With the MLB Draft less than two weeks away, it's time to kick it into gear and start breaking down some draft prospects and how they fit in with the New York Mets. To begin, SB Nation NY will break down some prospects based on the mock drafts of notable scouts in the industry. The first we will use is John Sickels, of Minor League Ball.
In his latest mock draft, which was conducted May 9, Sickels expects the Mets to select college pitcher John Stilson at No. 13.
Stilson, a right-hander, is a junior at Texas A&M. He's 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, and has thrown 91 1/3 innings this season, allowed 75 hits, walked 29 and struckout 92. He has a 5-2 record with a 1.68 ERA and 1.14 WHIP as of May 25. While Stilson began his career as a reliever (he had 114 strikeouts in 79 innings, which was very impressive), he's been very successful starting. Sickels doesn't think the Mets will change their "conservative draft philosophy" just yet, but thinks that Stilson has "plenty of upside and is moving up the charts."
Stilson works between 89-94 with his fastball, has a "nasty" slider, good changeup and "workable" curve, all with movement.
Sickels had this to say after seeing Stilson in a game in March:
Fastball started off 89-92 MPH which I thought was disappointing given reports of 99 MPH in the past, but the fastball increased to 92-94 as game progressed. Lots of movement with the fastball and he had some location issues early, though Oklahoma didn't take advantage. Secondary pitches include a nasty slider at 82-84 MPH, a curve at 79-80, and what looked like a changeup at 80 MPH. All of his pitches have movement. Uses an over-the-top delivery and his mechanics flew open a few times, though this got better as the game progressed. He works very fast, which I like, and keeps the game tempo up. He's not a perfect but I can see him as a first round pick.
ESPN's Keith law slots Stilson as his 39th-best prospect as of May 12, and has moved up incrementally in each of his top lists, saying at the end of April:
Starter with three pitches but projects as a reliever because of an arm action that elicits reviews like "ow." Has touched 99 mph out of the pen in prior years.
Even as his No. 39 prospect, Law has Stilson heading to the Rockies at No. 20.
How Stilson fits in New York: First of all, if the Mets go this route, I will be very disappointed, just based off what I've read as I've never seen him live and will not pretend to be a scout.
While Stilson seems to show glimpses of being overpowering, there also seems to be way too many ifs about his game. With the No. 13 pick, I don't want a guy with suspect arm action and projects as a reliever. While any pick is sure to buoy a very weak farm system, I believe that this Mets' administration needs to get their early picks right. Stilson will certainly be one of the top arms in a very weak system, though if Stilson is projecting as a reliever to scouts, with three years already under his belt already in college, he will not need a lot of time in the minors. But with his success as a starter and the value in that, any team that drafts him will undoubtedly try him out in that role initially, before they break away and push him into relief. Don't get me wrong, I think he has the makings of an impact back-end arm with a very hard fastball and a slider that's been described as "nasty" -- but I think he's due for a lot of refining (and proving scouts wrong) if he ends up in the rotation. I like that his pitches have been described as having a lot of movement and that's always a plus for any pitcher. I just think this pitcher reminds me of Mike Pelfrey -- someone who had great numbers in college (didn't need a lot of time in the minors), had a huge fastball, with a good slider, then has really been nothing more than adequate in the majors because he hasn't been able to add a go-to strikeout pitch.
Ultimately, Stilson's numbers at Texas A&M are great, but they don't really "wow" me enough to say he's a must pick in the first round. I hope the Mets pass on this idea, and think outside the box. Too many question marks for someone who needs to be a piece for eventually turning this thing around.