Mets Draft Report Card

Though they're wealthier than most clubs, the Mets don't press their financial advantage in the draft. They went over slot to sign Matz ($895,000) and Dotson, but otherwise were conservative and didn't add much depth to a thin farm system.
BEST PURE HITTER:: It should be SS Robbie Shields (3), though he hit just .178 at short-season Brooklyn while nursing a sore elbow. >> BEST POWER HITTER:: OF Nick Santomauro (10), who holds the Darmouth single-season home run record (10) and led Brooklyn with six homers. The Mets bought him away from his senior season for just $82,000. >> FASTEST RUNNER:: OFs Chase Greene (16) and ZeErika Hall (29) both have well above-average speed. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: OF Darrell Ceciliani (4) has plus speed and range to go with a slightly above-average arm in center field. OF R.J. Harris (14) also does a nice job in center, albeit with a lesser arm. C Nelfi Zapata (19) threw out 45 percent of basestealers in his pro debut, though his receiving needs more polish.
BEST FASTBALL: The Mets signed just three pitchers in the first 20 rounds, which limits the number of candidates. LHP Stephen Matz (2), New York's top pick, works at 90-91 mph and maxes out at 94. Five-foot-10 RHP Michael Johnson (24) had a quick arm capable of reaching 96, but he blew out his elbow eight innings into this pro career and required Tommy John surgery. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Matz and LHP Zach Dotson (13) both have promising curveballs and changeups, but none is a consistent plus pitch at this point.
BEST PRO DEBUT: OF Kurt Steinhauer (27) batted .328/.428/.525 between two Rookie-level clubs. He set a Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) record with 19 homers in the spring and won the Charlie Hustle Award at the NAIA World Series, where the Sea Lions finished second. >> BEST ATHLETE: In addition to his speed, Greene has strong hands and bat speed that bode well for future power once he fills out. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:: OF Joey August's (20) father Bill once held the junior college football record for passing yards in a game with 619 at Chabot (Calif.) in 1970. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: The Mets didn't draft an NCAA Division I player until C Taylor Freeman in the eighth round, and he's not especially close. If Shields plays like he did in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2008, he could take New York's second-base job quickly. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Dotson, who was ticketed for Georgia until the Mets signed him at the deadline for $500,000. Harris and Greene are two of the better athletes from this draft, while Zapata offers raw power to go with his arm strength. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: New York thought it had met the asking price for raw RHPs Damien Magnifico (5) and David Buchanan (6), but both deals feel apart in the end. Magnifico, who's now at Howard (Texas) JC, hit 98 mph during summer ball. Buchanan, now at Georgia State, tops out at 96.