The 2022 Draft was destined to be an important one for the New York Mets. Armed with an extra first-round pick after failing to sign Kumar Rocker last year and another compensatory pick for losing Noah Syndergaard in free agency, the Mets had an opportunity to drastically reshape their minor league system with a serious talent infusion. With designs on contending annually, the Mets couldn’t bank on landing picks as high as No. 11 and No. 14 again for a while and it appears that they hit a home run with their draft according to various experts. The draft is the focus of this week’s edition of Minor League Mondays.
The Mets’ first pick was catcher Kevin Parada, a Golden Spikes candidate for Georgia Tech this past season. Parada hit .361 with 26 home runs for the Yellow Jackets in 2022 and struck out just 32 times on the year, offering a big bat to add to the Mets’ pipeline behind the plate. The other first-round pick was high school shortstop Jett Williams, who is a bit undersized at 5-foot-8 but has drawn rave reviews for his ability to consistently make contact. Williams has the speed to eventually become an asset at second base or center field if necessary and he has compared his game to Houston’s Alex Bregman.
The first pitcher the Mets took came in the second round when they snagged RHP Blake Tidwell out of Tennessee. Tidwell throws very hard, reaching 99 miles per hour on his fastball after returning from injury, but Tidwell will need to polish his command in the minor leagues to reach his potential as an above-average starter. The compensatory pick the Mets got for Syndergaard turned into high school shortstop Nick Morabito, a guy who has blazing speed and tremendous power. A position change may be in order for Morabito, who could work well as a center fielder given his excellent speed.
The other top five picks include Florida RHP Brandon Sproat, another flame-throwing starter who needs to improve his command in the minors; high school shortstop Jacob Reimer, a bat-first prospect who may be better off at third base in the long run; and USC shortstop D’Andre Smith, whose average speed may push him to second base. The Mets also scored a point in the fun name department by taking Arkansas reliever Zebulon Vermillion in the tenth round as a senior-sign type of player who could work out as a middle reliever thanks to his strong fastball and solid slider.
The good thing about this draft class is that the Mets added a ton of talent to a farm system that isn’t very deep beyond its elite core of prospects. Having a good farm system not only helps plug holes at the major league level but offers trade chips to deal for pieces that bolster the big league club later on. The Mets actually had to dip into their big league bullpen to trade Colin Holderman to Pittsburgh for DH Daniel Vogelbach, something they hope to avoid in the future by developing more of their own players. If the 2022 draft class lives up to the hype it has been prescribed, the franchise should be in very good shape for years to come.