The Mets forfeited what would have been the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft by signing Qualified free agent Michael Cuddyer to a two year, $21M deal. That’s okay with me. We’re currently just a half game out of first and Cuddyer has stabilized the lineup and clubhouse in David Wright’s absence.
Anyway, even after forfeiting their first round selection, the Mets still hold their second and third round picks in the upcoming draft, the 53rd and 88th selection. Remember, the highly-touted Steven Matz was taken 72nd overall back in 2009, so the Cuddyer signing has not eliminated all hope of Sandy grabbing a top talent from this year’s crop of youngsters.
I’m here to shine some light on potential talents that may be available to the Mets in the second and third round. Analyzing the value of players is a difficult and variable task itself. Thus, for the sake of simplicity, I used Baseball America’s top-100 list as a guide for which prospects might be available when the Mets are on the clock. Enjoy!
Baseball America’s #54 Draft Prospect:
RHP Brady Singer, HS (Florida)
It’s no secret that the Mets love pitchers. Brady Singer, at 6-5 180, is a projectable arm who could progress markedly in a pro environment. His fastball typically sits around 91 to 93, but he can touch 96 and his velocity has risen in the past year. He is not maxed out physically, so it reasonable to expect Singer to throw in the mid-90s during his prime. He owns a quick, up-tempo delivery, pitches low in the zone, and, according to Perfect Game Baseball, understands the art of pitching as well.
One problem scouts see with Singer is a 3/4 arm slot which may lend way to injury. I don’t have a particular issue with motion; his relatively low slot gives his fastball movement into right-handers and away from lefties, which, when paired with his increased velocity, could be very dangerous.
Brady also throws a sweeping curve in the low 70s, but scouts think he may be best equipped to remove that pitch and add a slider to his repertoire. The development of his changeup, like many young pitchers, will determine if he can stick in a big league rotation.
Overall, Singer is a good prospect who offers the Mets a projectable, young arm with a solid fastball and good feel for the game. He would be a nice addition to the farm system following the (likely) graduations of top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.
Baseball America’s #57 Draft Prospect:
3B Ke’Bryan Hayes, HS (Texas)
If the Mets decide against a pitcher atop their draft, third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes could be in play at #53. Hayes, is the son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes, who, like Singer, is praised for an advanced feel for the game.
The Texan owns a very polished bat for a high schooler. Ke’Bryan has a simple, high load, which allows him to release a linear swing that produces line drives to all fields. He could be a little more consistent with his hands, but that is why he is not a first round pick.
Another knock of Hayes is that he does not run well and does not have prototypical third-base power. Still, his soft hands, strong arms, high baseball IQ give him a good chance at sticking at third base long-term. Further, Hayes is known as a strong worker, which will only help his development.
At 6-1 207, Hayes does not have much room to fill out, so (at best) he will be a 15-20 HR hitter in the major leagues. More likely, he will hover around .280 with 25-30 doubles and maybe 13-15 homers. That production may not seem like much, but I would certainly take that from a second-round pick. Plus, I think Hayes’ chances of reaching his ceiling are increased due to his compact swing, MLB bloodlines, and strong work ethic. Hayes and Jhoan Urena would be a nice pair of third base prospects ready to succeed David Wright.
Baseball America’s #89 Draft Prospect:
OF Kep Brown, HS (South Carolina)
Kep Brown could have been ticketed for a first round selection had he not tore his achilles two months before the draft. Rehabbing an achilles tear only takes six months though, and I believe the Mets would be lucky to select such a talented outfielder with second pick.
Brown uses his size (6-5 190) to generate a ton of power from the right side of the plate. Unsurprisingly, his swing features a noticeable upper cut. Kep looks very balanced while hitting and does a fantastic job staying behind the baseball. His load is sound, as his hands are strong and dynamic, allowing him to cover the entire plate and put good wood on anything within the strike zone.
Kep gets good extension with his long arms, however, his swing is long. Given his immense talent, though, his flaws seem very manageable. On defense, Brown has a decent arm, runs a 6.84 60 yard dash and likely projects as an average to solid-average left fielder.
At only 18, there is plenty of room for development and all the tools are there. If his injury has affected teams’ boards as much as it has affected that of Baseball America, the Mets should be sprinting to the podium to draft Brown with their second pick. He is one of my favorite hitters in the class (maybe second favorite behind SS Alex Bregman, projected to go in the Top 5), has the tools of a first rounder, and would be a true steal for the Mets.
The achilles injury is noteworthy, but Brown could simply sit out the remainder of the season and begin his professional career rested and healthy the spring. Here’s hoping he makes it to the Mets draft slot!
Baseball America’s #96 Draft Prospect:
RHP Cole McKay, HS (Texas)
Cole McKay is a classic power arm with the build to withstand a 200 inning workload in the major leagues. He stands 6-5 225 and throws a fastball in the 93 to 93 mile per hour range.
His fastball has running and sinking action, making it difficult to hit due to its exceptional velocity and downhill nature. His curveball has 11-5 movement and a sharp bite that allows McKay to utilize the hook as a put-away pitch. His changeup lags behind his fastball and curve, but it could still be a solid pitch at maturity. Perfect Game describes the pitch as having “big fading action”.
McKay also pounds the zone with his all three offerings, revealing a blend of power and finesse that is rarely seen in a high school prospect. There is a lot to like with McKay. Not only should he throw three solid average to plus pitches and control them well, but his big frame also could protect him from serious injuries.
McKay is committed to Louisiana State, but a third round selection and a slightly above-slot bonus should be enough to lure him away from three more years of amateur ball. The Texan has polish, upside, and an ideal build. The Mets would be lucky to add the extremely skilled McKay to their long list of high-potential arms.