodmansee was one of the better defensive shortstops of this class, and his solid plate discipline and power made him appealing. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily this year in A ball, hitting .132/.197/.165 for a wRC+ of 9. His strikeout rate was a horrendous 31.6% and the walk rate was only 6.8%. Not exactly what we were looking for, even out of a guy that was primarily a defensive player. He did get a call to A+ where he did slightly better(.213/.275/.340) but it still was not good. He definitely needs another year at A ball and I think that if he can hit at least .250 he will be fine.
6-190 Chris Viall-RHP
Viall is a monster at 6’9’’ 230 with a big fastball at 94-96 topping 98. He’s a classic high strikeout/high walk reliever, but this year in low A he was able to reign it in. Viall put up a 10.59 K/9 and a 4.78 BB/9 in 26.1 innings with a 3.42 ERA and a 43.3% GB rate. I like Viall, his fastball is great and the curve is average as well. One of my favorite draft picks by the Mets
7-220 Austin McGeorge-RHP
McGeorge is a sinker/slider guy from Long Beach State who struck out a ton of guys(13.89 K/9) in his draft year. He started at A ball but then moved up to high A after just 12.2 innings. He had a great season in St. Lucie with 11.84 K/9 and 3.08 BB/9 and an excellent 66.2% GB rate in 38 innings. McGeorge had a 1.89 ERA(2.07 xFIP) and I am really excited to see how he does in AA ball next year
8-250 Placido Torres-LHP
This was the oddest pick in the draft class for me. Torres was a 23 year old pitcher out of Tusculum College, a school I did not know existed. He did pitch 116 innings in 14 starts in his senior season which is very impressive and had a 12.16 K/9, but his fastball/slider arsenal is not very impressive. Torres pitched only 10 innings this year in short season A, with a unimpressive 7.20 K/9 and 6.30 BB/9 and a 3.60 ERA. His groundball rate was 36% and his lack of strikeouts and his high walk rate makes me doubt he will get to AA ball.
9-280 Colin Holderman-RHP
Holderman is a big guy(6-6 220) who has a good fastball(90-94) and two potentially average secondary pitches, a low 80s slider and a curve. I like Holderman, even though he does have three pitches I do not see him as a starter but I think he can be a solid reliever. He had a solid year in Columbia and had a 7.26 K/9 and 3.19 BB/9 with a 4.94 ERA in 31 innings. I’ll be interested to see what he does next year.
10-310 Gene Cone-OF
Cone has everything besides power, but a serious lack of power can keep a guy out of advancing in today’s era of baseball. The lack of power would have been ok if he had plus defense, but his defense is not enough to make up for the lack of power. He slashed only .219/.323/.273 in Columbia and had no homers. He did have a 13.0% BB rate and a 18.9% K rate, but not being able to hit a homerun writes him off for me.
11-340 Cameron Planck-RHP
Planck had the oddest signing bonus of the draft, getting $1,000,001 dollars. While I was not super high on some of the players they got in the first 10 rounds, the Mets plan to save money in the first 10 to get quality prep players after is a solid strategy. Planck is 6-4 220 with a 90-94(top 96) fastball. His slider flashes average, but it is hard to say much about a high school pitcher who is not lock 1st round pick. Obviously there is a lot of dreaming going on in these evaluations. He has not played yet, we will have to wait a couple years to see how he will do professionally.
12-370 Matt Cleveland-RHP
The Mets got another big high school pitcher with this selection. Cleveland is 6-5 200 with a fastball with good sink that is in the 88-92 MPH range and has a curve and changeup that is developing. He had 2.55 ERA with a 6.21 K/9 and 4.39 BB/9 in 24.2 innings in the GCL. Not too shabby for a 19 year old.
13-400 Dan Rizzie-C
Rizzie is a guy that anyone can get behind. He was never recruited out of high school and walked on to Xavier, and then become one of the best catchers in the nation his senior year.
He projects to be a defense first catcher with a big league backup as a ceiling. In Columbia, he hit .261/.317/.304 before getting promoted to high A and hitting a uninspiring .153/.271/.169. Also, he didn’t hit any homeruns, which would write him off if it wasn’t for the fact that he is a good defender. Still, the lack of power is concerning and it makes me more bearish on his chances of making the big leagues. I am still rooting for him though.
14-430 Christian James-RHP
This sounds redundant by now, but James is another big high schooler who has good velocity. In 51 innings at Kingsport, he had a 4.18 ERA and a 10.10 K/9 and 2.79 BB/9 with a 51.1% GB rate. Super impressive, can’t wait to follow him as he rises through the minor league ranks.
