Ask any Mets fan off the street and they’ll tell you that the Mets’ farm system lacks depth and this is a major issue. But, they’ll tell you, they’re going to solve that issue with all of the picks that they’ll have in the upcoming 2022 Draft. The Mets have an extra first-round pick due to not signing Kumar Rocker last year. And now another high draft pick has fell into their laps, as Noah Syndergaard rejected their QO and signed with the Angels. Assuming they don’t sign a free agent themselves who has received the QO, the Mets will have six of the top 100 picks in the 2022 Draft.

On the surface, this sounds great. But the reality is that teams with this many draft picks rarely have great production when all is said and done. Let’s look at some teams that had draft hauls like the Mets will have next season. Let’s start with the Mets themselves. Back in 1994, they had eight of the top 100 picks, including the first overall selection in a year when there was a consensus top pick. Let’s break them down pick-by-pick:

Paul Wilson (1st round, 1) – In 1995 Baseball America listed him as the 16th-best prospect in the minors and the following year he was number two overall. But then he met Dallas Green and the rest was history, and not of the record-breaking kind. Wilson pitched parts of seven years in the majors, finished 40-58 with a 4.86 ERA and ended his career with a 0.5 bWAR.

Terrence Long (1st round, 20) – A compensation pick from the Orioles for the loss of Sid Fernandez, Long has 20 doubles, 10 triples and 16 HR at Double-A in 1998 and looked like a potential All-Star. But he was dealt to the A’s in the Kenny Rogers trade. Long peaked in his rookie year with the A’s and never developed into a good hitter. He played eight years in the majors and posted a .269/.318/.404 line and earned a 5.1 lifetime bWAR.

Jay Payton (1st supplemental, 29) – Another compensation pick for losing Fernandez, Payton was the pure hitter. But injuries slowed him in the minors and he never delivered on the hype. Payton turned out to be a solid major league player and even put up a couple of good seasons for the Rockies in the pre-humidor days. In 12 seasons in the majors, he had a .279/.323/.425 line and a 14.7 bWAR, by far the best mark of any of the 1994 Mets’ picks.

Sean Johnston (2nd round, 35) – He looked like he was going to develop into a fine pick but he underwent TJ surgery, lost two full years and never recovered. He never made it past the Florida State League.

Matt LeCroy (2nd supplemental, 63) – A compensation pick for losing Charlie O’Brien, LeCroy did not sign and instead attended Clemson. Three years later he was a supplemental first-round pick of the Twins. LeCroy played parts of eight years in the majors and recorded a -0.2 bWAR.

Bryon Gainey (3rd round, 64) – Never played a game in the majors. Gainey was the classic minor league slugger who could do little else. He hit 25 HR in Double-A in 1999 and was back at the same level in 2000. The following year he was in Independent Ball.

Kevin McCarthy (4th round, 92) – Like Gainey, he never reached the majors. Unlike Gainey, he never even showed one potential tool in his brief minor league career. In parts of four seasons, he posted a .213/.285/.298 line in the minors as a 1B/OF.

Ken Pumphrey (4th round, 98) – A compensation pick for losing Howard Johnson to the Rockies, he went 23-12 during the 97-98 seasons. But he found the going a little bit tougher at Double-A. He was lost to the Twins in the Rule 5 Draft but never reached the majors.


If you’re scoring at home, six of the eight picks failed to post a bWAR greater than 1.0 in their MLB career. The two success stories were Payton and Long, both who produced much of their value for other teams. When the Mets traded Payton, they received Mark Little and John Thomson, neither of which did a whole lot in Queens. When they traded Long, they got Rogers, who pitched great down the stretch for them in 1999 but who is more remembered for going 0-3 in the playoffs that year, including loading the bases in Game 6 of the NLCS and then allowing the series-ending run on a walk. Rogers left the Mets as a free agent following that dismal postseason performance but the Mets did not get any compensation draft picks for him.

It’s not just the Mets who whiffed when they had a bunch of early picks. The 1990 Expos had 10 of the first 53 picks and the only impact player they landed was Rondell White. The 1997 Expos had nine of the top 75 picks and only had two players reach the majors (Bryan Hebson and T.J. Tucker). And of course the 2002 A’s, the famous “Moneyball” draft, had nine of the top 100 picks and netted Nick Swisher and Joe Blanton. And that’s pretty good production.

