Mets Showing a Change in Philosphy for the Better

Mets fans can take a deep breathe and relax. Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta, and crew did not screw up this first round like one would think from reading the Mets blogosphere following the selection.

I’ll start this off by saying people need to realize the Baseball America player rankings are not the be-all and end-all. Just because BA has a player ranked in the 20’s, 30’s, or so on does not mean that every team has the player the same on their draft boards. When you are dealing with a draft that will see over 1,500 players drafted to have someone ranked 10-20 spots apart is not a big deal. Everyone’s opinion is different on these players. Therefore a player ranked 37th is not really an overdraft if he is selected at No. 13. One also has to remember that when your next pick is 31 spots away a player you are really high on will likely be gone by the time that pick comes up.

This is all obviously being applied to the Mets 2011 1st round selection of Brandon Nimmo. There seems to be a lot of clamoring by Mets’ fans that the Mets screwed up by over drafting when they took the high school outfielder out of Wyoming and I am just not buying it.

A quick example of how different opinions can vary even when dealing with the industry experts is while BA had Nimmo ranked as the 37th best prospect John Sickels had Nimmo as the 17th best prospect in the draft and had this to say about Nimmo:

The Mets are wise to invest in him: he’s got an exceptional set of skills and tools.

A 6-2, 185 pound left-handed hitter, Nimmo is a one of the best athletes in the draft and features both above-average speed and power. Most surprisingly, he demonstrates excellent strike zone judgment and offensive polish, all the more remarkable given that his state lacks high school baseball. He does have experience in Legion ball and showcase events, and Nimmo has less risk than you might expect given his background.

Nimmo also offers excellent makeup, and this looks like a very fine pick for the Mets. – Baseball Nation

Cold weather players also always tend to get overlooked in general so BA having him at 37th is an accomplishment in itself. You don’t need to go far back to see an example of this, with Mike Trout going No. 25th overall in 2009 and turning into a top two prospect in baseball in less than two years.

Photo by Garrett Craig

There is a few things that need to be set straight regarding Nimmo: (1) He is not a cheap, signability pick. Part of the reason he wasn’t projected as high on mock drafts was that he was asking for a $2.5-$3 million dollar signing bonus to be bought out of his commitment to Arkansas and teams were scared off by this. (2) While the Mets have been criticized for taking safe low ceiling/high floor players in the past Nimmo has arguably the third highest ceiling of any high school player, just behind the No. 5 pick Bubba Starling and Josh Bell who hasn’t been picked because he wrote a letter MLB teams saying not to draft him because he is going to go to Texas and his family seems adamant about following through with that promise (His mother teaches at the U. of Texas and wants her son to get an education). (3) This isn’t an out of the blue, reach pick as the Mets have been hot on Nimmo for a while. Baseball America even projected the Mets to draft him at No. 13 in their May mock draft, but the signability concerns moved him away from a Mets team that usually went cheap in the draft. (4) The knee injury is being somewhat overblown. He tore his ACL playing football TWO YEARS ago, had surgery to repair it, and while he experienced some tendinitis it has not really affected his performance on the field or his speed.

With the rumors between the Mets and Nimmo going all the way back to May and this quote,

“McDonald said the team more or less watched every game Nimmo took part in this past season. “We scouted him,” he said. “We scouted him good,” using 8 to 10 different scouts over the process.” – Metsblog

it is obvious the Mets did their Due diligence on him and really liked what they saw. This is not Omar Minaya and his scouting team anymore. It is a completely new scouting team that has shown from past draft experience they are first-rate. There was every reason for this scouting staff to believe a team like the Red Sox who is not afraid of bonus demands would have taken Nimmo with one of their two picks and the Mets would have missed out on Nimmo all together so they had to take him while he was still available.

There are question marks with every player selected in the draft, including No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole, so sure fans can find things to nitpick about, but the Mets did nothing wrong by taking the highest player on their board that also has some of the best potential in the draft. If the Mets aren’t being criticized for drafting college players without a lot of potential they are being criticized for taking high school that is too much of a risk. There is no pleasing the crowd.

For those who doubted the Mets would go overslot, the Mets didn’t stop at Nimmo and they took another high ceiling player with signability concerns (an Arkansas commit like Nimmo) in Michael Fulmer in the 1st round supplement round.

Fans need to be happy that the Mets are taking chances on players like Nimmo and Fulmer who they believe they will be able to develop properly and turn into top prospects and eventually star Major League players. Take a look at the current roster and see what taking all safe, low ceiling players will get you and it should be obvious why it is necessary to take some players with Nimmo’s upside. While the Mets could look foolish for making this pick in a few years they could very easily look like geniuses and it is a risk that is definitely worth the reward. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Brian Littrell

P.S. If you haven’t seen this kid play go watch some video of him on Youtube and you will instantly see how easy it could have been for the Mets to fall in love with him.