Peter Crow-Armstrong and the Mets’ top 100 picks of the last 11 years

They’re all stars on draft day.

With the exception of the Knicks and the 2009 Draft, no matter the sport, no matter the team, you always hear team reps exclaim how they can’t believe so-and-so fell to them, as he was ranked so much higher on their draft board. And since drafting is an inexact science, at least some of that talk is true. But talk is cheap.

In the Mets360 era (since 2010) the Mets have had three different executives in charge of their drafts. Omar Minaya was in charge that first year. Sandy Alderson oversaw the drafts from 2011-2018 and now Brodie Van Wagenen has called the shots the past two seasons. But despite the turnover at the top, the Mets have generally done very well in the first 100 picks over the past 11 years. Rarely do you see them listed under “mistakes” when analysts do their post-draft reviews immediately following the picks.

And the highest-drafted player not to make the majors – or on a reasonable path to do so – was a guy they took at pick 48. That may not sound all that impressive but there are guys every year drafted in the first round who never make it to the majors. It’s up for debate if Mickey Moniak – the top overall pick from the 2016 Draft – will make it to Philadelphia. The Mets have had a first-round pick in 10 of these 11 seasons and only twice did they have a pick in single digits. The first guy was an All-Star starter before injuries hit and the second guy is currently ranked as the #11 prospect in all of MLB by FanGraphs.

Let’s take a look at all of the players the Mets picked in the overall top 100 since 2010. But instead of organizing it by year, let’s take a look at where they were drafted. Of course, not all drafts are created equal, but few would argue that each draft class didn’t have 100 guys capable of making it to the majors. Here are the Mets’ picks sorted by draft position:

Overall Player Year
6 Jarred Kelenic 2018
7 Matt Harvey 2010
10 Michael Conforto 2014
11 Dominic Smith 2013
12 Gavin Cecchini 2012
12 Brett Baty 2019
13 Brandon Nimmo 2011
19 Justin Dunn 2016
19 Peter Crow Armstrong 2020
20 David Peterson 2017
31 Anthony Kay 2016
35 Kevin Plawecki 2012
44 Michael Fulmer 2011
48 Andrew Church 2013
48 Simeon Woods Richardson 2018
52 J.T. Ginn 2020
53 Desmond Lindsay 2015
53 Josh Wolf 2019
59 Mark Vientos 2017
64 Pete Alonso 2016
69 Isaiah Greene 2020
71 Cory Mazzoni 2011
71 Matt Reynolds 2012
75 Teddy Stankiewicz 2012
76 Ivan Wilson 2013
83 Carlos Cortes 2018
84 Casey Meisner 2013
84 Milton Ramos 2014
88 Max Wotell 2015
89 Blake Forsythe 2010
89 Matthew Allan 2019
91 Anthony Walters 2020
97 Quinn Brodey 2017
100 Blake Tiberi 2016

Most of these names should be familiar to you so there’s no need to dive into each individual one. The successes speak for themselves, perhaps none more so than Rookie of the Year Award winner Alonso at pick #64.

To me the thing that jumps out is how much success the Mets have had, all the way thru to about pick #71. Mazzoni and Reynolds both made the majors, with the former being traded for an MLB player, too. Stankiewicz at #75 is the only one on this list not to sign with the Mets. He went back in the draft and was taken on the second round the following season by the Red Sox. Last year he pitched in Triple-A, where he was serviceable. He’s the type of guy who could certainly make the majors for a brief stint, although 2020 will be his age 26 season.

But there’s certainly a drop off in production from #76 onwards. Meisner and Wotell provided MLB guys in trades and Ramos brought back some international signing money. But essentially these guys look like org filler. Knowing this, it makes the decision to grab Allan on the third round last year and essentially punt the next seven picks even that much of a stronger play.

Overall, 12 of the 34 players on this list have made it to the majors. Additionally, 10 more were taken from 2018 and later, so not enough time for them to have made the majors. The top two picks from 2017 seem like solid bets to make it to the majors at some point. We already discussed Stankiewicz. So, let’s take a look at the nine remaining guys.

Church was unimpressive last year in Double-A and got lit up in his lone appearance at Triple-A. He was released this year and ripped the org on the way out the door.
Lindsay has been dogged by injuries throughout his career.
Wilson was a tools guy who never turned them into production.
Meisner provided trade value. Is currently in Triple-A and could make the majors.
Ramos got an above-slot bonus but never really hit before being dealt.
Wotell went in the Jay Bruce trade. Has been dogged by injuries.
Forsythe was traded for “future considerations,” made it to Triple-A but last played organized ball in 2015.
Brodey earned a mid-year promotion to Double-A last year and ranked 49th on my top 50 list for 2020.
Tiberi had a .669 OPS as a 24 year old in Hi-A in 2019.

