– The K Zone –

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June 7, 2018

Recapping the Mets 2018 Draft by Mojo Hill

Over the past few days, the 2018 MLB draft took place for all 30 teams, with teams drafting high school and college amateur talent through the process of 40 rounds. There are many factors that go into what player a team picks, such as their upside, their floor, their skillset, and their signability. Early in the draft, teams tend to go with the more talented players, rather than drafting for a need, but overall by the end of the draft it is good to draft a wide variety of players.

Here I will be reviewing the 40 picks selected by the New York Mets in this year’s draft. With their 40 picks, they took 27 college players and 13 high school players. Additionally, 15 of the picks were right-handed pitchers, five were left-handed pitchers, 10 were infielders, five were outfielders, and five were catchers.

1. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West High School

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With the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2018 draft, the Mets selected outfielder Jarred Kelenic.

Kelenic was born on July 16, 1999 and is 6’1″, 196 lbs. He is a tall, strong, true athlete, and has the ability to man center field very well with his above-average speed, although some pessimistic scouts do believe that he may end up having to move to a corner spot. Regardless, he has a very strong arm from the outfield.

With Kelenic’s name being linked to the Mets previously, this pick was not too much of a surprise. Kelenic is known for his impressively well-rounded skillset, as well as his strong all-around hitting ability. Scouts believe he will have the ability to hit for average and power as he was the one of the more polished hitters in this year’s draft class, and they also believe that he has the frame to tap into even more power as he develops.

Obviously there’s a still a long way to go, with Kelenic having just finished high school, but the Mets have done a very good job recently of developing fellow first-round picks who are also left-handed outfielders in Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. The hope is that Kelenic will one day follow in Conforto and Nimmo’s footsteps.

2. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP, Fort Bend Kempner High School

Date of Birth – 9/27/00

Woods-Richardson had a commitment to the University of Texas, but he announced himself on Twitter that he was withdrawing that commitment to sign with the Mets and that he was excited for this opportunity.

Woods-Richardson has good stuff all-around, with fastball in the low-90s that touches 95 along with a big curveball in the mid-70s that really messes with hitters. He also features a changeup usually thrown around 80 mph that has plenty of potential as well. There’s a lot to like about Woods-Richardson.

He was also a right-handed hitter and played third base in high school, but his focus will be on becoming a pitcher in the Mets organization.

3. Carlos Cortes, 2B, University of South Carolina  

Date of Birth – 06/30/97

Cortes is small at 5’8″, 185 lbs, but he has a nice left-handed swing with some pop. He is ambidextrous and throws left-handed in the outfield and right-handed in the infield, although he was announced primarily as a second baseman. The Mets drafted him and didn’t sign back in 2016.

He had some contact problems and was streaky at the plate for South Carolina, but he started to add some lift to his compact swing to gain more power in his last season. After a slow start offensively last year, he was able to raise his line to .253/.380/.526 through 194 at-bats, likely raising his stock. For the Mets to pick him in the third round, they must have had a very optimistic belief in his streaky bat.

With Cortes possessing a below-average arm and speed, he’s really going to have to hit to move up the ranks. His best quality is his hit tool, although he has some defensive versatility as well. This was a bit of a risky pick, and is likely an underslot pick to save money for later rounds, but there is plenty of upside in his strong power and on-base skills. Cortes was ranked as the No. 177 draft prospect by Baseball America, and was unranked by MLB Pipeline.

4. Adam Hill, RHP, University of South Carolina  

Date of Birth – 03/24/97

Hill is a big righty, standing at 6’6″ and 215 lbs. He has a good fastball with late life on it that usually sits in the low 90s and tops out in the mid-90s. He also has a good slider in the low- to mid-80s and a changeup that is particularly effective against lefties, but he’s had issues with consistency and control of his secondary stuff.

This past season. he posted back-to-back starts with 14 strikeouts, but ended up struggling a bit to bring his numbers to a 4.58 ERA through 11 starts with 79 strikeouts and 35 walks in 57 innings.

Hill has shown flashes of brilliance but he will need to find consistency to be successful. The keys for him will be to improve his control and to keep his velocity up into the later innings. He was ranked 81st by Baseball America and 139th by MLB Pipeline.

5. Ryley Gilliam, RHP, Clemson  

Date of Birth – 08/11/96

Gilliam is a bit small at 5’10”, 175 lbs, but generates velocity into the mid-90s with very fast arm speed. As well as the fastball, he relies heavily on his 12-6 curveball which sits in the upper-70s.

