After the first ten rounds, the Mets philosophy is structured around saving money. The front office has not necessarily drafted the best players available, but after sleeping on last night’s decisions, I’m actually humming a different tune. The Mets seem to be drafting pieces, instead of players, which isn’t necessarily bad. By this, I mean that the team isn’t trying to find the next superstar. It’s a philosophy that the Tampa Bay Rays have mastered, which has fueled their success at the MLB level.
Here’s my best attempt to explain why they picked who they did and what those players bring to the table.
Round 2, pick #35 – Matt Reynolds, 3B Arkansas
Matt Reynolds isn’t the best pick, but he’s not the worst pick. The term you will have to be comfortable with when talking about this draft is “useful”.
Reynolds was a Team USA guy, so that’s a positive. He also performed well in the Cape Cod summer league. At Arkansas, he hit .340/.441/.535 as a junior, compared to hitting .203 as a freshman. Like Plawecki, he really has an eye at the plate. Since his freshman year, Reynolds has improved his batting eye, walking 32 times compared to striking out just 19 times.
Though he hits for average, Reynolds doesn’t possesses much pop in his bat. He’s a guy who might be able to hit 10 homeruns at the ML level, which would warrant a move to second base because that’s not enough offense to stick at the hot corner. He has some speed that can be useful, but that’s not what his game is based around. His game is his glove, arm, and range. All three tools have been dubbed as plus, which is something that can carry a kid alone to the majors.
My 2013 outlook: If he signs, he’ll be assigned to NYPL-Brooklyn. In 2013, you can expect him at Low-A Savannah. He could be the equivalent of Kirk Nieuwenhuis; someone who will have to maximize his tools to the fullest to have a shot at being an everyday player.
Round 2, pick #75 – Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP Ft Worth Christian School, TX
Besides having a name full of fun, Teddy Stankiewicz could be a nice steal from the University of Arkansas. Stankiewicz is out of Texas, so immediately you would think he throws 100 MPH. However, that is not the case with the young righthander. Stankiewicz has the tall frame that scouts love to project – 6’4”, 190 pounds. He’s not as raw as the common high school pitcher is, but I wouldn’t put him in the same class as Michael Fulmer.
As for the stuff, Stankiewicz throws around 88-91, but can get it up to 94. Velocity is gained by getting bigger and stronger, so the Mets certainly hope he follows the path they have envisioned, which could make him reach his max potential. To go along with the fastball, he possesses a nice, hard slider that can really carry him in the next level. He also has a changeup and a mediocre curveball. I’d expect the Mets to make Stankiewicz scrap the curveball and master the changeup, therefore making him a three-pitch pitcher.
Overall, it’s a nice pick that can pay dividends in the long run. He might be a safe bet to be a 4/5 starter, with the ceiling of an average/good 3.
My 2013 outlook: He’s not as raw as you think, but I don’t think he’ll start at a full season team. The Mets are loaded with young arms that are competing for jobs this season and next, so he’ll most likely start in extended spring training. This all happens if the Mets can sign him. He’s known to scare teams away with his commitment to the University of Arkansas.
This pick is nice and I believe the Mets can get a deal because of the two previous selections they made. By selecting college players, they can afford to pay Stankiewicz a little more.
Round 3, pick #107 – Matt Koch, RHP Louisville
Matt Koch (no relationship to Billy Koch) could become a very useful bullpen arm. Both Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo discussed Koch’s future, with Mayo saying the Mets should let him ride in the bullpen.
MLB.com had this to say about him:
“Two Major League average or better power pitches with good command should be enough to get Koch drafted early and should help him move up the ladder quickly.”
So there’s the skinny on Koch: his fastball can get up to 94 mph and has a plus slider that has some biting action. My first thought: Bobby Parnell, without as much velocity.
The verdict is still out for Koch. He could move fast and we’ll see if he can tag on with Jack Leathersich.
My 2013 outlook: Most likely Low-A Savannah. Although, he could find himself in St. Lucie.
Round 4, pick #140 – Branden Kaupe, SS Baldwin HS, Hawaii
The general consensus from Twitter was, “Who the hell is Branden Kaupe?” And quite frankly, most of the baseball world does not know who Branden Kaupe is. From the small amount of information out there, here’s what I compiled:
He’s really short, listed at 5’7”, but he is at 175 lbs. He wasn’t ranked on Baseball America’s Top 500 prospects, nor did Jim Callis have him on his draft radar.
I’ll try to explain this pick. By selecting a guy like Kaupe, you are going to get him well-below slot value. This extra money can now be used in the later rounds, specifically in rounds 11-15. The Mets placed themselves in a pretty comfortable place by taking slot talent, instead of taking the costly road with a pick that isn’t guaranteed to sign.
My 2013 Outlook: He probably won’t play professional ball in 2013. From the looks of it, he’s extremely raw and I doubt he stays at shortstop. He might have a future behind the dish, something the Mets were talking about with 2011 draftee Phillip Evans. I wouldn’t expect to hear Kaupe’s name until 2014, at the earliest.
Grade: C- (for talent), A (for strategy)
Round 5, pick #140 – Brandon Welch, RHP Palm Beach CC
The first player that came to mind was Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect Tyler Thornsburg. Like Thornsburg, Brandon Welch is only 6’1”, 185 lbs, which makes you think he’s destined for the bullpen. But he contains a blazing fastball, which tends to hover in the mid 90s and can carry him as a starter. He accompanies that pitch with a hard slider, which according to some, has excellent command.
