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Top Ten Yankees Returns!

All you Crosstown faithful out there (you do exist, I presume) should surely remember my short lived series on the top 10 Yankees since 1918. My #10 was DiMaggio, which led to a little criticism that he was not higher, with one lifelong Yankee hater saying that Daig was everything a ballplayer should be and more. Well, that decision will draw far less controversy than the one I am about to make. If I don’t write another entry after this, it is because I have been bludgeoned to death by an angry mob of old-school Yankee fans.

The #9 greatest Yankee since 1918:

Derek Jeter: Shortstop: 1995-present

First, the numbers please.

1996: .314/.370/.430 w/ 10 HR, 78 RBI, 14 SB (157 G)
1997: .291/.370/.405 w/ 10 HR, 70 RBI, 23 SB (159 G)
1998: .324/.384/.481 w/ 19 HR, 84 RBI, 30 SB (149 G)
1999: .349/.438/.552 w/ 24 HR, 102 RBI, 19 SB (158 G)
2000: .339/.416/.481 w/ 15 HR, 73 RBI, 22 SB (148 G)
2001: .311/.377/.480 w/ 21 HR, 74 RBI, 27 SB (150 G)
2002: .297/.373/.421 w/ 18 HR, 75 RBI, 32 SB (157 G)
2003: .324/.393/.450 w/ 10 HR, 52 RBI, 11 SB (119 G-damn you Sean Burroughs!)
2004: .292/.352/.471 w/ 23 HR, 78 RBI, 23 SB (154 G)
2005: .309/.389/.450 w/ 19 HR, 70 RBI, 14 SB (159 G)

Add that all together and what do you get?
A lifetime average of .314, an OBP of .386, and 1936 H (he got to 2000 earlier this year). Perhaps not exactly HOF or Yankee great numbers when taken out of context. After all, he only averages about 20/80 per 162. I could go all ESPN Classic and say 5 reasons you can’t blame Derek Jeter for not putting up HOF numbers. No? Alright no. I’ll just state my case for why he’s the 9th greatest Yankee since 1918.
First, it’s important to understand that this list isn’t based solely on statistics. We all can at least agree that one’s greatness cannot be measured only by his stats. In basketball, they’re called intangibles. Clyde’ll tell you that Kurt Thomas had a lot of those. In baseball, as in every other sport, these behind the scene ‘stats’ are extremely important, and it is in these intangibles that Jeter’s greatness lies.
First, we look at DJ’s defense. He’s only won 2 GG, one in ’04 and one last year. But that doesn’t tell the entire story. Schuyla’ can attest to the fact that Maddux’s 63 Gold Gloves weren’t all merited. Before Jeter, there was Ozzie. During Jeter, unfortunately, was a man by the name of Omar Vizquel. Don’t get me wrong, Omah was great defensively, but right around that ’96-’01 range, people just decided that giving it to him was easier than having to make a real choice. I loved his remarkable DP’s, but he certainly did not deserve the 9 straight that he got. On top of this, Jeter patented the away from the base across the body in the air throw that 11 year olds across the nation constantly mimic in their backyard. Compound this with his amazing ability to field way out of his range (more on this later), and the fact that he only makes about 15 errors a year (great for a shortstop. In contrast, Ozzie made about 16/17 a year.), and you have one of the best defensive shortstops of this quarter century, along with Vizquel, Smith, and possibly Larkin.
Next, we find Jeter the captain. Jeter the veteran. Jeter the postseason hero. The Jeter who always seemed to play beyond his years. First things first. He has the most hits in postseason history. Granted, longer series played a factor, but that is still no small feat. Jeter is the foundation of arguably one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history. Old players left and new came, but Jeter was a constant. He doesn’t freeze up on the biggest stage either. Two time World Series MVP will attest to that. On top of all this, he is the ideal leader. He is razor straight, no scuffles, just positive words with even more positive results. He was the center of what is called the best team of all time (’98), and no matter how much he’s supposed to age, he keeps putting up consistently great numbers. Many counted him out after a few sub par years, but here he is this year, hitting for great average, on pace for 90 ribbies. He is their face, their soft spoken Capitan, and most importantly, he ALWAYS hustles. Most of all, he’s as clutch as anyone out there. Will anyone ever forget how he absolutely controlled that series against Oakland in ’01? Not only the Jeremy Giambi play, but in game 5, that ridiculous diving catch that all but sealed the series. Here’s a link to DJ’s ‘top ten clutch plays of all time’.
You gotta love Mr. November.
And finally, it’s his…greatness. The Aura, as I like to call it, that he emanates. He goes out there every day, and he expects to win. To most, never knowing what it’s like to lose could be a weakness, but to Jeter, it’s something that keeps him going. He does not want to learn what it’s like to lose. And he is the driving force behind this team. I am absolutely convinced that without Derek Jeter the 2006 Yankees are not a playoff team. He is one of the only ones left (him, Bernie, and Georgie) that still has the mentality that the dynasty carried with it. And without that mentality, that swagger, this team is exactly what everyone hopes it will be. A dislocated bunch of overpaid superstars. If being the glue holding a dynasty together isn’t great, I don’t know what is. And that’s why Derek Jeter is the 9th greatest Yankee since 1918. (Oh, and also being the ROY and a six time all star doesn’t hurt either.)

