The Mets have quite a few outfielders they would like to have in their lineup in 2020. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo will likely find playing time on a daily basis, Yoenis Cespedes would get to start if he were ever healthy, J.D. Davis’ bat proved to be enough of an asset to ignore his defensive shortcomings and, with Pete Alonso entrenched at first, Dominic Smith could see playing time in left field again. The only problem is that not a single one of those players is an ideal center fielder.

With the departure of the defensive dynamo Juan Lagares the Mets were left with a vital vacancy on their team. While Nimmo and Conforto might be able to just about cover the position, neither is an ideal candidate for the role and the Mets are left with too many corner outfielders and nobody to step up in center.

All of this leads to the Mets trading a couple of prospects for a $1.9 Million Dollar 1.2 WAR center fielder with a career .227 batting average. Jake Marisnick is not a bad player, but no team should ever “need” to trade for a fourth outfielder. Teams are supposed to stockpile the key defensive positions so that such trades are never necessary. Based on the Mets draft history, it looks like that might be something Sandy Alderson forgot.

A team should be drafting players who are capable of fielding the hardest to find positions. That means you should see teams stocked with center fielders, catchers and shortstops. Let’s look back at some of the early (Top 10 Rounds or so) defensive depth draft picks since 2010:

2019: The Mets 2019 draft has been covered in depth. People are aware that the Mets intentionally “gamed” the system in drafting three first round talents and seven college seniors with their top 10 picks. Even so, this draft had the Mets pick up a number of defensive outfielders, a move that made sense with the relative depth they already had at shortstop.
Jake Mangum, OF – The Mets took the switch hitter in the fourth round and sent him to play center for Brooklyn. He wasn’t great but will get a chance to bounce back for Port St. Lucie in 2020.
Zach Ashford, CF – This college outfielder actually had a surprisingly good debut year and may find himself playing center in Binghamton to start the 2020 season. Problem is… he’s already become a corner outfielder.
Antoine Duplantis, CF – Technically a 12th round pick, Duplantis got more money than most of the 7th through 10th rounders. He’s looking at playing for either Columbia or St. Lucie in 2020.

2018: Thanks to a trade in the 2018 offseason the potential star center fielder the Mets drafted has gone on to the Seatle organization. With a catcher and shortstop also part of the top 10 picks it seems the Mets were doing their diligence in signing defensive depth.
Jarred Kelenic, OF – Traded for an aging past-his-prime second baseman and a closer who flamed out in New York City’s limelight. He was not drafted for his defense but could hold onto center field thanks to his physical ability.
Nick Meyer, C – The mustache is great but his bat will never make this sixth round pick viable in the majors.
Manny Rodriguez, SS – The college shortstop has an okay year in Port St. Lucie and could prove to be a backup infielder down the line.

2017: The Mets drafted seven pitchers with their first ten picks and picked up a shortstop (who was quickly moved to third) and two corner outfielders with their non-pitcher picks.

2016: The Mets did grab two shortstops and an outfielder in their Top 10 picks but have since traded away their Top 2 picks. The good news is that Pete Alonso was also drafted this year.
Michael Paez, SS – Briefly showed signs of being a legitimate prospect but he’s no longer a shortstop.
● Colby Woodmansee, SS – An okay Brooklyn debut quickly bottomed out. Woodmansee is currently listed as “released”.
Gene Cone, OF – While he doesn’t exclusively play center he has played significant time there in each of his minor league seasons. Unfortunately, Cone has a career OPS of .575 which will never make him viable.

2015: The Mets were without a first round pick in 2015 and did select several players in the defensive need positions but two of the three were more offensively minded picks.
Desmond Lindsay, CF – If he were a first round pick, he’d be the worst one of the last decade. A disappointment all across the board, Lindsay was hurt… again… in 2019.
Patrick Mazeika, C – He’ll be in AAA for 2020 but is the farthest thing from a defensive asset on this list. If the Mets lose Ramos and want a bat at the catcher position, he might get a shot.
Kevin Kaczmarski, OF – I had pencilled Kaczmarski into the fourth outfielder spot until the Mets made their trade. He has the bat for the role but is more of a corner outfielder.

