The Amateur draft has come and gone and there were a number of surprises but none were bigger than the Rangers’ selection of Kumar Rocker with the 3rd overall pick. The Mets wound up with a tremendous value pick in Kevin Parada and had a very good first day of drafting but should the Texas Rangers not be proven fools, the 2021 draft will look absurdly bad for the Mets franchise in years to come.
Back in 2021 the Mets were astonished to find Kumar Rocker, once ranked #1 overall, falling to them at the 10th overall pick. Perhaps the team had not bothered doing research on a player they assumed would be well off the board or perhaps the team truly discovered something concerning in the medical reports after draft day but the Mets allowed their #1 pick to fall by the wayside and instead hope for more out of the 11th overall pick in 2022.
Rocker spent the time between that draft and this getting healthy and playing some baseball in the independent league. “Experts” predicted he’d be selected in the latter half of the first round or perhaps even as late as the second. Nobody predicted he’d be selected as the 3rd overall pick in the 2022 draft and the Mets front office has to be seriously concerned with the optics of this whole situation.
If Rocker winds up becoming the Ace pitcher one expects of a 3rd overall selection, the Mets will look like abject fools. This looks catastrophically worse, if Kevn Parada fails as a prospect and Rocker succeeds. Right now the Mets brass is hoping that the player they passed on in 2021 proves to be a disaster for the Texas Rangers.
If this works out for them, this appears to be a coup for the Rangers. They get to reunite Kumar Rocker with Jack Leiter and wound up selecting Brock Porter in the fourth round, despite Porter being ranked 11th overall. Porter will be hard to sign but Kumar Rocker signed under slot and might give them the bankroll to do it.
11th Overall Pick: Kevin Parada, C
Hopefully Parada is not another case of the Mets having an unexpected prospect fall to them at their pick. Thankfully, a handful of mock drafts had the Mets netting Parada which suggests they properly vetted this pick. He’s a strong bat with the chops to potentially stick at the position and while the Mets have Francisco Alvarez, he was the best prospect on the board. Of particular note, even though Parada was just drafted, he’s the same age as Francisco Alvarez and likely a minimum of 3-4 years from reaching the majors. Still, it’s a solid pick and one it’s hard to be upset about… unless, of course, if you view Kumar Rocker as a Top 3 talent. 20/20 hindsight might make the Mets regret not taking Jace Jung who also profiled as a Top 5 pick but fell to 12th overall. Certainly the positional scarcity makes Parada the more valuable pick right now.
14th Overall Pick: Jett Williams, SS
The Mets go with a second value-first pick in a draft heavier in hitting prospects and take the diminutive Jett Williams 14th overall. He has the raw tools of a leadoff hitter with a little pop but questions are circulating if he’s actually going to stick at shortstop. He’s probably far enough away from the majors to be looked at as a potential replacement to Francisco Lindor but he could wind up at second base or the outfield. 20/20 Hindsight is clearly Dylan Lesko, who I had the Mets getting in almost all of my personal mock drafts. Taken 15th overall, the pitcher would have meant more to the Mets as they have few big name pitching prospects.
52nd Overall Pick: Blade Tidwell, RHP
Before the season had begun, Tidwell was one of the highest ranked pitching prospects. An injury later and he falls to 52nd overall. Tidwell is 6’4” and has a strong repertoire of pitches. He was an extreme bargain at this pick and the Mets were wise to have nabbed him when they did. 20/20 Hindsight: This was the right pick for the Mets.
75th Overall Pick: Nick Morabito, OF
A contact hitter with the tools to play anywhere in the outfield and maybe even mix in some shortstop and second base. Morabito is a bit of a surprise for the Mets who had a number of options left on the board at positions they needed more. Morabito is a low-ceiling prospect who looks on paper like a fourth outfielder. 20/20 Hindsight: Jonathan Cannon was still on the board when the Mets made this selection and he both plays a position of significantly more need and has a higher ceiling.
90th Overall Pick: Brandon Sproat, RHP
Another head scratcher of a pick with players of better quality left on the board. In his favor, sproat has great raw stuff. He throws around 100 MPH and he boasts four pitches. Against him, he has terrible control and limited experience. 20/20 Hindsight: In the beginning of the fourth round the Rangers selected Brock Porter who, thanks to the money saved by selecting Kumar Rocker and their lack of other picks, might be signable this late in the draft for them.
119th Overall Pick: Jacob Reimer, 3B
I’ll start by saying I have zero problem with Reimer at this selection. He’s a quality bat who should be able to stick at third with a chance of becoming a major league starter. The issue is more with the Mets previous two picks who were selected instead of much better talent that the Mets just missed out on for this round. 20/20 Hindsight: The Mets waited too long on Nazier Mule selecting questionable talent in Morabito and Sproat making the Cubs ultimately winners of an extremely high ceiling local kid. You could also argue that Jake Madden, who was selected 118th overall was someone they could have picked up earlier too.
149th Overall Pick: De’Andre Smith, SS
Another small bodied shortstop who may not stick at the position. Smith doesn’t profile as a major league starter and while any prospect could catch fire and turn a corner there is little reason to believe this is a meaningful pick.
179th Overall Pick: Tyler Stuart, RHP
He’s 6’9” and he’s a college senior making him exceedingly easy to sign. He’s a relief pitcher and his numbers in Southern Mississippi aren’t particularly good. This just feels like minor league depth.
209th Overall Pick: Jonah Tong, RHP/OF
The Mets scouted Tong back in 2019 and he seems like a fine pick for the 7th round. The Canadian player wasn’t ranked by MLB.com but has a 90 MPH fastball with a Curveball and a Changeup to mix things up.
239th Overall Pick: Dylan Tebrake, RHP
Not any name recognition to speak about. Tebrake is another Collegiate senior whom the Mets are hoping will fill out their minor leagues. He has solid numbers this past season with a K/9 over 9.0 but he’s got pedestrian “stuff”.
Overall, I’m not terribly pleased with this Mets draft. The selections of Kevin Parada, Blade Tidwell and even Jacob Reimer stand out as bright spots but there is a lot of Hindsight to this draft as the Mets have done little to restock a minor league system badly hurting for pitchers. Below is my own 20/20 Hindsight draft.
● 11th Overall – Mets take Kevin Parada
● 14th Overall – Mets take Dylan Lesko or Brock Porter
● 52nd Overall – Mets take Blade Tidwell
● 75th Overall – Mets take Jonathan Cannon
● 90th Overall – Mets take Nazier Mule
● 119th Overall – Mets take Jacob Reimer