Next up on the list, #8.
Whitey Ford: Pitcher: 1950-1967

See ya then, folks.

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Blunder, Be Gone!

I was happy when it happened.

Even though we didn't get Tejada despite his history with Art Howe, we got the next best thing.

That winter day, I was excited. I watched the press conference. I watched him place a 1986 championship ring on and I listened as he would say his first and last English words: I love New York.

But it was all downhill from there. Kazuo was supposed to be a great shortstop. A power hitter, a stolen base threat and a slick fielder. Fan favorite Bobby Valentine, pioneer of Japanese baseball, told us he would surely be great.

Look at these numbers:
1996: .283/.307/.357/1 HR/29 RBI/50 SB/22 2B/5 3B (130 G)
1997: .309/.362/.431/7 HR/63 RBI/62 SB/23 2B/13 3B (135 G)
1998: .311/.370/.442/9 HR/58 RBI/43 SB/38 2B/5 3B (135 G)
1999: .330/.389/.482/15 HR/67 RBI/32 SB/29 2B/4 3B (135 G)
2000: .322/.372/.560/23 HR/90 RBI/26 SB/40 2B/11 3B (135 G)
2001: .308/.365/.496/24 HR/76 RBI/26 SB/28 2B/2 3B (140 G)
2002: .332/.389/.617/36 HR/87 RBI/33 SB/46 2B/6 3B (140 G)
2003: .305/.365/.549/33 HR/84 RBI/13 SB/36 2B/4 3B (140 G)

Pretty good for a player blossoming into his own, with power growing with age. Doubles machine with good power and above average SB. Now look at these numbers.

2004: .272/.331/.396/7 HR/44 RBI/14 SB/32 2B/2 3B (114 G)
2005: .255/.300/.352/3 HR/24 RBI/6 SB/9 2B/4 3B (87 G)
2006: .200/.235/.269/1 HR/7 RBI/2 SB/6 2B/0 3B (38 G)

They appear to have been put up by a different player. Vanished are the great HR and 2B numbers. Some of that comes with facing tougher American pitching. Japanese pitchers typically don't throw as hard, save for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

But Jason Grimsley made me think this week. Kaz's 2004, despite a terrible defensive effort at short, was not much of a difference from his previous numbers. Sure, it would have been a down year, and he was woeful slugging, but he would have hit about 12-15 HR and 40 2B if he didn't miss most of August and September. In 2005, MLB attached penalties to positive steroid tests. Power started to disappear. Justin Morneau hit more homers than Sammy Sosa. And Kaz Matsui's promising career at the plate also went away.

I didn't want to think it, at first, with Kaz's smiling face and undying work ethic. He never said one sour word about the fans who made it their goal to break his spirit. But like how accused juicer Miguel Tejada is a thoroughly natural 5' 9", 220 lb., weighing about 50 pounds more than his second baseman, Brian Roberts, of the same height, Kaz Matsui's numbers made no sense. I never saw him play in Japan and have only seen snippets of video, but his stats made little or no sense watching him steroid-free the last two years. I can't remember him getting more than ten balls over the past two years to the warning track on the fly.

One more important thing: There was no steroid testing in Japanese baseball when Matsui starred for the Seibu Lions. I liked Matsui and valued him as a player who was about helping the team. I know he was also not emotionally healthy in New York, as the pressurized environment clearly did not sit well with him. He performed admirably coming off the DL last September and won a job. He played well supplanting Anderson Hernandez at 2B at the start of this season. Things, as has been the pattern since arriving in America, went downhill for Kaz after that. This year he played much better defensively than ever before, outdoing Valentin and Woodward at second base, while trailing only faint memories of Anderson Hernandez's magic in the field and circus catches.

He failed at the plate soon after that. Although he smacked a key double against the Braves in the Victor Zambrano Remarkable Exit Game to gain a temporary reprieve, he fell from that point. And after Jose Valentin found his stroke, Kaz was officially supplanted at second base. Willie had to be careful to say that Valentin was not "the second baseman" if only because that would make Kaz Matsui's value zero minus whatever was left on his contract. If he could only play second, and Valentin was the second baseman, Kaz would be confined to pinch-hitting. And he's a career .185 pinch-hitter who clearly needs to see pitchers a bit before facing them.

