Who the Mets Could Have Drafted First: 2000-2009

Finally back with some more content! It has been a crazy few months, but I am back and ready to post some articles. Figured I would do one of these articles because they are fun to think of. For this series, I will be looking at every Mets first round draft pick. I will be going over who they drafted, some players they missed out on, and who I believe they should’ve chosen. The series will go decade by decade, and we are now on to 2000-2009!

2009

Who They Drafted: Steven Matz LHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: DJ Lemahieu, Patrick Corbin, Kyle Seager, Brandon Belt, Dallas Keuchel, Aaron Loup

I am going to focus more on the type of player they drafted, instead of just picking the player that turned out best. For example, the Mets went with a left-handed starting pitcher. So, I chose a left-handed starting pitcher. I wanted to show the players that fit the draft pick, as well as other players they could have chosen.

Who They Should Have Taken: Patrick Corbin

Patrick Corbin and Steven Matz had very similar draft stock and potential when they broke the Majors. Corbin had a better breaking ball than Matz and turned into quite the star.

2008

Who They Drafted: Ike Davis LHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Andrew Cashner, Gerrit Cole, Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn, Brad Hand, Craig Kimbrel,

Ike Davis was drafted as a left-handed pitcher out of ASU.

Who They Should Have Taken: Gerrit Cole

Yes, Gerrit Cole is obviously not left-handed. However, he was taken in the first round and was clearly seen as a great prospect. I see no reason for the Mets to not pounce on Cole and take a chance on him when they were looking for a pitcher.

2007

Who They Drafted: Eddie Kunz RHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Josh Donaldson, Tommy Hunter, Giancarlo Stanton, Freddie Freeman, Zack Cozart, Danny Duffy, Jonathan Lucroy, Brandon Workman, Corey Kluber, Jake Arrieta, Greg Holland, Ryan Pressly

Who They Should Have Taken: Corey Kluber

This was an interesting draft year because the Mets picked a player who never made it in the big leagues. There were many options that fit the bill of a right handed pitcher. Corey Kluber makes the most sense to me. The only reason he wasn’t drafted any sooner, and I am speculating on this, would be because he couldn’t locate his pitches. Although he was drafted by the Padres, he learned how to pitch at a Major League level with the Indians. The Indians clearly saw something in Kluber and brought out the best in him. Either way, this really seems to be a no-brainer.

2006

Who They Drafted: Kevin Mulvey RHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Justin Masterson, Zack Britton, Alex Cobb, Jeff Samardzija, George Kontos, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon

Who They Should Have Taken: Mark Melancon

2006 is a very interesting year. Not many star pitchers came out of this draft after the Mets. The starters aren’t top tier, and the rest are relievers. The relievers are really wild cards, but Melancon is the safest bet.

2005

Who They Drafted: Mike Pelfrey RHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus, Luke Hochevar, Clay Bucholz, Yunel Escobar, Jeremy Hellickson, Josh Bell, Lance Lynn, Doug Fister

Who They Should Have Taken: Jeremy Hellickson

Hellickson didn’t prove to be much at the Major League level, but was a highly toted prospect. He was the number one prospect in baseball when he was called up, but was brought up with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays at the time didn’t develop their pitchers quite the way they do now, so it would be interesting to see how he would have been developed in the Mets system.

2004

Who They Drafted: Philip Humber RHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Homer Bailey, Neil Walker, Jered Weaver, Billy Butler, Trevor Plouffe, Phil Hughes, Huston Street, Gio Gonzalez, Yovani Gallardo

Who They Should Have Taken: Jered Weaver

Philip Humber was a solid first round pick that didn’t turn into the player he should have. Jered Weaver was a great pitcher who was dominant for many years with the Angels. Would have been fun in the bright lights of New York pitching in 08′ when the Mets were making playoff pushes.

2003

Who They Drafted: Lastings Milledge OF

Who They Could Have Drafted: Aaron Hill, David Murphy, Conor Jackson, Chad Billingsley, Carlos Quentin, Andre Ethier, Nate Schierholtz, Michael Bourn, Matt Kemp

Who They Should Have Taken: Matt Kemp

While Lastings Milledge was quite the player, it would have been even better if he played longer for the Mets. His tenure in the majors wasn’t long, but he still made an impact on some good Mets teams. However, imagine the Mets if they had Matt Kemp in his prime. The Mets would have been competing early into the 2010’s with Kemp and David Wright in the lineup. That would have been a special 3-4 punch.

2002

Who They Drafted: Scott Kazmir LHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Cole Hamels, James Loney, Matt Cain, Joey Votto, Jon Lester, Jonathan Broxton, Brian McCann, Curtis Granderson, Charlie Morton, Rich Hill

Who They Should Have Taken: Jon Lester

Lester fit the bill perfectly of a left-hander similar to Kazmir. Kazmir was a very highly toted prospect who never lived up to his potential in the majors. Unfortuantely, Kazmir was one of those rare top prospects that struggled at the big league level. Lester never really had those troubles. He is a World Series Champion, and could have been a Met for a very long time if they gave him the money for it. Unfortunately, this is one we will have to dream about forever.

2001

Who They Drafted: Aaron Heilman RHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Jayson Nix, J.P. Howell, J.J. Hardy, Shelley Duncan, Dan Haren, Ryan Theriot, Jeremy Guthrie, Ricky Nolasco, Edwin Jackson, John Axford

Who They Should Have Taken: Dan Haren

Haren wasn’t lighting up the world when he pitched, but he was definitely an upgrade from Heilman. Heilman didn’t pitch very well for the Mets, nor did he pitch for very long. Dan Haren had some really good years, especially at the tail-end of the 2000’s. Considering he was called up in 2003, he would have been entering his prime when the Mets team of 2006 got going.

