Michael Baron, ContributorThe 2013 first-year player draft will take place from June 6 – 8 with the first round airing live on MLB Network.
In the first rounds of the last two amateur drafts, the Mets have taken two high school position players – OF Brandon Nimmo in 2011 and SS Gavin Cecchini in 2012.
The Mets have the 11th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. They will then have to wait until the 48th overall pick in the second round, followed by the 76th overall pick in the third round – the Mets will have $6.99 million in their draft pool in 2013.
According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Mets had previously been eyeing college bats for their first round selection, although they’re now considering a college pitcher.
“I … am beginning to hear they’d love for one of the better college arms (Gray, Appel, Shipley, Stanek, Manaea) … Not sure that will happen, though,” Callis explains.
Meanwhile, in his mock draft for ESPN, Keith Law projects the Mets will select high school 1B Dominic Smith, although they have been linked to college infielder DJ Peterson, college OF’s Austin Wilson, Hunter Renefroe and Aaron Judge.
“Smith is one of the best pure hitters in the high school class, showing a smooth left-handed swing with power and a plus glove at first base,” Law explains about Smith. “He has quick, strong wrists, with a projectable body that should lead to very hard contact when he fills out in three or four years.”
At this point, I’ve heard the Mets don’t have a pre-defined strategy with their first selection - they are simply looking to take the best possible player they can in the first round, regardless of age or position. One of the main reasons for that is they cannot control what the ten teams in front of them will do. While they might want to take certain players, in many cases they will be unavailable to them by the time the Mets are on the clock. In addition, the “sign-ability” of players could impact who they select as well. All of this seems to play into why both Callis and Law don’t really have a sense of who the Mets are actually targeting at this time.
Now, the Mets have some immediate problems in their farm system, and who they ultimately take in the first round could be determined by that need. The Mets are certainly a more pitching-rich organization than they once were, and that’s due to not only their draft selections but their work in the international markets as well. But, the Mets still do not have many quality position players who are on the cusp of making their big league debuts. Most of those players are still years away at A-Ball or below. That’s not meant to sound like a bad thing, but the Mets need impact position players now and will need them long before those players in the organization are ready as well – they could go outside the organization to fill those needs, but the draft is a good place to start as well.