Second base has been cursed for the Mets since Robbie Alomar replaced Edgardo Alfonzo, who coincidentally was also a likely steroid user. Alomar fell apart in New York, watching his average plummet and finally calling it a career during the middle of a 2005 Devil Rays spring training game. Alfonzo's career has also vanished too, as he has posted a .111 average on the season with the Angels and Blue Jays. He's driven in 4 runs in 28 games.

Kaz and most of what's left on his contract for journeyman utilityman Eli Marrero isn't exactly a fair deal in the upside category. He's a .244 career hitter with a mere 64 HR to his name. He's played for the Cardinals, Braves, Orioles, Royals and Rockies, the last four teams coming in the last four years. Marrero is versatile, though, having played left field and right field this year as well as catcher and first base. Marrero's niches are already filled nicely on the team by Endy Chavez, Lastings Milledge, Julio Franco and Ramon Castro, but the Mets made this trade for one reason. He's not Kaz Matsui. He won't inspire booing unless he fails, and even in that case it will certainly not contain the tenacity and ferocity that Kaz's did.

This blog wishes the former Met best of luck in Colorado Springs (AAA) while he tunes up as an everyday player at shortstop and second base. In all honesty, it's a situation which will benefit both parties. Matsui can get some everyday time in the thin air and the Rockies can take a free gamble on an athletic player who can spell starting shortstop Clint Barmes, who is presently batting .212. All in all, the Kaz Matsui experiment was a gamble that didn't pay off. But everyone involved deserves a little bit of credit for trying. Best of luck to JoVal as well.


I'm Back!

Yankees DL List:
O. Dotel 15-day DL
T. Sturtze 60-day DL
D. Rasner 15-day DL
H. Matsui 15-day DL
B. Crosby 15-day DL
G. Sheffield 15-day DL
S. Chacon 15-day DL
C. Pavano 15-day DL
Goodness gracious me. That is horrendous. Add Derek and Johnny, and Mariano (not on the DL, but 'hurt'), anf you've got a list longer than Santa's. I mean, we called up Kevin Thompson for Chrissakes. I get everyone's love interest with him, but he's not ready yet. Oh, I almost forgot. Nick Green!

Whew, that Sawx game was ugly. (Except for Bernie's shot. Hooray.) Congrats, Schill, you’re the winningest pitcher in the AL. God that makes me sick. Now we get ready for the historically slow starting A’s, who sit three and a half back of the Rangers. The A’s were my pick to win the West, and I still feel that if they can make it to the all star break at .500, they’re a lock. They’re playing in an AL West without a quality team. The Rangers will fade as they always do, bogged down by a consistent lack of pitching. The Mariners are still developing out there, and are no way close to ready to make any sort of run. And the Angels… well, they’re not as bad as everyone makes them out to be, but they are still far too old with a bunch of underachievers. That being said, Oakland isn’t exactly money either, but they are the best of the bunch. They have a lot of young, quality pitching, a talented infield, and a force in the Big Hurt. We’ll lose tonight with The Unit on the hill, as even with those two good starts against Detroit and Baltimore, he still a subpar pitcher. I like Danny Haren, he’s got some good pitches. Look for Moose to beat Loaiza behind some strong run support and yet ANOTHER quality start. And finally, I see Yankee punching bag Barry Zito getting the monkey off his back, beating off the DL Chacon in a highly contested game.
A’s Take Two Out of Three, and we’ll head to Cleveland a half game back of the Sawx.

Well, it’s all going downhill after this Grimsley affair. It has been revealed that Yank favorite Jim Leyritz (I know I loved him), was a cheater. Honestly, I hope we set a precedent by NOT forgiving but accepting it. If every user that comes forth is met with instantaneous hatred, we’re gonna see a whole lot less truth than if we understand that these men made some bad choices. Leyritz was a scrapper, a fighter, and a cheater. He deserves whatever criticism he receives, but don’t turn your back on him. We’re going to be seeing many more stories identical to his. If anything, he should be praised for being a pioneer. Hopefully, he will be the first of many to come forth.

“Oh, it’s not a serious injury!” and, “Sheff just doesn’t care about the game.” “No possibility of a break.” Well, not quite. A torn ligament. Wait a second before you criticize the guy, he may not have always been the greatest or forthright teammate and player, but at least give him a chance. He’s not all bad, and he was sitting out for a reason. Now, he’s out until September, and we’ll have to make due with a right fielder by committee. I don’t really think we’ll miss him.

