Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
In the last 25 years, the Mets have taken a middle infielder with their first pick in the first round of the MLB Draft just twice -- Gavin Cecchini in 2012 and Reese Havens in 2008.
Cecchini was viewed as a low-ceiling pick, and he never stuck with the Mets during his many chances in the majors. Havens was viewed as a potential star, but his career was derailed due to injury.
You have to go all the way back to 1985 to find a Mets first-round middle infield pick who actually panned out as an infielder in the big leagues. That was Gregg Jefferies.
With the 2020 draft scheduled for June 10 and the Mets selecting at No. 19 in the first round, could they do something they haven't done in quite some time and go for a middle infielder early?
If they do, here are five they could target...
SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel High School (IL)
The No. 15 ranked prospect in the country per MLB Pipeline, Howard is one of only two middle infielders ranked in the top 15. The other is Nick Gonzales of New Mexico State, who could potentially go in the top 10.
When it comes to the 18-year-old Howard, MLB Pipeline cites him as the best prep shortstop in the draft.
MLB Pipeline scouting report snippet: Using a simple right-handed swing and a calm approach, Howard makes repeated hard contact. He has impressive bat speed and a projectable 6-foot-2 frame that continues to add strength, so he could develop average or better power. He has solid speed and uses it well on the bases.
SS Casey Martin, Arkansas
Martin, 21, has elite speed, a plus arm, and plus power, but his hit tool is lagging behind a bit. However, MLB Pipeline touts him as a potential star if things break right.
MLB Pipeline scouting report snippet: An explosive athlete, Martin offers an exciting combination of power and speed. He records run times that grade from 70-80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, though he's still learning how to translate that quickness into stolen bases. He has the potential to be a 25-25 player but gets overly homer-conscious and his right-handed swing gets too uphill, leading to strikeouts.
2B Justin Foscue, Mississippi State
The 21-year-old Foscue, who is ranked as the No. 32 prospect by MLB Pipeline, could be an overdraft if the Mets take him at No. 19 -- and the same can be said for the two prospects discussed below.
MLB Pipeline scouting report snippet: The U.S. collegiate national team's starter at second base last summer, Foscue plays a game that is somewhat reminiscent of Jeff Kent's. He provides more offense than most at his position, using strength, bat speed and a pull-heavy approach to generate plenty of power from the right side of the plate.
SS Nick Loftin, Baylor
Loftin, 21, has an approach that is contact over power, and MLB Pipeline projects that he could be the first college shortstop off the board.
But this would arguably be a low-ceiling pick, especially as high as No. 19.
MLB Pipeline scouting report snippet: He offers impressive versatility -- he started games at five positions (short, second and third base, left and right field) for the U.S. collegiate national team last summer -- and would fit nicely as a utilityman if he doesn't provide enough offensive impact to be a regular.
SS Jordan Westburg, Mississippi State
The 21-year-old Westburg has a higher ceiling and more defensive value than his double play partner, Justin Foscue (above him on this list), per MLB Pipeline.
MLB Pipeline scouting report snippet: Westburg has solid speed and arm strength to match, giving him a chance to stick at shortstop at the next level. He's big for the position at 6-foot-3 and if he adds more strength to his frame, he could slow down and necessitate a move to third base.