If we describe a draft pick bust as one who doesn’t make the majors, then Church is currently the biggest one on this list. But it’s hard to overlook Cecchini, who was taken much higher at #12 overall. The conventional wisdom at the time he was drafted was that Cecchini was a polished defender capable of playing short in the majors but there was doubt as to what his offensive profile would end up being. When he made the majors he looked incapable of playing SS on anything except an emergency basis. And he didn’t overwhelm with his hitting, either.

We have to keep in mind that the Cecchini draft year was the first one with the current slotting system rules in place. The Mets decided to go cheap early in order to have money available for later rounds. It seemed backwards at the time and history hasn’t validated the approach; either, at least not for the Mets. Alderson did this again in 2013 and then went with a more neutral approach. Van Wagenen has done the exact opposite, going overslot early. My preference is for the latter approach, spending money to get premium guys in the first few rounds, rather than round 11 and later. Hopefully, Allan, Ginn and others will justify Van Wagenen’s financial commitment.

9 comments for “Peter Crow-Armstrong and the Mets’ top 100 picks of the last 11 years

  1. Joe Vasile
    June 14, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Man, that Cecchini pick is a rough one. But the run of guys that went right after him — Nick Travieso and Courtney Hawkins — both haven’t made the majors yet. There were definitely some good players to be had in 2012, though.

    Hopefully the Mets approach here pays off and also that they’re able to sign a few good UDFAs, though that $20,000 bonus probably isn’t going to help with many non-college seniors.

    • June 14, 2020 at 8:05 pm

      The one I wanted from that year was Lucas Giolito. Of course, it took him until last year to break out. The deal breaker at the time was that he wanted an overslot bonus. BVW would have picked him…

  2. Chris F
    June 14, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Over at the Athletic Pete McCarthy and Tim Britton interviewed Alderson for an hour about his time with the Mets, and they talked about this topic extensively. I’m not a believer that calling someone to the big leagues is evidence of success. There is too much out of control of the player that determines this. A more reasonable assessment would be making the 25 man roster for 75% of the games since first being called up (excluding injury). Those decisions are of course still front office based, but identify a player the team feels will make a regular contribution to the team. I would pair that with WAR to determine success of a draftee / draft class.

  3. TexasGusCC
    June 14, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    In Alderson’s early years, many picks didn’t make sense. While the Nimmo pick could have been a reach, the Cecchini pick was. Then, in 2013 drafting Andrew Church in the second round… this guy went to three different high schools to complete four years of education getting kicked out of the first two schools, and it’s not like he threw 110. He threw 93 with spotty control.

    I understand that it’s important to measure the talent statistics but a Keith Hernandez has told us many times that in baseball 90% of the difference in players is between the ears. Maybe teams need to implement some manner of scouting the head as well…

    • June 15, 2020 at 12:23 pm

      BA had Cecchini as the #16 guy on their board so it’s hard to say he was a reach when the Mets took him at #12.

      https://www.baseballamerica.com/rankings/ba-500-2012/

      Here’s a piece I wrote before the draft that year, where I aggregated mock draft info for the Mets:

      “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.”

      My opinion in this piece is that the Mets were going to choose between Giolito and Wacha and ultimately pick Wacha because of salary demands.

      http://mets360.com/?p=10935

      Finally, this was my piece right after the draft why taking Cecchini, regardless of what the scouting community thought, was a mistake. And it also contains my preference for Giolito. Plus a nice back-and-forth in the comments section with 7train.

      http://mets360.com/?p=10990

  4. TexasGusCC
    June 14, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Wonder if MLB adopted the NBA’s drafting rules that international players can be drafted. Instead of the July 2nd signing date, all players are only eligible to be acquired through the draft.

    • Name
      June 15, 2020 at 4:15 pm

      I would like to see the reverse happen and have MLB keep the draft to 5 rounds and adopt its intl bonus money format (with a floor) which would give more options to the lower ranked players.

  5. MattyMets
    June 16, 2020 at 11:28 am

    I remember Alderson talking up Cecchini in press conferences. I recall being unimpressed with the kid in spring training. Didn’t seem to have a major league eye at the plate and his defense reminded me of Tejada – good and fluid but nothing special. I had the same experience with Lastings Milledge some years back. Heard all this hype and then went to Port St. Lucie to witness his underwhelming warning track power. Sometimes I don’t understand what the scouts see in a kid. “He looks like Jim Rice” Yeah, maybe in the mirror, but not at the plate.

  6. June 17, 2020 at 4:13 am

    Milton Ramos, Ivan Wilson. Oof. I was all about some of these guys years ago. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t fall in love with any given prospect, regardless of what “could be” based on raw talent alone.

    I too prefer putting money upfront in the early rounds for overslot guys versus trying to find a hidden gem later on. What are the chances that the 10th rounder you think you see more in than other teams pans out compared to the elite potential in the early rounds? The talent available any given year should also factor into the approach, of course.

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