2000

Who They Drafted: Billy Traber LHP

Who They Could Have Drafted: Sean Burnett, Adam Wainwright, Kelly Johnson, Xavier Nady, Chad Qualls, Grady Sizemore, Michael Morse, Cliff Lee, Dontrelle Willis, Paul Maholm

Who They Should Have Taken: Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee was drafted in the third round, somehow. Obviously, when drafting players you never know how they will turn out. Lee was one of those players that were taken a gamble on, and he paid off. Dontrelle Willis also had a spectacular career, but he was drafted in the eighth round. Clearly teams saw something in him that he corrected in the minors, making Lee the more obvious choice here.

The “Shoulda Been” Drafts:

2000: Cliff Lee

2001: Dan Haren

2002: Jon Lester

2003: Matt Kemp

2004: Jered Weaver

2005: Jeremy Hellickson

2006: Mark Melancon

2007: Corey Kluber

2008: Gerrit Cole

2009: Patrick Corbin

Obviously, by the time 2008 rolled around, the Mets wouldn’t have needed all these starting pitchers. But the Mets made poor choices in really every year of the 2000’s drafts. The one draft I would say they did the best would be 2003. Lastings Milledge turned out to be a great player, but even then they could have had Matt Kemp. The rotation at the heart of this decade could have been Martinez, Lee, Lester, Haren, Weaver. That rotation alone would have won the Mets a World Series.

As usual, this article is painful to write, but is always fun to take a look at. I am truly blown away by how many amazing players get looked over when deciding who to pick in a draft. All we can do is look back and wish the Mets made these picks.

Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire

2021 MLB Draft: Where Should the Mets Focus?

The MLB draft in 2021 is right around the corner, beginning on July 11. The Mets farm system is definitely not at the place it once was. Sandy Alderson and his regime are going to try to bring it back up to snuff. Alderson always stressed that the Mets have a great farm system, and has now inherited a team with a weak one. The Mets will have a great chance at this, as they have the #10 pick in the draft, allowing them better access to future stars.

That being said, what positions should the Mets focus on when drafting players this year?

Here are the rankings from 8-1 on the positions the Mets should focus on.

8 Relief Pitching

I know, I know. The Mets have an awful relief system. That being said, drafting a reliever in the draft is never a priority. It is important to draft relievers, but they are so difficult to project how they will turn out. Because of that, relief pitching will almost always be last in terms of priority.

7 Shorstop

The Mets are really set at shortstop. Not only is Francisco Lindor locked up for 11 years, but the number two prospect in the Mets system is Ronny Mauricio, a shortstop. The Mets also have Shervyen Newton at shortstop in the farm system, meaning they have two great shorstops in the minors.

6 Third Base

The other position that is really unnecessary to look at is third base. At least in 2021 that is. Three of the Mets top 30 prospects are third baseman, and at the top of that list is Brett Baty. It is unclear how Baty will perform at the Major League level, but they still have two more backups in Mark Vientos and Jaylen Palmer.

5 Outfield

We are getting into the positions that I feel are important to upgrade, but at the bottom of that list is the outfield. The Mets have a solid outfield right now, but the outfield may be completely different in three years. It is unclear whether Conforto will be staying long-term. Dom Smith will probably be playing first base from next year on, hinging on the DH. Brandon Nimmo may not get a long-term extension after next season. The Mets have the prospects in the minors to upgrade. However, will they all live up to the hype? At the top of the list of Mets outfield prospects is Pete Crow-Armstrong. Many feel he will turn into quite the player, so he isn’t in much of debate. Khalil Lee and Alexander Ramirez are the other top prospects in the outfield for the Mets that could potentially be starting in a few years. Under them, there are solid names, but still a need to upgrade.

4 Catcher

Francisco Alvarez is the number one prospect in the Mets organization. His rough Spring Training performance led to many questions from fans. However, he is still likely to be the Mets starting catcher in a few years once James McCann’s contract expires. Many expect Alvarez to be a star in the majors, but what if he doesn’t pan out that way? The Mets don’t have any catching prospects behind Alvarez in the top 30, meaning that they are hinging a lot on his success. I feel it is important to have at least some backup behind him.

3 Second Base

The Mets are really thin at second base. When I say really thin, it means that there is only one player in the top 30 who is listed as second base: Carlos Cortes. Cortes is the #19 prospect in the Mets system. In a farm system that is not full of prospects, being the 19th prospect isn’t a great rating. There is a clear need for a higher-level prospect in the farm system at this position, but is it worth going out and using your #10 pick for?

2 First Base

We all would like to think that Pete Alonso will be in a Mets uniform mashing baseballs for a very long time. Pete’s early career seems to foreshadow a long career in New York. However, you must always have a backup plan of some sort. The Mets do not have one. Alonso was the only top 30 prospect at first base before he got called up, and that has remained. The Mets still do not have a top 30 prospect at that position, leaving a clear hole. If something were to happen to Alonso, an injury or a trade, the Mets have no backup plan at first in the minors. I would not be surprised if the Mets draft a first baseman in the second of third round.

1 Starting Pitcher

You can never have too many starting pitchers. Most of the Mets top 30 prospects consists of pitchers, some starters. Matthew Allen is the Mets top starting pitching prospect, but behind him there isn’t much that stands out. JT Ginn was the Mets second-round pick in 2020, and is also poised to come up in 2023 alongside Allen. However, behind those two, it is hard to pick out anybody that is pegged to be a top 3 starter. Mostly every start in the Mets top 30 is likely to be a four or five starter, meaning that it is important for the Mets to bolster it even more. I personally think the Mets should opt to draft a starting pitcher in their #10 spot.

What do you think? What positions do you think the Mets should focus on?

Photo Credit MetsInsider