The New York Mets selected Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft last month, and it is turning lots of heads across baseball. Many draft experts believed Parada would not be available for the Mets, but he fell and the Mets took full advantage, with some believing Parada to the Mets at No. 11 was the steal of the draft. But where does Parada go from here?
Mets prospect Kevin Parada will slug his way to the major leagues.
Parada was instrumental in Georgia Tech's path to the NCAA tournament this season as the best hitter in the ACC's best offense. He batted .360 with 26 home runs (after hitting just nine the year before) and an 1.162 OPS, and led the ACC with 78 runs scored and 88 runs driven in. He was viewed as one of the most advanced hitters in the draft, and he can rake to all fields. He also only struck out in 10.5 percent of his at-bats.
He is someone that is more challenged defensively, as the Mets will look to develop a better throwing arm for a catcher, but scouts will tell you the rest of his defensive game got better as the season went along.
Unlike some of the Mets' other draft picks this year, such as Jett Williams, he hasn't begun his professional career yet, although he was assigned to the FCL Mets on Friday according to the official transaction counter. However, the FCL season ends next week, and a start with Class-A St. Lucie seems like a possibility.
The Mets used a best available player strategy when it came to the draft this year, and even though their top prospect in Franciso Alvarez is a catcher too, the Mets didn't find it prohibitive to draft him. This best available player strategy helped in that the Mets' draft.
The Mets also relied on a great track record of Georgia Tech catchers who have made it big in the major leagues, like Jason Varitek (1994), Matt Wieters (2007), and Joey Bart (2018) who were chosen in the first round.
Fangraphs is already high on the 21-year old prospect, as he debuted on their list as the No. 82 prospect, Baseball America has him as No. 53, and there is a good chance he will begin in the Top 100 on MLB.com's list as well.
Catchers take a longer time than others to properly develop, so it is reasonable that Parada won't make his major league debut for another three years or so, but the fact the Mets have two catchers in Top 100 overall prospects lists should make the future that more intriguing.