Oh, right. I almost forgot to mention it. Johnny Drennen. Ah… how sweet it is. Keep that ball, kid, you just hit a dinger off the most hated pitcher in baseball. Let’s hope this is the first of many for the Rocket. (Oh, and by the way, I’m not bitter; I honestly did not want him in the Bronx. He’s a little punk, or a big punk, I suppose. I hope the Stros get burned for giving him a job.)



Hello... Didnt See You Come In

I love rainy days. Apparently, the same does not apply for Yankee Stadium, so we’ll have to settle for a 3 game sweep. I find it amazing how even with all the publicity the Mets have been receiving, we still have a better record. And that’s in a division that doesn’t include two league punching bags like the Fins and Nats. Could there be a change in the cards? A day where Unit Signs with Yankees is relegated to 2nd tier while Pedro Signs with Mets takes the limelight? That would certainly be interesting. A world in which the Mets were the most important baseball team in New York. It could be just around the corner…

This Jason Grimsley thing has absolutely BLOWN ME OUT OF THE WATER. I mean WHO! (WHO I ask you?) would ever have suspected that a drug that these PROFESSIONALS would be using a performance enhancing drug that the MLB doesn’t test for? I guess my foresight isn’t what it used it be. The funniest part is probably the reaction of all those users out there. Cant you imagine them all scurrying around, wondering ‘who’s gonna be the one to bust us? Al? Miggy? Sammy? BAM! One dose of a 38 year old sub-par Diamondback pitcher and it all goes to hell. Classic. More on this in the coming days.


  • Steve Kline

  • Darren Oliver

  • Jason Kendall

...seriously now...

  • Julio Franco! (I’m crazy)

  • Miguel Tejada

  • David Ortiz (why is his name not mentioned more frequently?)

  • Albert Pujols (sorry all you “he’s good for the game” people)

  • Sammy Sosa (yeah he’s in the past but he’s gotta be mentioned)

  • Jim Thome

  • Jason Giambi

  • Some struggling middle reliever

  • Every self-respecting power hitter in the AL not on the Yankees.

I am personally proud of the fact that Miguel Cairo, Andy Phillips, oft injured Bubba and Melky have all at one point been an integral part of our team. I mean it’s unbelievable. The worst part is, I don’t know when it happened, but at one point ONE too many people noticed that we’re gritting out ballgames and now everyone hates us for it. I know it’s chic to hate the Yankees, but we’re doing a lot of good things out there. It’s outstanding actually that we continue to win ball games with a make shift outfield. These players are going out there, many of them injured, and playing their ass off, proving that Sheff and Idiot are expendable and that, as much as we love Godzilla, he’s replaceable. And yet, the same way that our wins come from our mentality, so does the hatred. People are addicting to hating them. It’s a little frightening, and frankly, pathetic. There’s this whole idea that because George spends so much, the media is always picking on Goliath. Well what happens when Goliath isn’t Goliath anymore? Assuming DJ and Idiot don’t play, we’re looking at non-injured former starters in a declining Jorge, developing Robby, recovering Giambi and underachieving (in theory)/despised A-Rod. Give it up.

Oh and speaking of DJ, how are all those people who were calling him underrated doing now? It was one of the biggest travesties I’ve ever seen, and Jeter his doing his part every day to dispel the notion. In my humble opinion, he is the best shortstop in the league when you evaluate every facet of the game. Miguel Tejada is nice, but can he play the defense DJ can? Oh and what about that constantly overrated QUALITY YOUNGSTER Michael Young? I don’t understand everyone’s infatuation with the fellow. The two are practically the same age, contrary to popular belief, and Jeter is better in every significant statistical category. He’s got an OPS of .930. He’s hitting .344, good for 4th in the AL. (Oh and by the way, what is the whole Joe Mauer business? Is he actually good? I thought that was just a tale people told their children to help them sleep at night.)

Have a little crow, all you major leaguers who called him overrated. He’s the perfect face for the most recognizable team in sports, a good guy, a great player. And, as Schuyla would tell you, he’s from a quality interracial couple. What’s the problem?

Kudos to Schuyla on that ridiculously extensive draft coverage. In all honesty, I’m not much of a draftaholic, or even a prospectaholic. If it’s not happening in the bigs, then I probably don’t care. My only insights are the fact that we were right to emphasize pitching, as that is what we’ll be lacking in in about 5 years, I like this Trojan fellow, Kennedy, and Joba is arguably the strangest name I have ever encountered. Joba? Jesus that’s weird.

Alright that’s all for now. Check out Yanks Sawx tomorrow on the Deuce.

Peace + Bigups


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The Inning from Hell

The omens were there.

