Day 2 Draft Review: Mets Take Multiple College Arms

Carlos Cortes/Photo courtesy of The State

With picks 3-10 in the draft yesterday, the New York Mets selected eight college players after taking two high school players on day one. Of these eight, they took four right-handed pitchers, one left-handed pitcher, two infielders, and a catcher.

This was a similar approach as last year, when their top ten picks were all college players. Here we will review the picks the Mets made on day two.

3. Carlos Cortes, 2B, University of South Carolina   MMN Report

Date of Birth – 06/30/97

Cortes is small at 5’8″, 185 lbs, but he has a nice left-handed swing with some pop. He is ambidextrous and throws left-handed in the outfield and right-handed in the infield, although he was announced primarily as a second baseman. The Mets drafted him and didn’t sign back in 2016.

He had some contact problems and was streaky at the plate for South Carolina, but he started to add some lift to his compact swing to gain more power in his last season. After a slow start offensively last year, he was able to raise his line to .253/.380/.526 through 194 at-bats, likely raising his stock. For the Mets to pick him in the third round, they must have had a very optimistic belief in his streaky bat.

With Cortes possessing a below-average arm and speed, he’s really going to have to hit to move up the ranks. His best quality is his hit tool, although he has some defensive versatility as well. This was a bit of a risky pick, and is likely an underslot pick to save money for later rounds, but there is plenty of upside in his strong power and on-base skills. Cortes was ranked as the No. 177 draft prospect by Baseball America, and was unranked by MLB Pipeline.

4. Adam Hill, RHP, University of South Carolina   MMN Report

Date of Birth – 03/24/97

Hill is a big righty, standing at 6’6″ and 215 lbs. He has a good fastball with late life on it that usually sits in the low 90s and tops out in the mid-90s. He also has a good slider in the low- to mid-80s and a changeup that is particularly effective against lefties, but he’s had issues with consistency and control of his secondary stuff.

This past season. he posted back-to-back starts with 14 strikeouts, but ended up struggling a bit to bring his numbers to a 4.58 ERA through 11 starts with 79 strikeouts and 35 walks in 57 innings.

Hill has shown flashes of brilliance but he will need to find consistency to be successful. The keys for him will be to improve his control and to keep his velocity up into the later innings. He was ranked 81st by Baseball America and 139th by MLB Pipeline.

5. Ryley Gilliam, RHP, Clemson   MMN Report

Date of Birth – 08/11/96

Gilliam is a bit small at 5’10”, 175 lbs, but generates velocity into the mid-90s with very fast arm speed. As well as the fastball, he relies heavily on his 12-6 curveball which sits in the upper-70s.

He has experience starting, but broke out in 2017 as Clemson’s closer. He carried his success as a closer into 2018, when he posted a dominant 0.79 ERA with 50 strikeouts but a high 19 walks in 34.1 innings. His success stemmed from his electric fastball-curveball combination, mostly ditching his effective changeup that he threw more when he was starting.

He projects as a reliever going forward, and is a good athlete despite his lack of size. Control will be the area in which he most needs to improve. Ranked 207th by Baseball America and 127th by MLB Pipeline, he could very well have a future as an impact reliever. Here’s a video of him pitching from 2017.

6. Nick Meyer, C, Cal Poly   MMN Report

Date of Birth – DOB: 02/18/97

The 6’0″, 175-lb backstop is about standard size for a catcher, and is known for his superb defensive skills. He receives praise in all aspects of catching, said to call his own game and to be an advanced receiver. He is great at framing and blocking pitches as well as guiding and mentoring his pitchers. He also has a very strong arm behind the plate, and can throw out base-stealers as well as pick runners off first base.

His offensive profile is where questions arise. He doesn’t strike out much and has decent on-base skills, but he offers little else offensively and does not have much power. Baseball America says about him, “Meyer’s upside is that of an A.J. Ellis-type, who makes a long career out of his defense and intangibles.”

There’s not a lot of upside offensively, but the defense is so good that if he utilizes his contact and on-base skills just enough, he could progress through the Mets system. He was ranked at No. 186 by Baseball America and No. 167 by MLB.com.

7. Kevin Smith, LHP, Georgia  MMN Report (7 and 8)

Date of Birth – 05/13/97

Smith is tall and big at 6’5″, 233 lbs, but his fastball only sits about 88-92, although it has been reported to reach 94. His out pitch is his sweeping slider to both sides of the plate, which is very effective against left-handed hitters especially. He also has a changeup which is more of a work in progress, but is coming along.

Smith’s future is definitely as a reliever, a role in which he thrived at Georgia Tech. He led Georgia with 76 strikeouts in 59 innings this season. He was unranked by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, but could become an effective reliever with his high spin rate and fastball-slider combo.

8. Tylor Megill, RHP, University of Arizona

Date of Birth – 07/28/95

Megill is another pitcher with a large frame, at 6’7″, 230 lbs. He has a loose arm action from a three-quarters slot, and throws strikes with some late tailing action on his fastball. He is said to sit 91-93 with his fastball with an 82-85 mph slider that has said to be average at best, as well as an 11-5 curveball that has been inconsistent but shown flashes of potential.

Like Smith, he will probably wind up as a reliever, and it will be interesting to see how he utilizes his large frame in the minors. He struck out 38 batters in 32.1 innings this year though he also walked 14. He was ranked 396th by Baseball America, and was unranked by MLB Pipeline.

9. Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP, University of Missouri   MMN Report (9 and 10)

Date of Birth – 04/23/96

At 6’7″, 265 lbs, Montes de Oca is another pitcher with a large frame, but is much more overpowering than the previous two. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can reach 100 with heavy sink on it. He also has a wipeout slider in the upper-80s at its best.

He’s had to battle ulnar nerve transposition surgery, Tommy John surgery, and control issues, but there’s a lot of upside with this pick. He showed flashes of dominance as a starter, but most scouts believe his future is in the bullpen where he will be able to let loose and utilize his 100 mph fastball as well as his strong slider.

Experts believe that he can be a guy that sees the big leagues within two years. The biggest issues for him will be control, and of course, staying healthy. He was ranked 154th by Baseball America and 138th by MLB Pipeline.

Here’s a video of the strong righty pitching for Missouri in 2017.

10. Manny Rodriguez, SS, University of Cincinnati

Date of Birth – 07/04/96

A smallish and slender infielder at 5’10”, 165 lbs, it is believed that he will be able to stick at shortstop due to his good arm and range. There is also some power potential, as his slugging percentage increased by over .200 points between his last two seasons at Cincinnati.

If he keeps this newfound power up, he could become a very good shortstop prospect. He has also pitched, and has a fastball that tops out in the mid-80s with a curveball in the low-70s that he could throw for strikes. Still, his future is definitely as a shortstop, especially if he hits.

On Monday the Mets slected prep outfielder Jarred Kelenic with the sixth overall pick and prep right-handed pitcher Simeon Woods-Richardson in the second round.

Rounds 11-40 will begin at 12 p.m. today on MLB.com and we will have all the coverage on MetsMinors.net for you.

About Mojo Hill 44 Articles
Joseph "Mojo" Hill is 17 years old and lives in Los Angeles, California, where he has been following Mets baseball closely for the past few years. He enjoys going to 51s games and interacting with the players, as well as Mets games, where his most memorable moment was being in the 7-Line Army in San Diego for Bartolo's home run. He also enjoys writing about baseball online, particularly the Mets minor league system and just the Mets in general. When he is not watching or writing about baseball, he is playing tennis for his school's varsity team and playing bass clarinet for his school's marching band. You can follow him on Twitter @mojohill22