2014: If Ramos had panned out this would look a little better but it seems that the Mets felt they had drafted enough outfield depth in 2013 to justify drafting none in 2014.
Milton Ramos, SS – People thought highly of the Met’s 3rd round pick but he never really seemed to break through. He never played above Low A and is currently released.
Tyler Moore, C – A catcher who couldn’t hit at all. I watched him play in Brooklyn and wondered why the Mets saw him as a sixth round talent.

2013: The year the Mets seemed determined to draft defensive depth. One out of the four players they drafted this way panned out, which isn’t a terrible success rate.
● Ivan Wilson, OF – A third round pick that never proved his scouting reports correct. He retired after a flailing season at Low A in 2016.
Champ Stuart, OF – Stuart is exactly the type of player that teams are supposed to stockpile, but Stuart hasn’t panned out. The speedy outfielder has shown glimpses of being an MLB caliber fourth outfielder but he’s fallen short and victim to injury.
Patrick Biondi, CF – A solid depth pick when it was made. Biondi profiled as a high contact/high speed outfielder with good defense. His numbers in the minors never matched the hopeful scouting reports. He last played with AA Binghamton in 2018.
Luis Guillorme, SS – One of the better late Top 10 picks of the past 10 seasons. Guillorme is currently serving as the team’s middle infield depth.

2012: If you ignore the fact that the Met’s #1 pick was an absolute bust, the Mets did draft two viable defensive players in the backend of their Top 10 picks.
Gavin Cecchini, 2B/SS – The worst first round pick the Mets have made in the past 10 years. There were better players with higher ceilings and I’m not sure Cecchini can even play shortstop anymore.
Kevin Plawecki, C – Wasn’t considered a defensive catcher but was good enough to play in the majors for a while.
Matt Reynolds, SS – Ironically, drafted as a third baseman. Became a defensive replacement option but was ultimately let go because of the numbers game. He may have been promoted to the majors too quickly.
● Brandon Kaupe, SS – The Hawaii native never panned out or performed above the Kingsport level. Currently listed as released.
Tomas Nido, C – Nido has developed into a defensive catcher and has already become a favorite of certain starting pitchers. Interestingly he was not drafted for his defense but certainly proved to be gifted in that capacity.

2011:
● Brandon Nimmo, CF – The Mets weren’t sure what Nimmo would develop into and there was certainly hope he could play center field when he was drafted but Nimmo has developed into more of a corner infielder.
● Danny Muno, SS – A player who showed a lot of promise early on, Muno was eventually shifted to third and wound up leaving the Mets in 2016. Mets gave him a cup of coffee promotion in 2015.

2010:
● Blake Forsythe, C – After four years with the Mets with nothing standing out about his game, Forsythe found his way out of the organization. He last played professional baseball in 2015.
Cory Vaughn, CF – The son of Greg Vaughn never lived up to his namesake and last played in 2015 for the Reno Aces.
● Matt Den Dekker, CF – Played for the Mets but was eventually the victim of the numbers game. He would have likely been an acceptable fourth outfielder if he were still with the team.

In the end, the Mets have not drafted for a ton of defensive depth over the past decade. Because of this they were left with a choice between Kaczmarski, Sam Haggerty and signing/trading for someone else. The Mets should be using Marisnick on a daily basis even if the outfielder only starts a handful of games. Here’s hoping that the trade works out for them.

16 comments on “Mets Minors: Drafting mistakes necessitate Jake Marisnick deal

  • Brian Joura

    It’s certainly a failure of the system not to have any half-decent OF to promote.

    With the current slotting system, you need to look at all of the guys drafted and not just the top 10. It’s probably not going to change the equation all that much but I’d hope we’d see multiple guys at those three up the middle spots taken each year.

