So consider me skeptical of the two early draft picks by the New York Mets on Monday night. And that is with the obvious caveat that it is impossible to truly evaluate a draft in real time, not when so many years separate a draft pick from his major league debut.
The Mets went low-ceiling with both picks, getting shortstop Gavin Cecchini at pick 12, catcher Kevin Plawecki at pick 35. In both cases, the Mets got plus defensive players at hard-to-fill positions. But there are questions about how well their bats will develop, limited athleticism to go with both, and as a result, their ceilings are regulars, not stars. (I must stress that this conclusion is from a consensus of draft scouts I trust; have not seen either play myself.)
The Nationals picked after the Mets, and grabbed Lucas Giolito, a high school pitcher who could become a number one starter. Or, he could get injured and never make it. But the draft simply has no safe picks, so picking for upside is the way to approach it.
That is, of course, assuming the money is there to sign that high-upside player. The worry, every time the cash-strapped Mets make a budget-friendly decision, is that it is being done for distinctly non-baseball reasons. Sandy Alderson’s crew has done enough of these things, in violation of things Alderson obviously believes in-compiling starting pitcher depth, for instance, or bringing in a reasonable backup catcher-that such questions remain.
Here’s hoping the Met scouts really saw something in Cecchini and Plawecki. Because everyone else seems to think they’ve acquired, at best, Rafael Santana and Charlie O’Brien.