Video Profiles of Draft Picks, Look at Mets Draft-Signing Strategy

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The consensus among baseball experts seems to be that the Mets had a nice draft… not great, not awful, but good. Personally, I like that they seemed to focus on drafting high-ceiling power hitters early, then shifted to fairly projectable pitchers later.

michaelconfortoThis reflects their internal needs, but it also reflects the current trend and economics of baseball, which is smart. How these kids pan out is a whole other story…


To learn more about their top picks, check out this series videos profiles we did for SNY.TV:

No. 1: OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State  >> Watch Here.

No. 2: SS Milton Ramos, American Heritage >> Watch Here.

No. 3: 3B Eudor Garcia, El Paso (Texas) CC >> Watch Here.

No. 4: RHP Josh Prevost, Seton Hall >> Watch Here.


The Mets have agreed to terms with Conforto on a deal that will be valued at $2,970,800 (Callis, June 19).

Toby Hyde, Contributor

Conforto’s signing is important, not just because when he signs the Mets will have added a very good hitting prospect, but for who else the Mets might be able to sign from their draft class. In the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which took effect between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, teams must manage their total cap amount to fit their players in. The Mets took few risks in terms of signability, and have managed their money in a very similar way to last year >> Read more about Alderson’s draft signing strategy at SNY’s Mets Minors.

Need to Know: Who did the Mets take (and sign) from last week’s draft?

The Mets selected selected 21-year-old Oregon State OF Michael Conforto with the No. 10 pick in the First Year Player Draft last Thursday.

SNY.TV’s Toby Hyde thinks Conforto is capable of finishing this year at Low-A Savannah or Single-A St. Lucie >> Read More.


5:13 p.m.: The Mets announced they have signed 16 of their draft picks, including their third- and fourth-round picks.

For the list of signings, click here...

  • 3rd round – SS Milton Ramos; American Heritage (FL) School
  • 4th round – 3B Eudor Garcia; El Paso (TX) Community College
  • 5th round – RHP Josh Prevost; Seton Hall University
  • 6th round – C Tyler Moore; LSU
  • 7th round – LHP Brad Wieck; Oklahoma City University
  • 8th round – 1B Dash Winningham; Trinity Catholic (FL) High School
  • 10th round – LHP Kelly Secreast; UNC-Wilmington
  • 11th round – RHP Connor Buchmann; University of Oklahoma
  • 12th round – RHP Alex Durham; Southern Alamance (NC) High School
  • 13th round – RHP Erik Manoah; South Dade Senior (FL) High School,
  • 14th round – C Darryl Knight; Embry-Riddle (FL) University
  • 17th round – LHP David Roseboom; University of South Carolina-Upstate
  • 19th round – RHP Bryce Beeler; University of Memphis (TN)
  • 22nd round – 2B William Fulmer; University of Montevallo (AL)
  • 25th round – RHP Nicco Blank; Central Arizona Community College
  • 27th round – RHP Alex Palsha; Cal-State Sacramento.


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“Conforto has an outstanding eye at the plate, of course, but his main tool is his ability to hit, with a simple, easy, yet powerful swing that generates hard line-drive contact as well as home run power,” Keith Law wrote earlier this week (ESPN, June 9). “He’s probably limited to left field but should be able to work himself up to average defensively.”


In this two-minute video, SNY.TV profiles Conforto, featuring highlights and commentary from MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone, ESPN’s Chris Crawford and hosts from the MLB Network, as well as first-hand report from Mets scout Jim Reeves



Mets VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta and amateur scouting director Tommy Tanous talked with reporters after the draft and this about their top picks :

Milton Ramos, SS, American Heritage (Fla.), third round: “Certainly he’s known for defense. He’s a lot stronger than people think. This is not a below-average bat by any means. … He’s going to be plenty strong enough to hit.”

Eudor Garcia, 3B, El Paso (Texas) CC, fourth round: “He has massive power. … absolutely destroyed the junior-college division that he’s played in. … He’s definitely an offensive player. We feel like he’ll be fine at third base, but when you draft this type of guy you take him for his bat.”

Josh Prevost, RHP, Seton Hall, fifth round: “The biggest surprise when you see him pitch is his actual command and control of his pitches. He’s a fastball-slider-changeup pitcher. We’ve had him up to 94 mph. … Supreme strike-thrower. Tremendous competitor.”

Tyler Moore, C, LSU , sixth round: “He has an advanced approach. He has power and grinds out at-bats. … We drafted him for the purpose of being a catcher.”


To see the full list of players selected by the Mets in 2014, complete with accompanying scouting reports and video, click here…

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Draft is almost over, so when do we learn of PTBNL for Ike Davis?

