2017 MLB Draft Grades: New York Mets
BEST PURE HITTER: SS Mark Vientos (2) doesn’t turn 18 until December but had no trouble adjusting to pro ball. After a slow start, he hit .305/.339/.467 in 115 August at-bats. He even launched four homers in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after hitting only one as a high school senior in Plantation, Fla. The Mets were on Vientos since February because of his plus bat speed, projectable 6-foot-4 frame and swing conducive to elevating the ball.
BEST POWER HITTER: Vientos has the highest power upside, but OF Quinn Brodey (3) has the most present power. He hit a career-high 11 homers as a Stanford junior and three in a pro debut spent mostly at short-season Brooklyn, a park notorious for suppressing lefthanded power.
FASTEST RUNNER: The Mets drafted few position players and targeted more bat-first players when they did. Brodey turns in times of 6.6 seconds in the 60-yard dash, while Oral Roberts SS Dylan Snypes (15) is a plus runner.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Vientos has good hands and a strong arm at shortstop, but if he outgrows the position he can be a plus defender at third base.
BEST ATHLETE: Brodey also worked as a lefthanded pitcher in high school and as a college freshman.
BEST FASTBALL: RHP Marcel Renteria (6) hit 98 mph as a starter at New Mexico State. RHP Tony Dibrell (4) peaks at 95 mph but pitches with plus sinking life at about 93 as a starter.
BEST SECONDARY PITCH: LHP David Peterson (1) has the two best secondary pitches in the Mets’ draft class. He shows advanced command of a plus slider that gives batters fits because of its unique angle and deceptive late drop. He wears out lefthanded batters with the pitch but also goes cross-corner to back foot righthanders. Peterson’s changeup is another potential plus weapon that began to play when he improved his control as an Oregon junior.
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BEST PRO DEBUT: Sidearming Kansas RHP Stephen Villines (10) sits in the high 80s and can touch 90 mph to go with a slurvy breaking ball. In 27.1 innings as a reliever, mostly at Brooklyn, he recorded a 1.65 ERA with 41 strikeouts and only one walk.
MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Vientos’ father was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in New York and passed his Mets fandom on to his family. Peterson’s father Doug, who passed away in 2004, worked as a thoroughbred horse trainer, notably for triple crown winner Seattle Slew.
CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Despite working just 3.2 innings at Brooklyn because he signed late and dealt with a toe injury, Peterson throws four pitches and is nearly fully developed. He simply needs to add polish to reach his ceiling as a workhorse mid-rotation starter.
BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Nova Southeastern (Fla.) 1B Jeremy Vasquez (28) launched eight home runs and 15 doubles in 67 games at Rookie-level Kingsport and Brooklyn, while playing above-average defense at first base. West Texas A&M RHP Josh Payne (22) reached 96 mph while striking out 25 and walking four in 16.1 innings as a reliever at Kingsport.