Mack Ade - What’s So Important About a 1st Round Pick If You Use It Like It’s a 3rd Round Pick?


 The MetsBlog’s Michael Baron and I have been ‘going at it’ (in a nice way… we’re online friends) lately about whether or not the Mets should sign OF Michael Bourn and lose their first round pick.

Yes, he will play at 30+ years old and he hits from the left side of the plate, but the market for him continues to close and it seems like a 2-3 year deal is now a strong possibility.

What Michael and I agree on is that neither of us have any desire to lose the first round pick in the next draft. But here’s where we go in different directions.

Does it really matter if you lose a pick that turns out to be a high school senior that has an ETA of 2017? And, is there any guarantee that Sandy and Company would pick an outfielder anyway? They didn’t pick Courtney Hawkins last year when his name was still on the board and instead went for another shortstop.

It seems to me that there is very little left to both the trading and free agent market this season and Michael Bourn may be the most talented outfielder per dollar spent on the market. He would immediately step in after producing 42-SB, 9-HR, and 57-RBI for Atlanta. He didn’t do this for some high school team in Wyoming. Oh, I’m sorry… there are no high school baseball teams in Wyoming.

Let’s go in the other direction. Let’s say the Mets turn comes and there is a legitimate college junior like Austin Wilson out there. High school phenoms Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier will be gone (which is fine), but there’s a good chance that Wilson, Vanderbilt’s Tony Kemp, Fresno State’s Aaron Judge and San Diego’s Kris Bryant will be available. We have no guarantee that Sandy and Company won’t call out the name of another middle infielder.

No, I’m simply not impressed with the Alderson 2011 and 2012 drafts and I want some meat now.

Sign Bourn, put him in CF, and bat him 1-2 with Ruben Tejada.
The team loses no pitching and is more competitive overnight.


Soto said...

A very overlooked thing is if you DO sign Michael Bourn, your OF defense becomes much better with him in CF and Kirk in RF which will help our fly ball pitchers immensely.

Charles said...

Despite us not liking their drafts, it's obvious that they do think their picks are good. They also have scouts watching these players so their knowledge concerning these players is much greater then ours.

I do not want them to sign Bourne. Not at the cost of a first rounder. To me, he's just not worth the cash and the pick.

Hobie said...

Here’s the equation I’m weighing; it tarts with the assumption that Coco Crisp a near on-field equivalent to Bourn over, say, the next 2 yrs.

So, some farm for Coco who is less of a payroll burden (put difference into signing say Matt Capps?), keep 1st rd pick?

i.e. Is Crisp + 1st Rd pick + payroll savings >=< Bourn + whatever is given up to get Crisp?

Depends on the last term in that equation I suppose tempered with any confidence draft adeptness. The past 2 May/Junes I have been out of the country so missed out on the last minute draft analysis. And in 2010 I slapped my head with the Harvey pick—I wanted C.Sales. So what do I know?

TP said...

Hobie and Charles,
I agree with Soto. A couple of things
- the Mets have a legit case to protect their 1st round pick as a real top 10. Why should they lose protection of being one of the 10 worst teams last year when Pittsburgh pushed them out of the 10 slot for failing to sign their top pick?
- we all love top picks, but today would you deal their #1 pick Cecchini straight up for Bourn on a 3 year $45 mil deal? I would in a heartbeat
- I like Crisp as well, he is probably a notch down from Bourn and his cost reflects that. What would it take prospect-wise to get him?

Michael S. said...

I would sign Bourn under two conditions.

1) The first-round pick is protected. The union has come out and said that they would back the Mets if the team requests the pick protected.

2) It's only for one year. Bourn is said to be looking for a 5-year contract or a 1-year deal so he can re-test free agency next year. Five years is too long and too much money for a player of Bourn's skill and age. On a 1 year deal, he gives the Mets lineup a boost and makes them a potential wild card team. If he's performing well and the team is not, he could be a valuable trade asset at the deadline.

If the Mets were to sign Bourn to multi-year deal and trade him in the first year it might send the wrong message to free agents. However, a player working on a 1-year contract would probably welcome the chance to play the last couple of months on a playoff team before he hits free agency again.

Bourn, Marcum, Santana could bring back some decent young talent to then flip in the offseason.

Mack Ade said...

all this is a moot point if the Mers continue to draft high school players with their first pick with a 5 year ETA

this team needs to draft college OF juniors... NOW, last year, and the year before

Michael S. said...

I'd actually just keep drafting pitchers and use them in trade whenever needed. By the time a college OF is ready to contribute it'll be 2016.

Mack Ade said...


Actually, your logic would have worked out just fine:

In 2011, you could have picked either Sonny Gray or Matt Barnes...

And, in 2012, Lucas Giolito or Lance McCullers

Michael S. said...

Don't remind me, lol. Last year when both Giolito and McCullers fell to the Mets I couldn't wait to see which one they grabbed.

Charles said...

Michael, you're right. Unless there was a can't miss awesome bat that fell to me, I would draft the best available pitcher with my first five picks from now on.

The Shields and RA trade has showed us one thing, if you have a great pitcher, you can trade him for multiple players; great players. The Mets got the game's best catching prospect, plus a arm that could be another number one starter. There was also a potential 5 tool bat in there as a throw in!!!

If that doesn't make every team realize that drafting position players with their first few picks is insane, then they all need to get their heads examined. Continuing to draft high upside pitchers and stocking your farm with them will eventually lead to at least one blockbuster trade a year. Each time trading a proven ML pitcher for a package of already developed position players. You'd be able to shift your organizational philosophy to that which caters to developing pitchers.

Is it a flawed strategy? Yes, but it could work. By using your first 6 or 7 picks in every draft to always picking the best pitcher available, you'd be able to stock up on the greatest asset this game has.

The Mets have a boatload of pitching now. But imagine if instead of drafting Nimmo, they'd have chosen Barnes. Then, instead of taking Cecchini, they took McCullers. Add those two pitchers to their already stocked pile of young arms and in 2014, you trade Niese and Gee and receive a total package of players that every outfield position could probably be filled with excellent young outfielders. All while maintaining a young, cheap and potentially dominant rotation filled with high end power arms; while still having a surplus of pitching prospects developing and potentially graduating right when your next rotational pitcher is starting to get expensive.

This offseason has showed us that nothing in this game is more valuable then a proven ML starter. One might say that the price was set last off season when the Reds traded for Mat Latos and gave up 2 top prospects, 1 secondary prospect, and another ML starter in Edison Volquez. That started a trend and set the bar. Shields continued it and RA solidified it. The sky is the limit when trading a proven ML starter. The question is why anyone would draft anything other than high ceiling pitchers when it's their turn to pick?

Michael S. said...

I agree Charles, take a pitcher whenever you can. Even if you're not sure about their long-term prospects they can be valuable in trade when they're just in AA.

I would bet that the Mets would look a lot more attractive as a trade partner if they could build an offer around Barnes, McCullers, and Flores. They'll still have to wait at least a year or more before Nimmo and Cecchini have value.

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