    We need to see if the failure is more due to poor drafting or not enough guys being taken. You can’t expect every guy to pan out but if over, say, a 5-year period you draft a dozen CF and not one of them makes it, well we know where the problem lies.

  • Pal88

    Over the years the Mets have had a propensity to drafting pitchers. The old saying good pitching beats good hitting is how they’ve operated. Unfortunately, until lately, this approach rarely panned out I believe this is why their offensive numbers always seemed to be in MLBs lower half. In addition, having tight fisted owners prevented them from signing hard hitting high average FA’s.

  • Rob

    I really belived cory Vaughn was the real deal. Would like to see Lindsey put in a full season.

    • David Groveman

      Desmond Lindsay was likely injured for the season by being mentioned in a comment.

      • Rob

        Cant blame me. I heard it was a sneeze.

  • LongTimeFan1

    Lack of minor league outfield depth is indeed a problem and has been for some time.

    The author however didn’t include Kirk Niewenhuis and Darrell Cecillani both of whom played CF during the time period written. They weren’t drafted in his 2010-2019 timetable, but contributed in that span.

    K.N. played in 263 Mets games in two stints with the team.

    Ceciliani was drafted in 2009 and had short stint with Mets in 2015, 39 games.

    The author also failed to mention any outfielders signed internationally between 2010-2019. Mets signed plenty including a bunch on their current Top 30.

    He also failed to mention by name 2017 outfield draft picks Quinn Brodey and Matt Winaker..

    Brodey is the most likely to get a call up, even appeared in Mets Top 30 and can play all 3 outfield spots He made it to AA last season and played 44 games in CF for the Rumble Ponies and 19 for St. Lucie, 13 combined steals, 10 homers and 29 doubles, .266 Batting Average. That’s a homegrown, 5th outfielder.

    Winaker and Brodey were/are close friends prior to draft, and if I’m not mistaken, college teammates. Winaker hasn’t panned out due to injury and performance issues

    • David Groveman

      Hi LongTimeFan,

      Thanks for reading. If I had gone back farther in the exercise both Niewenhuis and Cecilliani would have made the list but I was only focusing on those drafted from 2010 onward. You gotta cut things off somewhere, and I chose 2010.

      Quinn Brodey and Matt Winaker are also not center fielders by trade. The exercise focused entirely on the players drafted as center fielders, shortstops and catchers. Brodey was drafted as a corner outfielder and while he did play in center a lot in 2020 he still projects as a poor defensive fit for the role. Winaker was drafted as a LF/1B hybrid and definitely didn’t qualify as a defensive draft pick.

      There is certainly an argument for Brodey but again, I set my own rules for the exercise and didn’t want to break them too badly.

      Thanks for reading.

      • LongTimeFan1

        David, Thanks for your response.

        I recognize your report focused on Mets CF draft picks since 2010, but the purpose of those selections is for performance in that span and beyond.

        I also think that home growns who have played in the majors in that span, or were obtained internationally, are equally important whether drafted in that span or somewhat earlier.

        Freddy Valdez, Adrian Hernandez, Alexander Ramirez were signed as international CF prospects and all are MLB Pipeline Mets Top 30. Stanley Consuegra was listed in Top 30 for a period of time in 2018. You didn’t mention them.

        Quinn Brodey is the kind of organizational outfield depth that fits a 5h outfielder capable of playing all three positions regardless of pure Centerfielder or not. We’ve seen that with Conforto and Nimmo spending plenty time in CF despite arguably fitting better in the corners.

        Here’s MLB Pipeline on Brodey and Stanley Consuegra 2018, Conforto and Nimmo 2014,

        http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2018/?list=nym

        http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2014/#list=nym

        You never know how things pan out until players get their opportunities to develop as big leaguers years down the road as these examples demonstrate.

        There’s also the possibility of converting middle infield athletes into CF like the Mets did with Juan Lagares. The Mets have a glut of middle infield prospects who could potentially be that kind of fit.

