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Mets #1 Picks: A Retrospective

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With first round pick Mike Pelfrey coming to terms this week, I thought I would take a look back at how other Mets' first-rounders have performed.

2005: Mike Pelfrey, RHP, #9 overall
Status: Just finalized a four-year deal with the Mets. He will likely start the year at High-A St. Lucie.

2004: Philip Humber, RHP, #3 overall
Status: Humber didn't sign with the Mets until January 2005, seven months after being drafter. He played a half season in 2005, splitting time between St. Lucie and AA Binghamton. His season ended early when he blew out his pitching elbow, requiring Tommy John surgery. He has begun throwing off of flat ground and he could be ready to pitch for real when the season begins. Expect him to start the year at AA, but if his recovery goes well he could be competing for a spot in the Mets' starting rotation as soon as 2007.

2003: Lastings Milledge, OF, #12 overall
Status: His signing was delayed amidst rumors of sexual inproprieties, but he was absolved of those allegations and quickly became the Mets' highest-rated position player. After playing just seven games of rookie ball in 2003 with Kingsport, Milledge split 2004 between Low-A Capital City and High-A St. Lucie, hitting a combined .313/.380/.544. He split 2005 between St. Lucie and AA Binghamton, hitting .318/.388/.449. He is the top prospect in the system and a potential superstar.

2002: Scott Kazmir, LHP, #15 overall
Status: Tore up the Mets' minor league system before dropping off the radar. His current whereabouts are unknown.

2001: Aaron Heilman, RHP, #18 overall
Status: A stud starting pitcher coming out of Notre Dame, Heilman was actually drafted in the 55th round of the 1997 draft by the Yankees out of high school and again in the first round in 2000 (31st overall) by the Twins before finally landing with the Mets. Heilman pitched very well in 2001 and 2002 with St. Lucie and Binghamton, respectively, but struggled once he reached Norfolk. He continued to have problems pitching in AAA and was generally unimpressive in several stints with the Mets in 2004 and 2006 before finally putting it all together -- thanks to a delivery change -- and pitched remarkably well with the big club in 2005. Unless he is traded beforehand, he is basically guaranteed a spot on the Major League roster come April. The only question remaining is whether he will be in the starting rotation or the bullpen. He should be an asset in either capacity.

2000: Billy Traber, RHP, #16 overall
Traber dominated at the college level at Loyola Marymount University, racking up the following peripherals:

    K/9     BB/9     HR/9      H/9
1999    10.12    2.78     0.38    10.12
2000    11.41    2.78     0.51     9.51
His strikeout, walk and homerun numbers were phenomenal, but his hit rates should have been a red flag. He actually gave up fewer hits in the minors with the Mets, and he kept his homeruns and walks down, but his strikeouts also dropped dramatically. Still, he posted very good ERAs throughout the minors before being traded to the Indians in the ill-fated Roberto Alomar deal prior to the 2002 season.