Gamble. I keep falling back on this word to describe the Brodie Van Wagenen era of the New York Mets. Something I mentioned upon his hire, and everything from his trade acquisitions, and now the draft continues to follow this trend. The New York Mets remained true to this form in the second day of the MLB Draft, turning their 2019 into a largely three-player draft for them.
Two of those players came last night in rounds one and two in 3B Brett Baty and RHP Josh Wolf.
The 3rd round came down to one player, RHP Matt Allan with the 89th overall pick. Similar to the Mets’ first two selections Allan is also a high schooler from Seminole High School in Florida who is committed to the University of Florida. One of the top arms in this year’s draft Allan is a risky pick due to how much he’s looking for in a potential signing bonus, up to $4 Million due to some reports. Matt Ehalt of Yahoo! Sports reports that this number is really down to $3 Million. If true, and if he signs with the Mets that’s a verifiable steal for the organization for arguably one of the best arms in this year’s draft.
That’s a lot of if’s however, pointing to how risky this move can be.
Unlike college seniors who don’t have as much leverage with how much they can sign for. High school players like Allan can use going to college as a negotiating tactic when it comes to either going pro or remaining in college. 4-Year college seniors often sign for significantly less since their baseball career has ended, unless they decide to turn pro. Asking for $4 Million as a signing bonus likely turned away many potential teams from signing him due to the sheer amount of money involved, and how that falls into the slot allotment of those teams’ picks. The slot allotment for the Mets pick was $667,900 (teams are allowed to spend 5% over their allotment by paying a financial penalty). Anything over five percent brings draft pick penalties. This obviously limits how much the Mets can sign one player for. Going in on Allan will force the Mets to pick conservatively for the remainder of the draft. In fact, from Rounds 4-10 the New York Mets only picked college seniors, players who have significantly less negotiating power.
Why the risk?
Allan has a fastball that rests in the mid-90s and even touches the upper-90s sometimes. He couples this with a 12-6 curveball, and what has been called an average changeup. While under the radar, this season has improved his draft stock, specifically in his command which is considered above-average. The Mets were all-in on this pick considering the upside and will have to finish out the draft more conservatively, which they did.
In Round 4 the Mets selected OF Jake Mangum from Mississippi State. Drafted twice previously by the Mets last year in the 32nd round and the New York Yankees in 2017 the switch hitter is considered one of the best college seniors in the draft. Mangum has been described as having above average speed, which translated in quite a few stolen bags in his senior season. Defensively Mangum improved his defense in center field showing off an arm that scouts say is stronger than most in the position.
In Round 5 the New York Mets selected RHP Nathan Jones out of Northwestern State (LA). Jones became the highest-drafted Northwestern State player to be drafted since Mason Melotakis was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2012. Jones throws from the high three-quarters arm slot with a pretty big leg kick. Coaches in interviews describe the righty as an extremely hard worker. Jones touts a fastball in the low 90s which tops out at 94. Also in his arsenal is what’s been described as an average curveball and a changeup.
In the 6th round, the Mets selected OF Zach Ashford out of Fresno State. In 2019 Ashford hit .381 with 4 home runs and 21 RBI, stealing 10 bases.
The 7th round saw the Mets select 2B Luke Ritter out of Wichita State. Described as having an average arm and speed defensively where Ritter seems to excel is at the plate where the second baseman averages a .333 with a .545 slugging percentage. Ritter hit 9 home runs and 40 RBI in his senior season at Wichita State and stole 12 bags.
In the 8th round, the Mets selected LHP Connor Wollersheim out of Kent State (Ohio). Wollersheim pitches from a three-quarters arm slot and has a fastball in the mid-80s generally. Command seems to be the issue with the lefty who also has a slider and a curveball in his pitching repertoire. In his senior year at Kent State in Ohio Wollersheim went 6-6 with a 4.20 ERA.
The 9th round saw the Mets select 1B Joe Genord out of the Univesity of South Florida. Genord finished his college career as the No. 3 for the all-time home run hitter for USF with 44. Genord is described as having a power bat which the Mets liked, some seemed surprised as the selection of Genord. The first baseman had an average of .333, 13 home runs, 52 RBI and a slugging percentage of .618 in his senior season.
The 10th Round saw the Mets select OF Scott Ota out of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Hitting .357 with 20 home runs Ota has a small frame of 5’11 and 195 pounds behind his big bat. He’s described as having average power, speed, and arm strength in the outfield.
Day 3 of the MLB Draft is tomorrow, and think rapid fire as teams pick from rounds 11-40. I expect the Mets to end day 3 on the more conservative side, considering a lot has to go just right to be able to secure their 3rd round pick in Matt Allan.