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2022 Mets Draft: Draft Redo

If you could redo the Mets’ first-round draft selections over the last five years, who would you draft and why?

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners
Jarred Kelenic
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images


Mets Pick: David Peterson (20th overall)

Optimal Pick: Tanner Houck (24th overall, Boston Red Sox)

An unexciting pick at the time, with a high floor but low ceiling, David Peterson has been a pleasant surprise. The left-hander made his major league debut in 2020 and posted a 3.44 ERA in 49.2 innings over 10 games, allowing 36 hits, walking 24, and striking out 40. He experienced a sophomore slump in 2021, and eventually had his season end prematurely in early at the end of June thanks to an oblique injury and unrelated foot problem. All in all, the southpaw posted a 5.54 RA in 66.2 innings over 15 starts with 64 hits allowed, 29 walks, and 69 strikeouts.

Peterson has been much more effective this season and has been found money with the injuries to the starting rotation. He did not factor into the Mets’ plans coming into the season, but with the injuries to Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tylor Megill, Peterson was pressed into service and has emerged as a viable back-end starter once again. Coming into draft week, the left-hander has a 3.48 ERA in 62.0 innings over 13 games with 52 hits allowed, 27 walks, and 67 strikeouts.

Tanner Houck, who also made his major league debut in 2020, has proven to be more valuable than Peterson at this point in their respective careers. Selected 24th overall by the Boston Red Sox, the 24-year-old made three starts in September 2020 and posted a 0.53 ERA in 17.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 9, and striking out 21. The right-hander began the 2021 season on Boston’s active roster but was optioned up and down to Triple-A Worcester multiple times over the course of the season. All in all, he appeared in 18 games for Boston, making 13 starts, and posted a 3.52 ERA in 69.0 innings, allowing 57 hits, walking 21, and striking out 87.

He began the 2022 season as a starter, but his role was seemingly changed when the Red Sox had series’ in Toronto and Houck had to be put on the restricted list because was unvaccinated against COVID-19 and could travel into Canada. The Sox began using him in relief as a result, and when he proved himself a trustworthy reliever, eventually began using him in high leverage and save situations.


Mets Pick: Jarred Kelenic (6th overall)

Optimal Pick: Logan Gilbert (14th overall, Seattle Mariners)

The highest overall pick the Mets had since Phil Humber was selected in 2003 and signed for $3 million, Jarred Kelenic would also be utilized in a high profile trade. On February 2, 2008 Humber was traded by the Mets, along with Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Johan Santana. Almost ten years later, on December 3, 2018, Kelenic was traded by the Mets, along with Gerson Bautista, Jay Bruce, Justin Dunn and Anthony Swarzak to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and cash.

Considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball, the outfielder demolished minor league pitching in 2019. Playing at Low-A West Virginia, High-A Modesto, and Double-A Arkansas, Kelenic hit a cumulative .291/.364/.540 with 23 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and 50 walks to 111 strikeouts. Following the cancelled 2020 season, he forced his promotion to the majors after hitting .320/.392/.624 in 30 games for the Triple-A Tacoma with 9 home runs, 6 stolen bases, and 15 walks to 22 strikeouts. His time with the Rainiers would be the high water mark of his season, as he was absolutely abysmal with the Mariners. Appearing in 93 games, the 21-year-old hit .181/.265/.350 with 14 home runs, 6 steals, and 36 walks to 106 strikeouts. His 2022 season has unfolded eerily similar so far. Starting the season with the Mariners, he hit .140/.219/.291 in 30 games before being optioned down to Triple-A in mid-May. Coming into draft week, Kelenic is hitting .299/.354/.599 in 39 games with Tacoma with 10 home runs, 12 stolen bases, and 12 walks to 49 strikeouts.

Kelenic wound up in the Mariners system, but ironically, their actual first-round draft selection would have been the optimal pick had the Mets selected him. Selected 14th overall out of Stetson University, Jacob deGrom’s alma mater, Gilbert rocketed through the Mariners system much like Kelenic, posting a 2.13 ERA in 135.0 cumulative innings for Low-A West Virginia, High-A Modesto, and Double-A Arkansas. Considered one of the better pitching prospects in baseball in 2021 following the lost 2020 season, the right-hander made just a single start with the Rainiers before making his major league debut in mid-May. He wound up making 24 starts for the 90-72 M’s, posting a 4.68 ERA in 119.1 innings, allowing 112 hits, walking 28, and striking out 128. Penciled into the Mariners starting rotation for the 2022 season, the 25-year-old has been one of the best pitchers not just in the American League, but in all of baseball. Coming into draft week, Gilbert has a 2.61 ERA in 100.0 innings, allowing 86 hits, walking 29, and striking out 93.


