The Mack Approach To The Draft


Michael Salfino ‏@MichaelSalfino

The new MLB draft rules are tough to get around. You have to pay penalties and going over 5% over cap costs you a pick. So to be fair, Mets could have drafted Lucas Giolito but probably not Lance McCullers (or a similar talent value) irrespective of finances. But. also to be fair, Mets generally did not go over slot in past, though they did a little with Brandon Nimmo. Mets could have gone over by about $350k with just 75% tax and could have found maybe another $500k elsewhere. But you can’t just not sign a pick and take that $$. Team with first pick has such an advantage because they can go way under and then over later.

Everybody continues to have trouble understanding this new system but, so far, the Mets have made it pretty simple.

They have picked to draft players below the talent level the of the slot and offer them less money than they could have.

The top 8 Met picks were under-slotted, highlighted with Teddy Stankiewicz telling the Mets to go suck an egg.

Pick  Player            Slot                 Actual           Savings
012   Cecchini      $2,550,000    $2,300,000     $250,000
035   Plawecki      $1,467,400    $1,400,000      $67,400
071   Reynolds        $723,600      $525,000     $198,600
075   Stankiewicz     $680,400
107   Koch            $445,400        $425,000      $20,400
140   Kaupe           $323,900      $225,000      $98,900
170   Welch           $242,600      $200,000       $42,600
200   Boyd            $181,700      $150,000       $31,700
230   Oswalt          $146,600      $475,000    ($328,400)
260   Nido            $136,900      $250,000      ($113,100)
290   Rodriguez       $127,900       $10,000     $117,900
320   Sewald          $125,000        $1,000       $124,000
350   Taylor          $100,000      $150,000      ($50,000)
440   Flexen          $100,000      $374,400     ($274,400)

Total:              $7,151,400      $6,285,400       $185,600

It just seemed to me that you are drafting inferior players available to you, trying to save money, so you can offer it later to players that… aren’t around anymore.

What’s wrong with a more aggressive approach here (all players mentioned were available when the Mets picks came up and were well projected to be future starts in this business):

012 – OF Courtney Hawkins -$2.550 -  $2.475    $75,000
                (what he signed for with CWS)
035 – SP Lance McCullers -$1.467mil -  $2.5mil – ($1.023)
071 – OF Anthony Alford - $723.6K - $1.467mil – ($743,4K)
          (what he signed for)
075 – P Teddy Stankiewicz  -  $680,400  -  $680,400  -  0

Okay, I’m around a mil, seven over slot, have drafted four top players, signed them for what they signed with other teams (or, in the case of Stankiewicz, what he was promised by the Mets) and all I have to do is replace the picks of Oswalt, Nido, Taylor, and Flexen and I’ve saved $770K of it.

This is how teams like the Boston Red Sox approach this process. Sign 4-5 great players and fill in the rest with roster players.

I can’t speak for you, but I feel the Mets future would be much better if Hawkins, McCullers, Alford, and Stankiewicz were playing in Savannah this season.


Charles said...

Completely agree.

This next draft is going to be interesting after the Bourn/11th pick saga.

The Closer said...

Don't get me started!! Agreed!

Unknown said...

While I am glad that the two most recent top picks were position players, I have also been perplexed by Sandy's drafting strategies. But as the endgame of Sandy's plan slowly reveals itself, it seems that he decided to go low on the impact prospect drafting so that he could load the system to the gills with second tier prospects, particulary pitchers. I believe he did this knowing that he could aquire the impact prospects that would have less risk (larger sample sizes at higher levels) via trade that turned out being Wheeler, d'Arnaund and Synderguard. Meanwhile the depth of the system is much improved while we have a couple guys ready to storm out of the minor leagues and now we have the ability to draft impact prospects at the top of the draft. I expect to see Sandy be much more agressive in all markets in the coming years but will still stay true to his style(We won't become the dodgers or the Omar mets while Sandy is here regaurdless of how much money is available) and I don't think that is a bad thing.

Mack Ade said...


depth in the system, especially with lower impact players, is vastly overrated.

There are only 25 players on your team, and around 5 key openings every year.

You need to draft aggressively in the early rounds and fill in the rosters in rounds 15+

Unknown said...


I agree with what you said on all three points, and have just recently started following this part of baseball(First draft I did more than check the first round pick on was teh 2011 draft) and certainly defer to your experience and knowledge and have leaned on it in forming personal ideas and analysis. I may have put the emphasis on the wrong points in my post to get my point across. I will try to articulate that a little clearer (hopefully), I would also like to point out that this is not necessarily how I believe you draft to be successful but more trying to analyze why Sandy has drafted in such a fashion.

More of what I was trying to say is not that Sandy was looking for low impact players but that his draft strategy on maximizing quantity of high risk(right now i'm defining high risk as players with a lot of ifs that cause them to fall) players and leaning hard on his scouting to find those late round steals (Josh Edgin would be an example of this), But also more of a focus on the long developing players(Think A level and below pitching stafs from last year) so that the ones that do make it to the majors would make it there in 2014-2018 range when at that time he could be drafting more aggressively and have the two sets of draft classes both maturing at the same time to make the so called "window" as strong as possible. Because of this I could see him drafting a lot of college players this year to further strengthen that area in the minors and trade the prospects that are still good but that we have no room for to improve other aread of the team/system.

