The combination of the homegrown Mets – Davis, Duda, Gee, Niese, Nieuwenhuis, Parnell, Tejada, Thole, Wright – contributing to the first-place 2012 Mets, along with the emphasis on the draft of management, means that more attention is being played on this year’s Draft than any in team history, eclipsing even the 1994 Draft, when the Mets had eight of the top 100 picks in the draft.
In hindsight, the 1994 Draft did not turn out too well, as injuries knocked out some promising arms. We can only hope the 2012 Draft turns out better. But, unlike in 1994 when the Mets held the first pick and it was a foregone conclusion they would take Paul Wilson, we have no idea who they will take with their first pick, the 12th overall selection in the first round.
Times like this it’s good to turn to the experts, but even those who live and breathe the draft can’t come to any consensus. Shoot, the top six forecasters each have a different guy they see the Mets pulling the trigger on when their pick arrives. Of course, some of that is disagreement on who will be taken ahead of the Mets, still it goes to show how no one has any idea who the Mets are eyeing.
Here are the six forecasters and who they project the Mets to take. This is being written shortly after 8:00 AM Eastern time and it’s certainly possible that the draftniks will put out another mock before the actual draft and change their minds on who the Mets grab.
Mack Ade (Mack’s Mets) – An “official pick” should always be who a person thinks the Mets will do, not what they hope the Mets will pick. Much of the guesswork gets thrown out the door when Zunino, Buxton, Appel, Zimmer, Almora, Correa, and Gausman go early. That leaves four picks before the Mets pick. I think there will be a run on shortstops that will take Cecchini and Merrero off the board before #12. I also think there will be an early run on “bats” because there aren’t that many decent ones in this draft. Hawkins and Dalh will probably be picked right before the Mets pick: Clemson 3B/1B/OF Richie Shaffer.
Jim Callis (Baseball America) – New York appears to be deciding between the high school position players and college pitchers. In this scenario, it would come down to Dahl or Cecchini vs. Wacha.
Projected Pick: David Dahl.
Kevin Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus) – The Mets want to show that last year’s Brandon Nimmo pick was not an anomaly, and they are truly focused on upside over cost certainty. That’s created some Lucas Giolito whispers here, but even as high as 12, Giolito could still be an impossible sign. McCullers has as much velocity as any healthy high school arm in the draft, and is considered signable. Projected Pick: Lance McCullers
Keith Law (ESPN) – They’re also on to Cecchini, Dahl, North Carolina prep third baseman Corey Seager and Texas A&M righty Michael Wacha. Giolito is a dark horse here. This is probably Zunino’s floor, and it’s definitely Fried’s floor. Projected Pick: Max Fried.
Jonathan Mayo (MLB.com) – If Marrero doesn’t go to the Pirates, he could land here, as could one of those college arms, but for now, the Mets likely will go with a high school hitter for the second successive year. If Cecchini doesn’t go here, he could drop a bit. Projected Pick: Gavin Cecchini.
John Sickels (Minor League Ball) – He won’t need long in the minors, and would fit nicely on a future pitching staff with Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, and Jeurys Familia. Projected Pick: Michael Wacha.
The first five prognosticators had the Mets taking a high school player. Only Sickels, forecasting Wacha out of Texas A&M, had the Mets taking a collegiate player in the first round. This makes sense, as the Mets made such a big deal out of drafting upside when they took Nimmo last year.
My take is that the Mets would prefer to take a hitter with their first-round pick. If by some miracle, University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino falls to them, I think that’s who the Mets take. That seems unlikely. When it’s time for the Mets to pick, they see the value is in pitching. They will have their choice between injured prepster Lucas Giolito (thought to be the #1 pick before coming down with an injured elbow) and Wacha.
If the Mets take Giolito, it will most likely mean going above the slot recommendation. This will require them to go cheap elsewhere or pay the penalty. It seems unlikely they will pay extra to go above slot. So expect the Mets to take Wacha, assuming Fried is gone.