The 2019 season marked Brodie Van Wagenen’s first summer as the New York Mets manager, and he made quite the impression in the MLB Draft.
The Mets used bonus pool money to lure away starting pitcher Matthew Allan, a first round talent according to most scouts and talent evaluators, in the third round. This after selecting two very good prospects in the first two rounds: Brett Baty and Josh Wolf. All of a sudden, the New York Mets’ system had three premium young players in a matter of several hours.
This time around, things will be different, although they have a common denominator: creativity. In 2019, it came by using the bonus pool money that could have been used in the latter picks to sign Allan, and this time, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the team needed to approach scouting in a different way.
â€œChange forces ingenuity,â€ Van Wagenen said in a text message. â€œSince we donâ€™t have the benefit of getting fresh talent evaluations this spring, we have to develop new models to properly weigh the track record of past performance with the incredibly small sample sizes produced in 2020.â€
The draft was shortened from 40 rounds to just five in the 2020 season, because of COVID-19. The bulk of the scouting conducted by the Mets and virtually every other team wasn’t conducted at stadiums and baseball fields. Countless of video hours served as the primary supporting material.
MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo wrote that given the situation, Van Wagenen became more personally involved alongside draft leaders Tommy Tanous and Marc Tramuta.
The Mets want to make every pick count
The fact that there are so precious few picks means that the Mets need to make every one of them count. There is less margin for error.
The Mets’ high minors were depleted by recent trades, most notably the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz and Marcus Stroman deals. Next week, the team will be able to add some premium talent, and they will have the 19th pick in the first round.
They will also have an extra selection, the 69th overall, as compensation for Zack Wheeler signing a contract in Philadelphia.
Day 1 of the 2020 Draft airs on Wednesday, June 10, on MLB Network and ESPN at 7 p.m. ET, with the first 37 picks. Day 2 begins at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 11, on MLB Network and ESPN2.
â€œWith a five-round Draft, our compensation pick is even more valuable. We look forward to our six selections and believe that this Draft has talent that can impact our organization in a very positive way,â€ Van Wagenen said.
Scouts have tabbed Georgia pitcher Cole Wilcox as a potential target for the Mets, as well as South Carolina’s Carmen Mlodzinski, Miamiâ€™s Slade Cecconi, Auburnâ€™s Tanner Burns and Nick Bitsko of Central Bucks High School East.