The cynics are going to have a field day with this one.
The Mets took Brandon Nimmo with their first-round pick tonight (13th overall), and if you were scanning mock drafts for information about the Wyoming schoolboy you needed to look down at the players listed in the 30 to 40 range, where most experts were projecting him to be picked.
The question, of course, is a simple one - why?
Why did the Mets take a toolsy high school outfielder with very limited amateur experience? Why did New York's scouting department consider him a mid-first round pick when media experts had him tabbed as a high supplemental pick?
The cynic will certainly have some theories. The cynic will tell you that Nimmo is signable, first and foremost, and that the Mets are simply continuing their trend of pinching pennies with their draft picks. Most big-market clubs have figured out how to game the first-year player draft - swoop in and grab the players that scared off the smaller-market teams that cannot or will not give in to their signing bonus demands.
The Mets continue to be behind the curve in that respect, operating as though they played in the smallest market in baseball instead of the largest. Even though highly-rated outfielders like Josh Bell and Mike Mahtook were still on the board when they made their pick, past history and current financial concerns suggest that the Mets reacted like the rest of the minnows, swimming away from the larger bonus demands of the better bets.
It's not going to cost the Mets a lot of money to get Nimmo into the farm system - and that's just how they wanted it. Nimmo's commitment to play college baseball at Arkansas reportedly predicated on whether or not a professional team offered him a signing bonus on par with a first-round pick. The Mets, clearly reaching for their man at #13, should easily overcome Nimmo's college commitment by simply offering slot money.
It's frustrating and it's infuriating, but it's just a fact of life in the dying days of the Wilpon regime.
Now, none of this is to say that Nimmo doesn't have the potential to succeed at the major league level. He is a tremendous risk, of course, but just about every high school player in the amateur draft is a risk. What's especially worrisome about Nimmo, however, is that lack of experience and a pre-existing knee condition from surgery two years ago. The knee injury was suffered playing high school football and is probably not as much of a concern, in the grand scheme of things.
What is of greater concern is that Nimmo is from Wyoming and therefore has never played high school baseball. (Apparently, there is no high school baseball throughout the state of Wyoming, and as a result I am struggling to believe that Wyoming is located in the United States of America.) Scouts have had to use his American Legion experience and private workouts to draw their impressions. Nimmo is obviously raw, and it will be up to the Mets' development system to mold him into a professional player.
Even if he rockets through their farm system, Nimmo is almost certainly at least four years away from being major-league ready. Mets fans would be better off going to sleep tonight not dreaming about the likes of Nimmo donning the orange and blue one day. It's way too far in the future and it's probably never going to happen anyway.
Rather, they will be happier dreaming of the day when the Wilpons have been run out of town and a new ownership group will prioritize winning over slot recommendations. When that day finally comes, Mets fans will look back at first-round picks like Brandon Nimmo and wonder how they stood by their team through nights like this.