New York Mets First Round Picks in the Last Ten Drafts

The slightly modified MLB Draft takes place today as teams search for their future stars. The New York Mets’ success on their first-round picks in the past was solid. Some contributed with the Mets, and others found success across the league.

2019: Brett Baty, Third Base (12th Overall, Lake Travis High School) 

The 20-year old first-round pick had his ups and downs during his first season in professional baseball. Through 56 games, mostly at rookie ball, he slashed .234/.368/.452 with seven home runs and 33 runs batted in. Baty’s struggles at the plate were primarily due to fatigue, but his power/walk potential is very high. He already ranks as the fourth-best prospect in the Mets system, according to MLB.com.

2018: Jarred Kelenic, Outfield (6th Overall, Waukesha West High School)

Kelenic was a rising prospect in the Mets system before they dealt him in the infamous Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade. During his first season with the Mets, he slashed.286/.371/.468 at only 18-years old. In 2019, he set the bar even higher, hitting .291/.364/.540 with 23 homers and 31 doubles between A, A+, and AA. Kelenic is the 11th overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, and each day the trade stings the Mets more.

2017: David Peterson, Pitcher (20th Overall, University of Oregon)

Peterson is currently the 10th ranked prospect in the Mets system. He was on track to pitch in Triple-A during the 2020 season. There were also talks of bringing him up to supplement the lack of rotation depth. With Binghamton last season, he had a 4.19 ERA in 24 starts with 122 strikeouts. At his highest potential, Peterson projects to pitch in the middle of the rotation.

2016: Justin Dunn, Pitcher (19th Overall, Boston College)

Dunn was also part of the Kelenic trade to the Seattle Mariners. After two good seasons in Double-A during 2018 and 2019, he earned an opportunity to pitch for the M’s. They used him as an opener during his four 2019 outings. After allowing two runs in his debut, his next three opens were all scoreless.

2016: Anthony Kay, Pitcher (31st Overall, University of Connecticut)

Kay underwent Tommy John Surgery before he ever threw a pitch for the Mets. He understandably did not pitch to his full potential during his first season in professional ball. Kay had a 4.26 ERA over 122.2 innings but averaged about one strikeout per inning. During a stellar 2019 season in Double-A, the Mets moved him to Triple-A, where he struggled. They traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman, and he made his MLB debut in 2019. Kay had a 5.79 ERA over three outings but should be an excellent addition to a young Blue Jays roster.

2015: No First Round Pick

2014: Michael Conforto, Outfielder (10th Overall, Oregon State University)

The Mets struck gold with Conforto. It only took 133 games for him to make it during the big leagues. He helped the Mets make it to the World Series in 2015 and became the fifth rookie to homer twice in a World Series game. After a rough 2016, which involved his demotion, he has produced in the last three seasons, including an All-Star selection. Conforto is hitting .257/.363/.492, averaging 29 homers, 81 RBIs and plays all three outfield positions.

2013: Dominic Smith, First Base (11th Overall, Serra High School)

Smith has overcome plenty to become a contributing member of the Mets. He was on track for stardom after hitting over .300 throughout the minors. Dealing with sleep apnea, injuries, and weight issues caused a stunt to his journey of becoming a solid big leaguer. In 2019, all three points were no longer problems, and it allowed him to have his best season so far. His playing time tougher to find due to Pete Alonso at first base, but Smith showed the versatility to play the outfield as well.

2012: Gavin Cecchini, Shortstop (12th Overall, Barbe High School)

2012 was the only year where the Mets missed on a quality big league prospect. They had two first-round picks, and Cecchini was the first one. Known for his bat more than glove, it took a couple of years for him to figure things out at the plate. Two straight seasons above .300 in the minors earned him a 2016 promotion. Cecchini went 2-for-6 with a double and waited some time to return in 2017. He struggled with the bat, only hitting .208 but off Clayton Kershaw for the only one of his career. Cecchini remained stranded in the minors for the last two seasons and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks before spring training. Unfortunately, he was released in May as teams across baseball were cutting players to save money.

