Tom Brennan - Why It is Wise to Focus on Drafting Power Arms and Power Bats

Where would we be without power?

In Case You Missed It, the Mets DIDN'T Draft Albert Pujols in 1999!

I believe it was due to scattered focus. Let me digress:

It is almost draft time again, folks.

So where am I going with this article, specifically targeted for Brodey and the Wilpons, in case you don't read to the end?  



Let me explain why, again, for the umpteenth time.

Mike Lupica recently did an article on his selection of player of the century, which is a fine enough topic since we are 20 years into it now.  A mighty long way from Y2K.

His choice? Albert Pujols.

No argument there.  

Pujols has been among the all time greats, and his first 10 seasons reminded you of the stats that Ruth, Gehrig and the like put up.  Don't believe me, though - look those years up.

Pujols was drafted in the 13th round by the St Louis Cardinals.  

Meanwhile, the Mets had just experienced superior first base play for 3 seasons by John Olerud, so thinking to try to draft another future superior 1B should have been a top priority.

Who did the Mets draft in their first 13 rounds?  Mostly names that are not household names even in their own households.

Well, they did well with their 4th round pick (136th overall), Angel Pagan.  Not a great 4th round pick, but a very good one.

The rest?  Awful, overall.

73rd overall pick?  Neal Musser. 0-1 MLB record, with a 1.83 WHIP.  Averaged about 7 Ks per 9 in the minors.

84th pick? Jake Joseph. Never made the majors, and had just 368 minor league Ks in 631 innings.

106th pick?  Jeremy Griffiths, who was 1-4, 7.35 in the big leagues.  Like Musser, a 1.83 WHIP, and well short of a K per inning in the minors.

166th pick? Nicholas James.  Well, he did have one minor league inning.

196th pick?  Tyler Parker.  The catcher skipped the Mets, signed with the Cards in 2002 and never made the majors.

226th pick? 6'4" 1B/OF Rodney Nye.  Well, there was size there, but he was just a .275/.355/.409 minor leaguer who never reached the bigs.  Some power, so I can't argue with the pick.

Forrest Lawson (no relation to Forrest Gump) was the Mets' 8th rounder, had 9 HRs in 1,229 ABs and didn't clear A ball.  Didn't pass the "Draft Power" test.

9th rounder Wayne Lydon didn't make it, but while he lacked a power bat, he had power speed.  His problem was only having a .333 OBP and .342 slug %.  But he stole as many as 87 bases, so for a 9th round pick, I think it was a fine pick that didn't work out.  Speed without OBP and power is not a winning formula, though.

10th rounder Prentice Redman was a decent pick, although his major league career was just 3 hits in 24 ABs.  His minor league numbers were pretty solid: .279/.353/.448.  For a 10th rounder, a decent enough pick that didn't work out.

11th rounder Joseph Cole was a big pitcher who wasn't very good, ending up with just 455 Ks in 570 innings and a 4.37 ERA.  OK pick, I guess, trying to grab a big guy in round 10.

12th rounder Paul Viole was no Frank Viola, with the diminutive Viole having a short, mediocre minor league career.  BAD pick with Big Albert still on the board, no way around it, even if Pujols had proven to be a bust.

Lastly, in the 13th round and with the 406th pick, the Mets tabbed Robert McIntyre, a small shortstop with small minor league production.

By the time McIntyre was selected, Pujols was drafted by St Louis 4 picks earlier, at #402 overall.  

Somehow, I doubt the Mets would have picked Pujols anyway.

The big, strong Pujols had an excellent 2000 minor league season.  In his second season, in the major leagues, he drove in 130 runs and won Rookie of the year.

Similar in size to current Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who's worked out pretty well so far.

Some may say, well, other teams passed on Pujols too.

But, if the Mets had drafted with POWER as a priority, they would not have missed on Pujols.

The Mets did draft power in the 38th round, and that worked out pretty well - MIKE JACOBS.

But overall, even with a late round hit like Jacobs, it was a terrible Mets draft.  

Had the Mets had a keen focus on acquiring power bats, they would no doubt have picked ALBERT PUJOLS and it would have been a GREAT Mets Draft.

