The 2005 draft has been very kind to the New York Mets. Five players selected that year have reached the major leagues; the seventh most of all National League clubs, but few of those clubs can match the impact of the Mets draftees: Mike Pelfrey (1st round), Jon Niese (2nd round), Bobby Parnell (9th round) and Josh Thole (13th round). In addition, fifth-round pick Drew Butera was dealt to Minnesota for Luis Castillo on July 27, 2007.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins lead the pack with eight draftees appearing in the majors, but the Washington Nationals are the only NL team to put two ’05 picks into the 2010 rotation, but John Lannan and Craig Stammen aren’t close quality-wise to Pelfrey and Niese.
Below is a list of the numbers of 2005 draftees for each NL club to make the majors along with top contributors from that class.
Chicago Cubs – 1
Colorado Rockies – 1 (Troy Tulowitzki)
Houston Astros – 1
Los Angeles Dodgers – 4 (Luke Hochevar)
Philadelphia Phillies – 5
Pittsburgh Pirates – 3 (Andrew McCutchen)
San Francisco Giants – 3 (Sergio Romo)
The ninth pick in the 2005 draft, Pelfrey debuted in the big leagues the following season, and he has won 36 games in the last three years. His 41 career wins by the age of 26 ranks eighth all-time on the Mets list and among 2005 draft picks, Pelfrey ranks second to San Francisco righthander Tim Lincecum in wins (51) and has one more than Tampa Bay righthander Matt Garza.
The sinker-balling Pelfrey is 13-7 this season and has been outstanding except for a seven-start stretch that began in late June; he went 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA and 1.124 OPS. The front office hopes in the near future that Pelfrey will consistently become the guy who is 13-3 with a 2.36 ERA in 19 games this season sandwiched around the slump.
Niese was 8-5 with a 3.33 ERA prior to getting blasted in his last two starts, ballooning his ERA to 3.70. The lefthander is just 2-4 since the All-Star break despite allowing less than three runs in six of 10 starts.
Niese is the first Met southpaw since Sid Fernandez in 1986 to make 25 starts and win eight games before the age of 24. At 21, Niese was the ninth youngest player to appear in the major leagues in 2008 and the youngest Met to start since Bill Pulsipher in 1995.
Thole was taken five rounds behind Butera and is one of 10 catchers out of 150 drafted that season to appear in the major leagues. In fact, his .783 career OPS is best of all 10 players, albeit an underwhelming list which includes Hundley, Brett Hayes of the Marlins and Taylor Teagarden of the Rangers. Florida’s Gaby Sanchez and Pittsburgh’s Jeff Clement were drafted as catchers but have since moved to first base.
Todd Hundley in 1992 was the last 23-year-old Mets backstop to play more games than Thole has this season. And for what it’s worth, Thole’s 116 OPS+ is third among NL catchers this season among catchers with 100 plate appearances.
Parnell has power stuff, including a 97 mph fastball and good slider, but he hasn’t really solidified his role as a late-inning reliever.
He started well in that role, and if we take away two outings where he yielded seven runs without getting an out, the 25-year old has allowed two earned runs and 24 hits in 28 1/3 innings. However, he was passed over for closer duties by manager Jerry Manuel after Francisco Rodriguez was shelved for the season with an injury.
Butera, the son of former major league catcher Sal Butera, is backing up Joe Mauer in Minnesota right now and headed toward the postseason.
In addition to the draftees, GM Omar Minaya signed a couple of Latin bonus babies in 2005.
Fernando Martinez has been a perennial top Mets prospect after signing out of the Dominican Republic for $1.4 million in 2005. The oft-injured outfielder, who was ranked as high as No. 20 by Baseball America, went 3-for-18 during a seven-game stint in early August. He was sent back to Class AAA a few weeks ago, suffered a knee injury shortly thereafter and hasn’t played since.
The Mets signed Deolis Guerra to a $700,000 bonus as a 16-year-old from Venezuela, and he was ranked ahead of Niese by Baseball America in its annual Mets top prospect lists that season. Guerra peaked at No. 35 among all prospects after the 2007 season and was part of the Johan Santana deal that offseason.
Despite a 6-5 frame, Guerra’s fastball has never surfaced, and he has had a terrible 2010 campaign. The 21-year-old is 2-13 with a 6.36 ERA and a 1.626 WHIP in 24 games between Class AA and AAA.
Guerra is the only player remaining with Minnesota from the Santana trade.
The Twins dealt outfielder Carlos Gomez to the Milwaukee Brewers for shortstop J.J. Hardy and sent Kevin Mulvey to the Arizona Diamondbacks for fellow righthander Jon Rauch. Another righthander, 2004 first-rounder Philip Humber, never developed in Minnesota and since has left as a six-year minor league free agent and is now with the Kansas City Royals.