2012: Kevin Plawecki, Catcher (35th Overall, Purdue University)

The combination of Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud was supposed to carry the Mets catching corps through the next decade. Neither of them hit successfully at the big league level. Plawecki only hit .218 with a .330 slugging percentage with the Mets. He was also known for his abundance of groundouts to the left side of the infield. The Mets traded him before 2019 for Sam Haggerty and Walker Lockett.

2011: Brandon Nimmo, Outfielder (13th Overall, Cheyenne East High School)

The Mets took a risk on the Wyoming native, but it has paid off so far. The Plawecki/d’Arnaud combination is what Nimmo/Conforto became. Nimmo’s grit and grind make him a fan favorite with the Mets. He broke out during 2018 when he received everyday action for the first time. Nimmo’s propensity for getting on base led to his career .254/.387/.440 and is a very underrated player.

2011: Michael Fulmer, Pitcher (44th Overall, Deer Creek High School)

Fulmer was another pitcher who never saw time with the Mets. They dealt him in the Yoenis Cespedes trade during the 2015 playoff run. Fulmer ended up winning the rookie of the year award and becoming an All-Star during his first two seasons with the Detroit Tigers. His disappointing 2020 ended early when he learned that he needed season-ending Tommy John Surgery.

2010: Matt Harvey, Pitcher (7th Overall, University of North Carolina) 

The Matt Harvey story is one that draws the same intrigue as the one of Dwight Gooden. A fantastic young arm, destined to be the next Tom Seaver but ran into an obstacle they could not overcome. Harvey had the excellent rookie campaign, then the 2013 All-Star Game start with a 2.27 ERA, which succame to the dreaded Tommy John Surgery. An excellent 2015 season led to a rough 2016, which led to Thoracic-Outlet Surgery. Harvey never returned anywhere near his Cy Young quality form and has a 5.89 ERA over the last three seasons.

Why Does Brandon Nimmo Get Used as Trade Bait?

The New York Mets were trying to pull the trigger on a trade to galvanize this team from 86 wins to playoff contention. The name that kept popping up was Starling Marte to shore up Center Field and be the Mets star outfielder. The name that was brought up in rumors? Brandon Nimmo. Why is he someone that’s on the trade market? The Mets are in no position to trade a 27-year-old outfielder with incredible upside.

A Talent That Can’t Be Replaced Easily

How many 27-year-old outfielders with a career 130 wRC+ can you find in free agency or through the trade market right now? A career .387 OBP and in his only full season hitting 4.5 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs also is pretty darn excellent. Nimmo is a player who is perfect for the Mets, he’s a left-handed bat who has n incredible ability to get on base, has decent power with a .483 SLG% in 2018, and is also extremely fast. He has consistently been faster than at least 80% of MLB players ever since he stepped into the MLB. The numbers don’t just show a normal starting outfielder, it shows an elite hitter who is arguably one of baseball’s best at getting on base.

How Does He Hold Up to Starling Marte?

Since 2017, their stats show that Nimmo is clearly the better player and it’s not even close. Don’t believe me? Well let’s look at Marte’s metrics since 2017 and compare them to the speedy Nimmo

Nimmo: .391 OBP, .450 SLG, 3.83 fWAR/150
Marte: .334, .458 SLG, 3.43 fWAR/150

These stats are skewed for Nimmo because he was injured in 2019 and was not a starter consistently in 2017. You can look at nearly every important offensive metric and you’ll see that Nimmo is a lot better offensively. Nimmo’s downside is that he isn’t a great defender, while Marte is fantastic in LF. The Mets would’ve been crazy still to trade a better player overall (as shown by Fangraphs WAR) and have to probably trade more than just Nimmo for Marte.

