With a seemingly barren farm system, the Mets front office knew the importance of the 2008 draft. With three of the first 35 picks due to free agent losses, the Mets were poised to make some big splashes. We’ll go over how they did with each pick.
1:18- 1B/OF Ike Davis, Arizona State University
Davis is a big left-handed hitter who feasted on some weak college pitching. Although he has a sweet swing, Davis needs to develop wood-bat power and learn to take walks, two key aspects of being a slugging first baseman. Although the sample size is relatively small, Davis has thus far disappointed while playing for the Cyclones. Sure, his .274 average (entering Monday) looks nice, but Davis is yet to draw a walk thus far this season, giving him the unique distinction of an on-base average (.270) lower than his batting average. Davis has also yet to hit a homerun so far this season, and his seven doubles leave him with a mundane .370 slugging average. With a .640 OPS, Davis has not been showing Mets fans that he could be the next big thing at Shea.
The Mets could have left Davis off the board at this point, knowing they had the intention of picking up a hitter in Reese Havens a few slots later, and gone with a pitcher. A nice choice would have been lefty Christian Friedrich from Eastern Kentucky University. The 6’3 lefty has great stuff that also seems polished for a youngster and could lead him up an organization ladder quickly. Friedrich went 1:25 to the Rockies.
1:22- SS/2B Reese Havens, University of South Carolina
A lot of scouts and insiders alike praised this pick, and there’s little wonder as to why. Havens has the versatility to move around the diamond, slotted now as a second baseman, but could very well find himself as a catcher, a position the Mets are severely lacking within their farm system. Havens, a six-foot, one-inch left-handed hitter, has done well thus far playing alongside Davis in Brooklyn. Although his average (.240) might not seem like much, he’s showing the plate discipline and power that Davis should be looking to adapt. In just 50 at-bats, Havens has hit two homers and five doubles, good for a .420 slugging average. His plate discipline has been solid as well, as he has a 15:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio, making his average irrelevant due to his solid .367 OBP.
Even though the Mets took Davis, Havens seems like the right choice here. He’s a patient and intelligent hitter with a real quick bat from the left side and has the ability to move around on the field. If successfully converted to a catcher, he can provide some offense to a position that usually lacks any real power.
1A:33- SP Bradley Holt, UNC-Wilmington
The Mets took the same route the Florida Marlins have taken in recent years. Draft the biggest, baddest, hard-throwing pitcher that projects well with a high ceiling, and make sure your minor league coaches do what is necessary to make him a star. Brad Holt is a big, right-handed boy at 6’4” and can throw the ball in the mid-to-high 90s consistently. However, like most pitches his size with his stuff, he’s not polished just yet. Many scouts see Holt as a sleeper pick, because given the right coaching staff, he can become a front-end starter. His biggest problem is throwing strikes, and thus far in Brooklyn he has managed to do all right in that category. In 23 innings, he has walked 10 batters, which is definitely not overly encouraging, but not catastrophic, either. More impressive has been Holt’s dominance of batters when he is able to throw the ball for strikes. Holt has struck out 30 batters in just those 23 innings, a wonderful ratio. He’s yet to allow a homerun and he’s given up just 14 hits, contributing to a 1.96 ERA on the season.
The great thing about prospects is that we really can’t predict much with great accuracy. All we can hope to do is gain the most knowledge on the draft pool possible and make the most calculated and well-scouted decisions. Knowing who can be the next Todd Van Poppel or Tim Lincecum also has a great deal to do with luck. However, when the Mets look back at their first three picks, they just need to hope they don’t regret not picking the guy that was chosen next.