How Do You Define Drafting Well? - By Phlavio

My friend and I got into a heated discussion over Omar Minaya. Just what Met fans need, more grief caused by Omar Minaya. The debate started with me saying that Omar was a alright in regards to drafting. My friend argued that only 1 of his draft picks had turned out well (not counting Harvey because Harvey was not ready to be judged). We had only been looking at his first pick from each year. I expanded it to his top 5 picks from each year because those picks are generally expected to have a chance of panning out. Here is a little Minaya draft legacy review.

RHP Matt Harvey - Now... we can't say he was a succesful pick, YET because Harvey hasn't thrown a single inning in the majors, YET. That hasn;t stopped us Met fans from getting overly excited about a guy who has a 97 MPH fastball and flew threw two of the higher levels of the minors.

C Blake Forsythe - Sure... not a great choice. Forsythe was taken because he was highly regarded once upon a time and Omar was hoping for lightning in a bottle. There is a reason why we try to ignore the catchers in the Met farm... this will continue as we move on in the list.

OF Cory Vaughn - Greg Vaughn had a kid and this kid was named Cory. In 2010 he debuted in Brooklyn and was a powerhouse success with a great eye. Then in 2011 he went to the batter's nightmare of Savannah and lost a lot of that power. He still hit enough to get promoted to Port St. Lucie (where he's likely to start 2012). Vaughn is still charted to the MLB with a starting OF spot in the possible cards.

(Mack: Very streaky.... needs to develop long range plan...)

OF Matt DenDekker - Now... nobody questioned the choice of Matt. He was an organizational guy with stellar defense that would probably top out as a AAAA OF who could spend time as a 4th OF. Then... DenDekker developed power. Not sure where it came from and don't color me surprised if it's not 100% legit, but he's now on track to potentially compete for the starting CF job this spring.

RHP Gregory Peavey - We forget about Peavey. We forget because we also have Jenrry Mejia, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Zack Wheeler. Peavey has been very successful in pitcher friendly Savannah and moderately successful in the more even-footed Port St. Lucie. He projects as a middle to back of the rotation starter... in the 5th round... NOT BAD.

(Mack: Spent most of 2011 working on new pitches... look for big start in 2012)


LHP Steven Matz - Now, I agree with my friend that Matz was a bad pick. He had mechical issues and was destined to land on the surgery docket... guess what, he did. We'll learn if Matz will amount to anything this season and my hopes are not sky high.

(Mack: Dropped Twitter, dropped Facebook... fell off the face of the media world...)

SS Robbie Shields - Shields also caught the injury bug, but he got by it in 2011 where he turned out a pretty solid year offensively. He's not likely to be a major league SS (which Omar knew in 2009) but he does seem to have a shot as a major league 2B.

(Mack: Has the hottest girlfriend in the system...)

OF Darrell Cecilliani - Cecilliani was a surprise of 2010 when he exploded into Brooklyn with absurd numbers. 2011 saw him fall back to earth... a little. He still has a shot to be a major league OF.

LHP Darin Gorski - 4th round pitcher... no tremendous stuff... he did WHAT in 2011? Okay, raise your hand if you think Gorski's 2011 was for real. Anyone? We have our hopes and dreams but it's likely that Gorski is not destined to be more than Mr. Gee... IF THAT!

C Taylor Freeman - Remember that we have NO good catching prospects. Yeah...


1B Isaac "Ike" Davis - Okay, so we didn't argue about Ike Davis being a good draft pick. Omar saw power, and when Ike reached the majors... so did we. There are obvious concerns about the return from an injury, but can we REALLY blame that freak accident on Omar?

2B David "Reese" Havens - Now... we can talk injuries and we can talk talent. Havens has both. I think Omar can still be shadowed on the side of making a good pick based on the fact that Havens has one of the best swings I've ever seen.

(Mack: His only long range problem is his back...)
RHP Bradley Holt - Once upon a time we thought Holt was a steal. Since then he's become a pretty colossal bust. If he makes it to the majors it'll be as a reliever and I'm betting against it. He did toss me a ball at a B-Met game. I'm such a little kid.

