While the Mets own the No. 6 pick in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, it’s nearly impossible to predict how the annual event will shake out. We previewed the draft (with rules and procedures) in more detail earlier in the month, but this article will take a closer look at the players the Mets should have their eyes on.
The following list is comprised of players who could adequately fill roles that need filling. That isn’t to say the Mets shouldn’t be in on some of the larger free agent names, but some surprising value can be found in the Rule 5 Draft.
OF Victor Reyes, ARI
Reyes is one of my favorite players available this year because he satisfies all the criteria that general managers are looking for in position players. The 23-year-old gets on base, runs well and plays sound defense, all of which make him an attractive selection.
Reyes played the entire 2017 season in Double-A and posted a .298/.347/.379 line with 29 doubles, 18 stolen bases and a 16.7 strikeout rate, which is in line with his career average. In addition, Reyes has at least 600 innings logged at each outfield position throughout his career. The Mets are undoubtedly lacking in major league-ready outfield depth, and with the abilities of Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo in doubt, it could not hurt to bring in an extra body.
RHP Anyelo Gomez, NYY
The Mets need bullpen depth, and it appears that a few of their free agent targets have decided to take their talents elsewhere. With that being said, the Mets must look at every possible option, which includes those available in the Rule 5 Draft. One of these power arms is Gomez, who posted a 1.92 ERA and 4.14 K/BB in 70 innings across four levels in the Yankees’ system in 2017.
The slender right-hander touches 100 mph with his fastball and owns potentially two big league secondary pitches in his slider and change-up. Gomez will be taken in the draft, and the Mets may have to pull the trigger. After the Giancarlo Stanton trade, Sandy Anderson has to get back at the Yankees somehow.
OF Andrew Pullin, PHI
Pullin began the 2016 season on the voluntarily retired list, but he returned in May and has mashed ever since. Over the past two seasons, Pullin has hit .292 with 34 home runs and 64 doubles. The 24-year-old was eligible for selection last year and remained with the Phillies, but it’s unlikely the same happens on Thursday.
Scouts are confident his bat will play at the major league level, and while Pullin’s outfield profile is limited to the corners, he has 179 games of minor league experience at second base.
LHP Nestor Cortes, NYY
One downside of having a strong farm system is that players who would normally be protected from the draft in a weaker system are left up for grabs. The Yankees have run into that exact problem, as they have a slew of minor league relievers that could get poached (Cale Coshow and J.P. Feyereisen in addition to Gomez are the notable ones).
Cortes, 23, had a fantastic season in 2017, using deception rather than power to record a 1.80 WHIP and 105 strikeouts between Double-A and Triple-A.
RHP Nick Burdi, MIN
Burdi, a former second round pick, had Tommy John surgery last May, but the good news is that he recently began throwing again, and the rules stipulate that a team may place a Rule 5 selection on the disabled list (Burdi would need to be on the active roster for at least 90 days, or else the restrictions against optioning a Rule 5 player carry over to 2019).
Burdi, 24, was up to 100 mph before his surgery, and he had racked up 20 strikeouts as opposed to four walks in 17 Double-A innings. Armed with a devastating slider and an affinity for strikeouts, Burdi will be selected.
LHP Sam Selman, KC
The former Vanderbilt Commodore was the Royals’ second-round selection in 2012, and he enjoyed a breakout season five years later. A former starter, Selman limited opponents to a .150 average, while striking out a fantastic 97 batters in 67.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
The 27-year-old sits in the low 90s, and adds a solid slider to the mix. Regardless of what team it’s for, Selman will see the major leagues in 2018, or else he’ll simply walk away as a minor league free agent.
Other Names to Consider