Draft Talk: The Very Early Edition

By Teddy Klein

February 21, 2018 24 Comments

In a typical season, one of my favorite times of the year is the Draft. It’s when we get to pick new Mets, what a feeling. The minor leagues get new faces for years to come, and there’s a new ray of hope brought into the organization from the early rounds. The short season commences, and we see a bigger glimpse down the road.

This year is especially intriguing. The Mets have the No. 6 pick, a borderline first round pick in the 46th pick, and a giant pool to grab some nice talent after the top rounds. They have multiple avenues to go, and there’s a lot of time to see which way they go. As well, these draft boards will shift…drastically, as college players with ability emerge, and High Schoolers show flashes of tools they hadn’t, due to growth. This is why it’s very early in the draft.

In fact, it’s so early, that mock drafts have barely arisen, So I have decided to lay out some guys who the Mets may be considering at No. 6 and some guys they should consider at No. 46.

No. 6:

2B/SS Nick Madrigal, Ohio State, 9 for 17 2 2b, Hr, 2 SB in 4 games so far.

The Oregon State cornerstone only has a 5’8″ stature, but has been a high performer in his first two years in college with plus speed, a nice glove, and posting high OBP’s. Madrigal hits everything hard, but doesn’t hit for plus power . . . yet. Madrigal would be the starting shortstop if Cadyn Grenier wasn’t better there.  Madrigal will look very comfortable playing at 2nd base. Should he keep hitting at the insane rate that he does, Madrigal will hold his spot in the top ten and be a good candidate to move quickly.

OF Griffin Conine, Duke 4 for 9, 2B, HR, 3 BB, 3 K in three games so far

Fellow MMN writer Dilip Sridhar would kill me if I didn’t mention this guy. Obviously, you are starting to make the association: He’s Jeff Conine’s son. Conine is his own guy, and he is very talented. An advanced bat with plus power, Conine is a right fielder with a plus arm and average speed out in the field. Conine was an All Star out in the Cape Cod League last summer, and represented Duke well with a .943 OPS and 9 homers in the wooden bat league. For me, the gut feeling comp is Michael Conforto, and if he keeps hitting, he’ll warrant the No. 6 spot despite not being the most athletic choice.

SS/3B Nander de Sedas, Montaverde Academy

Nander de Sedas is oozing with upside. He’s a switch hitter with the ability to hit for contact and has some plus raw power.  This makes for one gorgeous profile for this high school shortstop. At Shortstop, he’s a smooth fielder with a plus arm, but his below average speed suggests he won’t be there forever making third base a very nice alternative. He’s probably the top guy on my personal board.

LHP Shane McClanahan, University of South Florida 6 ip, 3 H, 5 BB, 11 K

If his name is familiar, you probably won’t forget that he was a 26th rounder for the Mets in 2015. The following year, he immediately underwent Tommy John Surgery.  When he got back onto the mound as a Red Shirt Freshman, he came in throwing gas hitting 92-97 while showing a plus change-up and an above average slider, but iffy command. His stuff was on display when he debuted with a six inning blank-frame start with 11 strikeouts albeit with five walks. McClanahan is a true boom or bust pick due to the impressive stuff but checkered injury history.

No. 46

OF D.J. Artis Liberty 3 for 14, 2B, 4 BB, 5 K in 4 games

Artis is currently No. 119 on the top 200 Draft prospects for Baseball America and their top ranked prospect for the Big South college conference, Artis has a blend of athleticism and polish you wouldn’t usually see at this point. Artis led college Division I Ranks last year in walks with 62, and he posted a .500 or better OBP for two years running. Additionally, his power has developed over time.  His isolated slugging percentage doubled from his freshman year to sophomore year (.095 to .193), and it figures to jump further this year. Artis is a plus athlete with plus speed which allowed him to steal a conference leading 23 bases last year and play an above-average center field. Most likely, despite being in a small Division I conference, Artis will get drafted much higher than his current ranking and would be an intriguing grab at No. 46. I’ll keep hyping him until draft day.

3B Nick Northcut Mason HS, Ohio

I’ll precede all the intrigue with this: Northcut is a Vanderbilt Recruit which makes his price tag high. As probably one of the best HS 3B bats in the draft, Northcut has some intriguing athleticism, is able to hit for power for average, and is known as a great defensive 3B.  It’s really only a question of commitment and price tag, but if he’s there, he’s got boom or bust upside.

C Noah Naylor St. Joan of Arc HS, Ontario

A smooth, powerful left-handed stroke, the younger Naylor (Older brother Josh, a top prospect in the Padres system) has some pop of his own.  He out-homered top draft 3rd base prospect Nolan Gorman in a home run derby before the futures game last year. Noah has a good chance of hitting for average and power, but he has questionable defense. Naylor’s arm flashes plus and has some nice accuracy, but his movements and receiving need work. Nevertheless, this is some nice upside to look at, going forward.

RHP Mike Vasil Boston College HS

Vasil is an intriguing arm from cold-weather Massachusetts with some cool upside. The 6’4″ 210 lbs High School pitcher has a lot of upside and possibility.  He throws in the 92-95 range and has the possibility for more as he gets even taller. In addition, he has an above-average curve and an at least average change.  He has some nice control too. With cold weather, he doesn’t have as much in-game experience as the guys in Florida or Texas with travel teams, but that may also give him some less overwork on his arm than other prep pitchers.

Draft Notes:

  • The draft schedule has changed from a weekend schedule to a Monday to Wednesday schedule (to my dismay), Starting on June 4th.
  • Draft Pools and slot bonuses have not been posted yet, but last year’s slots for the 6th and 46th picks were $5,303,000 (an increase from $1,233,800 in 2016) and $1,493,500 (increased from $106,600 in 2016) That puts the estimates for the next No. 6 slot in the $6.7 million range and No. 46 in the $1.65 range.
  • The top High School arm in the country, Ethan Hankins, walked off the mound last weekend with an undisclosed shoulder issue. That will shift draft boards in the coming weeks.
  • Definition: “Red Shirt” is a term that means that a college player missed an entire season due to injury and is then considered skill level in the year before his actual school year; i.e. a redshirt sophomore is a Junior Year college student with two seasons under his belt.

Stats courtesy of TheBaseballcube.com & Respective college websites.