Hitting-wise, how many non-power productive players are on the Mets team that they actually drafted?  

I count just two - Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo.  And Jeff was a surprise to almost everyone, and Nimmo was expected to grow into some power, which he has.




Mack Ade said...


Two great players make a good draft.

Three make for a remarkable one.

Hobie said...

Draft players will be considered superstars in 10 years. It's evidently easy--those crafty Cardinals could wait to the 13th round for Pujols, Dodgers for Piazza, etc.

Tom Brennan said...

Hobie, I can't imagine how any teams waited until the 13th round for Pujols...but if you avoid picking mediocre skill players and pick high end power and velocity instead, as a rule, maybe yours is the team that beats everyone to Pujols.

The Mets made some very mediocre picks in their first 13 rounds, if you ask me, in regards to power arms and power bats.

Anonymous said...

hey guys;
With the Mets they are a team known for pitching.
If they could get one og the top HS OFs in the 1st round sure go for it.Or if they can get Sabata in the 2nd round go for it/
Personally I want 2 MORE ARMS
Kelley Abel Blitsko Cavalli or Crochet in the 1st round please
2ND ROUND Justin Lange.
I like drafting pitchers and Internationally sign SS OFs and the odd Catcher.

Mack Ade said...


This is a big time arm draft... Lefties first.

John From Albany said...

Per Tracy Ringoslby, Baseball America: "The Mets indicated an interest in drafting him in the ninth round, but his agent scared them off...He received a $30,000 bonus and $30,000 for college, which was the stumbling block initially."


Tom Brennan said...

Pennies wise, pounds foolish, John.

bill metsiac said...

To me, unless a team has had a GM for 15+ years, drawing a conclusion based on a "pattern" is meaningless.

An owner has no business going anywhere near the draft selection process, even if his name is Steinbrenner. A GM is hired for a reason, and player procurement is his job.

Of course, he doesn't have the time (or ability) to go out and scout talent. Joe McIlvane loved doing that, to the detriment of his other responsibilities, but it's really up to the scouts to do that, though the GM can point them in certain directions.

I've lost count of the total number of GMs that the Mets have had, but I can't imagine that they all shared the same philosophy.

Adding up all the Mets' top picks for the last year and finding patterns is a futile exercise. Each GM looked for different qualities, and they each developed different types of teams.

We like some, hated others, and were lukewarm on most, but they were the products of different men.

Tom Brennan said...

Bill, I understand your point. I will stick with "Draft power arms, power bats". The rest (and there are so many over the years that for the Mets fall into the rest) rarely are more than an Eric Campbell or Danny Muno non-contributing contributor. At least in the first 10 rounds - and Pujols, based on my approach, would have been a Met in those first 10 rounds.

Use that same philosophy and we never draft Gavin Cecchini.

I'd really like my only draft busts in higher rounds be due to injury, like a Reese Havens.

I still remember diminutive Branden Kaupe, who was drafted in round 4 in 2012 ago and recorded 4 doubles and no homers in 597 plate appearances. Let that one register. I am in my 60s and wonder if I could do 3 doubles in 600 PAs. What a bust pick that was. He certainly did not have power.

In 2014 in the 5th round, the Phils took Rhys Hoskins, a very solid major leaguer with considerable power. The Mets drafted low power Milton Ramos in round 2, middling velocity Josh Prevost (183 minor league Ks in 259 IP) in round 4, and low production Tyler Moore (4 homers in 729 ABs, .204) in round 5. All had questionable skill sets based on today's major leaguers' profiles. We drafted LJ Mazzilli in the 4th round for some inane reason, great name but a ceiling coming in below Cecchini and Muno.

I am again not trying to trash any of these players, but they would not have passed my stress test. None of them get picked in my first 10 rounds except Cecchini, and him, I would only have drafted round 3 or later.

Get your middle infielders an occasional OF and pitcher from international and roll from there.

Lastly, I would say that I would not eschew power speed like a Vince Coleman - but without a real discernible on base % skill, that player normally does not get far in this day and age.

bill metsiac said...

You missed my point. I don't disagree with your plan, but I do disagree with lumping multiple drafts made by multiple GMs into a "Mets pattern".

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