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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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