I told Willie to start getting Pedro to release his vampire incantations and voodoo curses on the mound. Didn't work.

Instead of Willie going to the religious Aaron Heilman, a graduate of the Catholic university Notre Dame, he went to the sinner Heath Bell. His name can be shortened to H. Bell, which, provided the omission of a single letter, can become H ell.

The inning was from hell. Come on. It wasn't the top of the 6th inning, like heaven up high.

It was the bottom of the sixth. Hell.

6th year.
6th month.
6th day.
6th inning.
6 runs.
6 run lead.

It was coming, Willie. You just couldn't see it.

I'm not going to watch the rest of the game, even if they are the comeback kids. I'll probably spontaneously combust somehow.

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Mets Draft Liveblogging

I divided the liveblogging and the history of 62 picks into separate articles. I'll keep this updated as the Mets make their picks, so keep checking back.

Pick #62-- The Mets selected Villanova RHP Kevin Mulvey. Hard thrower, 6' 2" righty in a developing program. I like the pick, as it's pretty safe. The numbers may not be pretty, but he will complement Humber and Pelfrey nicely as hard-throwing college righties in the system. He was ranked as the 22nd best pitcher in the draft by BA and has been clocked at 94 MPH while constantly 88-92. Throws a curve and a a changeup as out pitches against lefties; they batted only .214 against him this year.

Pick #94-- The Mets selected Wright State University RHP Joseph Smith. Drafting the prophet of the Church of Latter-Day Saints on 6-6-06? Somebody running things in Flushing has a sense of humor. He's a reliever who comes from a sidearm delivery who can throw in the low 90s with a good slider and change. Also 6' 2". ERA of 0.98 in 55 innings with a BAA of .179. Only 16 walks compared to 63 strikeouts. Allowed 0 HR.

Pick #124-- The Mets selected Salt Lake Community College RHP John Holdzkom. Big kid, 6' 8", drafted in the 15th round by the Mariners last year out of Rancho Cucamonga HS in CA. Did not sign. 3-2 with a 4.66 ERA there this year in 10 G (9 starts). Struck out 44 in 31.2 innings and only allowed 18 H. BAA of .167, but allowed 40 walks in that span. Control is biggest problem. Has been clocked at 96+ MPH. Says hobbies are "power-walking, line-dancing, making the world a
better place." (source: SLCC baseball page; go to the bottom of the page)

Pick #154-- The Mets selected University of Rhode Island RHP Steve Holmes. Similiar build to the first two. Has been incredibly successful in college, finishing off 2006 with a 10-2 record and 1.30 ERA. He threw 5 CG in his 13 starts and uses his average stuff well on the mound. Struck out 93 in 104 innings pitched while allowing 72 hits and 20 walks for a BAA of .191. However, he keeps the ball down well and allowed only one homer and four doubles on the year. Hit 14 men. Career leader in WPCT at URI. Good safe fourth round pick. Comparable to Brian Bannister stuff-wise.

Pick #184-- The Mets selected Pasadena (TX) Memorial High School RHP Scott Schafer. He is a 6' 1" righty who dominated in high school last year going 5-1 in 10 games (6 starts). The righty had a BAA of .172 with a dominant 64 K in 33.2 innings of work. He was named to the Texas High School Baseball All-Star Team and will pitch for them on June 18.

Pick #214-- The Mets selected Greenwood (AR) High School OF Daniel Stegall. He's 6' 3" and is strong from the left-hand side of the plate. He hit .500 this year. He holds school records in almost everything. However, he has signed to play football at Miami (The U), one of the nation's top programs. This may mean that he's unlikely to sign.

Pick #244-- The Mets selected Barton County Community College RHP Nathan Hedrick. He's a 6' 10" pitcher who likes to bring the heat. He was a reliever for BCCC, working in 27 games, all in relief. He went 6-1 with 10 saves, whiffing 41 but walking 18 in 36.2 innings of work. His BAA was a strong .198 and he allowed 0 HR on the year.

Pick #274-- The Mets selected Klein (TX) HS OF Jeremy Barfield. He's a big kid as well, 6' 5", 240 lb. He's got good power and strong bloodlines as well, as his father Jesse used to play in the big leagues and his brother Josh is going strong at second base for the Padres. Barfield will most likely be confined to first base, but if he's anything like his younger brother, he should play well there defensively and provide some pop. A good pick for a ninth rounder.

Pick #304-- The Mets selected Western Nebraska Community College RHP Phillips Orta. Lest you forget how much Omar Minaya likes last names for first names, he signs a guy named Phillips. He's a 6' 2", 175 lb. RHP who consistently throws 88-92 with his fastball. He started 11 games this year (3-6) and struck out 70 in 54 innings of work. He, like the bulk of this draft class, allowed 0 HR on the year. The batting average against Orta, though, was a rather high .261. He also walked 22. A good pick for strikeout potential, but a relatively low ceiling on the whole.