Oh, let’s not forget about the 2011 Rays, the team known for doing more with less. How did they do with 12 picks in the top 100? Let’s list those, along with their bWAR:

Taylor Guerreri, 24th overall, 0.2 WAR
Mikie Mahtook, 31st overall, 0.3 WAR
Jake Hager, 32nd overall, (-0.1) WAR
Jake Martin, 38th overall, did not make majors
Tyler Goeddel, 41st overall, (-1.2) WAR
Jeff Ames, 42nd overall, did not make majors
Blake Snell, 52nd overall, 12.5 WAR
Kes Carter, 56th overall, did not make majors
Grayson Garvin, 59th overall, did not make majors
James Harris, 60th overall, did not make majors
Granden Goetzman, 75th overall, did not make majors
Lenny Linsky, 89th overall, did not make majors

That’s a really unimpressive list. Yes, Snell has turned out to be a pretty good player. But essentially, the Rays went 1-for-12 here. After Snell, their best pick from this massive draft class was a fifth-round pick who did not sign. That was J.D. Davis.


Of course, we’re now operating under a slotting system that wasn’t in place when all of these teams had their big draft hauls. Given what we’ve seen happen before, we should be rooting for the Mets not to play it straight with the 2022 Draft. Instead, let’s hope the Mets go into the draft and operate the way the club did in 2019, when they essentially punted the rest of the draft after their top three picks. And even then, let’s keep that in perspective. First-round pick Brett Baty looks like a future star. Second-round pick Josh Wolf was traded to the Indians and he put up a 5.35 ERA in 18 games/17 starts for Lo-A Lynchburg this past season. Third-round pick Matt Allan missed the year with TJ surgery.

Bottom line for me is – keep your depth, give me the stars. And if the Mets can sign a free agent who can play 3B or the OF and who has multiple 5-WAR seasons under his belt, let’s not let the 14th pick stand in the way of that happening. Because the club will still have five draft picks to acquire that depth that typically goes nowhere.

9 comments on “What should the Mets expect having six picks in the top 100 in the 2022 Draft?

  • Wobbit

    As usual, Brian, you have answered a question that the rest of us could only wonder about… how valuable are draft picks really? It seems besides the actual production of these players, their value may be in future trade chips. In other words, starting pitchers are probably more valuable than position players because everybody always needs them…

    Hopefully we are at the onset of a new Mets era. New owner, new FO (except for Sandy, unfortunately), and hopefully a new rebuilt core of talent. Baseball is a hard game to master, and it will certainly be a few years before we close the gap with the Braves, but let’s at least hope we are have-done with the Wilpons and all the crap of the past. Being mediocre is one thing: being a laughing stock is hard on us loyalists.

  • JimO

    Draft picks are like scratch tickets with the first round picks being the $20.00 ones. If you got six of them and you had to give one away, would you want to give away a $1.00 scratch ticket or a $20.00 one.

    • Brian Joura

      This analogy falls apart when you consider that the Mets do not have the option over which draft pick to “give away.”

  • JimO

    Except that they could choose not to sign a FA with a qualifying offer.

  • MikeW

    Wow, this article is great. It really shines the light on the realities of the draft. I think we have to look more at the teams who have success in building a great minor league system. Thats what we want.

    I love great young pitchers who come up through the system.

    Right now, relying on Peterson and Megill for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation is bad. Where are our young stud pitchers?

    I was horrified to read an article about bringing Matz back.

    We are going to have to cough up some good money on free agents to even give us some hope for next year.

    • TexasGusCC

      Horrified Mike? Why? Katz was terrible in 2020 and by his own admission he was throwing harder and not pitching. He learned some nice lessons and seems to be on track. While not on the upper part of the wish list, a good deal with Matz as a #5 is a pretty good solution.

  • Metsense

    First round draft aren’t guaranteed to be stars but the process is more refined and the results are much better. Since 2010, the Mets have draft in the first round three all stars in Harvey, Fullmer and Conforto and three starters in Nimmo, Smith and Peterson a backup in Plawecki and Dunn, Kay and Kelenic , the recent pick have made in majors. Harvey and Fullmer were the only ones having one 5+ WAR season. The Mets have drafted successfully but I agree that they shouldn’t let #14 pick signing a star that has muti year 5+ WAR seasons.

  • TexasGusCC

    Better to have more chances than less chances. This draft is supposed to have elite high school pitching, so hopefully they can get at least a couple of front line starters.

  • NYM6986

    We need talent at the MLB level and should go out and get them. MLB has done their best to eliminate levels of the minors which dulls the longer development of prospects. Get to the big team within 3 years or you are moved or released. Stock AAA with ready backups and keep moving our few good prospects through the system. But trade wisely and spend some of that cash. The days of patience and stocking ones farm system to mostly develop home grown talent are gone. It’s simply not the same investment that it used to be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 100 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here