Perfect For Any Lineup

When you think of a guy to lead off and get on base for your team, you want a high OBP, decent power to hit extra-base hits, and get straight to scoring position, and while not necessary, good speed is always a plus. Nimmo is everything I just named and more. He works perfectly for the Mets as he will statistically get on base nearly 4/10 times, meaning he is bound to get on base every game essentially. With stars like Polar Bear Pete and Jeff McNeil in there alongside JD Davis, and Michael Conforto, he will give the Mets’ best hitters ample opportunities to score runners. I’m not too optimistic on the 2020 Mets, but if there’s one certainty, it’s that Nimmo is the sparkplug to the Mets offensive plans which will carry a huge load with the pitching being injured.

If the Mets offense is great, that won’t be just because of Pete Alonso, or Michael Conforto, or Jeff McNeil, it’ll be because Nimmo will be that on-base machine who will be on first base or second base at least once a game for their 2-5 hitters to drive in. The Mets and their fanbase should be very grateful that Nimmo is on this team and if he gets traded away, they’re going to pay in terms of success.

New York Mets: The Variables of the Pending Season

After MLB owners approved the plan to continue the baseball season, the war between the league and the players union is ready for its first battle. Out of all teams, the New York Mets find themselves in a unique situation compared to the rest of the league.

Outside of health concerns, the battle of salary negotiation is going to be the biggest fight in the process. Union chief Tony Clark and legendary agent Scott Boras both agree that being paid a pro-rata salary would be the agreement whenever games resume. The sacrifice stands at 30-40% of wages, which the owners claimed as feasible, according to the owners.

According to Boras, his clients are not willing to budge from the agreement. If salaries receive a blindsided cut, it will extend the baseball drought longer. Should the union have a legitimate legal case, the damage could wipe out the rest of the season. But Clark is just as poor as MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. This situation serves as a prologue to how next year’s discussions on a new collective bargain agreement will play out.

The Mets Effect

The only Boras represented Met is Michael Conforto, and luckily 30-40% of his $8 million salary is $2.4 million through $3.2 million. That number is no worry for the organization, especially with the rest of their high priced talent.

The conflict comes from Wilpon ownership and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen. First, the Wilpon’s have continuously lost money from the Mets franchise over the last few years. The revenue from SNY, which the Wilpons also own, covers the losses from the organization.

Due to the revenue from SNY, the Wilpons call it untouchable in any team sale discussions. Since revenue should grow from SNY, since fans will not attend games, they might squeak by and suffer minimal damage to their finances due to the lack of fan revenue. But you can never be sure with the Wilpons.

Agent to GM

Van Wagenen plays a role more connected to the players. Not too long ago, he was the co-head for CAA Sports Baseball Division, which happens to represent the most players (6) on the current 40-man roster. Should the Mets look to cut more money from the players, Van Wagenen would have to side with ownership since they write his paychecks.

Four of those players make less than three million, including Brandon Nimmo and Robert Gsellman. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom are the two high priced/talented members of CAA. Van Wagenen also negotiated the current contracts Yoenis Cespedes, and Robinson Cano collect. Cespedes already lost money in the offseason due to an injury on his ranch.

Van Wagenen does not make any final decisions, but he knows both sides of the fence. His voice will be heavily relied upon to fix and issues between players and ownership without it creating a media storm. Not to mention, he has to figure out the best pieces for a potential 82-game season at the same time.

Van Wagenen is a master agent and earned the GM job because he knows how to handle strenuous situations. He will be able to take any negative that comes out of the meetings and make it a positive. Few GMs in baseball have that ability.

New York Mets’ spring training standouts: Brandon Nimmo

While it is true that Brandon Nimmo got a heart-related scare when the New York Mets‘ medical staff prompted management to pull him from a spring training game’s lineup to undergo screening and related tests, it turns out that he only has a “bigger heart” than the average player, figuratively speaking.

Scare aside, the abbreviated spring training – because of concerns about the coronavirus, or COVID-19 – was a very successful one for Nimmo, who happens to have some competition now that the Mets decided to bring stellar defensive center fielder Jake Marisnick into the fold.

Marisnick, however, doesn’t figure to play every day. His glove is fantastic but his offense is best served against lefties, while Nimmo will play at least semi-regular at-bats from the go. In fact, Nimmo is the best candidate to occupy the leadoff spot for the New York Mets.

