The New York Mets have the sixth overall selection in tomorrow’s Rule 5 Draft. As we know the team runs the risk of losing players like Adonis Uceta or Mickey Jannis, the team also stands to select some players that could help the 2018 roster. In advance of the draft, Baseball America has ranked the top five prospects who will be available:
#1 RHP Burch Smith
Level: GCL (Rookie), Florida State League (A+), International League (AAA)
Stats: 5-3, 2.40 ERA, 13 G, 12 GS, 56.1 IP, 56 K, 1.118 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, 8.9 K/9
Much like Zack Wheeler, Smith missed 2015 and 2016 due to Tommy Surgery. This is part of the history for a pitcher who has had health issues. Lost in that is a pitcher who has three swing and miss pitches including a mid to 90s MPH fastball. Baseball America believes the pitcher is ready to contribute to a team as a back end starter or could transition to the bullpen.
#2 RHP Nick Burdi
Level: Southern League (AA)
Stats: 2-0, 0.53 ERA, 14 G, SV, 17.0 IP, 20 K, 0.765 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, 10.1 K/9
With his having Tommy John surgery in May last year, Burdi is not going to be available to pitch on Opening Day. This should give a team an opportunity to carry him on the Opening Day roster, move him to the 60 day DL, and give him 30 days rehab in the minors before needing to call him up. Using the Mets 18 month guidelines for Tommy John, Burdi would not need to be called up at all next year. If he is able to fully recover, his new team will have a power arm that can touch 100 MPH.
#3 RHP Mason McCullough
Level: California League (A+), Southern League (AA)
Stats: 5-0, 2.17 ERA, 50 G, 4 SV, 58.0 IP, 91 K, 1.172 WHIP, 5.7 BB/9, 14.1 K/9
Baseball America compares McCullough to Bob Wickman in that he is a large reliever with power stuff. That power stuff is a 97 MPH worm killer sinker the reliever has had difficulty harnessing as evidenced by his high walk rate.
#4 RHP Cale Coshow
Level: Eastern League (AA), International League (AAA)
Stats: 2-6, 3.75 ERA, 45 G, 15 SV, 60.0 IP, 76 K, 1.583 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.4 K/9
Coshow is a big intimidating reliever who can ramp his fastball up to triple digits, and he has a good enough slider to be effective. He made strides this past year in terms of control even if his walk rate is a tad high. On the bright side, his strikeout rate had a big jump.
#5 C Nick Ciuffo
Level: Southern League (AA)
Stats: 102 G, 417 PA, 371 AB, 42 R, 91 H, 29 2B, 3B, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 2 SB, .245/.319/.385
The Rays are taking the chance exposing Ciuffo the Mets were unwilling to do last year with Tomas Nido. Overall, Ciuffo is seen as someone that could improve with the bat, and he has the skills to be a decent backstop. The real issue with the team selecting him is if they’re willing to sacrifice a spot on the 25 man roster to carry a bit of a project as a backup catcher.
For a Mets team who has so far been unable to add the reliever the team coveted into the Winter Meetings, there is an opportunity here. Certainly, power arms like McCullough and Coshow should be intriguing with Coshow all the moreso with him being more polished and his having pitched in Triple-A last year. The converse of that is these arms may very well be gone before the Mets get an opportunity to pick.