What do Jarred Kelenic and Moneyball’s Billy Beane have in common? Both were at one point first-round picks by the New York Mets.
Taken 28 years apart by the Mets, each was a high school outfielder the franchise had high hopes for. Beane would play for the Mets briefly while Kelenic was traded after only one season in the minors.
Beane’s MLB career wouldn’t turn out nearly as successful as the one he put together after in the front office. When he hung up his cleats for good, he had a -1.6 WAR. It rested as the worst ever for a Mets first-round pick to make the major leagues—many never did.
After last year’s struggles with the Seattle Mariners, Kelenic took the throne away. Posting a -1.8 WAR as a rookie for Seattle in 2021, he has what many expect to be a temporary distinction among all Mets first-round draft picks.
Jarred Kelenic and even Billy Beane are hardly the worst first rounders the Mets have taken
As of right now, 19 players the Mets have taken in round one (including the supplement portion) have yet to play a major league game. This does include several active guys and ones the team failed to sign, Kumar Rocker being the most recent.
The most infamous of these players to never reach the majors was catcher Steven Chilcott. Taken first overall in 1966, injuries ruined his big league dreams.
Chilcott wasn’t the only guy taken within the top ten to never make the majors. In 1993, the club selected Kirk Presley 8th overall. In 1997, they selected Geoff Goetz with the 6th overall pick. Neither would ever make the big leagues. Goetz, however, would become a name Mets fans recognize due to the fact that he was one of the players traded to the Florida Marlins for Mike Piazza.
Many other first-round picks in Mets history were traded away with no big league experience ever popping up on the back of their baseball cards insisting they’d one day be future stars. Al Shirley was traded in December of 1995 to the Kansas City Royals for catcher Brent Mayne. The 18th overall pick in 1991 meant to be the heir to Darryl Strawberry’s thrown would never reach the show.
Unless all of the experts were wrong about Kelenic and Brodie Van Wagenen knew something we didn’t, his spot at the bottom of this list in WAR won’t last long.