The 2015 MLB draft has come and gone, and the New York Mets have found themselves more players to add to one of the league’s deepest farm systems. Unfortunately, they did not have a first round pick, as they gave it up when they signed Michael Cuddyer. While I do not believe Cuddyer was worth the pick, the Mets had to give it up and there is no point arguing the matter.
Overall, the Mets had a pretty good draft, filled mostly with college players and lots of pitching. Also, considering that the Mets had the lowest money pool of any team in the draft, you cannot blame GM Sandy Alderson for stretching for some picks to save money. He simply could not afford to go over slot on more than a couple picks. So here is my thoughts on their picks from rounds 2-10, plus some sleepers to watch.
*NOTE: Players drafted in later rounds, but not expected to sign, will not be considered sleep picks to watch out for. I mean, you can watch out for them if you want to. But, you will have to watch some college baseball to do that.
Round 2, Pick 53: Desmond Lindsay OF, Out-of-Door Academy (Florida)
To call the pick of Lindsay surprising is an understatement. Not that he is a bad player, or even a bad pick for that matter. It just seems that he was a real reach. But, Sandy Alderson had to conserve money in certain spots, and since he obviously really liked Lindsay, he probably figured that it was a good idea to guarantee they got him, and save the cash.
Lindsay is a good hitter with good speed, and projects as a future center fielder probably. He hits the ball so hard, that his high school coach said he saw opponents jump out of the way to avoid his line drives, rather than attempt to make the play. He has plenty of speed, and one person within the organization described him as “a first round talent.” Pretty high praise. The problem is that he struggles to make consistent contact and is still very raw as an overall player. This is a case where you have to take the word of actual scouts over media “experts.”
Round 3, Pick 88: Max Wotell LHP, Marvin Ridge HS (North Carolina)
Wotell is one of the Mets more exciting picks. The 6 foot, 3 inch high school lefty, is full of potential and it’s more than possible that he will throw harder than the 93 MPH he has already been topped at. He is lanky and was described as the “best prep player in the western region of the state [North Carolina].”
Now, Wotell does have some issues. He does not have very impressive breaking pitches, and has a very awkward motion. If he does not develop his off speed stuff better and make at least a few adjustments, his upside could be nothing more than a LOOGY reliever. But, if he does make the adjustments and continues to develop, his potential is sky-high.
Round 4, Pick 119: David Thompson 3B, University of Miami
Thompson was the Mets first college pick, and had one of the best seasons at the plate in all of college baseball. Originally a 38th round pick by the Yankees in 2012, Thompson was seen as a really nice power prospect. But, a torn labrum took away any arm strength he had, and was one of several worrying injuries during his time with the Hurricanes. But, he was finally healthy this year and exploded, leading all of college baseball in both home runs and RBIs.
He is a big guy and will almost definitely move to first base at some point. He just does not have enough arm strength and is much too big and bulky to stick at third. There are some questions with his bat, but that is what figures to get him to the big leagues. Overall, he has great power, but some contact issues and problems in the field. A good pick at this spot, but there is reason he was available.
Round 5, Pick 149: Thomas Szapucki LHP, William T Dwyer HS (Florida)
This might be my favorite pick in the draft. Szapucki was a top 100 prospect according to MLB.com and probably dropped due to concerns with his funky delivery. But, he is 18 and already is hitting at about 93 MPH on the gun, with much potential to throw even harder. Unlike Wotell, he already has some secondary stuff to work with. A slider that needs some work, and an okay changeup is actually pretty good for a prep pitcher in the 5th round.
Both need plenty of work, but neither is a massive concern. Now, his motion is odd. It just looks uncomfortable and a lot of scouts were worried about his ability to repeat it. He will probably have to change it at least a little bit. But, at this point in the draft, I love this pick. Honestly, I cannot say I would have been that upset with him in the second round. He’s raw, but has plenty of potential.
Round 6, Pick 179: Chase Ingram RHP, Hillsborough Community College (North Carolina)
In Ingram, the Mets got one of the best junior college pitchers in the country. He was among the national JUCO leaders in strikeouts, ERA, and wins. He probably projects more as a back of the rotation type of arm, but that does not make him a bad pick. The fact that he is a good bet to make the majors and just 20 years old, makes him pretty darn good in the 6th round. He has a solid fastball, and nice off-speed stuff. His control is good and his curveball was described as “outstanding”. Overall, I like this pick. Ingram was a safe choice that also carries good potential.