Pick #334-- The Mets selected Alpharetta (GA) HS RHP Andrew Moye. He's 6' 5" with a high ceiling. He was named one of the Top 150 recruits from the Class of 2006 by Baseball America. Last season he went 8-2 with 4 saves. He posted a 2.04 ERA in 72.1 innings, allowing 19 walks, 51 hits and whiffing 71. He also has plus power, as he hit homers in bunches while hitting last year. A solid pick.

Pick #364-- The Mets selected Simi Valley (CA) HS 3B Nick Giarraputo. He's 6' 4" and bats and throws right-handed. The Simi Valley HS program has generated both of the Weaver brothers (Jeff and Jered). Giarraputo played well, hitting .446 in 28 games with 7 HR and 35 RBI. Giarraputo also was the star pitcher for the team, going 7-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 28 G (10 starts). Giarraputo is a nice player, but it all depends on whether or not these numbers will translate to a higher level. I'm guessing not. Often California pitchers are not the cream of the nation's crop and that is expressed by his team's average being at a solid .335.

Pick #394-- The Mets selected Jacksonville University 3B Daniel Murphy, a four-year college player. He's about average size, 6' 1", 210 lbs. His specialty is contact hitting. He's a line drive hitter who hit .398 on the year and struck out a mere 13 times in 221 AB. He displayed limited power, though, with only 6 HR and 10 2B. He did, however, steal 15 bases. Reminds me of Jeff Keppinger a little except he bats from the left-handed side of the plate. He doesn't project very well, though, as he's a line drive hitter at a power position. He'll have to hit well above .300 to stick at the MLB level.

Pick #424-- The Mets selected College of Southern Idaho LHP Duane Privett. Although the team's website refers to him as Todd Privett and his brother Zak Privett is also a pitcher on the team, this lefty was undeniably nasty. He posted an ERA of 0.92 in 14 starts, while whiffing 84 in 78.2 innings. He went 6-3 with a BAA of .167 and allowed a mere 46 hits and 26 walks. Duane/Todd made All-NJCAA Third Team this year, which isn't all that bad for a fourteenth-rounder.

Pick #454-- The Mets selected Park Vista (FL) Community High School C Justin Dalles. He's a 6' 2" catcher with good power. He hit .411 with 6 HR and 32 RBI this year. He is also a strong leader of good character who handles his pitchers very well. Expect him to renege on his early signing with Florida Atlantic because of his desire to catch professionally.

Pick #484-- The Mets selected Davis & Elkins College IF/RHP Tobi Stoner. A 6' 2" righty who's 22 years old but pitched well this year. He went 8-6 with a 2.90 ERA in 18 games (12 starts, 10 CG) and also recorded 3 saves. He was not a dominant pitcher, allowing 85 hits in 90 IP with 7 HR allowed. He was a good hitter, though, batting .465 in 127 AB. He slugged .803, had 21 extra base hits and drove in 29 runs. However, he had a fielding percentage below .900, which is not strong for a position player. A nice 16th rounder, though, because of the good numbers for the year.

Pick #514-- The Mets selected St. Edward's University C Stephen Puhl. Puhl is a switch-hitting catcher who's not all that big, but he has good bloodlines, as his father Terry was an outfielder for Houston from 1977 to 1991. He hit a solid .333 with a .432 OBP. He led the team with 14 doubles and also threw out about half of the runners who tried to steal on him.

Pick #544-- The Mets selected University of Kansas SS Ritchie Price. He's a bit of a scrappy player, at 6' 2" and 185 lbs. who holds the school's record in hit by pitch. He's a pretty good fielding shortstop and a line drive hitter. He started every game for Kansas this year and was captain of the team, while hitting .286 with 2 HR and 33 RBI. He's a solid player, no doubt, and a nice low-risk player at this point to stock the farm system. Probably projects best as a Joe McUseless type.

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Since the first MLB Amateur Draft in 1966, there have been teams picking at #62. In 2006, the Mets have the honor of selecting at 62. I thought it would be best to gather information about who the Mets would pick and what company they would be in by analyzing past number 62 picks and those players drafted before them. Just a note, when I count players who are current major leaguers, I count players on 15-day DLs but not on 60-day DLs or minor-league stints.
I'll be filling in the other players periodically tomorrow as well as analyzing each Mets pick tomorrow.

Good win tonight. Let's win today and tomorrow in the draftrooms.

