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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

Rule 5 Draft

Rule 5 draft requirements

A player is eligible for the draft if he is left off the 40-man roster for five years, and either were 18 years old or younger on the June 5 before he was signed, or if he is left off the 40-man roster for four years and is 19 and younger on the June 5 before their signing.

The purpose of the Rule 5 draft is to prevent organizations from keeping minor leaguers in their organization for more than a certain amount of time.

The draft order is based on the reverse order of the 2013 standings, meaning the Astros have the top pick, while the Mets draft 10th in this year’s draft.

If a player is selected in the Rule 5 draft, his new team pays the former team $50,000 for the pick in the Major League phase of the draft. He must remain on the active roster for 90 days during the regular season, or he must be offered back to his original team for $25,000.

Rule 5 Draft

Mets select RHP Seth Rosin in 2013 Rule 5 draft, traded to Dodgers

The Rule 5 draft took place this morning at 9:00 am ET at the Winter Meetings.

The Mets selected RHP Seth Rosin from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies organization, but traded him to the Dodgers for cash considerations (Mayo).

The Mets also selected RHP Jon Velasquez from Double-A New Britain in the Twins organization in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.

Velasquez, 28, has spent the last three years in the Independent League. He went 6-2 with a 1.95 ERA in 61 relief appearances for Camden in the Independent Atlantic League in 2013, allowing 58 hits and 26 walks with 82 strikeout sin 73 2/3 innings.

They did not lose any players in the major league phase of the draft.

Last month, the Mets added pitchers Erik Goeddel, Steven Matz, Jeff Walters, and Jacob deGrom to their 40-man roster to protect them from Rule 5 draft eligibility, but left both Cory Vaughn and Darrell Ceciliani unprotected.

However, the Mets lost three pitchers during the minor league portion of the draft, surrendering three pitchers from Double-A Binghamton.

The Astros selected Mets’ LHP Carlos Vasquez, the Twins selected Mets’ RHP James Fuller, and the Nationals selected Mets’ RHP Martires Arias.

Vasquez, 22, went a combined 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 appearances and one start between Single-A St. Lucie and the Mexican League in 2013. He went 1-0 with a 2.29 ERA in ten relief appearances and one start with the St. Lucie Mets, allowing 15 hits and three walks with 13 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings.

Fuller, 26, went a combined 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 24 relief appearances between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in 2013, allowing 33 hits and 25 walks with 58 strikeouts in 50 innings.

Arias, 23, went 1-7 with a 5.81 ERA in 12 appearances and 11 starts for Rookie Kingsport in the Appalachian League in 2013, allowing 51 hits, 28 walks with 36 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.

Michael Baron, Contributor

I’m not surprised by the results of the draft for the Mets. They don’t have the roster flexibility or the depth to be trying players out at the big league level who come from the Rule 5 draft. It would make more sense if they had a deeper bullpen and wanted to take a look at an arm or two during Spring Training, but they don’t have a lot of healthy, reliable major leaguers in their bullpen to begin with right now to take these chances.

I was a little concerned a team might take a flyer on Vaughn. But, it’s clear other teams felt he was unprepared to make the big leap from Double-A to the major leagues in 2014, and the Mets were clearly counting on that as well. He has a lot of power, but he has holes in his swing – his injury problems in 2013 prevented him from working out those problems consistently. He’s older, but there’s still time for him, and considering the dearth of position player talent in the Mets organization, being able to hold onto Vaughn can only help them going forward.

Read more: Rule 5 draft requirements (MetsBlog)

Looking at the Mets 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft

Guest Post AvatarChris Walendin, Guest Contributor:

This Wednesday, Nov. 20, is the last day teams can add players from their minor league system to their 40-man rosters in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

Generally speaking, players newly eligible for this year’s draft were selected out of college in 2010, out of high school in 2009 or signed internationally as teenagers in 2009. The full list of Mets players eligible this year, as well as a more detailed description of the eligibility rules, is available here.

The Mets currently have four open spots on their 40-man roster. That matches up pretty well with their list of eligible players, as I see three guys who I think should and will be protected: starting pitchers Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz and reliever Jeff Walters

To read more of this story, click here

Mets will give up a draft pick? No, they wont. Yes, they will.

Alderson Ricciardi

There continues to be confusion over whether the Mets are willing to part with draft picks as compensation for signing elite free agents, despite what they said in public earlier this week…

10:48 am: The Mets are unlikely to sign a player who will cost a single draft pick, according to a team source (Rubin).

Nov. 12: Alderson’s special assistant, J.P. Ricciardi, said the Mets would be willing to give up one pick for the right player (MLBTR).

However, he added, “I can’t really sit here and tell you that we’re probably thinking about doing two.”

Nov. 11: Sandy Alderson indicated he is comfortable giving up one pick, referring to his position as a possible advantage.

“The fact that others may have to give up a draft pick may cause others to think twice,” he explained to reporters in Orlando on Monday. “The fact that we only have to give up a second-round pick, it may give us a little bit of an edge.”

Alderson OK with losing his 2nd draft pick

StackOfMoneySandy Alderson will need to give up his second-highest draft pick if he signs one of the 13 free agents extended qualifying offers.

