I’m not here to tell you that Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ top pick who signed last night, will be a star. Maybe he’ll be Darryl Strawberry. Maybe he’ll be Shawn Abner.
But that’s precisely the point. The Mets did exactly what an intelligent team needs to do in the draft, since no draft pick is a sure thing. They collected high-ceiling talent in great numbers, and will let fate sort out their futures.
And that’s exactly the opposite of the draft philosophy the team employed for years. The results from the farm system have been evident- the number of stars produced have been- well, no one since David Wright. And that was a draft pick they got for losing Mike Hampton, to give you a sense of how long ago that was.
As Joe DeMayo pointed out, the Mets spent over slot on ten players in the 2011 draft. For comparison, they did so last year on three- once on top pick Matt Harvey, the other two barely over slot. Why does this matter? Because drafting high-ceiling players in the later rounds will mean one of two things- either spending more than you typically would on a lower draft choice to add additional top-level talent to your farm system, or seeing those players return to school, hoping to get drafted higher next year. It’s how the Yankees brought in players like Austin Jackson and Joba Chamberlain.
The best example of this came in the fifteenth round, when the Mets signed shortstop Phil Evans for $650,000. Will Evans make it? Who knows- but they added a player with first or second-round talent with a fifteenth-round pick. You can’t develop a farm system with high-end guys without drafting high-end guys. You just can’t.
So don’t go buy Brandon Nimmo or Phil Evans jerseys just yet. But here’s Joe’s list of major investments, and the incomparable Toby Hyde’s comparison of this year’s spending to past years. It’s both how much they spent, and how they spent it.
We may not realize it until, say, 2014. But Toby has it right: “It is a good day to be a Mets fan.”