May 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Detailed view of an official MLB baseball in a glove in the Atlanta Braves dugout prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Draft Preview


This year’s Amateur Draft for eligible players begins on June 6th, and will last three days.  Yesterday, regional pre-draft workouts were held in Florida, Georgia, Houston and Los Angeles.

For the second consecutive year, Jonathan Mayo’s Top 50 (as of November 2012), listed Stanford RHP Mark Appel as the potential number one overall selection.  Baseball America’s Top 250 List is currently topped by Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray, with Appel second.  The Astros and Cubs own the first and second selections respectively, and it’s speculated both pitchers will go number one and two.  Pertaining to position players, there is a third opinion held by Baseball Draft Report that OF/3B Kris Bryant from San Diego, who was originally drafted out of high school by Toronto in the eighteenth round of the 2010 draft, can potentially go first this time around.  For a pitcher, Jonathan Gray is a hulking specimen, coming in at 6’4″, 245 pounds.  Regardless of pre-draft lists, Kris Bryant’s power as a junior certainly stands to get him selected within the top ten.  A May 13th tweet by  CBS.com’s Jon Heyman put a bow tie on the first few selections suggesting the trio stands to get drafted in the top three.

Since the Mets own the eleventh overall selection in this year’s draft, they will have to sniff a little more carefully, and dig a little deeper than the average bear before selecting a quality piece of grub.  With the draft less than twenty days away, Sandy Alderson and his lieutenants should be narrowing down their final strategy.

In my opinion, Sandy Alderson should repeat last year’s tactic, by at least spending the first two rounds selecting the best available position player.  If we project out a few years, the Mets already have a handsome stable of young right-handed pitchers accumulated in their lower system.   Some they’ll keep, and some they’ll potentially trade.  Some will hopefully arrive in Flushing one day to complement Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.  Besides needing young left-handed pitching, what the Mets sorely lack is a position player of impact – someone with majestic power and high slugging  potential, or what scouts refer to as a five tool player.  Then again, what team doesn’t lack such a player?

That player could arrive in Queens via major league level trades, or future free agency.  For purposes of this post, we’ll draft him. The Mets are theoretically set at catcher for the foreseeable future.  Between John Buck, Travis d’Arnaud shortly on the way, and Kevin Plawecki making tremendous strides at Savannah this season, the Mets can defer on a highly touted catching prospect such as high school stand-out (BA ranked #13) Reese McGuire.  Thanks to a new long term contract, David Wright has third base locked down for the near future as well.  Besides, Alderson drafted third baseman Matt Reynolds last year in the second round.   That leaves the Mets free to address the futures of shortstop, second base, first base, and the outfield.

Drafting a first baseman at number eleven is a bit of a stretch.  The Mets are currently hosting the Reds, and even Joey Votto was drafted in the second round.  Including Josh Satin at Las Vegas, the Mets do not have a first baseman in their system who fits the slugger-like criteria.  Baseball America’s highest ranked first baseman, #14 overall, is high schooler Dominic Smith out of California.  Next at #15 from New Mexico, is college first baseman D.J. Peterson, who Jonathan Mayo ranked number eleven.  The Mets obviously need clarity as it pertains to Ike Davis‘ and Lucas Duda‘s futures, but don’t forget, we can always play Murphy back at first base again as well.  Daniel Murphy will be a free agent by the 2016 season.  He can either create an opportunity for someone at second base, or stay a Met.  However, because of Daniel Murphy and the hope Ike Davis gets his act together, it strikes me as a waste to draft a first baseman this year.

While he has a fan in me, there is also nothing definitive about Ruben Tejada playing short.  This might sound old school of me, but since when do we seek five tool players up the middle?  The Mets have long held out hopes for Reese Havens, but he was finally dropped from the 40-man roster prior to Spring Training.  The Mets meanwhile, are still trying to make Wilmer Flores fit – somewhere, anywhere – as the entire Mets infield currently has him pinned in Vegas.  He hasn’t exactly torn up the minor leagues either.  Players like Flores and Daniel Muno just might warrant drafting another middle infielder.