However, he said that would not stand his way (Newsday, New York Post).

Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez and Kendrys Morales were all extended one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers by their respective former teams.

Bronson Arroyo and Josh Johnson were notables who did not receive an offer.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Nov. 4: Of course, if he signs a second player who was made a qualifying offer, he’ll have to give up his third-highest pick, as well, and so on and so on… The draft picks do not transfer to the qualified player’s former team, the pick is just removed entirely from the draft.

I’ve heard he is willing to part with the second pick, as he should, but I wouldn’t expect a shopping spree of players that will cost him most of his top selections. It’s not his style, and something he has indicated on record that is unlikely to happen this winter.

In other words, I would only expect Alderson to sign one of the above players… maybe two, though I think that’d be pushing it… and certainly not three.

Why did the Mets pass on RHP Michael Wacha in the 2012 draft?

Michael Baron, Contributor

In the 2012 first-year player draft, the Mets selected SS Gavin Cecchini with the 12th overall selection.

World Series Cardinals Red Sox BaseballCecchini has played in 109 games in his first two professional seasons, hitting .256 with a .313 OBP, one home run and 36 RBI between Rookie Kingsport and Low-A Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals selected RHP Michael Wacha with the 19th overall selection in the 2012 first-year player draft.

Wacha made his big league debut on May 30 and went 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 15 appearances and nine starts for St. Louis. He has stood out during the 2013 postseason, going 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings.

“We were really focused on position players at the top of the 2012 draft,” Mets Senior VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta told the New York Post. “We didn’t even sign a pitcher in that draft until our fifth selection. So, we really liked Wacha, and he was high up on our board, but as an organization we needed to use our high picks that year to create more value in our position player prospects.”

DePodesta told the organization continues to project Cecchini as an everyday shortstop in the big leagues despite his early struggles.

The Mets have their reasons for passing on Wacha, as do the 17 other teams that chose ahead of the Cardinals in that draft. And, in all fairness, Wacha is one of only six players to be drafted in 2012 and make their debuts in 2013. I don’t think the Cardinals could have ever expected Wacha to make such an impact so early. Thanks to their player development system and a considerable amount of luck, Wacha is paying huge dividends for St. Louis on the big stage. It remains to be seen what Wacha’s future holds, but he’s been wonderful this year, especially late in the season when it has mattered the most for St. Louis. But there have been plenty of one-hit wonders in this game, so we’ll see what unfolds in the future for him.

In defense of the Mets, they’re still struggling to generate high-level position player prospects throughout their organization, and so it makes perfect sense as to why the Mets devoted the bulk of their top draft choices in 2012 towards position players. In fact, Sandy Alderson’s front office has taken a position player in the first round of every one of their drafts since they took over (Brandon Nimmo, 2011, Cecchini, 2012, and Dominic Smith, 2013). That’s not to say the strategy will ever work out for the Mets, but its a respectable approach and they certainly have nothing to lose by employing that strategy, given what they have in their farm system from the position player perspective.

Read more: Puma, NY Post

Reverse standings, Sandy Alderson not concerned with draft pick

Sandy Alderson is not thinking about next year’s draft pick, he told the New York Post.

“I don’t view the draft-pick situation as relevant to what we’re doing here,” Alderson said, comparing the situation to last winter. “We’re trying to build the credibility of the franchise and that goes beyond where we’re picking in the draft.”

The teams with the 10 worst records have protected first round picks in the following year’s draft.

With four games left to play, the Mets have the 11th-worst record…

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 6.31.44 AM

Reverse Standings: The search for Draft-Pick Protection

The teams with the 10 worst records have protected first round picks in the following year’s draft.

With five games left to play, given tie breakers, the Mets have the ninth-worst record, but are tied with five teams in the loss column.

Screen shot 2013-09-25 at 5.59.38 AM

According to MLB Trade Rumors, if two teams have the same record, the higher draft pick goes to the team that finished with a lower winning percentage in the previous season.

Reverse standings, Mets are fighting for draft pick status

The teams with the 10 worst records have protected first round picks in the following year’s draft. With just six games left in the season, the Mets are tied with three teams for ninth…

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 4.16.11 AM

According to MLB Trade Rumors, if two teams have the same record, the higher draft pick goes to the team that finished with a lower winning percentage in the previous season.

Last year, the Rockies finished with the worst winning percentage (.395), followed by the Blue Jays (.451), Mets (.457), Brewers (.512), Phillies (.500) and Giants (.580). That means the Mets are currently the 10th overall — protected — pick.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I want the Mets to spend more money this winter than they have the last few off seasons. Sandy Alderson has shown before that he’ll fight tooth and nail to keep his top draft pick (remember Michael Bourn?). So, to make that a non issue and help encourage him to acquire Shin-Soo Choo or someone similar, I want the Mets to finish poorly. I feel terrible saying that, but, the plan has always been about 2014 and beyond.

The roster being trotted out there right now borders on insulting, and I want to believe this will be different in six months, so I don’t feel guilty rooting for just enough losing to help the team get better. It’s sad that it has to even be this way, but it is… and I know the potential of next year’s draft pick is significantly more meaningful than the difference between winning 71 or 75 games in otherwise meaningless season.