With a few surprises early in the 2014 MLB Draft, the New York Mets had their pick of just about every player who was on their radar with the 10th overall pick, including shortstop Trea Turner of NC State and left-handed pitcher Sean Newcomb of the University of Hartford. But in the end, they took Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, a perfect fit for the organization.
First and foremost, the outfield is one of the Mets’ biggest needs coming into the draft, as the outfield has been a troubling spot for the Mets in the big leagues for the last several years. It’s been a position where they have few potential difference-makers in the minor leagues outside of their first round pick in 2011, Brandon Nimmo.
Not only does Conforto give the Mets a talented outfield prospect, but he also gives them a polished college hitter who has a chance to move quickly and reach the big leagues in a relatively short period of time.
The Mets have taken their time in trying to build the organization from the ground up since Sandy Alderson took over as the GM, as they’ve taken a high school position player in the first round of the draft in each of the last three years. But now that the Mets have one of the better farm systems in baseball, led by a deep contingent of pitchers, now is the perfect time to add an offensive player who can make an impact in the near future. That’s what they’re getting in Conforto.
On top of that, Conforto fits the mold of what the Mets look for in hitters; he shows patience at the plate with the ability to work counts, while also having the ability to hit for power. He has modest defensive abilities, but the Mets will make that tradeoff for a hitter who gets on base and hits the ball out of the ballpark.
The Mets do need to make a point to find left-handed pitching throughout the rest of the draft, but there’s nothing wrong with not addressing that need in the first round and instead taking a bat like Conforto. Many scouts viewed Conforto as the best college position player available in the draft, and with the Mets needing offense and needing it now, they simply could not afford to pass on the opportunity to draft him.