  • Eraff

    Since the 80’s, we haven’t seen a Mets team with more productive, young, upside position players. The trade of Kelenic is a very different Gripe, but Critique for the lack of a Promotable 4th/5th Center Fielder seems picky. After all, they could have signed their own guy, and they decided that Marisnek is better than Juan.

    • Brian Joura

      You may think it’s picky but after watching the collection of awful that the Mets trotted out there once Nimmo went down, how anyone could view it as anything other than necessary is beyond me.

    • Mike W

      I dont think it is picky at all. Where is the good center fielder? Look at the junk they picked up last year, Keon Broxton, Aaron Altherr and stuck with Juan Lagares. That’s weak. I agree with Brian.

  • Peter Hyatt

    Another example of why Mets360 is the most intelligent site for Met fans.

    Much to consider from the article and comments.

  • TexasGusCC

    Alot of work, but unfairly focused. I understand the parameters are the top ten picks, but it’s hard for me to believe a n y team would focus on defense in the top ten rounds knowing how hard offense is to come by. David, Blake McIntoch is in the system and he’s a perfect example of the type of player you referenced, but he was taken in the 24th round. While it might be due to his commitment to Vanderbilt, the bottom line is that this article wouldn’t include him.

    Truth is, we all know the draft is a crapshoot. Where is Courtney Hawkins? I loved Jaren Kendall, but why did he fall to 23rd and hasn’t hit a lick in the minors? Same can be said for many highly touted guys. Conversely, Cory Bellinger fell to the fourth round because teams didn’t think he’d be able to keep hitting with that windmill swing.

    Sandy Alderson had said that his focus was on bringing in athletic middle infielders that can move to other positions if they don’t stick at shortstop. That’s not a bad philosophy at all.

    • TJ

      I do agree with Gus here, and his Alderson point is a good one. Now, it is absolutely true that the Mets have a recent dearth in upper level prospect OF, and especially CF, which can’t be ignored. The same can be said for C, SP, and BP recently. Part of that problem is that they picked up bad depth pieces last year. I also remember seeing somewhere last year that the Mets had the most developed players on MLB rosters, which contradicts any indictment on drafting and player development to some degree. Maybe Jeff McNeil can provide solid everyday defense in CF but is penciled in at 3b, who knows. I find the current CF setup right now to be satisfactory, unless they find a blockbuster trade to add a stud…by stud I’m thinking Lindor, Betts…Marte is a fine player but not a stud worth thinning they system for. I’d prefer another quality pen arm or upgrade to backup C instead.

      • LongTimeFan1

        I don’t think McNeil belongs in CF. Not only does he have history of serious injury in minors which robbed him of some foot speed, it puts him at risk for more injury. He had hip labrum tear in minors which required surgery. He’s had abdominal surgery too. We’re better off with Nimmo in center who averages a foot per second faster per Statcast. Losing Nimmo to injury is bad enough. Losing McNeil to serious injury while in the race or postseason, would be devastating.

        I agree that the team overall is satisfactory and we shouldn’t gut the farm in non-blockbuster trade, I also agree we need upgrade at back up catcher, that Nido has done poor job at the plate and surprisingly has thrown out few base stealers. He has fine Pop Time but not particularly good arm strength.

        Nido however is out of options hence is almost surely our back up catcher if not traded or injured. Hopefully, under Mets new leadership, Nido turns into better big league hitter and returns to nailing attempted base stealers with regularity.

        Re: the pen, there’s no room for upgrade unless one or more pitchers is/are traded. One of our 6 starters will be headed to the pen – Perhaps Matz adding lefty to our only current in Wilson. .

  • Charlie

    Not to complicate the problem, but we now know by a preponderance of evidence that Marisnick was a blatant cheat in 2017… Check his home/away splits that year. This guy was never and never will be a hitter. Lagares is a better outfielder and given 100+ starts would be a better hitter. The only problem with Lagares was he was being paid more than he was worth. Nothing but salary relief was gained by letting him go. Mark my words, Lagares will hit better in 2020 given a chance and stability.

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