Luke Bonfield, OF, Round 21
The Mets love to poach commits to the University of Arkansas, and they drafted another in Luke Bonfield in the 21st round this season. Truth be told, I would not have been happy if the Mets had drafted Bonfield in the first seven or eight rounds, because I’m not sure his ceiling is worth the risk. He’s a fringe-average runner without arm strength, so he won’t play anywhere other than left in the pro.
What divides scouts about him, however, is whether he’ll add power to his offensive profile. He already has the ability to square up well on the ball, and some scouts point to his frame as evidence that he’ll get stronger as he develops, and I think they may be right. He has the potential to have at least average pop and possibly more. Where I’m not convinced is his swing. There’s some length there, and he times it with a very high leg kick. Too often, he’s unable to time everything right, and he’ll start swinging before his front leg is planted or after his weight is already transferred. It saps his power and could even lead to contact issues down the road, whatever his hand-eye coordination. For a player with his limited defensive value, he’s a risky pick who wouldn’t make sense in the first few rounds. But in Round 21, the Mets could afford to take the risk.
My feeling is that Bonfield’s demands are going to be out of the Mets’ reach and he goes on to college, but I’ve been wrong before.
Will Fulmer, 2B, Round 22
After seven years of covering this event, it’s rare that I see a four-year college I’ve never heard of before. Well, I’ve never heard of the University of Montevallo before, and for good reason. The Division II program hasn’t produced a draft pick since 2007, the year before I started covering the draft. The last time they had a player drafted this early was Rusty Greer in 1990. The 5-foot-10 second baseman hit .380 for the Falcons five homers, but it’s his on-base percentage that is most interesting. He walked 43 times and was hit by 25 pitches to add up to a .529 mark. He also gave a solid performance on the Cape last summer.
He doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of tools and I haven’t seen him hit, but I’ve heard that he should stick at second, and the on-base ability makes him interesting. While he’s not blessed with great speed, he also is a smart, aggressive baserunner who’ll take bases when he can. He’s kind of interesting in a probably-an-organizational-player kind of way.
Richard Moesker, RHP, Round 23
The Mets drafted Moesker out of Trinity Christian Academy, but not the same Trinity Christian Academy Dash Winningham attended--Moesker’s was in Lake Worth, not Ocala. Moesker was born in Curacao and doesn’t bring a lot of size to the table at 6 feet and 180 pounds. But his fastball can touch 92--he typically sits 88-90--and he’ll add a curve and a changeup. The changeup is actually his better pitch, a low-80s offering thrown with good arm speed.
His delivery is more high-effort than I’d like, but he drifts through his settling point well, takes a long stride, and turns the ball over early, finishing with a clean follow-through. I am a little worried about his long-term health at his size and fear he may ultimately be a reliever despite his efforts. He’s committed to Miami-Dade Community College, and it could be a good move for him. A good season there, combined with some physical development, could propel him into the top 10 rounds in a season or two.
Tyler Badamo, RHP, Round 24
Badamo has been one of the nation’s best Division II pitchers in 2014, posting a 0.83 ERA and striking out 129 batters in 108.1 innings for Dowling College on Long Island. Badamo typically throws 89-92 and will run the heater up to 94, commanding it very well. His primary offspeed pitch had been a mid-70s curve, but he ditched that before the season in favor of a hard slider, which proved much more successful.
His delivery is loose and easy from the right side, his arm action quite clean. And he’s a good athlete, so he repeats everything well and should take to professional coaching. Location is going to be very important for Badamo--he controls his pitches well, but his fastball is pretty straight and very hittable for major league hitters, so he’s really going to need to paint those corners. Badamo draws high marks for his makeup, having endured adversity at a young age after losing his father and fathering a son in the same year. He projects best as a reliever and has already agreed to terms on a contract.
Nicco Blank, RHP, Round 25
Blank is a very short righty as far as these things go, standing just 5 feet, 9 inches tall while weighing 165 pounds. Despite his diminutive size, Blank has some nice raw stuff, led by a fastball that can get up to 95 miles-per-hour but typically sits 90-92. He’ll also mix in a slider and a changeup.
Blank was very successful for Central Arizona College, earning his junior college conferences honors for its top pitcher. He does need to work on his offspeed pitch some more, and his command can come and go at times. I haven’t seen him pitch, but I have to imagine his delivery is pretty max-effort, and as a result it’s difficult to see him anywhere but the bullpen. That said, if he improves his secondary stuff and command, he could be a nice surprise there. If he doesn’t sign with the Mets, he’ll end up at Texas-Arlington.