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Revisiting the 2023 Mets MLB Draft class after the conclusion of the minor league season.
Best Pure Hitter: The Mets targeted a number of pitchers early in the draft, but their first overall selection was shortstop Colin Houck (1). He has a well-rounded toolset led by an above-average hit tool. He was one of the most impressive prep hitters on the showcase circuit in 2022 and has both bat speed, solid plate discipline and extra-base pop. Houck showed limited pop in a brief, nine-game debut in the Florida Complex League, but he showed on-base skills with a 19.4% walk rate and 20% chase rate.
Best Power Hitter: Righthander and outfielder Nolan McLean (3) has massive raw power that shows up in batting practice. He can backspin the ball to all fields with extreme ease and managed gaudy exit velocities in college, but only hit nine home runs 43 games because of contact concerns. McLean hits the ball hard when he connects—he managed a 93.6 mph average exit velocity in his pro debut—but he has significant swing-and-miss questions that could hold back his in-game power.
Fastest Runner: There aren’t many legitimate plus runners in this Mets draft class. Houck is an above-average runner, as is shortstop AJ Ewing (4C).
Best Defensive Player: Houck (1) is an impressive athlete who has all the tools necessary to stick on the left side of the infield, with impressive actions, glovework and above-average arm strength. There’s a chance he gets too big and physical to stick at shortstop, but if that happens he has a chance for plus defense at third base.
Best Fastball: McLean (3) averaged 94 mph this spring with Oklahoma and has been up to 98 mph at peak velocity while barely focusing on pitching full time. He threw just 3.1 innings in his pro debut this summer, but pitched in the mid-90s with a fastball that has above-average riding life.
Best Secondary Pitch: Righthander Noah Hall (7) earned 70-grade evaluations on his high-spin changeup. It’s a Devin Williams-esque pitch that has tremendous arm-side fading action and tumble and he used the pitch nearly a third of the time and generated a 55% miss rate with it.
Best Pro Debut: Both Ewing (4C) and shortstop Boston Baro (8) had solid pro debuts in limited samples, but outfielder Kellum Clark (20) got significantly more playing time and hit .262/.425/.369 between rookie ball and Low-A St. Lucie, with solid top-end exit velocity numbers.
Best Athlete: Houck (1) was a standout football player in addition to his baseball exploits. A three-star quarterback for Parkview High, he threw for over 2,100 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions during his senior season.
Most Intriguing Background: Righthander Brandon Sproat (2) was one of three players selected among the top 10 rounds in the 2022 draft who didn’t sign. The team who took him? The Mets. Undeterred a year later, New York selected him once again in 2023—this time a round earlier—and agreed to a deal with Sproat for $1,474,500. Sproat has plenty of arm talent but needs to sharpen his command and consistency.
Closest To The Majors: Sproat (2) served as Florida’s Friday night starter this spring and will enter his age-23 season when he makes his pro debut in 2024. There’s not an obvious “fast mover” in this draft class, as New York invested in a few high school players who need added physicality as well as a few arms coming off injury, but Sproat has the size and stuff to move quickly as an older draftee.
Best Day Three Pick (Or NDFA): Clark (20) has lots of power and a great 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame, so to get him signed in the 20th round is a bargain, no matter the swing-and-miss concerns he has in his profile. His pro debut was a great sign, and he could look like a nice bargain for $150,000.