The Mets recently traded Ike Davis to the Pirates for minor-league RHP Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.

According to multiple reports, the additional player was drafted by the Pirates in 2013, meaning the final trade cannot be announced until one year after the player signed his first contract.

The player to be named later will be “pretty significant,” columnist Jon Heyman wrote the day of the deal (CBS Sports, Apr. 18).

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The buzz around the time of the trade was the player coming from the Pirates was a top pick. I’m holding out hope it’s OF Austin Meadows, but I’d say there is little-to-no-chance of that happening. The kid is terrific. Instead, there had been heavy speculation surrounding 22-year-old Pirates OF JaCoby Jones, who was taken with Pittsburgh’s third pick last summer. In the event Pittsburgh is sending over a pitcher, most insiders link Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta to 18-year-old RHP prospect Neil Kozikowski, whom they reportedly scouted last year. He was drafted with Pittsburgh’s eighth pick last summer.

Kozikowski signed June 21, 2013, while Jones signed July, 1, 2013. In the event it is one of these two players being traded to the Mets, the Pirates would have to wait until these dates this year to complete the transaction.

Mets picked the best hitter in the draft on Thursday

The Mets selected 21-year-old Oregon State OF Michael Conforto with the No. 10 pick in the First Year Player Draft on Thursday.

“He’s got some credibility,” an American League scout said (Oregonian, June 5). “I certainly anticipate him being a middle-of-the-order-type hitter at the Major League level.”

Conforto told reporters after the draft that his approach to hitting can best be described as a “relaxed aggression,” and, “a smart intensity.”

“It’s a real fit for what we like in a hitter,” Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said late Thursday. “This is a guy who has the ability to lay off pitches and the ability to really hurt pitches.”


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“Conforto might be the best pure hitter in the class; a left-handed hitting outfielder with plus power and an outstanding approach at the plate,” says ESPN’s Chris Crawford >> Read More Scouting Reports at SNY’s Mets Minors.


Conforto, Tanous and VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta talked with reporters Thursday after the draft >> Listen to the Audio.


MLB.com ranked Conforto the best hitter available in this year’s draft >> Watch MLB.com’s Video Profile with Highlights


Read more about Conforto in the Star-Ledger, Bergen Record, Newsday and MLB.com.

Mets draft college OF Michael Conforto

The Mets selected selected 21-year-old Oregon State OF Michael Conforto with the No. 10 pick in the First Year Player Draft on Thursday.


Biography


Conforto hit .345 (70-203) with a .508 OBP, seven home runs and 56 RBI in 59 games this season as a junior for the Oregon State Beavers. He was named the preseason Sporting News College Baseball Player of the Year prior to this season.


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The 6-2, 217-pound native of Woodinville, WA, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, was named one of the five finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is given annually to the top collegiate player in the nation. He also won the PAC-12 Conference Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season and was the first three-time All-American in school history.

He is the fourth consecutive position player drafted in the first round by the Mets, joining outfielder Brandon Nimmo (2011), infielder Gavin Cecchini (2012) and first baseman Dominic Smith (2013).


The Conference Call


In a conference call with media after being picked, Conforto described his hitting style as, “Relaxed aggression, smart intensity,” which more or less describes exactly what Sandy Alderson expects of his hitters.

“It’s difficult to say how he’s going to move through the system, but he’s a polished college player,” Paul DePodesta said about Comforto. “He fits our MO so well.”



What they’ve said about him:


Jason A. Churchill (Prospect Insider): “Conforto, for me, is the best college option in terms of hitters, and he can really play the game. His power numbers were down for half the spring but he’s up to five long balls to go with 14 doubles and a pair if triples. … He has always reminded me of Nick Swisher, in terms of athleticism, body type and skills with the bat.”


MLB.com: “While there is some swing-and-miss to his game, he’s shown the ability to work counts, square up the baseball and could have above-average power at the next level. He might be limited to left field given his defensive profile, but he should have the bat to carry him to the highest level.”


Chris Crawford (MyMLBDraft): “There’s no doubting Conforto’s offensive ability, with above-average power from the left side and a solid approach at the plate, but a severe lack of defensive value hurts his value considerably.  At the plate, Conforto has average bat speed but rotates his hips well and gets his hands moving quickly, and has plus power to the pull side. He works counts well and is willing to go the other way when necessary, and patience shouldn’t be an issue at the plate. He’s a well below-average runner, however, and adds little value on the bases.  Defensively, however, Conforto is a bit of a mess. He doesn’t get good jumps on the ball in the outfield, and when he does get to the ball he has a poor throwing arm that runners can take extra bases on. He more than likely is going to end up at first base, though it’s unlikely he’ll be anything more than average there, and the bat doesn’t play as well.”


