Tommy Tanous, the Mets' scouting director, has been at the helm for the Mets' last two drafts, both of which saw the team take a high school player with its first pick: Dominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini. And the year before that, of course, the Mets took Brandon Nimmo, when Chad MacDonald had the position Tanous has now.
Despite the continuity with those picks, Tanous says the Mets haven't made it a strategy to target high school players. They've drafted the player they thought was the best player available at the time of their pick. I asked Tanous what he likes about Smith and Cecchini, and here's what he had to say.
His hit ability. I think he wakes up in the morning, and he’s ready to swing the bat. You know, he’s fundamentally really sound offensively. It was as good a swing as we had seen last spring, and he just keeps building on that. This year, as soon as you see him, you recognize right away he’s gotten a lot stronger, he’s really dedicated in the weight room this year, and boy, you come out here and the ball’s really jumping off his bat. It’s as smooth a swing as you’re going to see.
There’s another guy that when I walked in, he caught my attention with how strong he looks. I thought he had a really good year last, both playing defensively and offensively, so there’s a kid that just keeps getting a little bit stronger each year. His baseball instincts are off the chart, one of the smarter players you’re going to run into. And he has the tools to back that up. I’m looking for a big year out of Gavin this year.