Yesterday, over at Fangraphs, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel released their first look ahead at high schoolers and college juniors and seniors that will be eligible for this year’s MLB Amateur Draft, which takes places every year in early June. Every year, it’s fun to get pumped up for who the Mets might take with their first round pick. But this year, the Mets will pick higher in the draft, at six overall, than they have since nabbing Philip Humber with the 3rd overall pick in 2005. Here are a few interesting names that show up on the Fangraphs’ list, that could be options for the Mets at pick 6. Keep in mind, an entire amateur season will be played by these young men between now and the draft, and as more data is accumulated, injuries may occur, and players show development, things can change significantly for some of these names.
Shane McClanahan LHP
The Mets actually made this pick in the 26th round of the 2015 draft when McClanahan was draft eligible out of high school. McClanahan chose to attend the University of South Floria and put off his MLB career. Since, McClanahan has undergone Tommy John surgery, and come back throwing harder than ever. Featuring a fastball in the mid 90’s, and a plus slider and changeup, McClanahan is projected to go in the top 10 picks if the draft were held today. The Mets are clearly familiar with McClanahan, who would join Thomas Szapucki as a high upside power lefty. Like Szapucki, the questions would only be durability ( TJS survivor ) and command. The raw stuff is tantalizing.
Nick Madrigal 2B
In a draft class that is said to be rich in prep arms, I’m intrigued by another collegiate name at the top. Madrigal is a 5’7 160 lb second baseman out of Oregon State University. With a potentially double plus hit tool, and plus speed, the upside here seems to be a Trea Turner type profile. Due to the lack of power projection here, Mets evaluators would have to be in love with the hit tool to move on Madrigal this high. Again, with the college season set to get underway in a few weeks, Madrigal will have his chance to cement his status to MLB teams as a top 10 draft choice.
Griffin Conine RF
Sifting through the other names near the top of the Fangraphs list, it’s prep arm after prep arm. The Mets have gone the collegiate route with their last four first round picks (Conforto, Dunn, Kay, Peterson, with no first rounder in 2015). While they very well might be in position to draft one of the many prep arms that they like with such a high pick, there is some basis here to suggest a preference for the usually more polished college ball player with their top choice. With that, there is a corner outfield at Duke University, who just flat out mashes. Griffin Conine, son of ex-MLBer Jeff Conine, also tore up the Cape Cod league last summer with a wood bat. Conine will not play up the middle, but he shows enough arm to play right field, and the polish and power combination in the bat will move quickly through the system.
As the spring progresses, and more live looks at some of the top prep arms become available, we will revisit some of the names that could pique Mets brass at 6 overall. Whoever the Mets tab at 6 overall, he will undoubtedly offer an injection of high upside MLB talent that will hopefully be a mainstay at Citi Field for years to come.