In 78 innings, Welch struck out 79 and allowed 18 free passes.
He’s an interesting prospect because he throws the ball hard for the body he has. But whenever you have a smaller pitcher, you worry about the wear and tear on their bodies. He’s your atypical Mets pitching prospect: small school kid, might not be great, but you root for the underdog. He falls in the ranks of the Darin Gorski‘s and Collin McHugh‘s.
My 2013 Outlook: Because he’s a junior college pitcher, the Mets could hold him back and start him in Brookyn. If he’s to the bullpen, he’ll debut at Savannah in 2013.
Round 6, pick #200 – Jayce Boyd, 1B Florida St.
Here’s what Baseball America have to say about Boyd:
“Boyd was an acclaimed prep player and has been a three-year starter for Florida State. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference in batting at .395 entering regional play. He has adjusted his approach and swing since high school, when he was a 19th-round pick as a third baseman. He has become a contact hitter with gap power, hitting 16 homers his first two seasons but just three this spring. He’s an above-average defender at first with good hands, but hasn’t gotten much exposure in college at third, which obviously would increase his value. His lack of home run power and righthanded-hitting first-base profile makes him tough to peg from a draft standpoint.”
The first player that comes to mind is Lucas Duda. Like Boyd, Duda was a heralded prospect out of high school, but struggled in college due to injury. While Boyd hasn’t faced injury, Duda and him both contained untapped power. Boyd isn’t the specimen that Duda is, but the gap power is something they both possess, and Boyd could potentially strive at Citi Field.
This pick is probably my 2nd favorite of the draft because Boyd had success at one of the top levels in college baseball. Unlike Cole Frenzel, a college bat draft by the Mets in the 2011 draft, Boyd is much more polished and rarely strikes out. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on and I really think the Mets might have a huge steal here.
My 2013 outlook: He’ll definitely find himself in Brooklyn for 2012. The question there is how the Mets divide time between him and Frenzel. Boyd can play third, but doesn’t really have the body to play there anymore. The Mets could try moving either one to right field.
Round 7, pick #230 – Corey Oswalt, RHP Madison HS, San Diego
With no relation to Roy Oswalt, Mets fans should be excited with Corey Oswalt. He’s another projectable starter, just like Teddy Stankiewicz. Oswalt stands at 6-foot-4, 210-pounds. Baseball America rated him their #311 and said this about him:
“Oswalt played in the 2011 PG All-American Classic as a position player, but he has emerged as a better prospect on the mound this spring. Though he’s new to pitching, Reed has intriguing upside thanks to his prototypical 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, smooth arm action and sound delivery. He currently pitches in the 88-90 mph range as a starter but touches 91-92, and he has some feel to spin a breaking ball, though he doesn’t really know what he’s doing with it, in the words of one scout. His changeup is in its nascent stages. Oswalt is a long-term project, and he could develop into a higher-level prospect with three years working with Andrew Checketts at UC Santa Barbara, if no team makes a run at signing him this spring.”
Oswalt could be moved along nicely with Stankiewicz. I think Stankiewicz is a notch more advanced than him, but the Mets lower minors is currently clogged with numerous high-upside arms, so he can be brought along slowly. Oswalt does have the advantage of being a California arm; the opportunity to play year-round usually means a pitcher will be more advanced than those from cooler climates.
My 2013 outlook: He’s definitely a name to look out for in 2014, if not 2013. He’s in the collection of the high school arms the Mets drafted in 2012, so he’ll have his time in extended spring training before being pushed.
Grade: We don’t know how much the Mets will get him for, if they can even snag him away from UC-Santa Barbara. For now, we’ll give this a B- because of the talent alone.
Round 8, pick #260 – Tomas Nido, C Orangewood HS, Florida
Baseball America says:
“Nido isn’t quite one-tool player; the Florida State signee has average arm strength. But his calling card is plus-plus raw power, as he has strength and takes a big, powerful swing, generating above-average bat speed. He’s a slow-twitch athlete, and it may be a stretch for him to stay behind the plate. He has a tendency to sell out for power, even though he doesn’t need to with his strength. Nido had late helium and was doing some individual workouts for teams, and if he puts on a power display with wood, he could be drafted highly.”
Power-hitting potential? Sure, why not. His body looks pretty maxed out, so his bat will carry him as he goes.
The Mets wrapped up rounds nine and ten by selecting college players. In the ninth round, Richie Rodriguez was selected. A second basemen out of Eastern Kentucky, he showed a lot of pop, but he didn’t face the best competition. The overall draft thought was that picks 6-10 were kids you wouldn’t see drafted. Many contained college seniors, not Matt Den Dekker types, either. This is because teams wanted to save money and spend it in the later rounds on high-end high school kids (who have more leverage in negotiations with the possibility of going to college instead of going pro). It looks like a loophole in the system, but still doesn’t benefit teams as much.
In the tenth-round, Paul Sewald was selected out of the University of San Diego. He looks likely to be a bullpen arm. He doesn’t have much upside because he’s a college senior and was most likely chosen to save money.
Check back tomorrow for more analysis of players from rounds 11-40 and guys I think can make an impact, if signed.
About the Author
Kyle Schnitzer's biggest memory as a Mets fan is when Carlos Beltran went down on strike 3 against Adam Wainwright in game 7 of the NLCS. Since then, he hasn't expected much from the Mets. The new regime gives him hope. When he's not writing here, he's writing somewhere else, bussing tables, tweeting, or riding his bike. Follow him on Twitter: @dakyleschnitzer