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Deconstructing the Draft: 2011

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The Mets drafted and signed 12 players who made the big leagues in 2011.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins - Game Two Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Fresh off of a 2010 season in which they went 79-83, and finished fourth in the National League East, the Mets entered the 2011 season with a new General Manager. Sandy Alderson was hired to the position prior to the start of the 2011 season, and Alderson brought former Dodgers GM Paul dePodesta aboard to serve as the team’s vice president of player development and scouting. Under this role, dePodesta oversaw the team’s draft day operations, and went right to work building a blueprint for the strategy the team would use in the draft from year to year. Alderson and dePodesta’s first year running the team’s draft class in 2011 would prove to be a prototype for how they would approach the draft throughout most of their tenure with the team from 2011 to 2016 when dePodesta left, and ended up producing 12 future big leaguers, many of whom became regular contributors for the team that drafted them.

With their first selection in the 2011 MLB June amateur draft, the Mets selected Brandon Nimmo, a prep outfielder from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Nimmo famously could not play high school baseball, because Wyoming high schools do not offer it as a sport, but played American Legion ball and impressed on the showcase circuits. At the time, scouts were impressed by Nimmo’s all-around athleticism, and his size led many to believe that he would grow into above-average power at some point down the line. Seen as having a lot of potential but being particularly raw at the time of the draft, Nimmo has developed into a very solid big leaguer. Nimmo made his big league debut in 2016, and has accumulated 8.1 fWAR and 6.8 bWAR in 338 games player at the big league level. While he may not have been the best player selected in the first round of the 2011 draft, Nimmo is certainly a successful selection by any measure.

With their second selection, the Mets chose Michael Fulmer, a right-handed pitcher out of Deer Creek High School in Oklahoma. A supplemental first round selection, Fulmer impressed scouts with his fastball, which reportedly could touch the upper 90s, as well as solid slider and prototypical starter’s build, even if the effort in his mechanics led many to believe he was destined for the bullpen. Fulmer slowly worked his way up the organizational ladder before breaking out with Binghamton in 2015. The Mets traded Fulmer to the Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes in order to help them on their push to the playoffs. Fulmer blossomed with the Tigers, debuting the following season and posting a 3.1 fWAR with a 3.06 ERA and 3.76 FIP in 159 innings pitched. Following the season, Fulmer was named the American League Rookie of the Year for 2016, and has gone on to put up 7.7 fWAR across 467.1 career innings.

With their third selection, the Mets chose Cory Mazzoni, a right-handed pitcher out of North Carolina State University. Mazzoni spent four years in the Mets organization before being traded to the Padres for reliever Alex Torres. Mazzoni made his big league debut with the Padres in 2015, and has since had a cup of coffee with the Padres in 2017, and with the Cubs in 2018. In 25.1 carreer innings pitched at the big league level, Mazzoni has posted an 11.72 ERA and 7.02 FIP, and has been worth -0.5 fWAR.

With their fourth selection, the Mets selected Logan Verrett, a right-handed pitcher out of Baylor University. Verrett eventually debuted with the Mets in 2015, and pitched pretty well for them during their run to the playoffs. Verrett posted a 4.62 ERA and 5.17 FIP in 150.0 innings pitched across three big league seasons, and was worth -0.8 fWAR throughout his career.

With their fifth selection, the Mets selected Tyler Pill, a right-handed pitcher out of Cal State Fullerton. Pill spent parts of seven season in the Mets minor league system before debuting with the team in 2017. He ended up pitching 22.0 innings and posting a 5.32 ERA and 5.11 FIP during his rookie season. Pill left the organization following the 2017 season, and spent the next two years bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A with the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Rangers. He has been worth -0.0 fWAR in his career to date.

With their sixth selection, the Mets selected Jack Leathersich, a left-handed reliever out of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Leathersich posted gaudy strikeout numbers, as well as extremely high walk rates, throughout his time in the minors, before making his debut for the Mets in 2015. Leathersich posted 2.31 ERA and 2.79 FIP with 14 strikeouts and seven walks in 11.2 innings. Leathersich ended up getting injured later in the year while pitching an incredibly long inning for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, and missed the entire 2016 season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Leathersich managed to work his way back and throw five innings in the big leagues in a 2017 season split between the Cubs and the Pirates, but has not pitched at the major league level since. He has been worth 0.2 fWAR in his career to date.