Charles said...

Agree Mack.

It makes zero sense to draft low impact prospects in the early rounds.

I'd hate to say Cecchini is a bust cause its too early but there was at least 5 better options available.

Nimmo...I believe will turn out to be a great pick, but at the same time, for a system that was in dire need of impact talent? No, that wasn't the right choice. Barnes, like you said multiple times, would have been better. Again, I like Nimmo, a lot...just for a system that is in good shape, not a system without more then 3 impact talents at the time.

This year, I don't see how they could possibly draft anything other then the best player left on the board.

The Mets have a ton of pitching prospects. Imagine if the did pick Barnes... They could have easily afforded to trade Niese to the Royals for Wil Myers, knowing in one year, they have Wheeler AND Barnes stepping into the rotation. My theory, considering the upsurd price of pitching, is to always pick the best pitcher available. Knowing you can easily trade one good pitcher, for multiple offensive pieces.

Just develop the arms, and you'll be just fine in the future.

Mack Ade said...


It doesn't matter if Nimmo turns out to be a great player... he never should have been drafted that high

(I can't wait to meet him in Savannah... he's a 'friend' on Facebook and probably thinks I hate him)

You don't screw around with a pick in the 1-15 range.

You just don't.

Mack Ade said...


Mack's Mets started covering the minors and draft in 2005 for one reason... to further educate the Mets fans on the process.

You make a lot of sense in what you are saying.

Wouldn't it be amazing if Mark Appel fell to the Mets pick after all the Michael Bourn bullshit.

What would Sandy do then?

Pick some high school kid out of Wyoming?

Charles said...


Like I said, after what happened with Bourn, the Mets must know they'll have mlb's eyes watching just who they pick when it's there turn. MLB has started to make a show of the first round now like the nfl and nba.

You just know, that whoever is commentating, will definately bring up the Bourn issue and say that the Mets better pick a great player. It'll be broadcast for all to see and I couldn't be happier about this. I really can't see how they could possibly pick anyone other then the consensus best player left. If that's Appel, then they'll pick him.

That's the good thing about them publicly grasping onto that pick like its a winning lottery ticket. They've made their 11th overall pick spot lighted and the ny media concerning the Mets and the TV personalities covering the draft live on the MLB network will have a lot to say if they take a player who shouldn't be picked until the end of round one.

So, here's hoping that a great A+ prospect falls to 11, cause the Mets almost forced themselves into having to pick him.

Willis said...

Mack - Your previous post highlights six relievers, four of whom were drafted in 2012. I'd say that reflects well on the Mets draft strategy.

Ross - I agree with all of your points. Really well stated.

Charles - I disagreed with you on this point in an earlier post. I don't get your point about the Mets having to draft a particular player to satisfy the media or Met fans. They have a strategy that needs some tweaking but is absolutely legitimate and, coupled with the Wheeler, d'Arnaud, Syndergaard and Becerra acquisitions, and the international signings, has restocked the system from top to bottom. I think the organization is now in a different place (as Ross pointed out) and can look for more mature talent - and more quality over quantity - but that's only because of what it's accomplished these last two years.

Willis said...

Further, regarding Bourn and the 11th pick: It's not the pick, per se, that the Mets couldn't lose, it's the slot money, the loss of which would have tanked the entire draft strategy. Plus the Mets weren't gonna give Boras the Omar vesting clause that he got from Cleveland. So there is no issue here.

Charles said...

Will, I completely disagree.

To say that their strategy was to pick quantity over quality and that was a good thing is completely insane. Nobody builds a great farm system with secondary prospects and by passing on the best players available.

Okay, before you try to add another rebuke, I'll give you a little factual information...

Sandy has had two drafts to oversee so far...

Two drafts that you said their strategy was good, but needed tweaking...

Well of mlb's top 100 prospects, the Mets had 3 on there. All brought in via trade. So in two drafts, he hasn't produced just one player worthy of being on that list.

Okay, we'll those players he drafted might just need more time to develop before making that list...

Well, id argue that he simply had much better cloices because of those top 100.....35...yes thirty-five were drafted in the last two years. 35 players drafted in the last two drafts are already considered amount the best prospects in the game. And Sandy didn't pick any of them. He is, though, awfully good at getting them from other teams in trades.

That's what you get by passing on 35 quality players and drafting quantity instead. Your statements are ridiculous...

After making their 11th pick untouchable and letting the world know they cared more about it, then the current team, I believe they've forced themselves into a position where they must pick an impact talent; one that won't take four years to even have the POSSIBILTY to crack a top 100 prospect list.

Now, the funny thing is I'm on record stating I didn't want to lose the pick either, but only because I foresaw them putting themselves into a position where they'd have to pick the best player available by their public stance on not losing the pick.

