TOP 5 LAST 5 is a look back on each MLB team and sees how each of the top 5 draft picks since 2008 fared this past season. While some players have reached the major leagues and flourished like Chris Sale, Buster Posey and Craig Kimbrel, some players have seen their dreams of playing in the show fall by the wayside as they are no longer in the game or playing abroad or in independent leagues. Every player flashed some sort of potential otherwise they wouldn't have been selected in the first 5 or 6 rounds. The New York Mets are next in line.
The first of three 1st round selections by the Mets went 18th overall where they drafted college first baseman Ike Davis. The selection was a compensation pick for the Atlanta Braves bringing Tom Glavine back as a free agent. He was finally able to establish himself as a big league first baseman this past season appearing in 156 games and making 584 plate appearances. His line for the year read as 227/308/462/771 with 32 home runs, 58 extra base knocks, 90 RBI and 66 runs scored. He also posted a 2.2 strike out to walk ratio.
The second pick of the year went 4 picks later, 22nd overall, as the front office went with college short stop Reese Havens, who was moved to second base permanently following the 2008 season. This past year was Havens' 3rd time through AA Binghamton of the Eastern League and his performance suffered as he was dealing with numerous injuries throughout the year including back pains. He did manage to make it into 94 games, appearing at the plate 390 times. He was good for a 215/340/352/691 slash line with 10 HR, 41 runs scored, 39 RBI and 24 extra base hits.
Next up was college pitcher Bradley Holt going 33rd overall. This was another compensation pick along with Davis from Tom Glavine's exit from the team. The righty got his first taste of AAA Buffalo making 6 appearances at the beginning of the year. It is an incredibly small sample size but he threw 5 1/3 innings and got hammered to a 10.12 ERA, 2.81 WHIP and .407 opponents batting average managing a 4.89 FIP. His rate stats were not very impressive either with 5.1 K/9 and 6.8 BB/9 to go with 18.6 H/9. He spent the majority of the year in AA Binghamton where he made 39 relief appearances totaling 47 2/3 innings of 3.40 ERA, 4.14 FIP ball. He also posted a 7.9 K/9, 5.3 BB/9, 8.1 H/9 and a 1.49 WHIP to go with a single save. He limited batters to a .242 batting average but his 42 strikeouts to 30 walks led to an uninspiring 1.4 K/BB ratio. His rough start to the season hampered his overall line for the season but not catastrophically. Over 45 total relief appearances he threw 53 innings with a 2-1 record, 2 saves, 4.08 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 9.2 H/9 and a 1.32 strikeout to walk ratio.
With the 68th overall selection, the Mets took high school outfielder Javier Rodriguez in the 2nd round. Rodriguez did not play professionally in 2012 after being released by the team at the end of March 2012. His last professional season was 2011 where after starting the year in A ball with Savannah, he was demoted to Brooklyn and finished the season there. For the season he hit 245/333/409/742 with 8 HR, 47 RBI, 36 extra base hits, 5 steals and 42 runs. He played 93 games covering 389 plate appearances with 77 strikeouts to 44 walks.
The Mets' fifth selection of the draft would be pick number 100 in the 3rd round where they took college outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis. This past season he spent the year with the big league club appearing in 91 games, playing the majority in center field while making 314 trips to the plate. He put up a 252/315/376/691 line with 7 round trippers, 20 extra base knocks, 40 runs scored, 28 RBI and 4 steals. He also managed 25 walks to go with 98 strikeouts. Even though he spent most of the year in New York, Nieuwenhuis also spent 5 games with AAA Buffalo making 13 plate appearances with a double, single, RBI, stolen base, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. All in all, his line ended up at 249/315/372/687 in 96 games.
2/73 Steven Matz LHP, 3/103 Robbie Shields 2B, 4/134 Darrel Cecciliani OF, 5/164 Damien Magnifico RHP, 6/194 David Buchanan RHP
The Mets front office had to wait around until the 2nd round to get things started up as they did not have a selection until pick number 73. They lost their first round selection (24th overall) to the Angels for signing Francisco Rodriguez. When their number was called they took high school lefty Steven Matz. His career was derailed from the start after having elbow injuries, including Tommy John surgery, cost him 2 full years. He made his debut this past season making 6 starts for the Mets Appalachian league Rookie affiliate in Kingsport. He racked up 29 innings, sporting a 1.55 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, 5.3 BB/9 and 5 H/9. While he limited plenty of contact with a .158 opponents batting average, his wild streak (17 walks in 29 innings) prevented him from limiting base runners.