The Mets selected Danny Muno, an infielder from Cal State Fresno, in the eighth round. Muno came up for a cup of coffee in 2015, his only stay in the big leagues, and hit .148/.258/.185 in 32 plate appearances with the Mets that year. For his career, Muno has been worth -0.2 fWAR.

With their eleventh round selection, the Mets selected Robert Gsellman, a right-handed pitcher out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California. Gsellman pitched in parts of six season in the minors before making his debut for the Mets in 2016, and helped pitch the Mets into a wild card spot down the stretch. Having seen an uptick in velocity during the offseason, and a dramatic improvement in his slider, Gsellman put up a 2.42 ERA and 2.63 FIP with 1.3 fWAR primarily as a starter in 2016. He was unable to replicate his sucess in the rotation in 2017, and was moved into the bullpen full-time following the season. Gsellman has thrown 312.2 innings in his big league career to date, and has posted a 4.49 ERA and 4.19 FIP with 2.6 fWAR.

With their fifteenth round selection, the Mets selected Phillip Evans, an infielder from La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California. Evans won the Eastern League batting title in 2016, and made his big league debut with the Mets the following season, hitting .303/.395/364 in 38 plate appearances. He got another stint with the Mets in 2018, and spent all of 2019 with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate before finding his way onto the Pirates big league roster for 2020. Evans has hit .290/.377/.366 in 106 plate appearances, and posted 0.4 fWAR in his career to date.

With their eighteenth round selection, the Mets selected Travis Taijeron, an outfielder from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. After a long career as Triple-A home run threat, Taijeron made his big league debut with the Mets in 2017, and hit .173/.271/.269 in 59 plates appearances that season. That has been Taijeron’s only stint in the big leagues to date. He has put up -0.4 fWAR in his career.

With their twenty-first selection, the Mets chose John Gant, a right-handed pitcher from Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Gant pitched in the Mets minor league system until 2015, when he was traded along with Rob Whalen to the Braves in exchange for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. Gant made his big league debut for the Braves in 2016, before being traded to the Cardinals as part of a deal that sent Jaime Garcia to the Braves. Since then, Gant has carved out a nice career for himself as a reliever in the Cardinals’ bullpen, having put up 2.3 fWAR with a 3.79 ERA and 4.15 FIP in 256.1 innings pitched across five big league seasons.

With their thirty-fourth round selection, the Mets selected Seth Lugo, a right-handed pitcher out of Centenary College in Louisiana. A curveball artist that suffered several major injuries during his time in the minors, Lugo made his major league debut with the Mets in 2016 and immediately turned heads for breaking the Statcast record for highest curveball spin rate. Lugo made an immediate impact for the Mets, and helped pitch the Mets into the 2016 WIld Card Game down the stretch after several injuries forced him into the rotation. He bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen between 2017 and 2018, before being more or less permanently moved into a relief role in 2019. From there he blossomed into one of the league’s best relief pitchers, although he is likely to be forced back into the rotation at times during 2020. Lugo has put up 6.1 fWAR with a 3.23 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 360.0 inning pitched in his career to date, making him one of the most successful players selected by the Mets in 2011.

With their thirty-fifth round selection, the Mets chose Chasen Bradford, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Central Florida. Bradford spent parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level before finally getting called up to the major leagues in 2017. He pitched generally well for the Mets that year, but was designated for assignment following the season. He was claimed by the Mariners and spent most of the 2018 and 2019 seasons at the big league level with them. Bradford has posted a 3.89 ERA and 5.00 FIP in 104.0 innings pitched in his career to date.

In total, the Alderson, DePodesta and the Mets signed 37 of their 51 selections in the 2011 draft. Of them, 12 made the big leagues, with several going on to have lasting careers at the big league level.