Major league teams and scouting experts have spent the spring learning more about the available prospects. With the draft coming up, a clearer picture of who teams will target and which players will be available when their pick comes up is available.
Draft experts combine their own reports with what they hear from teams to put together mock drafts that give fans a good idea as to who each team’s likeliest selections will be. You can read about the five players I project to be the most likely selections here.
Chris Crawford of ESPN and MLB Draft Insider presented an extra useful mock draft in his latest version, in which he not only projects the pick but also the percentages that they will select other players. In his mock, Crawford has the Mets selecting San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer.
While Crawford believes there is a 35 percent chance the Mets pick Zimmer, he also thinks there is a 30 percent chance they draft either left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland from Evansville or Sean Newcomb from Hartford, as well as a five percent chance they take high school right-hander Grant Holmes.
MLB.com’s draft presents mocks by both Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo. Callis has the Mets picking Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, and writes:
New York is another team looking at the same college names mentioned from Nos. 6-9, and also would consider San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer.
The players he has going from Nos. 6-9 are Freeland, LSU righty Aaron Nola and N.C. State shortstop Trea Turner.
Mayo, on the other hand, has the Mets selecting Newcomb. He has heard that “The Mets have been on the southpaw [Newcomb] from the get-go, and he's done nothing to sway them away.”
ESPN’s Keith Law is one of the most noted draft experts on the internet, and in his latest mock draft (subscription required), he also has the Mets selecting Newcomb. Law’s blurb on the Mets’ pick is the briefest of the top 10, in which he states:
I've heard them connected mostly with college players, including Michael Conforto and Trea Turner.
Baseball America’s mock draft used to be headed by Callis but is now in the hands of John Manuel. Manuel had the Mets selecting Conforto in his first two mocks, but in his most recent version, he has them taking Newcomb, further adding to the buzz surrounding the big left-hander.
While all of these mocks have the Mets selecting a college player, Perfect Game has them going a different route. David Rawnsley writes their mock, and in it, he prefaces the selections by stating how this year’s draft is “driven by the high school pitching class and a group of high ceiling but unpolished high school athletes.”
With that in mind, he has the Mets selecting one of the most talented yet unpolished high school athletes in the draft, right-hander Touki Toussaint. Rawnsley believes the Mets would be too enticed by his athleticism to pass him up, but considering that the Mets have been tied almost exclusively to college players, one would think Toussaint is an unlikely choice.
So what should we make of the experts’ latest mocks?
Most significantly, it seems like the Mets will take a college player, even though they have taken a high school player the past three years in the first round. This makes sense, considering how Sandy Alderson is receiving increased amounts of criticism, making a player that is more likely to contribute soon more appealing to the current regime.
It should also be noted that the Mets are still interested in pitchers, despite their organizational strength in the area. The front office wants a college player to contribute in the nearer future, yet the fact they have been tied to someone like Newcomb exhibits how they aren’t completely abandoning the philosophy of drafting the best player available in order to fill an organizational need.
Ideally, the Mets would take the best player available, regardless of whether or not they are a college or high school player. However, focusing on college players is defensible since the team believes its window for competing should begin in the next year or two.
Despite these writers being labeled “experts,” they cannot all be correct, and mock drafts often fall apart within the first few picks. Regardless, the draft should be an interesting night for the Mets, as they will either add an important piece of their future or miss out on the opportunity to do so.