While most editions of Minor League Mondays focus on a specific prospect in the New York Mets’ farm system, today will be an exception. The MLB Draft is this week, beginning tonight at 7:00 pm on MLB Network, and the Mets will be picking sixth thanks to their 92 loss campaign last season. The pick is a critical one for the Mets, who have their highest pick in the Sandy Alderson era, and need to get it right to help add a big time talent to a weak farm system.
Alderson’s track record as a drafter isn’t good, as evidenced by his first round picks. Here’s a quick recap for those of you who haven’t kept track:
2011: Took OF Brandon Nimmo 13th overall. Nimmo is turning into a fine player now, but Jose Fernandez was selected with the next pick by the Miami Marlins.
2012: Took SS Gavin Cecchini 12th overall. Cecchini has only appeared in 36 big league games and had to be moved off of shortstop, while his overall profile indicates he may be nothing more than a AAAA player. The Mets missed out on Corey Seager (who went 18th to the Los Angeles Dodgers), Michael Wacha (19th to the St. Louis Cardinals), and Marcus Stroman (22nd to the Toronto Blue Jays).
2013: Took 1B Dominic Smith 11th overall. Smith ended up as the organization’s second best prospect, but was a disaster in a late 2017 audition (.198/9/26 while showing none of his supposed Gold Glove caliber defense), leading the Mets to sign 36 year old Adrian Gonzalez to play above him. Later in that same draft, the New York Yankees took Aaron Judge 33rd overall.
2014: Took OF Michael Conforto 10th overall. This pick has worked for the most part, although Conforto’s struggles following a major shoulder injury are a concern going forward.
2015: Forfeited his first round pick to sign Michael Cuddyer, who lasted one season with the Mets before retiring. Alderson then selected injury prone OF Desmond Lindsay with his first choice, who has yet to play more than 65 games in a season and is hitting just .221 for High-A St. Lucie this year.
2016: Selected RHP Justin Dunn 19th overall. Dunn was great in 2016 and bad in 2017, forcing him to repeat High-A St. Lucie this season, where he is currently 2-3 with a 2.79 ERA in eight starts.
2017: Selected LHP David Peterson 20th overall. Peterson looks to be developing well, pitching to a 1.93 ERA in his first eight starts for the Low-A Columbia Fireflies.
That isn’t a strong track record for Alderson, who needs to hit on his pick tonight. Here’s a look at some of the players who may be on the Mets’ radar at pick 6.
3B Alec Bohm, Wichita State: Bohm is a lethal hitter, batting .339 with 16 homers and 55 RBI’s for the Shockers, and his strong eye at the plate should help him get through the minors relatively quickly. The big question for Bohm is his defense, which is suspect and could force him to move off of third long term.
2B Nick Madrigal, Oregon State: Madrigal is only 5’7″, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he doesn’t have the potential to be an impact pro. MLB.com’s scouting report compares Madrigal to current Atlanta Braves’ second baseman Ozzie Albies, and it makes sense given his incredible hitting ability. Madrigal is batting .435 for the Beavers this season, and while he doesn’t provide a ton of pop he has great speed and Gold Glove potential up the middle. Oregon State is also where Conforto went to school, so perhaps the Mets can have some luck if they tab another Beaver in round 1. The Mets don’t have many long term options at second, so if Madrigal is on the board at six they should strongly consider him.
3B Jonathan India, Florida: The Mets may have struck gold with a Gator when they tabbed Peter Alonso in the second round of the 2016 draft, and they could do so again with his one time teammate. India has been one of the best hitters in college baseball this year, hitting .365 with 16 homers and 40 RBI’s while playing in the tough SEC. The Mets need a third baseman of the future with Todd Frazier on a short term deal and David Wright more likely to retire than play again, so India could make sense here.
RHP Brady Singer, Florida: The Mets have taken a lot of pitchers in the early rounds of the draft the past few years, and Singer would be a fine addition to that fold. A 6’5″ righty, Singer has gone 10-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 88 innings pitched for the Gators this season. Florida’s rotation produced a pair of first round picks in 2017, with lefty A.J. Puk going 6th to the Oakland A’s and right hander Alex Faedo going 18th to the Detroit Tigers, and Singer certainly belongs in that class. Singer has a 95 mile per hour fastball, a solid slider, and a changeup along with good control. Many scouts pegged Singer as the top pitcher in this year’s class before Auburn’s Casey Mize had a breakout year, but Singer would be a solid addition to the next wave of talented pitchers the Mets are developing in the low minors.
C Joey Bart, Georgia Tech: Everyone knows that the catching position has been an issue for the Mets, with Travis d’Arnaud failing to live up to his potential and Kevin Plawecki doing little with his opportunities to do the job at the major league level. Bart is the best catching prospect in this year’s class, hitting .361 with 16 homers and 38 RBI’s for the Yellow Jackets, and he has the defensive skills to stick at the position for a long time. The Mets would love to get a chance to take Bart, who could become the next great catcher the franchise has been looking for since Mike Piazza left after the 2005 season. The problem is that the San Francisco Giants pick second, and Bart is a perfect fit for their needs since he could take over behind the plate in a few years, allowing them to move Buster Posey to another position to extend his career.