Mets have taken their second player, Simeon Woods Richardson in the 2018 draft.
Baseball America says:
Notes:School: Kempner HS, Sugar Land, Texas
Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 210 | B-T: R-R | Commit/Drafted: Texas
Scouting Report: One of the youngest players in the 2018 draft class, Woods-Richardson is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound righthander out of Texas who impressed scouts at multiple summer showcase events last year. At both the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., and Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat Association world championships in Jupiter, Fla., during the fall, Woods-Richardson pitched with a low-90s fastball that touched 93 mph at times. He features both a four-seam and two-seam fastball, as well as two breaking balls—one a sweeping slider in the upper 70s and the other a mid-70s curveball with an 11-to-5 shape. He showed the makings of a plus breaking ball at the Area Code Games and even flashed a potential plus changeup during the Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C. After all the flashes of upside over the summer, Woods-Richardson has continued to trend up this spring, with his fastball velocity ticking up. Scouts have noted, however, that he doesn’t always hold his velocity into starts as long as they would like to see. As a younger, athletic righthander out of Texas who has trended in the right direction this spring, Woods-Richardson has checked enough boxes on his scouting report to get him drafted quickly in June. If he did make it to campus at Texas, he would be a two-way talent with some impressive raw power with the bat as well.
Perfect Game says:
Tracking Simeon Woods-Richardson since he pitched in the 2014 13u BCS Finals has been an exercise in spurts, peaks and valleys, sometimes in the middle of the same outing. This spring has been the most consistent stretch of his career as he’s matured on the mound and solidified his draft stock.
Woods-Richardson threw in a 13u event less than four years ago because he is very young for the 2018 class and won’t turn 18 years old until late September. He was topping out at 72 mph that summer with a 57 mph curveball before an eight-inch growth spurt bumped him up to 81 mph during the 2015 summer and 91 mph during the 2016 summer.
On last summer’s travel circuit, Richardson consistently worked in the 90-93 mph range and peaked as high as 95 mph to go with a big breaking downer curveball in the mid-70s that really changed hitters’ eye levels well when he was on top of it, plus an 80 mph changeup that showed promise. But even consistency with an outing was difficult for the then 16-year old Woods-Richardson. In one outing at the 2017 Area Code Games, he struck out the side on 11 pitches in his first inning of work, then allowed five runs in the second inning. At the Tournament of Stars, he was 86-88 mph one inning and 90-93 the next inning. His most consistent outing was at the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, a performance that he has seemingly used to build on through this spring.
Aside from his young age, another non-pitching factor that scouts must weigh in Woods-Richardson’s development is that he is a plus athlete who could be a two-way player as a third baseman should he attend Texas. Along with plus arm strength and athletic defensive actions, Richardson has big righthanded power at the plate.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Woods-Richardson broke out on the showcase circuit last summer, running his fastball up to 95 mph at the Area Code Games and showing three-pitch potential at multiple events. He looked like a potential top-three-rounds pick, but hasn’t built on that momentum this spring. Pro teams are still interested, though now they’re wondering if he might be destined to become a reliever and if he can be picked early enough to sign him away from a Texas commitment.
Though Woods-Richardson’s arm speed and athleticism still endear him to scouts, he has spent much of his senior year pitching at 89-92 mph with a fastball that features more angle than life. A midseason tonsillectomy didn’t help, but he also has a history of inconsistency with his stuff. His curveball hasn’t been as sharp as hoped either, and he hasn’t used his changeup much after it looked promising last summer.
Woods-Richardson has a sound delivery with a high-three-quarters arm slot and repeats it well. But unless he shows he can carry his best stuff deeper into ballgames, he may wind up in the bullpen. He’s also a talented third baseman with power and arm strength, giving him a chance to contribute as a two-way player if he joins the Longhorns.
What I think:
This is an odd pick, but I see what they’re doing. Another athletic guy, Simeon Woods-Richardson will help save them even more money later in the draft, but also provide some upside with some projection left. Look for some upside in day 2 for the Mets as the team grabs a few guys still on the board for above-slot money with the rumored pre-draft for Kelenic and the underslot for Woods Richardson.