15-460 Jacob Zanon-OF
Zanon was another guy who did everything well except for hitting for power while at Lewis-Clark. Unlike Gene Cone though, his defense and speed makes up for the lack of power and has the potential to become a backup outfielder in the majors. Zanon spent time between Columbia and Port St. Lucie this year, with most of the time being in Columbia. In Columbia, he slashed .246/.338/.330 with 1 homer(yes!) and had a pretty good walk percentage 11.5%. He also had 28 stolen bases which confirmed his plus speed. Should be an interesting guy to follow.
16-490 Trent Johnson-RHP
I am pretty sure Trent is the first JUCO player that the Mets were able to sign. He is 6’5’’ 185 and could get fill out more. He didn’t have the best season in Kingston, putting up a 5.55 ERA in 60 innings with only 5.10 K/9, but his walk rate was only 2.85 BB/9 and an above average 57.3 GB%. I’ll be interested to see how he does in a full season.
17-520 Jay Jabs 3B
Jabs is a third baseman from Franklin Pierce with plus speed and an above average arm with average power. He had a rough year in Columbia, hitting just .206/.278/.347 with 7 homers and 4 stolen bases. The 28.3% strikeout rate was ugly too. Definitely needs another year in low A ball. However, this video might make you laugh.
18-550 Adam Atkins-RHP
Good pick by the Mets here, and not just because I love sidearm pitchers. Atkins had an incredible senior year at Louisiana Tech, with a 1.10 ERA and 11.63 K/9 and 2.20 BB/9 in 41 innings. In his first full year of pro ball, he pitched 31.1 innings in Columbia and had a 0.86 ERA with 8.33 K/9 and 1.72 BB/9. Incredible. He was rewarded and got called up to A+, where he had a rough time, having a 7.71 ERA in 7 innings. His xFIP was 3.15 though and he had 10.29 K/9 and 3.86 BB/9 which makes me think that he will be fine. Should start the season in A+ ball next year with a shot at starting in AA.
19-580 Gary Cornish-RHP
Cornish has one good pitch, a low 90s sinker, and a breaking ball that is average. Not super impressive, but he was a strikeout machine in college. It did not really translate to pro ball, as he only had 6.14 K/9 in 29.1 innings in Columbia this year. Cornish isn’t my favorite college reliever that the Mets got, but he isn’t terrible. Not a lot to say about him.
21-640 Max Kuhns-RHP
Kuhns solid junior season at Santa Clara was enough to get him selected in the 21st round. Didn’t have much to say about him, but he had a great year in Columbia. In 25.2 innings, he had a 12.97 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9 with a 2.10 ERA. That type of year will make anyone interested in you, and I can’t wait to see what he does next year.
22-670 Ian Strom-OF
Strom is another solid defensive outfielder with limited upside. He split time between Columbia and Port St. Lucie, and did well at both levels. In Columbia, he slashed .294/.370/.462 with 3 homers and 11 stolen bases. In Port St. Lucie, Strom hit .270/.270/.351 in 37 plate appearances, and did not record a walk. Strom’s approach isn’t very good, his 6.8%/17.9% BB/K in Columbia and 0.0%/21.6% in Port St. Lucie is concerning. Should start at A+ next year, will be interested to see what he does.
23-700 Nick Sergakis-2B
Not really a fan of redshirt seniors being drafted, but Sergakis has proven me wrong. He made it to Port St. Lucie this year, where he hit .252/.371/.432 and 6 homers and 12 stolen bases. Sergakis is already 24, but I am excited to see what he can do next year.
24-730 Dariel Rivera-RHP
Another high school player, this one from Puerto Rico. Lots of room to grow, as he is 6-3 160. Has a 86-90 FB and a low 70s curve. He struggled in the GCL this year with a 5.63 ERA in only 8 innings and had a 4.50 K/9 and 3.38 BB/9. Rivera’s got some time though.
30-910 Eric Villanueva-RHP
Another high school pitcher from Puerto Rico. Had a rough year in the GCL where he had a 13.50 BB/9 and a 5.63 ERA in 16 innings.
31-940 Jeremy Wolf-OF/1B
Wolf was a stud at D3 Trinity University, hitting.408/.508/.741 in his senior year. He only hit .241/.308/.313 with a 22% strikeout rate and 0 homers. I am bearish that he can make it out of A ball.
36-1090 Garrison Bryant-RHP
Another high school pitcher, this one from Philadelphia. His year at Kingston was rough, as he he had a 8.76 ERA(4.86 xFIP) with a 8.03 K/9 and 4.38 BB/9. Bryant has a lot of time, he was one of the younger players in the draft.
Well this was a lot of fun to make. I do like the college relievers they got later in the draft, but I was unimpressed by the hitters they got. Only Alonso is a hitter that should have above average power, and the trio of only defensive outfielders was not my favorite. Hopefully they prove me wrong, but I was not much of a fan of this draft.
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