Last week in the MMO Lets Talk Mets chat room, myself and Met Maniac were discussing the recent amatuer draft and how we were both disappointed that the Mets bypassed the opportunity to select slugging High School OF Courtney Hawkins or High School sensation RHP Lucas Giolito with the number 12 pick.
With Alberto Almora and David Dahl already off the board, two of the four players I had on my wish list, the other two Lucas Giolito and Courtney Hawkins were there for the taking. When Gavin Cecchini’s name was called both Maniac and myself were stunned that the Mets did not take either Giolito or Hawkins.
The White Sox who scoffed up Hawkins with the next pick were said to be in shock that Hawkins wasn’t selected by the Mets. After all, we’ve all read for months leading up to the draft that the Mets loved Hawkins’ power potential, as well as David Dahl’s power and speed combination. That’s not to say the Mets made a bad pick. Cecchini’s name had also been linked to the Mets, but that was more in the last week or so before the draft and because nobody thought either Hawkins or Giolito would still be around for pick number twelve. Cecchini could very well turn out to be a great player. I just thought with our farm system being so light on potential impact bats, we couldn’t afford to pass on a kid with Courtney Hawkins’ potential and that he could be the impact offensive player that this franchise really needed.
I mentioned to Met Maniac that by the Mets passing on Hawkins they may have given the White Sox a future cornerstone player for the second time in three drafts. Back in 2010, there were a bunch of Mock drafts that had Chris Sale going to the Mets with the 7th pick. Chris Sale, Zack Cox and Deck McGuire were the three prospects that had been linked to the Mets but out of those three, Sale was clearly the most coveted of the three and at the top of most of the Mock drafts leading up to Draft Day.
When draft day came and the 7th pick was announced, UNC RHP Matt Harvey was taken. I wasn’t all that disappointed with the pick in the same way I was when Cecchini was picked, but I was totally shocked. I had not seen one mock draft with Harvey’s name going in the top 10. Harvey was said to be a lock to go between 10-20. The only thing that concerned me about Harvey was that he wasn’t very good in his Junior year, but the upside was there.
I like Harvey, I think he’s going to be a good pitcher for us for years to come and to be fair five other teams bypassed Chris Sale until he was taken by none other than the Chicago White Sox. Scouts said that Sale was the only pitcher in the 2010 draft to be MLB ready and right they were. Two months after Sale was taken by Chicago, he was called up and immediately paid dividends. Sale did not allow a run in 14 of his first 15 appearances out of the pen.
In 2010, Sale finished with a 2-1 record, 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP in 21 appearances. Over 23.1 innings pitched he allowed 15 hits, 5 runs all earned, 10 walks and 32 strikeouts, and had 4 saves.
In 2011 Sale posted a 2-2 record with a 2.79 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while appearing in 58 games and tossing 71 innings and letting up 52 hits, 22 runs, 27 walks and 79 strikeouts, while saving eight games.
The White Sox decided it was time for Sale to go into the rotation to start the 2012 season and and he’s been nothing short of remarkable. He has dominated the A.L. going 8-2 with a 2.05 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, and in 12 games (11 starts) he hat thrown 74 innings while allowing just 51 hits, 17 runs, 18 walks and a whopping 76 strikeouts.
While Chris Sale thrives in the majors and is in his third MLB season, Matt Harvey is working his way up through the system and now pitching well in AAA, but still not quite ready for the big leagues according to his manager Wally Backman who has been under his watchful eye for the last two years.
This is not a knock on Matt Harvey or a second guess. The Mets made a solid pick. The other names linked to the Mets, Zack Cox and Deck McGuire are both struggling big time in the minors. Cox is scuffling at 205 at AAA after hitting 335 in A ball and 293 in AA the previous 2 years. McGuire is currently getting hammered to a tune of a 6.75 ERA at AA. In my opinion Harvey is a much better prospect than either of those two and Harvey is getting closer and closer to the big leagues.
The question I have is. Did the Mets make a mistake at the benefit of the White Sox twice in three years? By passing on Sale in 2010 and Hawkins in 2012 did the Mets give the White Sox “a gift” and the real possibility of two cornerstone players for the future? Although it’s too soon to say that about Courtney Hawkins, that could very well be the case. Time will tell.