He has experience starting, but broke out in 2017 as Clemson’s closer. He carried his success as a closer into 2018, when he posted a dominant 0.79 ERA with 50 strikeouts but a high 19 walks in 34.1 innings. His success stemmed from his electric fastball-curveball combination, mostly ditching his effective changeup that he threw more when he was starting.

He projects as a reliever going forward, and is a good athlete despite his lack of size. Control will be the area in which he most needs to improve. Ranked 207th by Baseball America and 127th by MLB Pipeline, he could very well have a future as an impact reliever. Here’s a video of him pitching from 2017.

6. Nick Meyer, C, Cal Poly  

Date of Birth – 02/18/97

The 6’0″, 175-lb backstop is about standard size for a catcher, and is known for his superb defensive skills. He receives praise in all aspects of catching, said to call his own game and to be an advanced receiver. He is great at framing and blocking pitches as well as guiding and mentoring his pitchers. He also has a very strong arm behind the plate, and can throw out base-stealers as well as pick runners off first base.

His offensive profile is where questions arise. He doesn’t strike out much and has decent on-base skills, but he offers little else offensively and does not have much power. Baseball America says about him, “Meyer’s upside is that of an A.J. Ellis-type, who makes a long career out of his defense and intangibles.”

There’s not a lot of upside offensively, but the defense is so good that if he utilizes his contact and on-base skills just enough, he could progress through the Mets system. He was ranked at No. 186 by Baseball America and No. 167 by MLB.com.

7. Kevin Smith, LHP, Georgia 

Date of Birth – 05/13/97

Smith is tall and big at 6’5″, 233 lbs, but his fastball only sits about 88-92, although it has been reported to reach 94. His out pitch is his sweeping slider to both sides of the plate, which is very effective against left-handed hitters especially. He also has a changeup which is more of a work in progress, but is coming along.

Smith’s future is definitely as a reliever, a role in which he thrived at Georgia Tech. He led Georgia with 76 strikeouts in 59 innings this season. He was unranked by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, but could become an effective reliever with his high spin rate and fastball-slider combo.

8. Tylor Megill, RHP, University of Arizona

Date of Birth – 07/28/95

Megill is another pitcher with a large frame, at 6’7″, 230 lbs. He has a loose arm action from a three-quarters slot, and throws strikes with some late tailing action on his fastball. He is said to sit 91-93 with his fastball with an 82-85 mph slider that has said to be average at best, as well as an 11-5 curveball that has been inconsistent but shown flashes of potential.

Like Smith, he will probably wind up as a reliever, and it will be interesting to see how he utilizes his large frame in the minors. He struck out 38 batters in 32.1 innings this year though he also walked 14. He was ranked 396th by Baseball America, and was unranked by MLB Pipeline.

9. Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP, University of Missouri

Date of Birth – 04/23/96

At 6’7″, 265 lbs, Montes de Oca is another pitcher with a large frame, but is much more overpowering than the previous two. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can reach 100 with heavy sink on it. He also has a wipeout slider in the upper-80s at its best.

He’s had to battle ulnar nerve transposition surgery, Tommy John surgery, and control issues, but there’s a lot of upside with this pick. He showed flashes of dominance as a starter, but most scouts believe his future is in the bullpen where he will be able to let loose and utilize his 100 mph fastball as well as his strong slider.

Experts believe that he can be a guy that sees the big leagues within two years. The biggest issues for him will be control, and of course, staying healthy. He was ranked 154th by Baseball America and 138th by MLB Pipeline.

Here’s a video of the strong righty pitching for Missouri in 2017.

10. Manny Rodriguez, SS, University of Cincinnati

Date of Birth – 07/04/96

A smallish and slender infielder at 5’10”, 165 lbs, it is believed that he will be able to stick at shortstop due to his good arm and range. There is also some power potential, as his slugging percentage increased by over .200 points between his last two seasons at Cincinnati.

If he keeps this newfound power up, he could become a very good shortstop prospect. He has also pitched, and has a fastball that tops out in the mid-80s with a curveball in the low-70s that he could throw for strikes. Still, his future is definitely as a shortstop, especially if he hits.

11. Franklin Parra, LHP, Copiague High School

Date of Birth – 9/13/99

Parra, a lefty reliever who stands at 6’1″, 170, has a fairly average fastball that sits in the low 90s but he has been able to wipe out high school hitters with his low-80s slider. This past season, he posted an eye-popping 19.5 K/9 due to his effective fastball-slider combo. Still fresh out of high school, there is a lot of development in Parra’s future before he will have a chance at getting Major League hitters out, but there’s a nice amount of potential for an effective lefty here.

