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Deconstructing the Draft: 2014

The Mets didn’t get many big leaguers out of the 2014 draft, but at least they got Michael Conforto.

Michael Conforto Chris McShane

Coming off of a 2013 season in which the Mets went 74-88 and finished third in the NL East, the Mets entered the 2014 draft with the tenth overall selection in the draft. The selection was the highest the Mets had drafted since 2010, when they selected Matt Harvey with the seventh overall selection. The team’s draft strategy under general manager Sandy Alderson and vice president of player development and scouting Paul dePodesta had largely revolved around raw high school position players with upside. Alderson and company went a different way in 2014, selecting Michael Conforto, an outfielder from Oregon State University, with the tenth overall selection in the draft. The son of a pair of high level athletes and a former high school football player, Conforto was generally considered to be among the best college position players in the draft class. Conforto mashed from the moment he arrived at Oregon State University. After two excellent seasons to start his collegiate career, Conforto hit .345/.504/.547 with seven home runs in 272 plate appearances as a junior heading into the draft.

At the time of the draft, Conforto was seen as a potential power threat at the plate, who also had an excellent eye at the plate, having walked in more than 20% of his plate appearances during his junior season. While Conforto was known to take more than his fair share of walks, he was also known to strike out pretty regularly, and some evaluators worried that the swing and miss in his game might lead to relatively low batting averages down the line. There was also a significant fear that Conforto’s lack of mobility would force him out of the outfield at some point down the line, although many believed that the bat might end up being able to play at the position. For the most part, Conforto proved most of those worries and fears wrong as a big leaguer. He spent a little over a calendar year in the organization before making his debut for the Mets in 2015, and hit the ground running immediately, hitting .270/.335/.506 in 194 plate appearances as a rookie. Since his debut, Conforto has hit .260/.359/.487 with a 128 wRC+ and has put up 16.1 fWAR to date, and while he has had extended periods of struggle as a big leaguer at times, he’s also had seasons in which he performs an all star caliber regular. Perhaps most encouragingly, Conforto has turned out to be an excellent defender in either corner outfield spot, and has even been called upon to start in center field for periods of time. By any definition, Michael Conforto is an extremely successful draft pick, and exactly the type of player you hope to get when drafting within the top ten picks.

The Mets lost their second round pick as compensation for signing Curtis Granderson, but selected Milton Ramos, a shortstop out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida in the third round. Ramos was known at the time of the draft as one of the best defensive shortstops in the class. While his defense drew rave reviews, his offensive game clearly needed work. In the end, Ramos’ offensive abilities didn’t come together the way the Mets had hoped. Ramos spent parts of four seasons in the Mets organization before the team traded him to the Orioles for international bonus pool money. Ramos spent all of 2018 with the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the New York Penn League, and hit just .241/.261/.328 in 68 plate appearances for them despite being about a year older than the average NYPL player. Ramos found himself out of affiliated ball following the 2018 season, spending the 2019 with the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League.

With their third selection in the draft, the Mets drafted Eudor Garcia, a JuCo infielder out of El Paso Community College. At the time of the draft, Garcia was seen as a potentially impactful offensive player, although evaluators worried about where he was going to play defensively. Garcia made his professional debut later in 2014 for the Kingsport Mets, and spent 2015 hitting .296/.340/.442 for the Savannah Sand Gnats before getting suspended for 80 games for PED usage in 2016. Garcia spent the rest of 2016 primarily with the Columbia Fireflies before being promoted to the Florida State League for the start of the 2017 season. Garcia was released during the 2017 season, and hasn’t played in affiliated ball since. He spent the rest of 2017 with the Sioux City Explorers of the independent American Association, spent time in 2018 with the Algodoneros de Union Laguna of the Mexican Autumn league, and has not played professionally since.

The only other player from the Mets draft class to make the big leagues was their seventh round selection, Brad Wieck, a left-handed pitcher out of Oklahoma City University. Wieck was sent to the Padres as a player to be named later in the trade that brought Alex Torres to Mets. Wieck spent parts of four seasons in the Padres system before making his big league debut in 2018. Wieck bounced between Triple-A and the big leagues for the Padres in 2019 before being traded to the Cubs for Carl Edwards Jr. Wieck is currently on the 60 day IL for the Cubs, and has posted a 5.27 ERA with -0.3 bWAR, 61 strikeouts, and 14 walks in 42.2 innings pitched at the big league level.

While the Mets may not have drafted many big leaguers in 2014, they did manage to get one of the best players. Conforto’s 14.7 bWAR is currently the fourth best player by bWAR in the draft class, after Aaron Nola, Matt Chapman, and Trea Turner. In Conforto, the Mets were able to bring in exactly the kind of high end talent that a team hopes to in the draft.