As we continue our look at the 2011 MLB Draft and potential prospects that could soon find their way to the New York Mets organization, we will go from John Sickels' mock draft (of SB Nation) to Keith Law's (of ESPN). Mock drafts are all we really have to to provide us with any insight as to what teams are thinking -- unlike the NBA and NFL drafts, there just isn't enough chatter about guys being connected to a team to make him close to a sure pick.
In his most recent draft (May 18), Law has the Mets going the high school route, taking right-handed pitcher Taylor Guerrieri of Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C. -- and also a commit to South Carolina.
Baseball America has Guerrieri going to the Milwaukee Brewers at No. 12 , while Sickels has Guerrieri falling to No. 17 to the Los Angeles Angels. Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein ranked Guerreri as his No. 8 best prospect, while Law had him at No. 11. It's obvious scouts think he has a good arm and is a great talent.
Law calls Guerrieri, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, one of the top high school arms in the draft (also with the best raw stuff) -- with "huge velocity" (mid-90s fastball) and a "knockout" curveball, plus a good frame which Goldstein says is the type that scouts "dream" on.
Even Baseball America's Conor Glassey described his curveball as "wicked" after an outing April 20 -- and says that he also threw a changeup and cutter during warmups but didn't need it in the game he watched, though the pitches show "potential." Goldstein is another scout who calls his curveball a "plus" pitch already.
Even on a day in which he wasn't at his best, Law said:
If he's regularly throwing 92-97, as multiple scouts have told me, with this little effort, he's a freak and I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Some senior scouts view Guerrieri's stuff as the best in the draft, but fatigue and some questions about makeup have pushed him out of top-10 consideration. These are definite concerns and he will certainly need to show that he can sustain his pitches deep into games and deep into the season. Goldstein also worries about his sloppy/complex mechanics and the need to develop a third pitch (change up).
For what it's worth, Sickels isn't necessarily down on Guerrieri but has him lower because of the depth and talent in the draft.
How Guerrieri fits in New York: While I will not pretend to have ever seen Guerrieri pitch or be a scout, I fully believe this is type of pick the Mets need to make. A high school arm with some projection, but already has the makings of a power arsenal sounds extremely appealing. Even though he needs to clean up his mechanics and work on his third pitch, really only No. 1 and No. 2 picks get taken with the full arsenal ready for action, and even they aren't always ready right away. It's the reason players go to the minors -- to get experience, learn and ultimately become better.
With a fastball already in the mid-90s coming from someone as young (plus the good pitcher's frame) as Guerrieri, we can certainly expect him to throw with that velocity as he matures -- with the possibility of it increasing it a tick. Ultimately, this guy's got stuff fans and scouts can "dream" on, but he doesn't seem to be a project by any means. There are far less concerns with him over John Stilson, who I discussed in the last post. A big fastball and an already plus curveball -- I'd be a fan of the Guerrieri if the Mets take him at No. 13.