Oregon State coach Pat Casey (ESPN): “His work ethic is off the charts. He’s matured as a hitter and simply gotten better. Early in his career he got fooled on balls out of the zone and off-speed, but he just kept getting better and better. The numbers show that. … He has as much power to left center as he does to right. … For a guy that knew he was going to be a first-rounder and tempted to put up huge numbers, he did everything he could to help us win. If that meant taking a walk, he took a walk.”


Mostly Mets pres by Caesars AC: The draft and a better bullpen

Toby Hyde and Robert Brender are joined by Baseball America’s John Manuel for a full preview of the Mets potential picks in the MLB Draft.  Later, the discussion turns back to the big leagues and – don’t look now – a better bullpen?

Link to Subscribe

For the show rundown, click here...

  • Talking Mets and the MLB Draft with Baseball America’s John Manuel
  • A better bullpen? (23:10)
  • One Good Thing, One Bad Thing (37:50)
    • Good: Cheesesteak records, Wright in May
    • Bad: Chris Young, Lagares hurt

Who will the Mets pick in the draft on Thursday?

The 2014 First Year MLB Player Draft starts on Thursday and the Mets have the No. 10 overall pick in the first round.

Who will they draft? Check out a rundown of mock drafts to get an idea >> Read more at Mets Minor League Blog

MLB First Year Player Draft

Who are the Mets eyeing for next month’s MLB draft?

The Mets have the No. 10 overall pick in next month’s 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft.

According to the experts, the top of the draft is well defined, meaning the Mets may not get the chance to select a first tier college or high school player.

The players likely available to the Mets is extremely fluid, with four different publications tying the Mets to three different players >> Read more at Mets Minor League Blog.

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Sandy Alderson talks draft and farm with ESPN’s Keith Law

Mets GM Sandy Alderson appeared on Keith Law’s podcast on Thursday to talk about his farm system, and essentially said:

  • He’s looked to use first-round picks on ‘high-ceiling players.’
  • His goal isn’t to draft strike-throwing pitchers, but to select guys who can ‘control the strike zone,’ i.e., guys who can get ahead of the count by doing a variety of different things.

“We’ve tried to be much more systematic,” Alderson said of how they’ve approached the farm system and draft. “Paul DePodesta oversees scouting and player development, but Paul has done a terrific job, not just in terms of the selections we’ve made and the scouts that we have currently, but approaching it in a more systematic way. And I think that that means using the information but doing it in a way that gives us some leverage, and trying to use less traditional means of evaluation.”


To listen to the full show, click here. To read a full transcript, click here.

JP Ricciardi discusses draft picks, says they’re ‘overvalued’

Michael Baron, Contributor

The Mets special assistant to the GM JP Ricciardi told WEEI Radio he believes draft picks have recently become overvalued.

“No one builds through the draft. You add through the draft,” Ricciardi said. “€œYou can’€™t build a team through the draft because they just don’€™t all work out. But you can supplement your system, and I get all that. But if you’€™re telling me I have a chance to get Curtis Granderson over a second-round pick I think I’€™m going to take my chances with a proven major league player.”

jp-ricciardi-headshotI agree with Ricciardi, although it’s strange to hear a member of this front office — a group which has highly valued and protected their draft picks, prevented players from achieving ‘Super Two’ status, and emphasized player control for the maximum amount of time — criticize this phenomenon. There has to be a balance between the draft and accumulating talent via the external markets, and a lot of organizations struggle with this.

As Ricciardi said, most prospects don’t work out, and so it’s foolish to believe the draft is the only way. It’s also foolish to believe teams can be built solely through external markets. One has to compliment the other; while teams need to be able to add talent from the outside when necessary, its critical any team — regardless of their payroll — develop their own talent, especially at premium positions.

It’s not a perfect science, and that’s where the external markets can be advantageous, either by spending wisely in free agency or trading from internal surpluses. Of course, building and trading from those surpluses, as well as having the ability to sacrifice early-round picks, require a sound player development system. Only then can teams strike that balance between relying on both themselves and the markets to build talented rosters perennially, rather than in short bursts or not at all.

In the case of the Mets, they had to hit the reset button entirely, and regenerate the organization from the ground up. As a result, they were required to focus on prospect building while waiting for bad major league deals to expire. It’s clear though the Mets have begun taking the next step in their evolution, evidenced by their pitching surpluses throughout the organization, their activity in free agency and their sudden willingness to start surrendering picks in the draft to fill other needs.

Still, they know their organization is still deficient in many areas, so they have a long way to go to achieve that healthy balance between both worlds.


Read more: WEEI Sports