MMO Flashback: The Best First Round Picks In Mets History

An article by posted on June 5, 2011

MMO Flashback: Originally Posted on March 29, 2011

Every Major League franchise has had their share of first round busts ever since 1965 when baseball adopted the First-Year Player Draft or the Amateur Draft or the June Draft or the Rule 4 Draft, choose your poison.

The Mets have drafted 57 players in the first round, 24 of which were pitchers and 17 of those were of the right handed variety. If you’re trying to do the math and wonder how they acquired 57 first-rounders in 45 years, the total includes picks that were received as compensation for losing players to free agency like David Wright who was our reward when Mike Hampton decided to seek out a better education for his children in Colorado. Could you imagine Wright in a Rockies uniform?

The Mets first ever draft pick was left-handed pitcher Les Rohr, who they selected with the second overall pick. Rohr’s career lasted just six games after tearing ligaments in his arm during a game against the Astros. That draft wasn’t a total bust however, as the Mets got lucky when they drafted a tall, lanky kid from Alvin, Texas in the 12th round – that’s right – Nolan Ryan.

If you thought they would fare better in the following year’s draft, forget it. The Mets had the number one pick in the country in 1966 and used it to select catcher Steve Chilcott, ahead of second overall pick Reggie Jackson. The Mets gave Chilcott a $75,000 signing bonus and in return he became the first number-one pick ever to retire before reaching the majors. Yankees pitcher Brien Taylor would match this dubious feat 35 years later.

Enough about first round busts, lets talk about some first round success stories. One of those success stories was drafted in 1967, when the Mets would finally redeem themselves after the Les Rohr and Steve Chilcott debacles. he checks in at number three, but here are my top ten Mets first round draft picks including the statistics they compiled during their Mets careers.

Mets Top 10 First-Round Draft Picks

#10 Gregg Jefferies – Drafted in 1985
.274 – 42 HR – 205 RBI

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#9 Jay Payton – Drafted in 1994
.278 – 33 HR – 278 RBI

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# 8 Aaron Heilman - Drafted in 2001
4.24 ERA – 22 W – 33 L – 9 SV

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#7 Wally Backman – Drafted in 1977
.283 – 359 R – 106 SB
1986 World Series Ring

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#6 Lee Mazzilli – Drafted in 1973
.264 – 68 HR – 404 R – 353 RBI – 152 SB
1986 World Series Ring

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# 5 Bobby Jones – Drafted in 1991
4.13 ERA – 74 W – 56 L – 714 K

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# 4 David Wright – Drafted in 2001 
.305 – 169 HR – 664 RBI – 138 SB 

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# 3 Jon Matlack – Drafted in 1967
3.03 ERA – 82 W – 81 L – 1,023 K

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#2 Dwight Gooden – Drafted in 1982
3.10 ERA - 157 W – 85 L – 1,875 K
1986 World Series Ring

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#1 Darryl Strawberry – Drafted in 1980
.263 – 252 HR – 733 RBI – 191 SB
1986 World Series Ring

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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