A fantastic spring for the Mets’ on-base machine

In the shortened spring training, Nimmo went 11-for-29, with four runs, three doubles, one triple, one RBI, two walks and four strikeouts. His triple-slash line was a shiny .379/.455/.552, with a 1.006 OPS that was among the best in the team.

In all fairness, Brandon Nimmo is actually one of the most important New York Mets in the roster. He is adequate defensively in center field and excels in the corners, but his best asset is his keen eye at the plate. Last season, he was second in BB% with 18.1, behind the one and only Mike Trout.

Nimmo is the spark that starts the Mets’ offense. He has the rare ability to play center field, get on base at a nearly .400 OBP clip, hit 15-20 home runs and steal around 10 bases. He is, indeed, a rare breed.

The Mets are lucky to have him start the offense. With him on-base, plenty of run-scoring opportunities are in the horizon because he would be batting in front of Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano and company.

If healthy and with full at-bats, Nimmo could league the National League in walks. He has that kind of potential.

New York Mets: Matz Shines, Betances Struggles in 5-0 Loss

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The theme for the New York Mets throughout Spring Training has been great starting pitching and a dreadful offensive output. The trend remained the same for Steven Matz and the rest of the Mets as they lost to the Washington Nationals, 5-0.

Matz had everything working and pitched three perfect innings with three strikeouts. Out of the trio including Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, Matz has undoubtedly been the best. The outing dropped his Spring ERA to a sparkling 1.50.

Betances, Familia Struggle

Dellin Betances made his long-awaited Mets debut. Still recovering from his Achilles injury, he only recorded one out in his appearance. He allowed two walks, struck out one and gave up a two-RBI single to Ryan Zimmerman. To go along with the bad outing he also allowed two stolen bases and uncorked a wild pitch. Betances’s velocity was way down but the one bright spot is Betances having no issues with the Achillies.

Jeurys Familia did not fair as bad as Betances. He made it through his one inning of work but allowed four hits including a home run. Familia did strike out two and his ERA only increased to 2.25 for the Spring.

Nimmo Hot, Cano Cold

Brandon Nimmo continues to make a case to be the Mets leadoff hitter. His 2-for-3 outing brought his average to .435 on the Spring. Out of the nine games Nimmo has played he has only gone hitless in two. Robinson Cano is still searching for a fraction of the success Nimmo has. His 0-for-3 dropped him to .091, but only in 11 at-bats so far. An interesting stat for Cano is that in 15 Spring Trainings, he has only hit below .300, three times.

The shutout put the Mets back as the lowest-scoring offense in Spring Training. On Sunday, they face the reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. The Mets will counter with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.

New York Mets: Nimmo, Rosario Heat Up in 3-2 Loss to Astros

The New York Mets took on the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach for their 13th game of the Spring. It was a tightly contested pitchers duel throughout as Michael Wacha took the mound in his third Spring outing.

Things started great for the Mets as Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a triple of Lance McCullers. It was one of his two hits on the day, which moved his average to an even .400. Pete Alonso drove him in with a groundout to immediately give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Amed Rosario provided an encore in the second inning with his first triple of the Spring, which also led off the inning. He now has hits in back to back games after his hitless start. Eduardo Nunez played the role of Alonso to drive in Rosario in the following at-bat. Those would be the only two runs the Mets mustered all game.

Wacha’s Outing

Michael Wacha spent his outing tiptoeing out of trouble throughout. After retiring the first two in the first inning, he back to back singles before escaping the inning. In the second, Wacha worked around a Carlos Correa double to keep the Astros off the board.

The trouble was too much to escape in the third inning. A George Springer single and stolen base followed by a Josh Reddick walk to set up runners on first and second with no one out. Wacha retired the following two hitters and seemed poised to get out of a third straight jam. Unfortunately, Michael Brantley got to him for an RBI single, which would be all Wacha allowed.

