Interesting article about the draft on NYFS by John Sickels:
Sickels: Mets Draft Review
By John Sickels
June 12, 2005 -
The problem for the Mets in this draft is the big gap early: with no second or third-round picks, the Mets have to be damn sure they pick the right people in the middle rounds, or risk a negative impact on farm system depth. How did they do? Let’s find out.
The focus here is on the balance between risk and reward for each pick. The ETAs should not be taken especially seriously at this point, and are more of a guide to readiness than anything.
1) Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Wichita State University
Undaunted by a potential tangle with uberagent Scott Boras, the Mets selected Wichita State right-hander Mike Pelfrey with the ninth overall pick. Pelfrey is at least as good as 2004 first-rounder Phil Humber; most believe that Pelfrey has a higher ceiling, and he certainly would not have fallen this far in the draft without the Boras factor. It may take awhile, but it’s hard to see how Pelfrey won’t sign eventually, given that finances should not be a factor for a New York franchise. In scouting terms, Pelfrey offers everything you want: velocity, command, physical size, intelligence, emotional maturity. His fastball hits the mid-90s, with movement. He’s refined his breaking ball and changeup, and he throws strikes. If he stays healthy, Pelfrey should develop into an impact starter. ETA: late 2006-2007.
4) Hector Pellot, SS-2B, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
A 5-11, 185 pound infielder, Pellot is athletic and toolsy and has been compared to Jose Valentin. There is mixed opinion about his chances. Some people think he will hit for power in time, while others believe he will max out as a gap hitter and never be much of an offensive force. He’s rather raw on defense, particularly with his throws, but he runs well and should be fine defensively with more experience. It boils down to his hitting, and that is uncertain at this point. A rather risky selection, given the lack of picks above him, but he does have upside. ETA: 2010+.
5) Drew Butera, C, University of Central Florida
The son of former Major League catcher Sal Butera, Drew Butera is similar to his father, who was a good-field/no-hit catcher for the Twins, Expos, and Reds. Drew is an excellent defender with great quickness behind the plate, an accurate arm, and a good rapport with pitchers. His hitting is better than his dad’s, although that’s not saying much. Sal hit .227/.302/.295 in 359 career games, while Drew should be able to hit 20-30 points higher than that with more power. He’ll never be a significant offensive force, but his glovework should move him up the ladder quickly. Low risk due to his defense, but not a lot of offensive upside. ETA: 2007-2008.
6) Greg Cain, OF, Gahr HS, Cerritos, California
A toolsy outfielder from California, Cain did not get huge attention before the draft, but offers significant upside. His two best current tools are speed and arm strength. He is physically strong, but right now his swing doesn’t translate that strength into game power that often. But his plate discipline appears workable, and with time and experience he could develop into a solid player, perhaps similar to a young Ron Gant. He is praised for his work ethic, which can only help of course. I think he is a sleeper, but the Mets will need to be patient. ETA: 2010+.
7) Jon Niese, LHP, Defiance HS, Defiance, Ohio
A projectable left-hander, Niese is the kind of guy who could have gone a few rounds higher if he’d had the same exposure as a California or Florida kid, but he is well-known to Midwest scouts and is one of the best pitchers in recent Ohio high school history. His fastball sits at 86-88 MPH, but should get faster in time, and he mixes it well with a slider, a curve, and a splitter he uses like a changeup. Scouts also like his pitching instincts, intelligence, and feel for the game. He will have to be bought away from college at Cincinnati, but rumor has it that that shouldn’t be too difficult. Personally, I think this is a great pick in the seventh round. ETA: 2009-2010.
8) Sean McCraw, C, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
On a national basis, college and high school baseball talents get a lot more attention than they did fifteen years ago. But the junior college ranks are often overlooked, not so much by professional teams and scouts (who follow them closely of course), but by fans and the media. McCraw went 2-3 rounds sooner than expected, but he has a power bat from the left side, and enough athleticism that he should be able to remain behind the plate if the Mets are patient with him. ETA: 2009.