Round 3 brought New York their second pick which came 103rd overall. They took college short stop Robbie Shields who spent 2012 splitting time between second base (44 games) and third base (26 games) in the field. Overall he appeared in 105 games for High A St. Lucie making 420 plate appearances. Shields posted a 232/311/330/641 slash line with 25 extra base hits 5 home runs, 40 runs scored, and 35 RBI. He swiped 8 bags and had a 1.84 strike out to walk ratio.
Darrell Ceciliani was the next pick for the Mets; a junior college outfielder taken 134th overall in the 4th round. He spent the year roaming center field in limited action with High A St. Lucie, making only 99 plate appearances in 23 games while a hamstring injury kept him out most of the year. When he did make it onto the field, he put up a 329/402/459/861 line with 19 runs scored, 10 RBI, 2 steals, a homer and 8 extra base hits. He also added a 1.3 K/BB ratio.
The 5th round brought pick number 164 which the Mets used to select high school right hander Damien Magnifico. Magnifico turned down the team's overtures and went to college. He was selected again in the 5th round of the 2012 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. After being drafted he was sent to Helena of the Pioneer Rookie league where he made 8 relief appearances and one start. He tallied 21 2/3 innings with a 5.82 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 10.4 K/9, 6.2 BB/9 and 8.7 H/9. Magnifico finished with a 0-3 record and a 1.66 WHIP to go with 1.67 strikeouts per walk.
The 5th pick of the Mets went in the 6th round, 194th overall, and was used on David Buchanan, a junior college righty. He would also turn down the Mets and return to school where he was picked in the 7th round of the 2010 draft by the Phillies. He made 12 starts this past season for AA Reading, notching a 3-5 record, 3.86 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 9.1 H/9 over 72 1/3 innings. 2012 included a complete game shutout as well but the season was cut short due to surgery on a tendon in his finger.
2010 saw the Mets get their hands on their highest draft position in the past 5 years. With the 7th overall selection in the 1st round, the Mets took college righty Matt Harvey. He began this past season in the AAA Buffalo rotation and made 20 starts for them in 2012. He tallied 110 innings with a 3.68 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and 7.9 H/9. This led him to a 7-5 record and 3.70 FIP while limiting batters to a .232 average. Those numbers earned him a trip to the big leagues where he made 10 more starts for New York to finish off the season. During his stay in the show he had an even better ERA, nearly a run lower at 2.73, while accumulating a 3-5 record. He threw 59 1/3 innings with 10.6 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 6.4 H/9, a 1.15 WHIP and 3.30 FIP while batters hit only .194 against him. His season in its entirety looked like this: 30 starts, 10-10 record, 169 1/3 innings pitched, 3.35 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 4 BB/9, 7.4 H/9, and 2.43 strikeouts to walks. He was named the top prospect in the Mets system according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com prior to the 2013 season.
The Mets forfeited their 2nd round selection when they signed the ill-fated Jason Bay contract which I'm sure still haunts Mets fans to this day. This made them wait around til the 3rd round where they selected college catcher Blake Forsythe. 2012 saw Forsythe manning the dish for High A St. Lucie, appearing in 88 games and making 345 trips to the plate. He hit 244/339/397/736 with 27 extra base hits and 8 homers. He scored 32 times and drove in 42 while working 40 walks and striking out 89 times.
Round 4 gave the Mets front office the chance to pick 122nd overall and they took college outfielder Cory Vaughn. 2012 was a repeat of High A St. Lucie for Vaughn and he improved dramatically while playing right field. Over 126 contests, he hit for a 243/351/463/814 slash line with 51 extra base hits and 23 home runs. He also added 73 runs, 69 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances. Though he struck out 114 times he did draw 65 walks to keep his OBP respectable.
Matt Den Dekker would be the 4th pick of the year for New York, coming out of college in the 5th round and 152nd overall. The center fielder started the year in AA Binghamton where he spent 58 games, coming to bat 268 times and produced a 340/397/563/960 slash line with 33 extra base knocks, 8 HR, 10 stolen bases, 47 runs, 29 RBI, and a 3.2 K/BB ratio. FanGraphs put him at a 164 wRC+ which accounts for league and park factors. This performance definitely earned him his promotion to AAA Buffalo. He played 77 more games for AAA making 317 plate appearances and posted a 220/256/373/629 line. He did not adjust well to higher level pitching even though he still had 23 extra base hits, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 11 steals and 37 runs scored. He earned only 15 walks in AAA while whiffing 90 times for an unsightly 6 strike outs to each walk. When looking at his entire season though, he totaled 135 games, 585 plate appearances, 56 extra base hits, 17 HR, 21 stolen bases, 76 RBI, 84 runs scored and a 274/321/458/779 line and 4.4 K/BB.