Over three innings, he allowed five hits, one run, a walk, and struck out two batters. It was not a dominant outing by any means, but he battled throughout.

Following Wacha, all minor leaguers took the mound. Yelfy Ramirez took the loss by allowing a walk-off home run to Chas McCormick to lead off the bottom of the ninth. The big concern comes from the 2-3-4 combo of Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Wilson Ramos. They all went 0-for-11 with four strikeouts and only produced the Alonso RBI ground out.

Steven Matz takes the mound at Port St. Lucie on Saturday when he faces the Washington Nationals. It will be interesting to see how he follows up on the performances from Wacha and Rick Porcello.

New York Mets: Young Stars Showcase Personalities Against Cardinals

Wednesday’s game between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals featured more of the usual from Spring Training. A strong starting pitching performance and Jeff McNeil‘s continued dominance with the bat. The game was televised on ESPN and the Mets certainly had fun being mic’d up with each other.

Marcus Stroman took the mound and had a terrific outing. Over three innings, he only allowed three baserunners and struck out four Cardinals. Things started off rocky when he hit and walked the first two batters. After Rene Rivera threw out a base stealer for the first out, Stroman induced a double play to end the inning. Through the rest of his start, he showed how clever of a pitcher he is. Stroman used his incredible body control to vary his motion which threw off the hitter’s timing drastically.

Bats Waking Up

Jeff McNeil continued his red hot pace with two more hits to move to 10-for-18 (.556), the best mark in Spring Training. Brandon Nimmo chipped in another hit as the 1-2 combination of McNeil and Nimmo have proved to be deadly so far. Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Wilson Ramos all supplied hits as they are picking up the pace after short skids at the plate.

One of the best parts of the ESPN broadcast was their live microphones. They picked the right guys in Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Dom Smith, and Jeff McNeil. Alonso dropped an accidental f-bomb, Smith poked fun at Davis and could not hear anyone at one point, and all of them hyped up an Eduardo Nunez triple. It showed how close this group is and there is truly something special going on at Port St. Lucie.

Zamora Rises

Daniel Zamora has always been seen as a lefty specialist for the Mets, but his stock is rising. Through four outings so far he has only allowed one hit, walk and hit by pitch. Zamora even has five strikeouts and the most impressive part is his ability to put away hitters from both sides of the plate. Dellin Betances still is not a lock for Opening Day and Zamora is asserting himself as the top guy to replace him.

Rick Porcello takes the mound on Thursday when the Mets take on the Cardinals in Jupiter. Porcello has allowed one run over three innings so far in the Spring.

Matz Strong Outing Helps Give the New York Mets a Win

All of Steven Matz’s Spring Training starts for the New York Mets will be watched with heavy scrutiny. Matz took the mound for his second start against the Houston Astros and pitched very well. The offense was quiet once again but the pitchers delivered in the seven innings following Matz.

For good reason, Matz sees himself as a starter and its proving why so far. Over two innings of work, he allowed one hit and struck out one. Another promising sign for Matz is the other five outs recorded all came on ground balls. Compared to Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello, Matz has the upper advantage as the calendar turns to March.

Polar Bear in Hibernation

Pete Alonso continued his slow start to Spring Training. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and dropped his average to .067 for the Spring. There is still plenty of time to get himself right but as each day passes the struggles grow more and more concerning.

Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto both mixed in hits and stolen bases in their efforts. The third stolen base came from Dominic Smith as the Mets continue to push their initiative of being more aggressive on the bases.

The minor leaguers got the job done to secure a victory. Will Toffey started the ninth-inning rally with a walk and it was followed by a Jake Hager double to tie the game. Max Moroff traded places with Hager to tie the game and steal the lead from the Astros.

The minor league relievers cost the Mets some games early in the Spring but they were dominant on Saturday. The six pitchers combined to pitch seven innings, allowing five hits, two walks, one run and struck out seven batters. Jordan Humphreys and Adonis Uceta combined for 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth to secure the win and save respectively.

Split Squad Sunday

Jacob deGrom makes his Spring debut at Port St. Lucie against the Washington Nationals. Michael Wacha makes his second start of the Spring against the Miami Marlins in Jupiter.