9) Bobby Parnell, RHP, Charleston Southern University
First, the bad news. Parnell posted a horrendous 8.86 ERA for Charleston Southern this year, allowing 62 hits in 44 innings. The good news is that college statistics are often not predictive, and that Parnell did manage to strike out a hitter per inning, which is a positive marker. He has a low 90s fastball, but is still working on his off-speed pitches and his control. If he can sharpen his command and develop something to go with the fastball, he could be a big surprise. There are usually two types of college players available in the ninth round: guys with good stats but mediocre physical tools, and guys with bad stats but good physical tools. Parnell fits into the latter category, and some of them do pan out. ETA: 2008-2009.
10) Courtney Billingslea, OF, Sinclair CC (Ohio)
A former college punter at Alabama A&M, Billingslea is a tools monster at 6-6, 215 pounds, with power/speed potential. He’s 19 years old, raw, but has high upside, which seems to be a theme with several of the Mets picks. At this point Billingslea could develop into anything, or nothing.
11) Luis Martinez, C-OF, Jackson State CC (Tennessee)
Martinez had a successful junior college season, showing power and good defensive skills. There seems to be some confusion about his position; he was a catcher/outfielder in college (mostly catcher), and scouts seem to think that is his better position, but he is listed as an outfielder in the Major League Baseball draft database. Either way, he fits in with what the Mets tried to do in the middle rounds: collect high-ceiling athletes.
12) Matthew Spath, OF, Flagler Palm Coast HS, Bunnell, Florida
A dominant statistical performer in high school, and a good-enough athlete to be offered a college scholarship as a Division I defensive back, Spath isn’t a huge guy at 6-1, 185, and that hurt his draft status. But a late flourish this spring got him on the draft boards, and he has sleeper potential as a 12th round pick. He will attend junior college if he doesn’t sign right away, which would make him a draft-and-follow.
OTHER DRAFTEES OF NOTE
17) Pedro Beato, RHP, Xaverian HS, Queens, New York
Two years ago, the 6-6, 215 pound Dominican immigrant Pedro Beato looked like an early round pick for ’05. But he blew out his elbow and had to have Tommy John surgery last year. He didn’t look especially impressive this spring, lacking his normal velocity. But just a year removed from the surgery, that is not unusual, and given his size and previous track record, he is an intriguing pick. Word before the draft was that Beato would head to junior college to finish his recovery. He could end up being an excellent draft-and-follow pick.
19) Tim Grogan, 3B, Western Kentucky University
Considered a possible fourth-sixth round draft pick a year ago, Grogan had problems hitting with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League last summer, then had a bad year this spring, hurting his stock significantly. But he’s quick, strong, and athletic, and if he can make some offensive adjustments, there’s always the chance he could rebound.
26) Kevin Tomasiewicz, LHP, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
A finesse southpaw, Tomasiewicz owns one of the best pitching track records in Division III history. His status is hurt by a mediocre fastball (85-88 MPH), but he changes speeds well and knows how to pitch. He should do well in A-ball, but we’ll have to see what happens to him when he reaches advanced competition in Double-A. His college performance was strong enough to at least make him a sleeper.
Judging a draft two days afterward is problematic. We really don’t have any idea how any of these guys are going to pan out. Even the “safest” pick, someone like Pelfrey, can flame out unexpectedly, while a raw guy can develop his skills suddenly and come out of nowhere. But we can at least get an idea about the kind of risks a particular class runs, and the ’05 Mets draft is a risky one.
Pelfrey is as close to a sure thing as you can find in a pitcher, but after him the Mets took a lot of chances. Rather than play it safe due to the lack of second and third round choices, the Mets braintrust drafted many high-ceiling/high-reward/high-risk guys. Drew Butera’s glove will get him to the Show, even if his bat doesn’t develop much. Of the high school and JC guys, my favorites are Greg Cain and Jonathan Niese.
In any event, it will be at least three years before this draft can be legitimately judged. There is a lot of long-term upside here, but this class will present a challenge to New York’s player development team. Whether this is a solid, gutsy draft, or a shaky, excessively risky one, depends on your point of view.
Maine has a good swing for a pitcher but on anything that moves, he has no chance. And if it's a fastball, it has to be up in the zone. Basically, the pitcher has to hit his bat. - Mike Pelfrey