He is expected so sign.

12. Ross Adolph, OF, University of Toledo

Date of Birth – 12/17/96

Adolph is a good-sized college outfielder at 6’1″, 192 lbs who was considered the top hitter in the MAC by many scouts when considering the positional and defensive value. He batted an extremely impressive .322/.445/.654 as a junior for Toldeo this past season, tying the school’s single-season home run record with 15. Adolph has the potential to hit for a lot of power and is also considered to be a very good runner, so there’s a good amount of upside with this pick.

He has indicated he has signed with Mets.

13. Christian Tripp, RHP, University of New Mexico

Date of Birth – 3/13/97

Tripp, another large reliever at 6’7″, 200 lbs, has battled some inconsistencies with his stuff and delivery but had a nice season for New Mexico last year, collecting eight saves with a 2.44 ERA. He has a cut fastball that ranges from 88-94 mph and an 83-84 mph slider that runs in on left-handed batters. He has the potential to be a quality reliever if he improves the consistency of his stuff and movement. He was ranked No. 460 on Baseball America’s list of draft prospects.

He is expected to sign.

14. Andrew Mitchell, LHP, Auburn University

Date of Birth – 10/23/94

At 6’0″, 190 lbs, Mitchell is a good-sized southpaw who has been overshadowed by his teammate and No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize. He has experience at both starting and relieving, and has been a bit inconsistent as evidenced by his 4.01 ERA last year, but he struck 11.6 guys per nine innings last year, so the stuff is there. He was one of the older players in the draft at 23 already due to being red-shirted as a Freshman, so his development will be interesting to watch.

He Tweeted out that he will join the Mets.

15. Phil Capra, C, Wagner College

Date of Birth – 10/1/96

Capra, 5’10”, 205, lbs, is a switch-hitting catcher who had a good offensive season for Wagner College last year, batting .312/.409/.551, and most notably breaking out some newfound power. He also had a very good strikeout-to-walk ratio and plays some infield positions as well as catcher. His future is a bit uncertain, but there’s a lot to like in this pick. Capra was ranked 27th in New York by Baseball America.

Expected to sign.

16. L.A. Woodard, SS, Middle Tennessee State University

Date of Birth – 6/13/97

Woodard is a relatively small shortstop at 5’11”, 165 lbs, and doesn’t have much power in his bat at all. However, he has very good speed and base-stealing skills as he stole 23 bases in 25 attempts last year while hitting a solid .267/.386/.356. In addition to his speed, he has good strike zone knowledge, hence the high OBP, as he walked 40 times in 52 games. He is also very good at limiting strikeouts. There isn’t a ton of upside due to the lack of power, but there’s potential for a solid player here if he can utilize his speed and on-base skills. He is also said to play very good defense at shortstop and have a leader’s mentality by his assistant coach Tim Donnelly.

Woodard says he will forgo his final season to go pro.

17. Allan Winans, RHP, Campbell University

Date of Birth – 8/10/95

Another older draftee at 22 years old, Winans is 6’5″, 175 lbs. He has been worked mainly as a starter, posting a 2.73 ERA last year in 15 games (14 starts). He also struck out 96 in his 82 innings. His season was a bit of a breakout as he had never had that type of success previously, so it will be interesting to see if he can carry it into the minor leagues.

18. Chase Chambers, 1B, Tennessee Tech University

Date of Birth – 8/22/95

Chambers, at 6’1″, 250 lbs, is a big slugging lefty first baseman who had a monster senior season, hitting .400 with a 1.150 OPS and 76 RBIs, while only striking out 24 times. There’s a lot of upside here with his powerful, sweet lefty swing, although there are questions about his athleticism and defensive ability. However, in 2014 Perfect Game stated that he moved well for his size and had good footwork, agility, and balance at first base. Chambers was also a left-handed pitcher, but it’s clear that his future is as a slugger. He was ranked 16th in Tennessee by Baseball America. The Mets did well to take someone with this high of an offensive ceiling so late in the draft.

19. Tommy Wilson, RHP, California State University, Fullerton

Date of Birth – 5/26/96

Wilson is a large right-hander at 6’4″, 220 lbs, and has a fastball ranging from the high-80s to the low-90s. It is said to be fairly straight, but he commands it in the strike zone with above-average control. He also has an effective slider in the low-80s that has the potential to get swings and misses. He has experience both starting and relieving, going 6-0 with a 2.93 ERA his junior year at Fullerton. Baseball America ranked him 74th in Southern California.

