The New York Mets have had some rough draft picks this past decade, but some of them stand out more than most.
The New York Mets have drafted relatively well in the past decade, but that doesn’t mean they’re without flaws. Despite some success in the draft, the Mets have been prone to the dreaded “bust” at times.
They can’t seem to avoid the early bust ruining a draft class. It’s been a long time since the Mets have had a third-round pick make the majors. Only three second-round picks in this past decade have made any appearances in the majors. Only one of them is currently on a major league roster.
It’s great when a team gets major league talent in the first-round and finds stars late, but the lack of depth in these classes has killed them. They lose out on potential trade chips and depth pieces at the major league level.
It’s even worse when the top pick in your draft class doesn’t play a single full season in the majors. That’s happened to the Mets twice this past decade.
This is a look at the worst picks the Mets have made this past decade.
2012, 1st Round: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Alfred M. Barbre High School (LA)
With the 12th pick in the 2012 draft, the New York Mets selected Louisiana high schooler, Gavin Cecchini. The pick was mostly praised. Cecchini was thought to be the second-best high school middle infielder in the draft, behind Carlos Correa.
Cecchini was the 19th best prospect on MLB.com’s top draft prospect lists that year. A large part for that was his brother Garin Cecchini who was a top-100 prospect in baseball and a member of the Boston Red Sox organization.
He was considered a top prospect for his hit tool and his speed, both of which graded out as plus. His power was always considered to be nothing more than fringe-average and his defense was always thought to be average with a move to second base possible.
Cecchini struggled mightily his first three years in the system. He finally broke through when he made it to AA. He carried that strong batting into AAA where Cecchini dominated the competition in 2016. That earned him his first major league look and he was excellent, hitting two doubles in six at-bats.
Sadly, that was the best Cecchini ever looked. He returned to AAA in 2017 and he wasn’t the same player. Cecchini struggled for the majority of the year, but he got a major league call-up anyway. He played in 32 games and was dreadful.
He went back to AAA in 2018 and all of a sudden he had major throwing issues. Cecchini became an error machine and he never made his way back to the majors again. He’s not currently on a roster.
To make matters worse, the next high school middle infielder off the board was Los Angeles Dodgers star, Corey Seager.
2013, 2nd Round: Andrew Church, RHP, Basic High School (NV)
The New York Mets took Andrew Church with the 48th pick in the 2013 draft. The selection was a shock to most evaluators. Church didn’t appear in MLB.com’s top 100 and was 89 on Baseball America’s top 100.
The pick made sense later on when the Mets selected Tyler Bashlor. They signed Andrew Church to an under-slot deal to make a record-setting agreement with the future reliever.
Church struggled from the get-go. He didn’t have an ERA of 4.60 or lower in any of his first three years in the minors. He finally found his groove with the move to full-season ball in 2016. Church dominated Columbia and was strong in St. Lucie, then he shot straight to AAA where he made just one disastrous start. He finished the year with a 2.92 ERA.
That would be the best year in his baseball career. He never had an ERA under 5.00 the rest of his career and had an ERA over 6.00 in his final two seasons. It got to the point that Church retired in the middle of the 2018 season. He came back for 2019, but the struggles persisted. He never made a major league roster.
He’s currently a free agent after being among the 39 players the Mets cut due to COVID-19. The funny thing is, the Mets still ended up with the next high school pitcher taken in the draft. Blake Taylor came over to the Mets from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Ike Davis trade.
Taylor also struggled to find a groove but was excellent as a reliever in 2019. He’s since been traded to the Houston Astros for Jake Marisnick.
2015, 2nd Round: Desmond Lindsay, OF, Out-Of-Door Academy (FL)
The New York Mets didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2015 draft. They sacrificed the pick to sign Michael Cuddyer in free agency. That meant their second-round pick was their top pick that year.
In a shocking move, the Mets used the 53rd pick to select Desmond Lindsay. The media was critical of the pick from the start. Lindsay wasn’t among the top 200 prospects on MLB.com or the top 100 on Baseball America.
A major reason for that was injuries. Lindsay had struggled to stay healthy throughout high school. He had good speed that should have allowed him to stay in center field and some good power potential, but the rest of his tools lagged behind.
Not a single thing about his pre-draft scouting report changed when he entered the system. Lindsay struggled to stay healthy, he’s only played at least 70 games once in a season. The power is there, but it’s sapped due to the constant injuries, the same for his speed.
He had trouble making consistent contact, striking out a ton. Lindsay has only hit over .225 twice in his career, both times before he was in full-season ball.
Lindsay has been in the Mets’ system since 2015, but he still hasn’t reached AA yet. It seems likely he’ll never reach the majors at this point.
He’ll be 24 when minor league baseball returns in 2021. It’s not impossible that he makes it work if he can finally stay healthy, but the clock is ticking.
Anytime a team’s top draft pick is in serious danger of never reaching the majors, the team has failed. The next outfielder off the board was Andrew Stevenson, a college player. Stevenson may not be great, but he’s at least proven to be a useful bench piece already.
Had the Mets not signed Cuddyer and gone with a high school outfielder in the first round they would have likely ended up with Trent Grisham. The surprising star for the Brewers in 2019 was selected with the 15th pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, the pick the Mets would have had if they didn’t forfeit it to sign Cuddyer.