2005-Stephen Head

  • A first baseman/pitcher from U Mississippi drafted by the Indians. Has one of the many porn star-sounding names of #62 picks in the draft. Hit .333 or better in all three years of college. Hit .432 in the NY-Penn League last year.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Mike Pelfrey (#9).

2004-Jason Jaramillo

  • Catcher snagged from Oklahoma State by the Phillies. Better players grabbed in the slots right below him, including Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia, A's C Kurt Suzuki and former Met prospect Gaby Hernandez.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Philip Humber (#3) and P Matt Durkin (#44).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Jaramillo include P Justin Verlander (#2, Tigers), P Jered Weaver (#12, Angels), P Taylor Tankersley (27, Marlins) and Huston Street (41, A's).

2003-Andre Ethier

  • Outfielder picked by the A's and dealt to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley. He is playing LF against the Mets as I write this.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Lastings Milledge (#12).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Ethier include 2B Rickie Weeks (#2, Brewers), OF Nick Markakis (#7, Orioles), P Paul Maholm (#8, Pirates), Milledge, 2B Aaron Hill (#13, Blue Jays), OF Brian Anderson (#15, White Sox), 1B Conor Jackson (#19, Diamondbacks), P Chad Cordero (#20, Expos), P David Aardsma (#22, Giants), OF Matt Murton (32, Red Sox), OF Shane Costa (#42, Royals) and P Logan Kensing (#53, Marlins).

2002-Justin Jones

  • Justin was selected by the Cubs out of Kellam HS in Virginia. The highest level he has pitched at so far is High-A Fort Myers, where he spent all of last year.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Scott Kazmir (#15) (though I think this is a typo because there's no way the Mets would have traded him). They also traded for P Royce Ring (#18, White Sox).

  • Current major leaguers ahead of Jones include P Adam Loewen (#4, Orioles), P Zack Greinke (#6, Royals), 1B Prince Fielder (#7, Brewers), P Jeff Francis (#9, Rockies), OF Jeremy Hermida (#11, Marlins), SS Khalil Greene (#13, Padres), Kazmir, OF Nick Swisher (#16, Athletics), P Cole Hamels (#17, Phillies), OF Jeff Francoeur (#23, Braves), P Joe Blanton (#24, Athletics), P Matt Cain (#25, Giants), 3B Mark Teahen (#39, Athletics), P Darrell Rasner (#46, Expos), P Dave Bush (#55, Blue Jays), OF Jeremy Reed (#59, White Sox), P Jonathan Broxton (#60, Dodgers) and P Jesse Crain (#61, Twins).

  • This draft was covered by Michael Lewis in the book Moneyball. He covered the Oakland GM Billy Beane as he managed his many 1st round selections. Aside from Swisher, Blanton, and Teahen, the A's also selected IF John McCurdy (#26), P Ben Fritz (#30), C Jeremy Brown (#35) and P Stephen Obenchain (#37). None of these players made the majors.

2001-Shelley Duncan

  • The Yankees selected the outfielder from U of Arizona with the 62nd pick in what was a pretty bad draft. Duncan has disappointed, hitting .240 as a 25 year-old in his first season at AA.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Aaron Heilman (#18) and 3B David Wright (#38).

  • Major leaguers ahead of Duncan include C Joe Mauer (#1, Twins), P Mark Prior (#2, Cubs), P Gavin Floyd (#4, Phillies), 3B Mark Teixeira (#5, Rangers), SS Chris Burke (#10, Astros), 1B Casey Kotchman (#13, Angels), OF Gabe Gross (15, Blue Jays), Heilman, P Brad Hennessey (#21, Giants), P Macay McBride (#24, Braves), SS Bobby Crosby (#25, Athletics), P Jeremy Bonderman (#26, Athletics), P Noah Lowry (#30, Giants), C Jeff Mathis (#33, Angels), P John Rheinecker (#37, Athletics), Wright, P Andy Sisco (#46, Cubs), C Rene Rivera (#49, Mariners), SS J.J. Hardy (#56, Brewers) and 3B Dallas McPherson (#57, Angels).

  • NL corner infielders Chad Tracy (#218) and Ryan Howard (#140) were taken in this draft as well as Chicago Bears RB Cedric Benson (#370, Dodgers).

2000-Manny Delcarmen

  • Delcarmen is a rare bright spot in this draft, often called one of the worst in history. He was selected out of West Roxbury High in MA by the Red Sox. Their native son has been up and down, but has been a successful pitcher throughout the minors for the most part.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Billy Traber (#16) and P Bob Keppel (#36).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Delcarmen include 1B Adrian Gonzalez (#1, Marlins), OF Rocco Baldelli (#6, Devil Rays), OF Joe Borchard (#12, White Sox), 2B Chase Utley (#15, Phillies), P Boof Bonser (#21, Giants), P Adam Wainwright (#29, Braves), P Aaron Heilman (#31, Twins) (did not sign), Keppel, 3B/SS Xavier Nady (#49, Padres), P Brian Tallet (#55, Indians), SS-OF Freddie Bynum (#60, Athletics) and 3B Lance Niekro (#61, Giants).