20. Brooks Warren, LHP, East Central Community College (Mississippi)

Date of Birth – 3/25/98

The 6’3″, 215-lb right-hander is said to have fairly average stuff, with a fastball ranging from the high-80s to low-90s along with a decent slider. He has experience both starting and relieving, so it’s unclear what the future holds for him in that regard. He did struggle last year with a 6.05 ERA, so there’s probably not a lot of upside with this pick. He was, however, ranked 17th in Mississippi by Baseball America.

21. Zachary Hammer, RHP, Alexander Central High School

Date of Birth – 7/04/00

At 6’3″, 170 lbs, Hammer has a tall, lean body type, and is said to have good stuff with a fastball topping out at 92 and a power curveball that really sets him apart from others. He’s still young at seventeen years old, fresh out of high school, and needs to work on his control, but there’s a good amount of upside here.

22. Jaylen Palmer, SS, Holy Cross High School

Date of Birth – 7/31/00

Palmer also has a tall and lean body, standing at 6’3″, 190 lbs, and has a plus arm at shortstop. He has also played outfield, but his strong arm and range, as well as his athletic frame should keep him at shortstop for now, although a move in the future would not be impossible. He’s said to have a very good amount of power potential, especially for a shortstop.

23. Saul Gonzalez, RHP, Montverde Academy

Date of Birth – 12/28/99

Gonzalez is an interesting pick because he’s a very big guy, standing at 6’7″, 235 lbs. He also has a power fastball in the mid-90s that scouts believe he may eventually be able to get into the upper-90s. His fastball is so good that it’s said to be potentially be a 70-grade pitch in the future.

However, he is still very far from developing any kind of consistent breaking pitch, as he pitched almost exclusively with his fastball in high school, only occasionally mixing in a work-in-progress curveball. There is plenty of upside with Gonzalez, but to get outs at the higher levels, he’s going to need to make significant progress on developing his secondary offerings. Baseball America ranked him at No. 401 in the draft.

24. Hayden Senger, C, Miami University

Date of Birth – 4/03/97

Senger, who is about standard size for a catcher at 6’1″, 210 lbs, broke out last year after a terrible year offensively in 2017. He bounced back to hit .349/.435/.530, increasing his stock that already had value due to his defensive prowess. He has been praised for his work behind the plate, and had a very impressive 42 percent caught stealing rate last year for Miami. His bat is still a bit of a question mark, but there is certainly potential there.

David Miranda/Photo from FAU Sports

25. David Miranda, OF, Florida Atlantic University

Date of Birth – 3/23/95

Miranda is a strong left-handed outfielder at 6’0″, 210 lbs., and is coming off a very good senior season at Florida Atlantic where he hit .321/.406/.542. He was among the Conference USA’s leaders in RBIs, runs, and hits, certainly boosting his draft stock.

26. Brian Sharp, 3B, University of Missouri

Date of Birth – 2/18/97

Sharp has a large 6’2″ frame and weighs about 205 lbs, and was drafted as a third baseman but also has experience as a pitcher and catcher. A left-handed batter, he hit a strong .321/.418/.500 this past season but has had issues with strikeouts. He is expected to sign.

27. Zach Rheams, SS, Texas Tech University

Date of Birth – 7/05/96

Rheams, 6’0″, 235 lbs, is a big outfielder who swings from the left side. He had a great season overall last year for Texas Tech, hitting .329/.460/.686, but particularly impressed with his power, swatting 17 homers and posting a monstrous .357 ISO. Like many sluggers, he has some strikeout issues, but there’s a lot of power potential here. This is another very good pick for this late in the draft, as Rheams has a lot of upside for a 27th-rounder.

28. Mitch Hickey, RHP, University of California San Diego

Date of Birth – 11/16/95

Hickey, a righty listed at 6’0″, 184 lbs, has a wide arsenal of pitches, with a fastball ranging anywhere from 88-94 mph, an 83-84 mph changeup, a sharp slider at 78-82 mph, and a 12-6 curveball at 71-76 mph. His stuff has received praise from scouts for its sharpness and depth, but command and control have been cited as huge issues. His future is as a reliever.

