In the seventh round, the Mets drafted Corey Taylor—a reliever from Texas Tech, not the Slipknot frontman. A senior, the Mets clearly drafted Taylor to save money to secure one of their other draftees, so the upside is going to be very limited here.
Taylor began his career at a Texas high school, and after a distinguished career, he expected to draw interest from schools. He didn’t, so he attended Cisco Junior College, one of the better juco programs in the country, and pitched to the tune of a 1.48 ERA over 78 innings, albeit with only 48 strikeouts. Finally getting the offers he expected, he moved to Texas Tech and spent some time as a mid-week starter but struggled and was banished to the bullpen. It turned out to be a great move for Taylor, who became one of the team’s most dependable relievers over the next two seasons. In 2015, he was particularly effective: In 57.1 innings of work, his ERA was a scant 0.31, thanks in large part to allowing an unsustainable 36 hits over that span despite only striking a mere 32 hitters. The good news is that he did a great job limiting his mistakes: he didn’t allow a single home run and walked just 13 batters. Those numbers are closer to sustainable.
Taylor himself is a big boy. Listed at 6-1 and 235 pounds, it’s a good thing he’s a reliever, because a starter would be fielding questions about his conditioning and stamina. He’s a better athlete than you’d expect for a guy his size, however.
His stuff isn’t awful. He throws a 92-94 mile-per-hour fastball with plenty of sink from a true three-quarters arm slot, pairing it with a mid-80s slider. He’ll pound the lower half of the strike zone with both pitches, aiming not to miss bats but to induce weak contact on the ground. At TCU, he was pretty successful at it, but professional hitters are different animals, and the key will be whether he can locate his fastball consistently down in the zone. Too high, and the stuff is very hittable. If he keeps it too low, hitters will lay off, and he’ll walk enough guys where the singles that make it through the infield will sink him.
Mechanically, he screams reliever. His delivery is very high-effort, with a long, slow arm action that certain stresses his shoulder. But if he doesn’t maximize his velocity, he has no chance at making an impact in any role, so it’s a smart risk. One interesting thing of note: after landing on his striding leg, he’s one of the very few pitchers I’ve seen slide his foot after plant: this could have significant impact on his command, so if that abandons him, expect some coach to try his hardest to change it.
Taylor is about as unexciting a seventh-round pick as you’ll find, which is really saying something. That isn’t to say he’s hopeless—there are things to like, after all—but we are talking about a player with the upside of a middle reliever in a big league bullpen. A long relief role might suit him best: he’s been effective in multiple-inning stints, and the sinker-slider combination is potent against hitters from both sides of the plate.