While the New York Mets found a way to blow a big game against the San Francisco Giants last night, their front office took a big swing earlier in the day. After drafting a pair of high school seniors in the MLB Draft on Monday night, the Mets took another huge shot on a very talented prep player yesterday. With their first pick in the third round, the Mets took right handed pitcher Matthew Allan, who Baseball America ranked as the 16th best player in the class, albeit a player with concerns over whether or not he would sign a professional contract.
Allen, a 6-3 righty who weighs 210 pounds, was rated as the 13th best player in the draft class by MLB Pipeline but is committed to the University of Florida. That commitment is so strong that teams were reportedly scared off of taking Allen in the first round despite his immense talent due to the rumored $4 million price tag it would take to get him to skip college. Going over slot leads to financial penalties and the loss of draft picks depending on how high you go, and coming close to Allen’s bonus demand could cost the Mets in the long term, but Brodie Van Wagenen’s team did something interesting for the rest of day two.
The Mets’ next seven picks were all college seniors, so while there are intriguing players in there they don’t have the leverage of going back to college right now. The plan appears to be to go under slot on all of those picks, go slightly under slot with the two Day 1 selections, and dump the rest of that money into signing Allen. Baseball America described the Mets’ maneuver as essentially an all-in play to create a superstar three man draft class that includes two mid first round talents. For a team that had only one pick in the first 50, that is an interesting strategy that could pay big dividends in the long run.
It remains to be seen if the Mets can sign Allen, but this is creative thinking with the draft for a team that hasn’t demonstrated much of it in the recent past. The Mets still have a lot of picks to make today, and it will be interesting to see what direction they take with those players. There are still gems to be found on Day 3, as evidenced by former 34th round pick Seth Lugo, and this is where the Mets’ revamped scouting department will be put to the test.