New York Mets 2000 Draft Class: A year of major misses

At the 2000 MLB Draft, the New York Mets failed to find any gems with just one player from it ever suiting up for them in the big leagues.

Twenty years ago, the New York Mets found themselves heading to the 2000 World Series. A few months prior, they were focused on the future when they went into the MLB Draft looking to add some future stars to the organization.

With the 16th first-round selection as compensation for losing John Olerud plus the 36th overall pick as a supplemental addition, the Mets had an opportunity to add two notable amateurs. Unfortunately, they didn’t pick right.

Their first pick was lefty Billy Traber. The big 6’5 lefty did make it into 96 MLB games but failed to have much success. He was mostly used as a relief pitcher, ultimately finishing with a 5.65 ERA.

Traber’s career with the Mets was a wash. And unfortunately, he was one of the players the team traded away in the infamous Roberto Alomar deal.

The team didn’t have much more luck with the number 36 pick. This one, they used on another pitcher, Bobby Keppel.

You could say Keppel had the best career of anyone taken in this draft if only because he’s the lone player with a positive WAR in the major leagues. At 0.2, it’s hardly a brag-worthy achievement. He just happened to be the one guy who played long enough and averaged numbers a hair above his peers.

Keppel also never actually pitched for the Mets. In May of 2005, he was released by the organization. The next season, he found himself making his MLB debut as a member of the Kansas City Royals. He bounced around the major leagues for a few seasons, retiring from the game with 49 appearances.

The other early-round failed to produce notable big leaguers. The sixth-round pick, Chris Basak, managed to inch into the major leagues as a member of the New York Yankees in 2007. He appeared in five games, only receiving one plate appearance.

A little more notable is the seventh-round pick, Jeff Duncan. He is the only guy from the 2000 Draft taken by the Mets who actually fully graduated from their farm system and played a game for the team. In 2003, he appeared in 56. In 2004, he added another 13.

A scan of his numbers and it’s obvious why Duncan didn’t stay around. He hit .182/.276/.227 in his 183 opportunities.

The rest of the picks failed to see major league action. In fairness to the Mets, the draft wasn’t all that notable—at least from those chosen in the first round.

Among the first 40 picks, only three players ever made an All-Star team. Interestingly enough, there’s a Mets connection with each.

The first overall pick, Adrian Gonzalez, ended up with the team in 2018. The other two names are a little uglier in Mets history.

One selection before Traber, the Philadelphia Phillies took Chase Utley. Almost as menacing in Mets’ playoff history is the 29th selection by the Atlanta Braves—pitcher Adam Wainwright.

Some of the later round picks did eventually find their way to Major League Baseball. Second rounder and future Met Xavier Nady went straight to the big leagues. Cliff Lee enjoyed a nice career and even won a Cy Young. Then there’s Yadier Molina who will probably end up in the Hall of Fame.

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As for the Mets, there wasn’t much luck in finding future help in this draft.