To prepare for this year's Major League Baseball Rule 4 draft—one in which the Mets lack a first-round pick, lost as compensation for signing free agent Michael Cuddyer—we began yesterday by looking back at Mets' second-round picks over the past decade. The first part covered the Mets' drafts from 2005 to 2010, so definitely check that outbefore continuing on with this second (and final) part, which covers the Mets' second-round picks from 2011 to 2014.
The Chad MacDonald Era
2011: Cory Mazzoni, RHP, North Carolina State University
Mazzoni had two things going for him when he was drafted: he threw hard, and he threw strikes. This was clearly important to the Mets under new scouting director Chad MacDonald, who signed Mazzoni to a $437,500 bonus. Mazzoni’s fastball would sit in the low 90s but could creep all the way up to 97. And he more or less dared college hitters to swing, keeping the pitch around the strike zone. He paired the pitch with a good curve and a so-so splitter.
A shorter pitcher, I preferred Mazzoni in the bullpen, where I thought the velocity would play up, the limited arsenal wouldn’t be an issue, and the stress on his shoulder due to a mechanical issue would be mitigated. Mazzoni had a solid minor league career and the Mets dealt him to San Diego before the season to secure Alex Torres. Mazzoni recently made his major league debut and projects to be a setup man.
The Tommy Tanous Era
2012: Matt Reynolds, 3B, University of Arkansas
The Mets had two second-round picks in 2012, the first of which was compensation for the loss of Jose Reyes to Miami. The Mets used the pick to select Reynolds, a third baseman who had the skills to play short for the Razorbacks but ended up at third due to the presence of a superior defender. Over his first two seasons at Arkansas, Reynolds didn’t hit at all. But he shortened his swing and hit .323/.427/.498 over his final season. He had naturally quick wrists that allowed him to wait for his pitch and throw the bat at the ball. The approach figures to produce little home run power, but thus far, he’s gotten on base and hit line drives.
He has a little bit of speed, and a strong arm, but I do wonder if the defense will hold up at short. If not, he could end up as a utility player, someone with not enough bat, which has been up-and-down as a pro, to play a corner position but not enough glove to play up the middle. Still, he will reach the major leagues, probably soon, and that makes him a successful second-round draft pick.
2012: Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP, Fort Worth Christian H.S. (TX)
While the Mets signed Matt Reynolds for $525,000, they were unable to sign their next selection, who came four picks later. Stankiewicz was a polished high school righty who had neither big stuff nor a ton of room for growth. He threw his fastball 89-92 and brushed 94, also spinning a so-so slider with some potential, a poor curveball, and a still-developing change. That said, he did have outstanding control, and far better fastball command than you’d expect from a high school pitcher.
Unfortunately, the Mets couldn’t get a deal done, and Stankiewicz went to a junior college instead, which paid off in the end: he signed with the Red Sox the following season after being drafted a few spots higher. He originally agreed to a $1.1 million deal, though that figure was reduced to $915,000 when a physical revealed that he was born without a pectoral muscle, which probably doesn’t matter at all. So far in his young career, he’s shown the control everyone expected but has also failed to rack up strikeouts, suggesting that his breaking stuff still hasn’t come along.
2013: Andrew Church, RHP, Basic H.S. (NV)
Church was a tough player to get a handle on in the draft, as relatively few scouts had a chance to see him during his senior season due to a variety of issues that were largely outside of Church’s control. While it’s quite possible Church may have fallen further if the Mets hadn’t selected him, it’s also possible that those teams that did see him were much higher on him than they had let on.
Church had a live arm, bumping 95 with his heater despite a short frame, and he was otherwise a very raw pitcher. The offspeed stuff all needed a lot of work, and he had some mechanical issues to sort out, though I did like his clean, quick arm action. After signing for $850,000, Church has yet to see full-season ball.
The Mets’ second-round pick was forfeited for signing Curtis Granderson. Under the rules of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Mets’ pick did not transfer to any team but was instead eliminated. The Yankees would have received a Compensation Round pick had they not lost picks for signing Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran. Instead, we’ll take a look at who was taken in the spot the Mets would have inhabited had they not signed Granderson.
The Brewers were in their spot, and they selected high school outfielder Monte Harrison, who many people, including myself, expected to go in the first round. Harrison was more athlete than ballplayer coming out of the draft, but I liked him a tad more than I usually like guys with that profile, thanks to the chance of his becoming a plus defender in center. His swing was pretty ugly, but I had heard positive things about his approach, which more or less jibes with how he’s performed as a pro: in the Midwest league—a very aggressive assignment for him, I think—he’s hitting .161/.282/.259. He’s a guy with a high ceiling who will need a lot of time.
A couple of general observations: In a sampling of 12 players drafted over 10 years, not one player has yet provided much of any performance-related value to a big league team. Brandon Workman has been the most valuable so far, with a career fWAR of 0.9. Mazzoni and Kevin Mulvey have provided trade value, which is nothing to sneeze at. And I do think Reynolds and Steven Matz will provide substantial value in their careers (I’ve soured on Stankiewicz, and Harrison and Church are so far from the bigs that I have no idea what they can do).
But that said, this is a fine demonstration of what to expect from prospects drafted after the first round. A handful of guys whose early promise quickly melts away (Jon Egan, Javier Rodriguez, Scott Moviel, Brant Rustich), another couple who have been very marginal big leaguers (Mulvey, perhaps Workman, Mazzoni, or Stankiewicz) a couple of potential role players (perhaps Mazzoni, perhaps Stankiewicz or Reynolds), one or two guys with the potential to be a regular (perhaps Reynolds and perhaps Workman), and another couple with star potential but who need (or needed) substantial time to emerge (Matz and Harrison). These are your second-round picks.