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2010 Draft Preview – New York Mets

The ninth part of my draft preview series focuses on the New York Mets and their scouting director Rudy Terrasas.

Owner: Fred Wilpon, took full control in 2002
General Manager: Omar Minaya, first season was 2005
Scouting Director: Rudy Terrasas, first draft was 2006

Looking Back

2006 Draft: $2.5 Million Budget

1. Kevin Mulvey, RHP, Villanova, #62 Overall: Mulvey had average or better stuff across the board at the end of his career at Villanova. He was supposed to be drafted in either the late first round or the supplemental first round, so the Mets got a steal here of a quality college pitcher. Following players selected: Tom Hickman, Joe Benson, Drew Carpenter. Signing bonus: $585,000.
2. Joe Smith, RHP, Wright State, #94 Overall: Smith was a collegiate sidearmer who had less of a pedigree than most major college prospects. He had to walk on at Wright State to even get on the roster. However, he worked with a solid set of pitches, and he was expected go around here, the third round. Following players selected: Scott Cousins, Tyler Robertson, Jason Donald. Signing bonus: $410,000.
3. John Holdzkom, RHP, Salt Lake CC (UT), #124 Overall: Holdzkom was pretty much the definition of what many term bad makeup. He missed most of his senior draft season in high school due to academic ineligibility, then was kicked off the team at Salt Lake by his coach. He had great stuff, and a huge frame at 6’7’’, but no one knew where he’d go, since they couldn’t get a good read on him. Following players selected: Hector Correa, Garrett Olson, D’Arby Myers. Signing bonus: $210,000.
4. Stephen Holmes, RHP, Rhode Island, #154 Overall: Holmes was a college starter with fringe-average stuff, but above-average command of a fringy fastball. He profiled best as a swing man in the pros, or perhaps a middle reliever, though he was expected to go in the fourth to sixth round, in this range. Following players selected: Chris Hatcher, Devin Shepherd, Quintin Berry. Signing bonus: $168,000.
5. Scott Schafer, RHP, Memorial HS (TX), #184 Overall: Schafer was a stereotypical prep arm, with fine stuff but little refinement. He was really expected to bypass signing, as he was projected as a possible pick in the teens. The Mets jumped on him much earlier than was expected. Following players selected: Justin Jacobs, Jeff Christy, Dan Brauer. Signing bonus: $140,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Tobi Stoner (16th), Davis & Elkins College (WV)

2007 Draft: $3.8 Million Budget

1. Eddie Kunz, RHP, Oregon State, #42 Overall: Kunz was a wildly successful college reliever at Oregon State, and he was one of the top relievers in the 2007 draft class. He was expected to be able to close and move quickly in the pros as an early first day pick. Following players selected: Jackson Williams, Neil Ramirez, Justin Jackson. Signing bonus: $720,000.
2. Nathan Vineyard, LHP, Woodland HS (GA), #47 Overall: This was the ceiling of where Vineyard was expected to go as a projectable prep lefty. He threw an average fastball and above-average slider, though some, including the Mets, believed he’d add velocity as he filled out his frame. Following players selected: Josh Donaldson, Michael Burgess, Wes Roemer. Signing bonus: $657,000.
3. Scott Moviel, RHP, St. Edward HS (OH), #77 Overall: Moviel was a huge pitcher, standing at 6’10’’. His prospect status was actually beyond his height, as he had an average fastball and fringe-average curve. He was expected to go from rounds two to four, so this was a solid second-round pick. Following players selected: Freddie Freeman, Zack Cozart, Matt West. Signing bonus: $414,000.
4. Brant Rustich, RHP, UCLA, #93 Overall: Rustich was the Mets’ second second-round pick of the 2007 draft. Another college reliever, Rustich was much less successful than Kunz, mainly due to minus command. He had plus to plus-plus stuff and he was expected to go in the second to fourth round. Following players selected: Austin Romine, Nick Barnese, Danny Duffy. Signing bonus: $373,500.
5. Eric Niesen, LHP, Wake Forest, #99 Overall: Niesen was another college reliever, and he had similar command struggles that Rustich had at UCLA. However, Niesen did have plus stuff from the left side, and he was expected to go in the fifth to ninth round, but the Mets preferred him earlier on. Following players selected: Steven Souza, Jonathon Lucroy, Lars Davis. Signing bonus: $351,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Dillon Gee (21st), UT-Arlington

