For the second consecutive choice, the New York Mets took a position player, plucking college catcher Kevin Plawecki with the 35th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.
New York begin its draft by selecting high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini with the 12th pick, and it took another player in the supplemental round (the pick gained by losing Jose Reyes) that seems to have a high "floor" in Purdue's junior backstop. The Mets seemed to go with filling an organizational need -- which isn't always a sound philosophy because players take years to reach the majors -- here rather than actually going after a player with the highest ceiling. If anything, they addressed the middle of the field with their Day 1 selections.
Plawecki, 21, can clearly hit, posting a .359 average with 20 doubles, seven home runs and 47 RBI this season. While he's great contact hitter -- his average over three seasons was .348 and he struck out just 28 times in college-- he didn't show off much of the power stroke, accumulating 17 round-trippers in college. MLB Network and other analysts compare him to A.J. Pierzynski.
ESPN's Keith Law, who ranked him 74th among prospects, has this to say in his scouting report about the newest member of the Mets:
Plawecki is the best prospect on a Purdue squad that won the Big 10 title for the first time in 103 years and hosted an NCAA regional for the first time as well. He's a fringy defensive catcher who's better at the mental aspects of the position than the physical aspects, but whose ability to make contact should help him become an above-average hitter for the position.
He has a largely linear swing, and while he keeps his weight back well he doesn't use it to drive the ball, instead making a lot of gap-to-gap contact; his swing can get long, which is particularly damaging due to his lack of power, and he'll need to keep it consistently shorter in pro ball. Behind the plate, his receiving is average but his arm is below-average, just not enough to force him off the position. He has an everyday catcher ceiling because of makeup and scarcity at the position he plays.
Again, the Mets go with a guy who, right now, analysts/scouts term as "an everyday" player, instead of one with big-time potential, and it would seem to be was a bit of an overdraft. Over the past few years, the minor-league system has been infused with a number of great pitching prospects, but it clearly was bereft of position players. With last year's first-round pick, Brandon Nimmo, Cecchini and Plawecki, the Mets have at least attempted to stock that aspect of the organization in the last two drafts. Of course, there's a lot that goes into drafting and player development, so there's always the chance these "everyday player"-types turns into a star. This wasn't the most "exciting" first round, but fans have to trust vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta and his staff ... and give his choices time to really show where they fit in.