How About that Future?
But regardless of my gripes with the inability to watch Major League Baseball's Draft, it's still one of the highlights of my season. Going into the offseason, it was a big deal to me. Now, it's an even bigger deal, as the Mets have lost their second and third round picks (for Beltran and Pedro, respectively), and also because the Mets minor league offensive cupboard is bare. While there are some interesting options out there to fill it, there is one name that I can't help but drool over, and the Mets have a very good shot at landing him.
You see, the way I reasoned that giving up Ian Bladergroen wasn't that big a deal was because the Mets had the ninth overall pick in the draft next year. Doug Mientkiewicz is a gold-glove talent, and a solid hitter, but he's also a free agent in a year (or two, if the Mets pick up his option). So, where then, does that leave the Mets first-base situation, with nobody on the horizion to man the bag?
Enter John Mayberry, Jr. A second-generation player (and his Pop wasn't too shabby) and already taken once before in the first round (by the Seattle Mariners in 2002), Mayberry is everything the Mets have ever desired from a first basemen.
He's got power (16 HRs in 216 ABs). He's got speed (ranked second on his club in stolen bases with 9). He's got glove (Has a .993 fielding percentage and is Stanford's active career leader in putouts (921), defensive chances (963), double plays (70) and triple plays (2). And he's got patience (.419 OBP last year, .388 overall). As you can tell, I'm a huge fan. Plus, he's already 21, so he could conceivably be ready by the time Mientkiewicz is ready to hit the road. And he's 6'5"! That's a helluva target!
The Mets have never had a consistent power threat at first base for as long as I can remember, if ever. While Keith Hernandez and John Olerud were always solid, and sometimes great, hitters, they never brought power to the table. The only power threats the Mets have had have been has-beens (Eddie Murray, Mo Vaughn) and never-was (Butch Huskey, Rico Brogna). This is the Mets shot for a true, well-rounded first basemen.
Baseball America's Early Draft Preview has come out today, talking up some of the potential top picks of the draft. There's a lot of talent in that draft, for both hitters and pitchers, which means the Mets will more than likely leave the draft with a solid player in their system. But with the pitching depth the Mets alreayd have in the system, it's just not necessary to go after another arm once again. By the time Glavine is ready to go, Humber will be ready, and when Trachsel is starting to wear down the Mets will have a host of arms (Pettit, Bannister, Hernandez) to try out in his spot. The Mets need to go for a hitter, a power threat, in a place of need. The future of first base is glaring.
Eventually, there's going to be a need for a fourth hitter. A need for some protection for Beltran and Milledge and Wright and Reyes and Diaz.
And I'm getting goosebumps thinking about one heck of a homegrown lineup.