Mets Pick: Brett Baty (12th overall)

Optimal Pick: Corbin Carroll (16th overall, Arizona Diamondbacks)

Brett Baty has had an excellent career as a professional baseball player so far in his young career. Advertised as an advanced bat who would punish the ball, he has more or less done exactly just that. After being drafted, he hit .234/.368/.452 with 7 home runs, 0 steals, and 35 walks to 65 strikeouts in 51 combined games with the GCL Mets, Kingsport Mets, and Brooklyn Cyclones. After just missing most national Top 100 prospect lists over the past couple of years, he found himself in the top third of most 2022 Top 100 Prospect lists after hitting .292/.382/.473 with 12 home runs, 46 walks, and 98 strikeouts in 91 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in 2021. Coming into draft week, Baty has appeared in 67 games for Binghamton and is hitting .282/.376/.476 with 11 home runs, 1 stolen base, and 33 walks to 81 strikeouts.

Despite all that, Corbin Carroll has simply outperformed the Mets’ third baseman. After being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019, he hit a combined .299/.409/.487 in 42 games with the AZL Diamondbacks and the Low-A Hillsboro Hops with 2 home runs, 18 steals, and 29 walks to 41 strikeouts. Following the lost 2020 season, he got off to an extremely hot start with Low-A Hillsboro, hitting .435/.552/.913 through his first 7 games, but injured his shoulder after hitting a home run and was forced to undergo season-ending surgery. The centerfielder returned to the field this season and was assigned to Double-A Amarillo, where he has been particularly impressive. Coming into draft week, Carroll hit .313/.430/.643 in 58 games for the Sod Poodles with 16 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and 41 walks to 68 strikeouts, his promotion to Triple-A Reno delayed at the beginning of July due to COVID-19 protocol.


Mets Pick: Pete Crow-Armstrong (19th overall)

Optimal Pick: Jordan Walker (21th overall, St. Louis Cardinals)

Pete Crow-Armstrong’s time in the organization was short. Drafted in 2020, a season that never actually took place thanks to the coronavirus, he got his first taste of professional baseball in 2021, assigned to the St. Lucie Mets to begin the season. His season lasted barely a week, as he injured his non-throwing shoulder while sliding into third in his sixth game with St. Lucie, ending his season. He ended up tearing his labrum, closing the book on his season. A few months later, his career as a Mets player came to a close as well (for now) when the team traded the centerfielder for shortstop Javy Baez, right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams, and cash.

The trade was a questionable one at the time, but it looks worse even now. Baez performed better than anybody could have expected, hitting .299/.371/.515 with 9 homers and 7 steals in 47 games, but his addition to the everyday lineup was not able to get the 77-85 2021 Mets to the playoffs, let alone a record over .500. A free agent over the winter, he decided to sign with the Detroit Tigers. Crow-Armstrong, meanwhile, successfully rehabbed his shoulder and made some changes to his swing mechanics that have resulted in massive exit velocity gains. The 20-year-old was assigned to the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans to begin the season and hit .354/.443/.557 in 38 games with them with 7 home runs, 13 stolen bases, and 22 walks to 33 strikeouts. He was promoted to the High-A South Bend Cubs at the beginning of June and is currently hitting .230/.236/.437 in 20 games, giving him a cumulative .310/.375/.514 batting line with 9 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and 23 walks to 56 strikeouts through draft week.

Jordan Walker, unlike PCA, has done nothing but hit since being drafted out of Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia. He made his professional debut with the Low-A Palm Beach Cardinals in 2021 and hit .374/.475/.687 with 6 home runs, 1 stolen base, and 18 walks to 21 strikeouts in 27 games, earning himself a promotion to the High-A Peoria Chiefs. The third baseman didn’t bat an eye to the more advanced competition he was facing and hit .292/.344/.487 with 8 home runs, 13 strikeouts, and 15 walks to 66 strikeouts. All in all, he skyrocketed up the national Top 100 prospect lists thanks to his cumulative performance, hitting .317/.388/.548 in 82 games with 14 home runs, 14 stolen bases, and 33 walks to 87 strikeouts. Promoted to Double-A Springfield for the 2022 season, Walker is hitting .311/.401/.492 in 68 games with 7 home runs, 15 walks, and a 36:69 walk:strikeout ratio through draft week.


Mets Pick: Kumar Rocker (10th overall)

Optimal Pick: Andrew Painter (13th overall, Philadelphia Phillies)

The Mets’ 2021 draft was, for a variety of reasons, an abject disaster. What was initially seen as a coup, Kumar Rocker falling to the Mets, turned into a rout, when the team ended up not signing him. The Mets undoubtedly knew that there were some red flags surrounding Rocker- everybody knew, as his velocity was down and fluctuating virtually all season- but did not draft a high upside player with signability concerns in the later rounds as a fallback option in case the issues with Rocker proved too great. Sure enough, they failed to come to terms with Rocker and left millions of dollars on the table that could’ve been allocated towards other players had they been selected in the first place.

Selected a few picks after the Mets took Rocker, Andrew Painter has been dominant in his short professional career thus far. The Calvary Christian High School graduate appeared in 4 games for the FCL Phillies that summer and pitched a total of 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits, walking 0, and striking out 12. Over the winter, he was a marginal Top 100 prospect, making some national lists while missing others. Assigned to the Clearwater Threshers, Philadelphia’s Single-A affiliate, Painter has done much to raise his national awareness, posing a 1.85 ERA in 43.2 innings with the Single-A with 24 hits allowed, 19 walks, and an astonishing 75 strikeouts through draft week.