The Mets once again stuck to younger players in the early rounds of this year’s draft, picking three high schoolers in the first three rounds. Here is a roundup of the first five rounds of the draft.
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With their first pick, the Mets selected Dominic Smith 11th overall. Smith, 17, is a left-handed hitting first baseman out of Serra High School in the San Diego area. Smith was regarded as one of the best hitters in the draft, and was projected to go in the first half of the first round. He is also a pitcher, but his potential is far greater as a position player.
The Mets loved Smith and their area scout had been keeping tabs on him since he was 12 years old. Smith has one of the most natural swing of the draft, and has been compared to the likes of Todd Helton and Rafael Palmeiro. Here’s what Mets Amateur Scouting Director Tommy Tanous told ESPN New York about Smith:
“We felt going back to last spring, into the summer, that this was one of the most advanced high school hitters that you’ll find, The fact that he bats left-handed is even nicer. You don’t find a swing like this every year. We feel like we put a very offensive player and defensive player into the system. I’ve been scouting 18 years. I don’t think I’ve seen a first baseman play as an amateur that plays this kind of defense. This a well-rounded player — it’s hit and power and it’s a middle-of-the-order bat.”
Keith Law of ESPN also had some nice things to say about him:
Smith is one of the best pure hitters in the high school class, showing a smooth left-handed swing with power and a plus glove at first base. When he keeps his weight back, his swing is outstanding, with great balance through contact and good hip rotation to generate power from his legs. He has quick, strong wrists, with a projectable body that should lead to very hard contact when he fills out in three or four years.
It’s important to realize that this selection has likely nothing to do with the struggles of Ike Davis so far this season. Smith hasn’t turned 18 yet, so he is still years away from the majors. The Mets felt he was the best player available, and took him. He may very well be the best hitter in the draft. This front office has drafter high schoolers in the first round three years in a row, while almost completely ignoring need of the big league club. That’s a trap that Omar Minaya and his staff fell into towards the end of his tenure, drafting college relievers high up, hoping they could get the the Mets as fast as possible. It’s clear that the staff is just trying to stack the farm system, which, when rebuilding, is the most efficient way to piece together a homegrown roster.
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In the second round, the Mets chose RHP Andrew Church 48th overall in the second round. Church was ranked the 90th best prospect in the draft by Baseball America. Here’s what they had to say about him:
His fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range with some riding life and he’s dialed it up as high as 95. Church mixes in a mid-to-upper 70s curveball and a changeup and slider that are both in the 78-80 mph range. Church has swing-and-miss stuff and has cleaned up his delivery since the summer showcase circuit. A member of Team Vegas in the summer and fall, Church is committed to San Diego as part of the Torero’s outstanding class.
Church may be thought of as a reach as he was ranked significantly lower than many second-round picks, but it really isn’t as bad of a pick as it may appear on the surface. Church has played for three schools in his four years of high school, and doesn’t have the same amount of experience as his peers. That is one of the reasons why he was ranked much lower than 48th on most draft boards. In reality, he is a high risk, but also high reward pick.
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Here is a roundup of the rest of the Mets’ early-round picks with notes from MLB.com:
3rd Round: Ivan Wilson, CF, Ruston High School (Louisiana) R/R
Wilson’s combination of tools and athleticism is among the best of this year’s prep outfielders. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with good strength and plus speed. Wilson, out of Ruston H.S. (La.), has good power and can hit home runs to any part of the ballpark. He takes advantage of his power-speed combination thanks to good instincts on the basepaths. Wilson has excellent range in the outfield and enough arm for right field if he can’t stay in center field. By mid-May, he still hadn’t committed to college, leaving scouts wondering about his signability.
3rd Round: Casey Meisner, RHP Cypress Woods HS (TX)
Meisner is a rare Texas pitcher who remains projectable. Listed at 6-foot-7, 185 pounds (R/R), Meisner has touched 94 mph with his fastball, but more typically throws it around 90 mph. As he physically matures and learns to be more consistent in his delivery, scouts expect his fastball to eventually sit around 94 mph instead of just touching it. He also throws a curveball and changeup, both of which have a chance to be Major League-average offerings. Meisner has clean arm action, but struggles to repeat his delivery, which affects his command and velocity. He is committed to Texas Tech.
4th Round: L.J. Mazzilli, 2B, University of Connecticut R/R
The son of former big leaguer Lee Mazzilli was selected in the ninth round of the 2012 Draft by the Twins, but he opted to go back to UConn for his senior season. He responded with a solid all-around season that could very well help his Draft status. Mazzilli has a solid swing with decent bat speed and projects to keep hitting for average at the next level. He’s not a huge power guy, but he should run into a handful of home runs and could pile up the doubles. He’s an excellent baserunner who makes the most of his decent speed. Mazzilli has made progress on his defense and most feel he should be able to stay on the infield as an offensive-minded second baseman.
5th Round: Jared King, OF, Kansas State S/L
King is a solid college performer with good tools across the board. His best tool is his bat, and he has the chance to hit for both average and power. He has tremendous bat speed with a short stroke from both sides of the plate and the ball carries off his bat. He’s a solid average runner who might be better suited for a corner outfield spot and that could mean left given that his arm is his weakest tool. It’s his bat, though, that will get him drafted, and he might have enough to be taken off the board in the first few rounds.