(Mack: Great kid that got totally screwed up by the Mets... please let someone draft him this week...)

OF Javier Rodriguez - As a fourth rounder it's hard for me to call him a bust, but I also cannot call him even a remote success in the minors.

(Mack: Steak knife...)

OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis - 5th rounder... might be a favorite Met in 2012. Nieuwenhuis is a gritty determined guy who I'm betting wins away Bay's starting job by Mid-July. He doesn't have 30 HR power or 30 SB speed but he does look like a .300 hitter with 15/15 potential.


RHP Edward Kunz (Allan Dykstra) - We credit Omar with the lousy draft choice in the over-weight Kunz. We credit Sandy Alderson with trading for Dykstra who is a pretty intriguing 1B prospect... after a good 2011 at least.

(Mack: Great minor league closer that was totally mishandled (also, great defensive outfielder)...

LHP Nathan Vineyard - I threw up in my mouth when I looked.

(Mack: Hid a career-ending injury from the Mets, signed, took the bonus money and ran back to Georgia...)

RHP Scott Moviel - Once upon a time some people thought he might be okay for the bullpen. That time is past. He's just a bust.

RHP Brant Rustich - I'm going to keep my mouth shut on a player who has battled injuries like this.

(Mack: We'll know in January if he's back 110%)

LHP Eric Niesen - Wrapping up his worst year, Niesen turned in some okay work as a lefty reliever but okay might be over-stating his value. He's not a major league talent.


RHP Kevin Mulvey (Johan Santana) - So... is Johan Santana still worth Kevin Mulvey? Even with all the injuries? Even with his huge salary? Yes... yes he is.

RHP Joseph Smith - I remember Smith with nothing but fondness. He's moved on into the Cleveland bullpen where he's continued to look like a pretty solid MLB reliever.

(Mack: Isn't this that Mormon dude?)

RHP John Holdzkom - Another HUGE failure in the minors.

(Mack: Career-ending injuries)

RHP Stephen Holmes - This is a little odd. I find a page but no stats. He WAS signed... so... I guess he's there for his looks?

(Mack: Just quit one day and disappeared... like Peter Green did to Fleetwood Mac)

RHP Scott Schafer - This one is odd. Schafer was fine as an 18-year old in the Gulf Coast League. Then he vanished.

(Mack: Some of these guys are pretty smart and they wake up one day and realize they need to put their toys down and get on with their life...)


RHP Mike Pelfrey - Do I like Pelfrey? No. Is he an MLB caliber starter? Yeah... I guess he is. Can't fault Omar's pick if he's good enough to start in the pros.

2B Hector Pellot - A speedy utility player who will never make the pros.

(Mack: Gone...)

C Andrew Butera - Strange... the site I cound him on said he signed and then his profile says he was signed again by the Twins in 2010. He's not very good.

(Mack: Traded early in Mets career... now in pros... excellent defensive catcher)

OF Gregory Cain - Cain had two VERY unimpressive years in rookie ball before he vanished from baseball.

LHP Jonathan Niese - Jon Niese is probably a better pitcher than Pelfrey and he's certainly easier to watch. Niese is a more-than steady major leaguer and likely a piece of the Met future for the next 2-3 years.

In My Opinion: Omar Minaya has four draft success stories (Pelfrey, Niese, Davis and Smith) already in the majors and at least 9 prospects who could still make a major league impact. Now... of those 9, maybe 6 ACTUALLY do something in Queens but 10 players out of the 30 of his top draft picks seems like a pretty good track record.

Will 6 of the 9 prospects I'm looking at make an impact? (Harvey, Vaughn, DenDekker, Peavey, Shields, Cecilliani, Gorski, Havens and Nieuwenhuis) Well, I'd say we'll see about Nieuwenhuis, Havens and potentially (though hopefully we don't NEED to) DenDekker early in 2012. We'll see about Harvey and the rest of Generation 2K a little later. (NOTE: Omar was responsible for bringing in Mejia and Familia as well.)