The most likely place to look for such a slugger would be the outfield, which is by far the Mets’ weakest link.  In Binghamton, Cory Vaughn is fresh off winning offensive player of the week of May 13-19, but we all know the Mets are desperate for outfielders, and they’ll need them three and four years from now as well.  Baseball America’s top five outfield draft projections are #3-Kris Bryant, high school player #4-Clint Frazier, high school player #5-Austin Meadows, #13-Hunter Renfro, and listed further down at #21, Mark Appel’s teammate, Phillip Irvin.

Drafting, and then developing high school players is obviously a longer endeavor than opting for college players.  That was Sandy Alderson’s preference two years ago, when he drafted high school outfielder Brandon Nimmo with the thirteenth overall pick of the 2011 draft.  Brandon was batting .322 at Savannah until getting injured earlier this month, but by no means is he a power hitter.  Neither is Sandy Alderson’s 2012 first round pick (#12 overall), high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini.

Selection Order – 1st Round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft

If I were running this draft, I’d select a college outfielder with my first pick, and in the second and third rounds, select another college outfielder and a middle infielder.  Then I’d spend my next three picks on left handed pitching.  What would you prefer the Mets do with their picks?

SLOTTING – YEAR TWO

Per Jim Callis of Baseball America, MLB’s total assigned dollar value for the first ten rounds is $202,501,600 – up 8.2% from last year.  The Mets have eleven picks in the first ten rounds, and have been allotted $6,990,000 this year, the tenth highest amount.  Exceeding that figure on selections chosen within the first ten rounds comes with a range of penalties.  The following information was gathered from ObstructedView.net.

* Overspending 0 to 5% = 75% luxury tax on the overspent amount.

* Overspending 5% to 10% = 75% luxury tax and forfeiture of next year’s first pick.

* Overspending 10% to 15% = 100% luxury tax and forfeiture of next year’s first and second round picks.

* Overspending over 15% = 100% luxury tax and forfeiture of first round pick in next two drafts.

I have mixed emotions regarding the slotting system.  I’m a capitalist, so I do not appreciate restrictions on how much to spend on drafted players.  I feel the same way about instituting a salary cap in baseball.  However, there are reasons why the baseball draft has evolved this way.  Look no further than player agents.  Spearheaded by super agents like Scott Boras as far back as 1990, involving cases such as Todd Van Poppel‘s with the A’s, agents began holding teams hostage until they forked over multi-million dollar ransoms in bonus money.  Fred Wilpon has long been a proponent of Commissioner Selig’s proposed slotting system, and had former GM Omar Minaya operate under its unofficial guidelines.  Slotting is now law of the land.  For communist competitive reasons, I guess this is best for all teams…..just like participation trophies and no-score little league.  I digress.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

The son of former Mets favorite and Brooklyn native Lee Mazzilli, LJ Mazzilli, was previously drafted last year in the ninth round as a junior second baseman by the Minnesota Twins, but opted instead to attend his senior year at UConn.  Baseball America has him ranked #247 on their list.  His pop was drafted number fourteen overall out of Abe Lincoln High School in Brooklyn forty years ago, by then Mets GM Bob Scheffing in the 1973 amateur draft.

DETAILS FOR 2013 AMATEUR DRAFT

For the first time, as per The International Baseball Federation – the Draft will feature Competitive Balance rounds, which were agreed upon as a part of the 2012-2016 Basic Agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association.  The Competitive Balance rounds give Clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery, which was held last July at the MLB Network studio.  The 10 clubs with the lowest revenues and the 10 clubs in the smallest markets were entered into a lottery for the six selections immediately following the first round of the First-Year Player Draft (picks 34-39).  The eligible clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee clubs under the revenue sharing plan, were entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the second round of the Draft (picks 69-73; only five picks will be made in this round for 2013 after the Cleveland Indians forfeited their pick for the signing of free agent Michael  Bourn).

 

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