New York Mets: Brandon Nimmo, the man with the “big heart”

For days, Brandon Nimmo and his wife insisted he was, and is, fine. The media turmoil that resulted in the cardiac screening and related tests that the New York Mets‘ centerfielder and likely leadoff hitter underwent was, for a moment, a distraction. But as it turns out, the player not only says he is fine, he is also showing it on the field.

He returned to the lineup on Friday and went 1-for-2 with a single and a run scored in the Mets’ second victory of spring training, against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The talented outfielder even joked about the whole situation. “I guess I have a little bit larger heart,” Nimmo said to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, laughing. “Hey, I’ve got a lot of love to give.”

This week, the Mets scratched him from the lineup because of an issue that the team cardiologist flagged on his physical.

Nimmo explained the issue and named it an “irregular heartbeat,” and declares he has been familiar with it for quite some time now, most precisely since 2016.

The Mets wanted to make sure everything was OK

The Mets told Nimmo, back then, that it was a non-issue, but this time around, the team doctors wanted to retest it this week to ensure “the walls of his heart had not thickened.”

The timing, however, was very bad: the Mets told him roughly 25 minutes before Wednesday’s game that he couldn’t play.

He underwent more tests and wore a monitor for a full day, after which he performed a stress test on a treadmill the following day, per DiComo. After all that process finished, he was allowed to play on Friday.

Fittingly, it is a good thing that Nimmo has such a big heart. He is, after all, expected to be the sparkplug of the offense, the leadoff hitter, the one that gets on base to start the show that Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Pete Alonso and others will continue.

“Honestly, for the Mets and me, it was more of a precaution. Everyone was pretty concerned and sent out prayers. (My wife) just wanted to relay hey, it’s not that serious, and this was more of a precaution and I’m fine, and I’m going to be fine,” Nimmo said about Chelsea, his partner, going to Twitter to clarify his health state.

New York Mets Pick Up Second Win of Spring Against Cardinals

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals squared off in their fourth matchup of the Spring. Marcus Stroman and Adam Wainwright squared off against each other, both looking to improve on their first Spring outings. The Mets also feature a lineup of mostly regulars and Tim Tebow.

Stroman pitched decently, allowing two hits, one run, one walk, and struck out one over two innings of work. He allowed a first innings home run to Paul Goldschmidt, but it would be the most damage he allowed. Stroman ran into trouble in the second.  A walk, bunt single, and Dominic Smith error led to a bases-loaded, no one-out jam. Stroman induced a lineout and a double play to end the jam and complete his outing.

Big Heart and a Big Paycheck

Brandon Nimmo returned to the lineup after a health scare which forced him to miss two games. He went 1-for-2 with a run scored and also mixed in a good call on a “sun ball double.” Robinson Cano made his Spring debut as the designated hitter. He walked and flew out to center field in his only two plate appearances.

Jeff McNeil, Dom Smith, and Wilson Ramos were the other regulars who tallied hits on Friday. McNeil and Ramos are hitting .400 and .444 in the Spring, respectively. Both are picking up from where they left off in 2019.

Andres Gimenez improved on his strong start at the plate. He blasted his first home run of the Spring and is 4-for-12 at the plate. Two of his four hits have gone for extra bases. It is a promising sign for the 161-pound shortstop who has been known more for his defense than offense. Should Gimenez continue to hit the ball well, it could make the choice to send him to minor league camp harder than expected.

Tebow Struggles

It is hard to write a Mets article without leaving out the blooper from Tebow. Not only did Tebow strikeout in both of his at-bats, but he also fell flat on his face trying to secure the final out of the ball game. Tebow looked to be under the ball but tripped over his feet, and the ball lightly plopped about a foot away from the quarterback once known as mobile.

On Saturday, the Mets head to West Palm Beach to face the Houston Astros at 1:05 p.m. Steven Matz makes his second start of the Spring as he tries to secure a spot in the Mets rotation.