New York Mets: Examining the four Rule 5 draft acquisitions
By Nick Scheurer
MLB’s Rule 5 Draft took place this week and the New York Mets took advantage with four selections.
The New York Mets picked up four players in total during the Rule 5 Draft this week. For those of you unfamiliar with the Rule 5 draft and its procedures, your questions can be answered here.
Not to put too much pressure on our new draftees, but some notable names acquired from Rule 5 drafts are Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, and Josh Hamilton.
Will any of these guys become them? Let’s start the madness.
Kyle Dowdy RHP (Cleveland Indians)
The only player the Mets took in the major league phase of the draft, Kyle Dowdy appears to have a low ceiling albeit a relatively high floor.
His best chance with a big league club appears to be as a middle reliever given his struggles at the minor league level. In 2018, Dowdy had a 5.15 ERA through 124 innings (20 starts, 10 relief appearances) between Double-A and Triple-A.
He has a passable fastball that sits 93 to 95 but doesn’t pair it with formidable secondary offerings, hence how hittable he has been (9.7 H/9 in 2018).
He’ll join the plethora of young right-handed relief depth the Mets already have. And, even though the Mets are obligated to keep him on the 25-man roster or else lose him, don’t expect Brodie Van Wagenen to give Dowdy too long a leash.
The Mets may trade him in the coming days like they did with Burch Smith after last year’s Rule 5 draft. Otherwise, we’ll have to hope Dowdy develops his off-speed pitches in order to enjoy some success at the big league level in 2019.
Braxton Lee OF (Miami Marlins)
Selected in the minor league phase of the draft, Braxton Lee actually flashes some serious upside.
For one thing, the Mets organization lacks outfield depth at the upper levels. So, Lee should help fill one of those holes and will probably stick around accordingly.
Lee was the Marlins’ 29th ranked prospect according to MLB.com. He is graded as an average hitter with sub-par power. But, his value lies elsewhere.
Lee is an excellent runner. His speed was graded as 70 on the 20-80 scale, and his defense is also highly regarded. He may be an excellent fourth or fifth outfielder on the Mets one day if he can capitalize on his athletic tools.
Granted, his minor league stats were awful last year. In 2018, his slash line was .233/.316/.294 with 1 home run between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He was also 7 for 15 on stolen base attempts in the minors last year which is unacceptable for someone with his speed.
His brief 8 game cameo in the majors last year was equally disappointing so don’t expect Lee to make an immediate impact. The Mets may, however, choose to be patient with him given his potential as a stolen base threat, defensive stalwart, and left-handed bat off the bench.
Chris Mazza RHP (Seattle Mariners)
Chris Mazza, another minor league selection, managed a 2.55 ERA through 49.1 innings (4 starts, 9 relief appearances) between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
He also held a 0.52 ERA through 52.1 innings (2 starts, 24 relief appearances) between two independent leagues in 2018, the Atlantic League and the Pacific Association. His strikeout rate between independent ball and the minor leagues is 8.0 K/9.
Mazza’s ceiling is probably that of another right-handed middle reliever for the Mets. The truth is, good control (1.9 BB/9 between all levels in 2018) won’t be enough to make him important to the Mets’ bullpen of the future.
But, expectations for Rule 5 draftees really shouldn’t get too high anyway. You can never have enough pitching depth. And, the stats are looking pretty good, so we should at least keep an eye on him.
Mitch Ghelfi C (Los Angeles Angels)
The Mets need organizational catching depth. Enter, Mitch Ghelfi.
He’ll fill some minor league gaps nicely and probably has a ceiling of being a Jose Lobaton type if he can play defense at the highest level.
Ghelfi is a switch hitter who slashed .239/.289/.342 with 3 home runs in 2018 between High-A and Double-A ball. No one is quivering with excitement over offensive numbers like this.
But hey, Ghelfi is a catcher who threw out 36% of baserunners last year. So, maybe we see him filling in one day when the three or four catchers ahead of him inevitably get hurt.
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Mets fans, rejoice.