Baseball, especially, is a sport that relies heavily on its foundation, the farm system, that feeds prospects to the big league level. Organizations that thrive long-term are those that tend to scout well, draft efficiently, and build the team from the bottom up. The New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, the two winningest teams in baseball history, have almost made an art form of it. The New York Mets, well, they don’t appear to have gotten the hang of it…yet.
When the Mets came into existence in 1962, ownership grabbed a hold of a number of old-time Yankees executives to build the operations of the organization. That group was led by a man named George Weiss.
But in order to draw attention to the young team, management sought to bring in big names in hopes of drawing big crowds. Unfortunately, some of those big names – like Duke Snider, Warren Spahn, Yogi Berra, Ken Boyer, and even Willie Mays – would be over the hill by the time they took the field in a Mets uniform.
A brief history of the Mets draft picks
The Major League Baseball draft didn’t actually come into existence until June of 1965, during the Mets fourth season. And the Mets were a young organization trying to get its footing. But the scouts are out there, scouring the country, and the outskirts, seeking talent. Are they not seeing the same thing that other scouts are seeing? Well, that’s sort of obvious.
But I sometimes wonder if it is nothing more than when we were kids and choosing up sides on the playground. As a captain, did you always select the best player? I know, at times, I didn’t. But I wasn’t choosing for a Major League baseball team when I was 10 years old.
Regardless of how you look at it, it’s a crapshoot. There have been some successful picks over the years like Jon Matlack, Darryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden. And, more recently, there have been guys like David Wright, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo come out of the first round. But there have been a heck of a lot of duds in there too.
You begin to wonder what management was thinking when they made these decisions. Because just take a look at some of the first-round debacles – by position – over the years: