We continue our look at the drafts of the Mets under Sandy Alderson by focusing on the 2013 Draft. This was Alderson’s third draft and we see a continuation of themes from his first two years at the helm, most noticeably going underslot to sign a high school pick with his first selection while also trying to add high-powered arms to the system.
With their first pick, the Mets chose Dominic Smith, who was a 1B/OF as a prepster. The Mets viewed Smith as a 1B and they admired his athleticism at the position. He was considered a two-way star, even if there were doubts about him being a 30-HR hitter in the majors. Indeed, Smith has not shown very much power so far in his career, but he’s been a strong hitter for average with good on-base skills and has earned raves for his defensive work.
The Mets took Andrew Church with their second pick, a high school hurler from Nevada. Church had an interesting high school career, not pitching much as he attended multiple schools. The Mets knew he was raw and that was a big reason they selected him – so he could sign an underslot deal and they could use the savings for elsewhere in the draft. So far, Church has been very hittable and he’s yet to make it out of short-season ball.
High school players continued to rule, as the Mets selected prepsters with their two third-round picks. Ivan Wilson was considered a five-tool CF while Casey Meisner was a 6’7 RHP. Wilson hasn’t developed. He showed a ton of power in the APPY in 2014 but hit below the Mendoza Line. He returned to Kingsport in ’15 and got his AVG to a respectable .247 but his power disappeared. Meisner was having a breakout year in Savannah but shortly after a promotion to Hi-A, he was dealt to the A’s for Tyler Clippard.
The next six selections for the Mets came from the collegiate ranks. They made a nod to their past with their fourth-round pick, tabbing L.J. Mazzilli, the son of former first-round pick and All-Star Lee Mazzilli. The younger Mazzilli seemed on track to make the majors as an offense-first infielder, as he earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League following the 2014 season. But a suspension for recreational drug use has hurt him. He already was a bit older than you would prefer a prospect to be and when he finally got on the field in 2015, he didn’t appear to be the same hitter he was previously.
The Mets continued to focus on hitters with their next three picks, getting Jared King, Champ Stuart and Matt Oberste. King spent all of 2015 in Double-A but did not impress. Stuart entices people with his blazing speed but hit just .176 in Hi-A last year. Oberste is the most intriguing one of this group but he has the misfortune of playing the same position in the same level of the minors as Smith, without the first-round pedigree. He hit .301 last year in Hi-A and will go as far as his bat will carry him. He hasn’t shown much power yet but with a likely assignment in Binghamton in ’16, he could challenge for 20 homers.
Ricky Knapp was chosen on the eighth round and won a bunch of games this year as an older pitcher in the SAL. He got a late promotion to Hi-A, where he pitched out of the bullpen and got knocked around. Ninth-round pick Patrick Biondi repeated the SAL at age 24 and was unable to crack a .700 OPS.
Luis Guillorme was a high school shortstop from Florida that the Mets picked on the 10th round. After so-so years his first two years in the system, he had an eye-opening campaign as a 20 year old in the SAL in 2015. He has no power but a SS with a .391 OBP will make anyone take notice.
With the money they saved at the top of the draft, the Mets went overslot in a big way on Tyler Bashlor. They signed him to a then-record $450,000 overslot bonus for a post-10th-round pick. Basholor came with a monster fastball but has been sidelined by TJ surgery and has not seen game action since 2013.
Jeff McNeil, picked on the 12th round, takes the reins as the org’s top older, offensive-first infielder from Mazzilli. He had a .312/.373/.382 line in Hi-A while seeing significant time at 2B, 3B and SS. He’ll be 24 at the start of next season, so there’s no time to lose and he’ll have to keep hitting to have a shot at the majors.
Other picks of interest from the 2013 draft include Colton Plaia (15th round), Dan Hermann (20), Brandon Brosher (36) and Paul Paez (38). Plaia is a backstop who hit .285 in Hi-A last year but is already 24. Hermann got a $100,000 overslot deal but was released during the year. Brosher is a power-hitting catcher who has been slowed by injuries. He stayed healthy last year but struggled with the bat. Paez is an under-sized lefty reliever who held LHB to a .504 OPS last season.
The Mets have already received a nice return from their fourth-round pick, using Meisner in a trade to get a quality set-up man in Clippard. No one else has made an impact for the major league club yet. The draft will be remembered either good or bad depending on how first-round pick Smith does. He won the MVP of the Florida State League this past year. The only thing missing is power and we should expect more homers with his move to Double-A. Oberste, Guillorme and McNeil all have reasonable chances to make the majors as bench players. High-round gambles in Church and Wilson both have flopped and so far no one drafted late has stepped up and looks to be a major contributor for the Mets.
Right now, the strong performance of Clippard and the potential of Smith gives this draft class a “C” rating. But it’s extremely unlikely to be viewed this way three years from now. If Smith continues to develop he might be able to bring it up to the “B” level. But if he never hits for power and no one else steps up – this could be a “D-“ rating.