No team drafts quantity over quality. Some, like the Mets the past two years, try to get bang for their buck by picking raw youngsters who they hoped would be quality players after four or five years. Other teams say damn the slot and pick the best available.

Willis said...

It's just too early to tell whether the Mets drafted well these past two years. It's foolish to make a conclusion based on a current (subjective) top 100 list.

It's absurd to think that the Mets will deviate from their draft strategy based on anything other than what they think is best for the health of the organization.

Unknown said...


when you say that 35 out of the top 100 prospects are on the list within two years it would seem that you would want to take the younger players that must be developed as there are 65 of them on that list and that is almost double that of those drafted within the past two years. Am I missing some part of this argument? And out of curiosity what percentage of those 35 were available when the Mets drafted?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles said...

Very good point Ross. You're right, obviously they all couldn't be available when the mets choose.

My point though, was that there certainly was without any doubt better, safer choices available for the mets to take. No doubt about it. There was better players available and yet they didn't choose them.

So, do you really think that they didn't know there was better players. At the time, you could have watched the TV screen showing the best players still available and visually see that the mets reached back to make their two first round picks. Shit, they reach back about twenty picks for Nimmo.

My point is that their strategy, wether it was quantity over quality like Will said or simply trying to save money, won't work this time because of the self impose value you placed on that pick.

They publicly placed that 11th pick as too valuable to give up in trying to make the 2013 team better. And honestly, for Bourn and his asking price, I thought they were correct. But lets not act as if come draft day 2013, if they reach back and yet again pick another player who all the experts have in the 20-30 pick range, that they aren't going to hear the screams of fans and media wondering why the hell they put up such a bitch about the pick.

That was my point, that this time, there can't be a head scratcher for a pick. It damn well should be the best player available or a player damn close to that. As for the other 65 top prospects from that list, a lot are international signees or players drafted before 2011.

Good point Ross, but Sandy has had much better options.

Willis said...

Charles - Reasonable people can disagree on draft strategies. But please show me how Nimmo and Cecchini were generally considered top 20-30 players. As I recall they were both drafted right around where they were supposed to go. And Cecchini projects to play a premium position in the show. He's not a sexy pick but he's certainly valuable.

The Mets' strategy these past two years has been to spread the pool money over more players so they can get more young upside players in the later rounds. This doesn't just mean 'quantity' over 'quality' - it means finding more quality throughout the draft. Having the 11th pick pool money is critical to this strategy. It's about amassing high schoolers with upside. It'll be years before a guy like Chris Flexen gets national attention, but so what? He's a young power pitcher with limitless upside. A real asset. And the Mets are in a position where they can afford to wait for the upside to materialize. The Mets' farm system, employing this strategy, is suddenly loaded with exciting talent, especially at the lower levels - and you say I'm "insane" for favoring the strategy that helped to get it done?

Linking the failure to sign Bourn with this upcoming draft makes no sense to me at all. How many fans would even make the connection between Bourn and the pick? And even if they made the connection, it wouldn't matter to Sandy. As an example, everybody wants the Mets to go into 2013 with a better outfield, but because the right deal didn't come along we are going with a AAAA outfield. Sandy was obviously not swayed to deviate from his concepts of team building and value. So you think he'll do something splashy in the draft to appease the fan base? It's inconceivable to me.

Further, as I said above, it's not about the pick its about the draft pool money associated with the pick. It's not Cecchini, it's Cecchini and a small piece of Flexen or Nido.

As an aside, the effort to make these comments on my cel phone is incredible. Mack, I hope you appreciate it :)

Charles said...

Nimmo was a back of the first round prospect. Actually, 31 if memory serves. Cechinni, you're probably right with him. He was in their range, but definately behind three much better prospects they didn't choose.

Courtney Hawkings, Lance McCullers, and Lucas Giolito.

Bleacher Report had Nimmo going 31 by the Rays in 2011.

Keith Law had Cechinni going at 17 to the BlueJays.

The mets reach a ways back for Nimmo, who to me, is by far the better pick. I'll give them a pass with Cecchinni because they picked 12th and 17 is close enough to actually have Cecchinni at 12 on their board.

I find it hard to believe they had Cecchinni ahead of the three guys I mentioned.

Listen, I really don't see what your argument is...

You think they picked the best available? Because that's completely wrong.

You think they wanted quantity over quality? Again, impact talent helps systems, not low ceiling players.

You think making a big, no gigantic, deal about keeping the 11th pick won't cause them to make a much wiser choice this year? Well, then lets agree to disagree.

I think they were pinching some pennies in at least the 2012 draft. That's why they left better talent on the board AND didn't sign perhaps their best pick...Teddy S.

Hopefully with the money troubles behind them, this year they won't leave the best player available on the board.

Listen, the consensus top ten Talent in the first round are arguably the best and safest picks. Mack will tell you that inevitably, one of them will be available at 11. I just want the Mets to pick that guy and not a safe under slot player who'll take 5/6 years to develop. I'm banking on them finally being ready and able financially to do that.

Alright, Will, I'm done.

Charles said...

Will, I too, am using my cellphone...

It sucks.

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