Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Art of The Amateur Draft

Of course, only time will tell if Mike Pelfrey was really the best pitcher available in the draft and a future star. And despite Philip Humber's poor start at St. Lucie, he may be a solid major leaguer someday. Lastings Milledge can still be a good one, can't tell yet. But even if all 3 become stars and Aaron Heilman builds on his solid start this year to become a #2 or #3 starter, the Mets still have an abominably bad history of first round amateur draft picks.

Really, in 40 years, only ONCE did the Mets choose a player in the first round who became better than consensus pre-draft scouting reports would have indicated. That was Dwight Gooden. Sure, Strawberry was a real good one, too, but he was clearly the best prospect in the draft and any other selection would have been a reach. (I've read that the Mets considered Darnell Coles and Billy Beane, who they got later and became another "loser" pick). Hubie Brooks and Preston Wilson were other positive picks.

But, look at the other names : Steve Chilcott, Les Rohr, Rich Puig, Tom Thurberg, Ryan Jaroncyk, Butch Benton, Rich Bengston, Al Shirley, Kirk Presley and on and on. Scouts are often considered underappreciated and underpaid, but frankly, you could make better choices for the cost of a subscription to Baseball America, where they rate the top players overall, by position and by region. Just take the next name on the list and you'd have to fare better than the Mets have. Of course, there was no Baseball America back in the '60's and '70's to help.

St. John's closer Craig Hansen has drawn rave reviews from scouts who say he could pitch in the majors sight now, yet he lasts until the world champion Red Sox' first round pick. How many players picked before him will never make it out of AA ?

By getting the best starting pitching prospect available and another Boras client, the Mets are one team that can fairly say they made a reasonable choice in bypassing Hansen.


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