We take a look at what the New York Mets did with their two picks (including Jarred Kelenic) in Monday night’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The New York Mets had a chance to add premiere talent to their organization in the first two rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft that took place on Monday.
For a system that needed an upgrade, Sandy Alderson and the front office might have done just that with the selections of two high school players. They went with outfielder Jarred Kelenic (sixth pick) and right-hander Simeon Woods-Richardson (48th overall).
Once Florida third baseman Jonathan India went off the board to the Cincinnati Reds (fifth overall), the Mets were able to go with Kelenic out of Waukesha West High School in Wisconsin. Here is the profile on Kelenic courtesy of Perfect Game Baseball:
“Very strong athletic build. 6.57 runner, has centerfield range and speed with a high-level right field throwing arm, makes accurate throws with very good carry, highest level defensive outfielder. Left-handed hitter, hits from a spread stance, excellent raw bat speed with a low tension swing and loose hands, ball flies off the barrel, big power when he turns on the ball but will let it travel and drive it up the gaps as well.”
Kelenic is the third outfielder that the New York Mets have selected in the first-round since 2010. The other two selections are currently on the big league roster in Brandon Nimmo (2011) and Michael Conforto (2014).
With the power that Kelenic has at the plate and at a premium position in center field, he fits an area of need in the Mets organization. With aging outfielders such as Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce, New York needed to add another bat in their organization and Kelenic is a good choice. Here is a video of his swing courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
The only question about Kelenic is that he did not play for his high school in the spring. With that being said, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel did talk about how he has played in other tournaments that can showcase his talent:
“Though Kelenic did not play for his high school team, he made a name playing in international tournaments and in prep showcases across the country. He also has played for the Rawlings Hitters travel team out of Caledonia each spring.”
As for their second-round selection, Richardson played for Kempner High School in Texas. He is six-foot-three and weighs 210 pounds.
On MLB Pipeline’s list of the Top 200 prospects in this draft, he was listed at number 160. Here is what they had to say about Richardson:
“Woods-Richardson broke out on the showcase circuit last summer, running his fastball up to 95 mph at the Area Code Games and showing three-pitch potential at multiple events…Woods-Richardson has a sound delivery with a high-three-quarters arm slot and repeats it well. But unless he shows he can carry his best stuff deeper into ballgames, he may wind up in the bullpen.”
The question that the Mets will have to have answered is whether or not they can sign Richardson. He was a third baseman in addition to being a pitcher and he is committed to Texas, which has a strong baseball program.
After the draft, Marc Tramuta, the Mets director of amateur scouting, talked to Matt Ehalt for The Record about Richardson and what they see in him going forward:
Mets second-round pick is young, only turning 18 later in year. Mets say fastball is 89-97. "Very nice upside play for us," Marc Tramuta, Mets' director of amateur scouting.
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) June 5, 2018
While it was a surprise that the Mets did not take a college player in the first two rounds, Kelenic and Woods-Richardson can still bring a lot of upside to the table and they can develop at the pace the organization wants them to rather than having the pressure of moving up quickly.
This is only the beginning to improving the Mets’ farm system.