2008 Draft: $6.5 Million Budget

1. Ike Davis, 1B, Arizona State, #18 Overall: Davis was the first of the Mets’ two 2008 first-rounders, and he was expected to be a solid first-round prospect. His value was completely in his bat, and he was expected to be a middle of the order force. This was a solid pick. Following players selected: Andrew Cashner, Josh Fields, Ryan Perry. Signing bonus: $1,575,000.
2. Reese Havens, SS, South Carolina, #22 Overall: Havens was perhaps more well-known as Justin Smoak’s teammate in 2008, but he was a first-round talent in his own way. He didn’t really have any plus tools, as there were even some questions about his hit tool, but he was widely considered to be better than the sum of his tools. Following players selected: Allan Dykstra, Anthony Hewitt, Christian Friedrich. Signing bonus: $1,419,000.
3. Brad Holt, RHP, UNC Wilmington, #33 Overall: Holt had big stuff and a big pro body, and many teams considered his pure arm a first-round talent. However, he never showed an ability to command a secondary pitch, and some teams saw him as a future closer rather than a starter. He was expected to go in the second to fourth round. Following players selected: Zach Collier, Evan Frederickson, Mike Montgomery. Signing bonus: $1,040,000.
4. Javier Rodriguez, OF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #68 Overall: Rodriguez was a solid all-around talent who really came just short of being a five-tool player. His best attribute was a hit tool rated as above-average to plus. He was expected to go anywhere from the second to fifth round. Following players selected: James Darnell, Zeke Spruill, Jason Knapp. Signing bonus: $585,000.
5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Azusa Pacific (CA), #100 Overall: Nieuwenhuis was a surprise pick in the third round by the Mets. Featuring a solid arm and solid hit tool, Nieuwenhuis wasn’t expected to be a first day pick, which was six rounds back in the day. It’s an interesting pick, though they might have been able to get him later. Following players selected: Blake Tekotte, Vance Worley, Aaron Weatherford. Signing bonus: $360,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Kyle Allen (24th), Pendleton School (FL), $150K bonus

2009 Draft: $3.1 Million Budget

1. Steve Matz, LHP, Melville HS (NY), #72 Overall: Matz was considered a unanimous first-day talent, and the Mets got him in the late second round. He had a projectable body coming from the left side, and a good fastball-changeup combination, though he hadn’t settled on a breaking ball. This was a solid pick, though it came with the inherent risk in cold-weather prep pitchers. Following players selected: Max Walla, Cameron Garfield, Kelly Dugan. Signing bonus: $895,000.
2. Robbie Shields, SS, Florida Southern, #103 Overall: Shields was fairly new to the prospect scene, having only gained national prominence after a good short stint on the Cape before his junior year. He showed good overall tools, though none rated as plus. Unfortunately, he went down with Tommy John surgery following signing. Following players selected: Jake Marisnick, Josh Prince, Kyrell Hudson. Signing bonus: $315,000.
3. Darrell Ceciliani, OF, Columbia Basin CC (WA), #134 Overall: Ceciliani was a solid junior college athlete, yet his bat was probably the least advanced of his tools. Considered a possible above-average center fielder, he was expected to go a few rounds later. Following players selected: Adam Warren, Brooks Hall, Adam Buschini. Signing bonus: $204,300.
4. Damien Magnifico, RHP, North Mesquite HS (TX), #164 Overall: Magnifico showcased a plus fastball as a prep, though he was widely considered too raw to move quickly through a minor league system. However, the Mets didn’t want to pay his high asking price, and he headed for JuCo ball at Howard JC. Following players selected: Caleb Cotham, D’Vontrey Richardson, Matt Way. DID NOT SIGN.
5. David Buchanan, RHP, Chipola JC (FL), #194 Overall: Buchanan was a solid pro prospect with a big arm and minus command. There were major worries about his delivery, and some thought he’d be prone to injury or forced to relieve. He didn’t sign as a sixth round pick and headed to Georgia State. Following players selected: Rob Lyerly, Hiram Burgos, Steven Inch. DID NOT SIGN.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Zach Dotson (13th), Effingham County HS (GA), $500K bonus

Rudy Terrasas has been scouting for almost 30 years now, and it was during his first decade of scouting that he met up with general manager Omar Minaya with the Texas Rangers. Terrasas spent almost 20 years with Texas, and he only left when Doug Melvin was replaced with John Hart after the 2003 season. Terrasas’ job with the Mets is his first shot at being a scouting director, and that job was seemingly in jeopardy as the 2009 season came to an end. However, Mets management decided to stick with Minaya, who in turn decided to stick with Terrasas as his amateur scouting director. This year will be Terrasas’ fifth draft, so it’s time to look at some trends from his first four. The first trend that’s apparent is a preference for arms in the early rounds. Usually this is in the supplemental first round and beyond, as Terrasas’ two first-round picks have both been college bats. Until 2008, Terrasas had not even selected a bat in his first five picks. The last two drafts have featured a fair number of bats, but it’s obvious that Terrasas prefers arms in the second to fifth rounds. A second trend, which lies in pitching, is a preference for bigger, more projectable arms, even in the college ranks. Magnifico was a bit of an anomaly in that he’s “only” 6’1’’, but the majority of Terrasas’ pitching picks were big or absolutely huge (Moviel). One final trend to look at is that when Terrasas does pick bats, he prefers athletic players with solid defensive ceilings. Davis was the least athletic of the bunch, but he did have a plus arm, and he profiled to be about average at first base. I look for that trend to continue, though Terrasas generally doesn’t pick hitters that are projecting to be plus hitters at the Major League level.

