New York Mets 2021 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Hitter: First baseman J.T. Schwartz (4) hit just .195 in 25 games with Low-A St. Lucie after signing, but the Mets trust in his hitting ability and believe he could get to more power. Schwartz hit .396/.514/.628 with eight homers as a 21-year-old at UCLA this spring, with 37 walks and 28 strikeouts. The lefthanded hitter doesn’t swing and miss at fastballs often, hits the ball in the air and posts good exit velocities.
Best Power: Second baseman Justin Guerrera (20) hit five homers and slugged .495 in a 30-game debut spent in the Florida Complex League and at Low-A St. Lucie. He hit 13 homers this spring as a 21-year-old at Fairfield and followed with nine more in the summer wood bat New England Collegiate League. Schwartz also has a track record of hitting for power, with more potentially to come.
Fastest Runner: Shortstop Kevin Kendall (7) turns in consistent plus run times and has turned in a few 70-grade times. He stole 10 bases in 16 tries at UCLA this spring and went 8-for-10 in his pro debut at Low-A St. Lucie.
Best Defensive Player: Kendall was noted for his athletic ability and versatility at UCLA. The Mets played him at shortstop and second base this summer but expect him to see time at third base and possibly center field in the future.
Best Fastball: The Mets were blown away by the final few starts from Canadian righthander Calvin Ziegler (2) in the spring. The 18-year-old sat 93-95 mph and topped at 97 with an athletic, powerful delivery. They believe his disruptive travel schedule, which included establishing residency in New York, enrolling in a Florida charter school and then suiting up for an Ohio travel team might have pushed him down the board. Kansas State righthander Carson Seymour (6) topped out at 98 mph this summer and Virginia righthander Mike Vasil (8) was up to 97 mph.
Best Secondary Pitch: By the end of the spring, Ziegler was throwing a plus, hammer curveball in the 78-84 mph range more consistently. Northwestern State righthander Levi David (9) struck out 15.3 batters per nine innings this spring in the Southland Conference, generating an extremely high whiff rate on his dive-bombing curveball up to 87 mph. Seymour’s power slider ranged from 87-90 mph and drew a few 70 grades.
Best Pro Debut: Vasil looked sharp in three short Florida Complex League outings, striking out 10, walking none and allowing three hits in seven innings. He pitched at 93-97 mph with a power slider up to 88 mph while flashing a quality curveball and changeup.
Background: David was a Texas state champion swimmer in high school and an athletic 6-foot-5, 220-pound righthander with high strikeout and walk rates at Northwestern State.
Closest To The Majors: Either Vasil or Dallas Baptist righhtander Dominic Hamel (3), who throws a high-spin 92-95 mph fastball with vertical break. The Mets view Hamel's low-80s slider as having above-average to plus potential.
Best Late Round Pick (Or NDFA): Vasil or Illinois lefthander Nathan Lavender (14), who struck out 12 in 6.2 innings in the Florida Complex League.
The One Who Got Away: The Mets drafted Vanderbilt righthander Kumar Rocker (1) with the 10th overall pick and had planned to sign him for $6 million, the equivalent of the slot value at No. 5 overall. The negotiations with Rocker and his adviser Scott Boras turned contentious after the Mets found something they didn’t like during Rocker’s physical. The two sides never came close to an agreement, and Rocker will re-enter the 2022 draft if he doesn’t sign with a professional club outside of affiliated ball first.