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Monday, May 09, 2005

Early thoughts on the draft



back from 4 days in vegas. i'll have to catch up on the boxscores to see what i missed with the mets. all i know is cammy returned with a hot bat, mikey's had a couple sweet games to pretty up the stats a bit more, and tommy "the stopper" glavine brought all the momentum to a screeching halt again.

the amateur baseball draft is a month away. the mets'll be selecting #9 in the first round. they lost their 2nd & 3rd round picks to free agent compensation, so i'm looking for them to make an "impact" fast-track college selection that'll fill a team need in the next year or two.

i'm thinking stephen drew will be definitely be back in the draft. seems arizona will not budge from their final $7.5M offer which has been out there for awhile, and boras wants MORE MORE MORE. the dbacks also have the #1 overall pick and unless they pull a matt bush like the pads did last year, they'll have to sign consensus #1 justin upton to a monster deal and they just don't have this kind of money to spend. the thing is, upton is a shortstop like drew and a few years behind. why pay the same kind of money to a less sure thing like upton? it's a crazy, back to the wall dilemma for arizona and shows again that teams can be "punished" with top picks if they don't have the ability to trade them.

arte moreno has been spending since he bought the orange county angels of anaheim in the near proximity of los angeles, so it's been strange that he would agree to pick jered weaver and not meet his price. again, boras wants MORE MORE MORE, but because it's arte moreno, i'm leaning 50.1/49.9 that weaver is signed by the may 31st deadline.

boras is "advising" a lot more top rated draftees this year than last year. it's amazing that these kids still flock to him like flies on poop. the lure of money talks, even to the detriment to their careers. starting pitchers mike pelfrey, luke hochevar, mark mccormick, jason neighborgall, shortstop tyler greene, and this st john's kid, craig hansen are all with boras. add drew and weaver to the mix and this year's first rounds can be seriously screwed up as teams start going off the board early and often.

there's definitely a "search for southpaws" happening. the one lefty on the early draft board is ricky romero from cal st fullerton. he's flying up with a bullet because he's the ONLY power lefty teams have been keying on awhile. i'm sure the mets have been looking at him too. high school lefty mark pawelek (ba.com) throws mid-90s and is slotted as a mid-first rounder. i'm thinking if the boras effect hits, both could easily go in the top 10. cesar ramos - ex-long beach teammate of jered weaver, has never been projected as a first round pick, but he could easily be there. ryan mullins from vanderbilt hasn't had a great junior year and he's even picked up a DUI arrest and team suspension, but he too may find interest in the early rounds.

one guy i still like as much as last year is wade townsend, assuming he's been staying in playing shape the past year. he's a very possible elite closer kind of guy with the stuff and bulldog attitude. still, i'd keep him as a starter initially and make him prove that's not his strongest suit first. reuniting townsend and humber for the full summer at binghamton would be great.

drew would be a good signing too. it's a very unpopular belief, but i'm on the record as saying i'd love to see a drew-keppinger middle infield-top of the lineup in 2006. those are two college trained fundamentally sound hitters. if jose reyes can stay healthy the entire season and start filling out the stat sheets better, he can recoup his young stud trade value again and be the centerpiece in a deal to fill a key major league need elsewhere. alternatively, drew can probably be easily converted to a 2B without a delay in his fast-tracking, and a drew-reyes middle infield wouldn't be too shabby either.

catcher jeff clement out of usc will probably not drop to the mets. not much available as far as college power hitting outfielders or power hitters period, especially at the #9 slot where the mets will probably miss out on a clement or alex gordon from nebraska. seems every top college hitter that'll be there at #9 is a corner infielder which already is a logjam situation for the mets system. an exception is jeremy sladen from g tech who's a stud hitting RFer. he might be a top 10 pick, but he's got injury worries. he's coming off shoulder surgery and his arm rates very low. additionally, the mets should not, cannot and will not look lower on the board and take a flier on somebody like john mayberry, jr or stephen head and try to convert them to an OFer.

that's it for now. more draft crap to come in the future.





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