Looking at draft budgeting, it’s easy to see why Terrasas’ job was on the line. He hasn’t been given enough resources. The total draft spending during Terrasas’ tenure puts the Mets tied for 27th in spending for those four years, a tie with the Astros, who have shown more interest in draft spending since the duo of Ed Wade and Bobby Heck took over. That is simply unacceptable for a team in the 21st century, as building from within is tremendously less expensive than the other alternatives. The Mets have already felt the pain from such lack of spending, and it doesn’t look like they’ll come out of it soon unless there is some sort of change in the front office’s philosophy, which generally doesn’t happen unless the front office itself changes. This year the Mets own the highest pick Terrasas has ever had. They own picks 7, 89, 122, and every 30 picks after that, assuming Rod Barajas signs a Major League contract with another team before the draft. Their second-round pick was forfeited for signing Jason Bay. This represents another fatal trend, as the Mets have continuously given up picks for free agents. The seventh pick last year was Mike Minor, and he received a bonus of $2.42 million, which is likely where slot will be for that pick this year, which is the same amount for slot from 2008. Knowing this bonus, I expect the Mets to spend somewhere around $4 million in bonuses this year, perhaps less. This would once again place the Mets right at the bottom of the spending pool, unless they change their ways from the past, which isn’t likely, at least not in the extreme of spending more than $6 million, which would put them in the middle of the pack. They will undoubtedly be in the bottom half to bottom third of spending for yet another year.

Since Terrasas has never made a selection in the top ten before, it’s hard to say where the Mets will focus their scouting activities for that pick. I’ve connected them to prep arms so far, but I’m sure they’re searching out players that will signable for slot, while also maximizing the talent. Prep arms are usually not signable for slot unless you drop to the second tier, so that’s a distinct possibility here. I’ve connected them to A.J. Cole before, but I think he might be out of their price range, as he should receive a bonus on par with Shelby Miller a year ago, which was $2.875 million. With a good spring, he could get a Matzek-level bonus. Karsten Whitson may be an alternative, but a scholarship to Florida should also cost more than slot. Dylan Covey is a final alternative there, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll sign for slot like a Matt Hobgood did a year ago, as Covey’s more highly-regarded now than Hobgood was late in his senior season. Other names probably include Kevin Gausman, Chris Sale, LeVon Washington, and possibly Zack Cox if they believe in his glove. Looking at the third round and beyond, I expect the Mets to follow pitchers closely. Remember names like Blake Hassebrock, Dixon Anderson, Seth Rosin, Jesse Biddle, and Alex McRee. All are tall pitchers, both from the prep and collegiate levels. These are just preliminary names to follow, and if you purchase the 2010 MLB Draft Notebook, you’ll receive an updated draft preview in the notebook.

*Bonus information came from BA.

What do you guys think?  What will the Mets do?

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February 12, 2010 - Posted by | Draft Previews

3 Comments »

  1. Zack Cox is for sure in their cross hairs, along with many other clubs.

    Comment by Ray | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. Nice writeup. You might want to add Dan Murphy as a notable pick in 2006 (13th round).

    I agree 100% on the lack of willingness to spend, and while they’ve done OK in the international market, they haven’t been willing to spend much for top talent there either.

    On the other hand, they have in the recent past been willing to go over slot in the top half of the first round, and that’s how they landed guys like Kazmir, Milledge, and Pelfrey. None of those were Rudy Terrasas picks, but I suspect the spending limits are not coming from the scouting director, but from C.O.O. Jeff Wilpon.

    If a true premium talent falls, like a Boras client who is a top 5 type guy, the Mets may well be on that at pick #7. But I also suspect some of the willingness to spend there is over PR concerns. I doubt the Mets will put too much emphasis on signability at pick 7, as they would catch too much heat for an obviously bad pick at that spot. I think you are right though that they’ll go cheap again for every pick after that.

    I think you are right also about the emphasis on arms after the 3nd round, but they may well look at the bats there in round 1. A guy like Washington seems to be a good fit, as they do also seem to like some speed and defense, and they also could use a CF in the near future to replace an aging incumbent with bad knees in the final year of a big contract.

    Comment by acerimusdux | February 13, 2010 | Reply

  3. Ward Melville High School, not Melville, on Matz. He just may overtake Mick Foley and Todd Sauerbrun as the greatest Ward Melville alums in sport.

    Comment by Devon | February 13, 2010 | Reply


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