Taken in the 6th round with the 182nd pick, Greg Peavey went off the board to the Mets, a college right hander. He spent the year in AA Binghamton, making 25 starts, compiling an 8-8 record in 144 innings. Peavey posted a 5.06 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 1.43 WHIP and 2 complete games. His rate stats were nothing eye-popping with a 5.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9, but he did surrender 10.6 H/9 and was very homer prone as evidenced by 18 of them given up over the season.
1/13 Brandon Nimmo OF, 1/44 Michael Fulmer RHP, 2/71 Cory Mazzoni RHP, 3/101 Logan Verrett RHP, 4/132 Tyler Pill RHP
2011 saw a different strategy being used by the front office when it came to the draft. Instead of loading up on college players at the top of the draft like the previous year, they took a pair of high schooler with their two first round picks. First off the board and 13th overall was outfielder Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo spent 2012 in Brooklyn, the short season A New York-Penn League affiliate of the Mets. He started 69 games in center field, came up to bat 321 times, and put up a 248/372/406/778 line with 28 extra base hits, 41 runs scored, 40 RBI and 6 HR. He showed great patience earning 47 walks but struck out 78 times. Nimmo is considered a consensus top 10 prospect for the Mets prior to the 2013 season, topping out at 5th by Baseball America.
Their second first round selection was of Michael Fulmer, 44th overall, a right handed pitcher who spent the year at Savannah in A ball. He started 21 games with a 7-6 record, 2.74 ERA, 3.27 FIP, a 1.20 WHIP, and 108 1/3 innings pitched. He also had 8.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 7.6 H/9, and a complete game to go with his 2.66 strike out to walk ratio. Fulmer is also considered a top 10 prospect, ranging from being ranked 4th by Baseball Prospectus to 10th by MLB.com.
Round 2 came with the 71st pick of the year and the team took their first college player, a right handed pitcher named Cory Mazzoni. He would spend the beginning of the year in High A St. Lucie for 12 starts, compiling a 5-1 record, 3.25 ERA, and 3.11 FIP in 63 2/3 innings. He had 6.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, and 9 H/9 to come up with a 1.26 WHIP and 3 K/BB ratio. Opponents hit him at a .258 clip but he earned a promotion to AA Binghamton where he struggled over 14 more starts spanning 80 2/3 innings with a 4.46 ERA and 4.08 FIP and a 5-5 record. In AA he had similar rate stats; 6.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 10 H/9, and 2.8 K/BB but he also gave up a home run per game while opponents hit .277 against him. He did however pitch his first complete game shutout and added another complete game later. Mazzoni would end up throwing 144 1/3 innings throughout the season, making 26 starts with a 10-6 record, 3.93 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 6.5 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 9.6 H/9, and 2.89 strike outs to every walk.
The 4th pick of the Mets didn't make his pro debut until this past season. Taken 101st overall, the Mets chose college righty Logan Verrett in the 3rd round. He began the year on fire with Savannah in A ball; pitching to a 3.06 ERA and 3-2 record over 11 starts and 64 2/3 innings. He also had 9.3 K/9, only 1.3 BB/9 and 7.9 H/9. He threw his first professional complete game shutout here to go with a 1.02 WHIP, 3.29 FIP and .229 opponents batting average. His only flaw was the home run ball which he surrendered once every 9 innings. He was bumped up to St. Lucie in High A for the rest of the year where he would make 6 more starts and pitch 38 2/3 more innings. He had a 2-0 record with a 2.09 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 0.88 WHIP and a complete game. His strikeouts dipped to 6.1 K/9, but he still only gave up 7 hits per 9 and 0.9 BB/9. He continued being home run happy giving up 0.9 per 9 innings but batters still only hit .206 against him. All in all he made 17 starts spanning 103 1/3 innings with a 5-2 record. He had a 2.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 7.6 H/9 and an excellent 7.15 strikeouts per walk.