Round 7, Pick 209: Corey Taylor RHP, Texas Tech
This was a money-saving pick. The Mets had to pick and choose where they spent money, and obviously felt that this was the spot to do it. A senior reliever at Texas Tech, Taylor was a standout high school pitcher before going to community college, and eventually transferring to Texas Tech. Now, he turned into a pretty awesome reliever at Texas Tech. He allowed a grand total of zero home runs and 13 walks this year.
He does not strikeout many batters, but has a very good control and should be able to sustain his low home run and walk rates. He has decent stuff and high effort, reliever-style delivery. He is very unexciting and not a sexy pick. But, that does not make him a waste pick. A future as a long-reliever is very possible, and he could very well fill other bullpen roles too.
Round 8, Pick 239: Patrick Mazeika C, Stetson University
The Mets have good reason to like Stetson University in this area of the draft. In 2010, they picked some guy named Jacob deGrom in the 9th round out of the same school. I wonder what he is up to. Mazeika is a pretty good player that does not get a ton of hype, oddly. He hit tremendously as a freshman, but has seen his average fall every year since and had a poor Cape Cod League performance. But, he is a left-handed hitting catcher (which is quite rare) in a very weak catching class. His bat got him drafted and he has a smooth, flat swing that hits line drives.
He has a very good approach to the plate and never strikes out, but it would be nice if he could get a little more aggressive some times. His defense has been pretty good, but he is a big guy and might not be able to stay behind the plate, though that is easily his best chance to reach The Show. Not a bad choice here.
Round 9, Pick 269: Kevin Kaczmarksi OF, University of Evansville
Kaczmarksi is the oldest of the Mets selection as next year will be his age 24 season. Now, that does not make him a waste pick, but it does mean that his ceiling is limited more than most. But, then again, the same could have been said about their 9th round pick in 2010: another college senior, Jacob deGrom. So there is still a chance for Kaczmarksi to be pretty good. He had a big senior season, that saw him hit .465. He’s not a big guy, but he makes good contact and has some raw power. Sadly, his defense is suspect, as well is his speed, so he probably will end up as a corner outfielder. Overall, Kaczmarski probably has an upside of only a fourth outfielder. But, surprises do happen, so keep an eye out if you like.
Round 10, Pick 299: Witt Haggard RHP, Delta State
Another college senior, Haggard is a former Ole Miss Quarterback. He eventually transferred to Division II Delta State, where he has been a nice pitcher overall for the Statesmen, posting a 3.24 ERA this year. He has a lot of upside, and his big calling card is his athleticism on the mound. But, his mechanics need some work. Unfortunately, he probably isn’t more than a middle reliever at this point, but luckily, he seems to be a guy who will move rather quickly through the system.
Here are couple of other picks to look out for.
Round 13, Pick 389: P.J. Conlon LHP, University of San Diego
Conlon has one of the more interesting backstories in the Mets’ draft class. A Northern Ireland native, his family escaped their homeland due to the ongoing fighting there. He picked up baseball when he got to the States and has put up very good numbers despite lacking overwhelming stuff. He has pitched out of both the ‘pen and rotation at USD, and I see him as more of a future starter. His lack of traditional power pitches, paired with pitching in a very hitter-friendly conference would make you think he was not very effective. But, on the contrary, he developed into an ace. He has smooth mechanics, and is mostly a polished product. At the very least, he’s a reliever. Nice pick here.
Round 15, Pick 449: Thomas Hackimer RHP, St John’s
The local kid from Long Island led the Big East with 15 saves last year while pitching for the Red Storm. He has a submarine-style motion with a nice sinker and has knack for throwing strikes. Hackimer was originally a walk-on trying to make it as a shortstop. But, the Johnnies’ pitching coach saw him taking infield practice, and taught him to pitch. He then became one of the conference’s most dominant relievers.
A smart guy, who is majoring in physics, Hackimer projects as a nice bullpen piece for the Mets. It is just a matter of him succeeding against hitters a lot better than the Big East lineups he is used to seeing. But, he has very little wear on his arm and could develop into a nice Joe Smith-type reliever at best. Not bad for the 15th round.
NOTE: I would like to give a shout out to Amazin’ Avenue, who provided much of the info on these guys on their site.