Friday, September 02, 2005

The First Amateur Draft - Part 2

Although first-round pick Les Rohr was a bust, the Mets did very well overall in the 1965 Amateur Draft. In retrospect, it was one of the best drafts in their history. Unfortunately, they didn't get to reap the full benefits of their haul since they traded away their best pick, Nolan Ryan, in what, of course, was one of the major trade blunders in baseball history.

Their second round pick, a catcher named Randolph Kohn never signed. I'm not sure if he played pro ball at any time. I'd like to think that maybe he really was better than Johnny Bench who got drafted several picks later, but just maybe he had better things to do than play baseball. If anyone knows anything about him, please pass it on. Other than the memory of seeing his name in The Sporting News as the #2 Mets pick, I don't remember ever hearing another word about him.

Third-round pick Joe Moock was a fairly-well hyped infield prospect who peaked at about AA. I do recall him appearing in the Mets' broadcast booth right after he signed (Kiner pronounced his name to rhyme with spook, while Murphy pronounced it to rhyme with book) and I think he had a very solid year in the NYP League, but I don't know where it fell apart for him.

Some of the notable picks included Ken Boswell in the 4th round, who became more or less the regular second baseman for several years. He was a good lefthanded hitter, considered a better bat than glove, and had to be considered a good pick for the 4th round.

Jim McAndrew was chosen in the 11th round and was an effective 4th or 5th starter for the Mets for several years, one of those guys who did much better statistically in the big leagues than his projection. Another good pick.

Nolan Ryan in the 12th round was a gem, of course. Scout Red Murff loved this skinny righty out of Alvin, Texas and Ryan became an immediate strikeout sensation in the Mets' system, averaging about 2 K's an inning from Rookie Ball to AAA, before the Mets brought him up. Ryan's future numbers could, of course, fill a book, or several books, as they already have, so I won't go into them here. Suffice it to say, this was a great pick and subsequently a great loss.

Steve Renko in the 24th round was an important part of the Donn Clendenon trade and did quite well for himself as a starter with the Expos after going over there. Nice selection.

Don Shaw was the 35th round choice. He was a favorite of M. Donald Grant for reasons I've never figured out, but I do recall reading that Grant was opposed to trading him in several proposed deals. Shaw eventually went to the Expos in the 1969 Expansion Draft. He was a decent lefty specialist for a little while. Of course, any 35th round pick that even makes it to the big leagues has to be considered a plus.

Other picks who surfaced briefly in the major leaguers included Joe Campbell in the 44th round (0 for 3 with the Cubs in his major league career) and Barry Raziano in the 47th round (1-2 in a brief career in the American League).

So, overall, the Mets got one future Hall Of Famer (Ryan), 3 Major League Regulars (Boswell, McAndrew, and Renko), one player who enjoyed brief major league success (Shaw) and 2 who got a cup of coffee. A great haul ? Maybe not, but certainly better than a lot of future Mets' drafts. And any draft in which you select even one future Hall Of Famer (how many other Mets draft picks can make that claim ?) has to be considered positive.


Blogger Mike said...

mcoI really enjoy this blog. I was born in '61, so I was just becoming aware of sports and the Mets when they won in '69. I heard about some of these players from my parents and through my own research, but you're bringing them to life. Got anything on Al Jackson? Do you plan to discuss the Singleton/Jorgensen for Staub trade?

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