Their next pick took a similar path for the 2012 season, starting in A ball with a promotion to High A. This would be right handed pitcher Tyler Pill, selected out of college with the 132nd pick overall and the Mets' 4th round pick. The start of the season saw Pill dominate A ball hitters to the tune of a 2.61 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 3-4 record and 2.39 FIP. This was spanning 9 starts and 51 2/3 innings to open the season. He was a bit hittable though by evidence of his 9.8 H/9 and .271 opponents batting average but that could also be aided by a .353 BABIP. After the promotion to St. Lucie, Pill kicked it into another gear. Against tougher competition he threw 61 1/3 innings covering 11 appearances (10 starts) and came out with a 2.05 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 6-1 record, and 1.09 WHIP. His rate stats regressed to 7.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 but somehow he only gave up 7.8 H/9. His BABIP was only .296 while opposing batters only hit .236 against him. Better defense perhaps? Looking at the season as a whole, Pill made 19 starts and 1 relief appearance, threw 113 innings and sported a 9-5 record with a 2.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. He surrendered 8.7 H/9 but had an excellent 4.77 strikeout to walk ratio.
1/12 Gavin Cecchini SS, 1/35 Kevin Plawecki C, 2/71 Matt Reynolds SS, 2/75 Teddy Stankiewicz RHP, 3/107 Matthew Koch RHP
2012 came with a lot of high selections for the Mets front office to work with. They had 4 of the first 100 picks and started the draft by taking high school short stop Gavin Cecchini with the 12th overall pick of the draft. He spent the majority of the season with Kingsport of the Appalachian Rookie league, playing in 53 games while accumulating 212 plate appearances. He posted a 246/311/330/641 line with 21 runs scored, 12 extra base hits, 22 RBI, 5 steals and a single home run. He also struck out 43 times to only 18 walks. Even though it wasn't a stellar beginning to his career, it earned him a late season promotion to Brooklyn in the short season New York-Penn league. He appeared in 5 games making 6 trips to the plate. He did not get a hit but did score 2 runs and rack up a strikeout. His overall line looked like this; 240/307/321/629 with 23 runs, 44 K's to 18 walks, and 218 plate appearances.
The second pick of the first round went 35th overall as compensation for Jose Reyes signing with the Marlins. The team used it to pick college catcher Kevin Plawecki. The front office sent him directly to Brooklyn after the draft where he spent the entirety of 2012. He made 252 plate appearances over 61 games, racking up a 250/345/384/729 line with 7 homers, 15 extra base knocks, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored. He did not even attempt a steal this past season and had excellent plate discipline; walking more than he struck out (25 BB, 24 K). FanGraphs had Plawecki with a 121 wRC+, which was 4th in the league for full time catchers.
The Mets kicked off round 2 with with selection of Matt Reynolds, a college third baseman, with the 71st overall pick. Reynolds is the rare player who made the transition up the positional spectrum to short stop where he played the entire year for Savannah in A ball. He played in 42 games, coming to the plate 179 times and putting up a 259/335/367/702 line for the Sand Gnats. He had 11 extra base hits, 3 HR, 18 runs scored, 5 stolen bases and 13 RBI to go with 26 strikeouts and 12 walks.
Pick number 75 overall also went to the Mets due to the departure of Jose Reyes' talents to South Beach. They used their 2nd round pick on high school righty Teddy Stankiewicz but were unable to reach an agreement. Instead, the right hander will go to Seminole JC with a chance to be selected again next year. The slot recommendation for the 75th pick was $680K.
The 5th pick of the Mets came in the 3rd round courtesy of the 107th pick. This went to college right hander Matthew Koch who spent the year with short season Brooklyn after signing. He was predominantly used out of the pen with 2 starts and 11 relief appearances. He wound up throwing 23 1/3 innings, pitching to a 5.01 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 3.41 FIP, 0-2 record and a .266 opponents batting average. His rate stats were decent, but unimpressive at 7.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and 9.6 H/9.
Looking back at the last 5 years, there have been hits and misses. 3 players played in New York including starting first baseman Ike Davis, starting pitcher Matt Harvey, and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Only 2 players drafted are not playing professionally, Javier Rodriguez (released) and Teddy Stankiewicz (unsigned) while 2 more players are with other organizations after passing on playing with the Mets (Damien Magnifico - MIL and David Buchanan - PHI). Another pair of players peaked at AAA Buffalo (Bradley Holt and Matt Den Dekker) while 3 more topped out at AA Binghamton (Reese Havens, Gregory Peavey, and Cory Mazzoni). The most populated team was High A St. Lucie with 6 players peaking there (Robbie Shields, Darrell Ceciliani, Blake Forsythe, Cory Vaughn, Logan Verrett and Tyler Pill) while their A ball affiliate Savannah hosted 2 players (Michael Fulmer and Matt Reynolds). Short season Brooklyn played host to 4 more players (Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, Kevin Plawecki, and Matthew Koch). The team did have one player finish the year with their Kingsport affiliate of the Rookie level Appalachian league (Steve Matz). The front office so far has done a decent job at getting their homegrown players to the show with quality talent on the rise.