For me this comes down to, "What do we consider success for a baseball GM in regards to drafting?" The best I can figure as a baseball outsider is that a GM is drafting well if at least 1 player a year (on average) is worthy of playing in the majors. Maybe that's too generous, but I have seen enough prospects fail to be happy with that rate of attrition.

My Friend's Opinion: Excitement level and actual production are two very different things in my mind, which was why I couldn’t really put a finger on Harvey, yet. But when you extend Omar’s draft history from our original discussion of ‘first picks’ to his ‘top 30’, its clear to me that he’s made a good number of ‘decent’ picks. I’ll comment on a couple of things that still tickle me in an “I need an adult” kind of way.

Kevin Mulvey: In the end, getting Santana for this guy was a cruel deception on Omar’s part, but a good one. However, despite the numbers he has put up in his good health, he suffered through three straight seasons of injuries, and his huge salary is just sitting there. I think this is an ‘agree to disagree’ situation.

I like playing the game of “what have you done for me lately”, because while its nice to speculate and get excited about up-and-coming talent, you never know what will actually happen until they get called up. So while Pelfrey, Niese, Davis, and Smith have all made it to the big show, only 2 of those players have done something for me lately. Pelfrey has shown me nothing but inconsistency and a lack of confidence when he steps onto the mound. One day he’s got it, and he’s flat or mediocre the next two or three. Smith is no longer in the Mets’ plans, so there’s really nothing to say about him. That leaves Niese and Davis, both of which I hope continue their strong starts, especially a post-injury Davis.

I see a good number of players that have ‘potential’, but so far I’ve seen a small number produce or do anything meaningful at the major league level for the Mets. Now, that doesn’t mean I want other players to fail, or think anything wrong of their talents or efforts. I certainly want everyone drafted to succeed, but I know it never works out that way (see: Nathan Vineyard). So in the mindset of “what have you done for me lately”, I see Niese and Davis as good picks on this list, with hopefully more names added to that list after this season. After all, it’s time for Sandy to get cracking after Jose took his booming rap career to Miami, amirite!?


Phlavio said...

While it feels strange to defend Omar Minaya, I can't say that I'm not excited about some of the talent he drafted.

Hobie said...

Nice recap. And remember, Butera got us Luis Castillo!

Stephen Guilbert said...

How many of you googled "Robbie Shields Girlfriend" during or after this? Be honest...

Charles said...

Didn't have to...I have her picture taped to the ceiling right above my bed.

Michael S. said...

Don't forget Lucas Duda, drafted in the 7th Round in 2007.

And I would call Harvey a successful draft pick. He's a Top-25 prospect in all of MLB and could right now be the centerpiece of a major trade. I give Omar credit for that value.

Phlavio said...

We were sticking to the top 5 picks of each year. The idea was that THOSE picks were supposed to have legit chances of making the major league team.

The 7th Round I'm going to call a divine accident.

You and I can call Harvey a success but as my friend pointed out, until he SUCCEEDS in the majors it doesn't do anything for us.

Charles said...

Minaya might have done better if given more resources. Perhaps he held money in reserve or wasn't given much to spend to fuel international signings. The mets have spent big on players like F-Mart, A-Rod, and Francisco Pena...plus a ton of other guys they got fairly cheap yet still had to cough up cash. Lagarus, Mejia, Familia, Marte, and I don't have a clue what they paid for the real young ones like Gilbert Gomea, Elvis Sanchez, Vincente Lupo and Domingo Tapia. Maybe if they weren't so active in that market like other clubs, they might have looked towards over slotting on their drafts for higher impact players in later rounds(like this year). I don't care much for Minaya and have never given him much credit. Anyone who's given a blank checkbook could have put together the teams he has,, but maybe there were other reasons for such weak drafts. I do think that the success he's had in the drafts in the later rounds was dumb luck. If Duda does what I think he'll do this year, I'm not buying that Omar saw that coming. Same for most of the success stories.

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