29. Nelson Mompierre, C, Miami Dade College

Date of Birth – 9/26/95

Mompierre, a 6’0″, 195-lb catcher, is known for his hitting. As a senior, he hit .355 with an OPS over 1.000, helped out by his strong on-base skills. He also had a knack for driving in runs as part of his well-rounded offensive profile, recording 31 RBIs in 37 games.

30. Chandler Avant, 2B, University of Alabama

Date of Birth – 7/11/95

A small second baseman at 5’11”, 170 lbs, Avant has one of the lower offensive ceilings of the players the Mets selected in this draft. He doesn’t have a lot of power mainly due to his small size, but is also not expected to make a lot of contact either. His defense is more of an unknown, but the fact that he’d already been moved off shortstop entering the draft is a bit worrisome.

31. Brendan Hardy, RHP, Harrison Central High School

Date of Birth – 12/15/99

Hardy, tall at 6’4″, 190 lbs, played shortstop as well as pitched in high school but was drafted as a right-handed pitcher. He had a 29 percent strikeout rate in high school, so there is some upside there, and will likely require an overslot deal to sign.

32. Jake Mangum, LHP, Mississippi State University

Date of Birth – 3/08/96

Listed at 6’1″, 185 lbs, Mangum is known for his strong contact ability from both sides of the plate, as well as well above-average speed. However, he is also said to be very aggressive at the plate as he doesn’t draw many walks, and there also isn’t a lot of power potential. He is a very good defender in center field due to his speed, so Mangum probably has a relatively high floor with his well-rounded skillset. There’s not a ton of upside, but it seems like a pretty solid pick. Mangum was ranked 134th by Baseball America and 180th by MLB Pipeline.

He already announced he will be returning to school for his senior season.

33. Michael Picollo, RHP, Blue Valley North High School

Date of Birth – 9/22/99

Picollo, 6’2″, 170 lbs, is not a huge upside pick, with a fastball that has been said to top out at 86 mph, but his velocity has supposedly been improving, so the Mets drafted this guy with the belief that he’s someone they could sign for a small amount and develop into something useful.

34. Duke Kinamon, 2B, Stanford University

Date of Birth – 9/04/96

Kinamon is a small player, listed at 5’10”, 190 lbs, without a lot of power and not a great hit tool. He does have very good speed. He missed his junior season (2018) with an injury, so he may not sign in order to boost his stock for the 2019 draft. He hit .284/.365/.379 in the 2017 season.

35. Ian Mejia, RHP, Sahuarita High School

Date of Birth – 1/31/00

The 6’4″, 175-lb righty has a simple pitching motion with a fastball that reaches 93 mph. Solid pick here with some upside, although for now he does have a commitment to the University of Arizona, so his signability is in question. He was ranked 19th in Arizona by Baseball America.

36. Denzel Clarke, OF, Everest Academy High School

Date of Birth – 5/01/00

A tall outfielder listed at 6’4″, 190 lbs, Clarke is a natural athlete. He has experience playing center field, but as he fills out his large frame, he is likely to move to a corner spot. His hit tool is graded higher than his power, but he could gain some power as he adds more muscle. He has dealt with timing issues and lack of strength as some of the main concerns with his offensive profile. He still has a good amount of potential, and was ranked 384th by Baseball America.

37. Zach Fascia, C, Turner Fenton Secondary School

Date of Birth – 9/15/98

The 6’1″, 225-lb catcher is a left-handed hitter who also has experience pitching. He has an athletic build and possess a quick, compact swing with some gap power. The information provided on his defensive skills makes him out to be a solid backstop.

38. Nick Zona, SS, Hanover High School

Date of Birth – 7/09/99

The 6’2″, 180 lb shortstop also has experience pitching, but is expected to play shortstop due to his strong arm and athleticism.

39. Kody Darcy, SS, Kentridge High School

Date of Birth – 6/17/99

Darcy, who also has experience at the other infield positions, has a 6-1″, 175-lb frame. He’s said to have clean and smooth footwork, range, and glove actions, as well as a pretty strong arm. At the plate, he has an open stance with a loose swing that generates solid bat speed, and has the ability to make some very hard contact.

40. Brian Metoyer, RHP, Louisiana State University

Date of Birth – 11/13/96

The tall, lanky righty Metoyer is 6’4″, 160 lbs and is another guy who gets a lot of strikeouts but also has problems with control. He posted a 5.60 ERA in a hitter’s league, and has plenty of issues to work out, but there’s enough upside that the Mets felt he was worth taking a shot on. He was the 40th and final pick of the Mets’ 2018 draft.

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