  • The players selected with the picks #2-4 (P Adam Johnson, SS Luis Montanez, P Mike Stodolka) have appeared in 1 MLB game combined during the 2002-present span.

1999-John Thomas

  • Drafted out of high school in Orcutt, CA, the Giants prospect has been a disappointment. He posted a 6.92 ERA in 39 games as a 24 year-old in AA New Britain. He also pitched in one game at AAA, the furthest he has ever been in baseball.

  • Ahead of him the Mets did not have a draft pick.

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Thomas include P Josh Beckett (#2, Marlins), C Eric Munson (#3, Tigers), P Barry Zito (#9, Athletics), P Ben Sheets (#10, Brewers), P Brett Myers (#12, Phillies), P Jason Jennings (#16, Rockies), OF Alexis Rios (#19, Blue Jays), OF Larry Bigbie (#21, Orioles), P Mike MacDougal (#25, Royals), OF Jason Repko (#37, Dodgers), P Jimmy Gobble (#43, Royals), SS Brian Roberts (#50, Orioles), OF Carl Crawford (#52, Devil Rays), C Ryan Doumit (#59, Pirates) and P Josh Johnson (#61, Brewers).

  • Former Met folk hero Matt Ginter (#22, White Sox) and Oxymoron-in-Chief Angel Pagan (#136, Mets) were also selected in this draft.

1998-Jeff Goldbach

  • A catcher drafted out of high school by the Cubs, he has failed to produce. He has played independent baseball since 2003. In his last season of organized baseball, he hit .178 for Texas' AA affiliate in 2003.

  • Ahead of him the Mets drafted OF Jason Tyner (#21).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Goldbach include 1B Pat Burrell (#1, Phillies), P Mark Mulder (#2, Athletics), OF Corey Patterson (#3, Cubs), OF J.D. Drew (#5, Cardinals), OF Austin Kearns (#7, Reds), 3B Felipe Lopez (#8, Blue Jays), SS Adam Everett (#12, Red Sox), P Jeff Weaver (#14, Tigers), P Brad Lidge (#17, Astros), P Seth Etherton (#18, Angels), P C.C. Sabathia (#20, Indians), P Matt Thornton (#22, Mariners), OF Bubba Crosby (#23, Dodgers), OF Brad Wilkerson (#33, Expos), OF Aaron Rowand (#35, White Sox), P Mark Prior (#43, Yankees) (did not sign), C Gerald Laird (#45, Athletics), OF Adam Dunn (#50, Reds), P Matt Belisle (#52, Braves), P Gary Majewski (#59, White Sox) and P Jermaine Van Buren (#60, Rockies).

  • Also drafted above Goldbach were former Met Eric Valent (#42, Phillies) and Chicago Bears third-string QB Chad Hutchinson (#48, Cardinals).

1997-Jeff Weaver

  • Weaver held out in this draft, like any self-respecting Scott Boras client would do. After being selected at 62 by the White Sox, he would go to the Tigers at #5 the next year. The righty has been a disappointment in the big leagues but is still an above-average starting pitcher in theory.

  • Ahead of him the Mets drafted P Geoff Goetz (#6) and P Tyler Walker (#58).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Weaver include OF J.D. Drew (#2, Phillies) (did not sign), 3B/P Troy Glaus (#3, Angels), P Jason Grilli (#4, Giants), OF Vernon Wells (#5, Blue Jays), SS/P Michael Cuddyer (#9, Twins), P Jon Garland (#10, Cubs), OF Lance Berkman (#16, Astros), SS Adam Kennedy (#20, Cardinals), C Matt LeCroy (#50, Twins), P Randy Wolf (#54, Phillies), P Scott Linebrink (#56, Giants), Walker and Weaver.

  • Met reliever Heath Bell was selected in Round 69 with the 1583rd overall pick by Tampa Bay.

1996-Eric Munson

  • Eric Munson is a professional bum, whose highest single-season average was .240, with the Tigers. He has caught on this year as a backup catcher for Houston. Munson didn't sign here. He was selected in 1999 by the Tigers with the #3 overall pick at which point he signed on.

  • Ahead of him the Mets drafted OF Robert Stratton (#13) and P Brendan Behn (#48).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Munson include P Kris Benson (#1, Pirates), 1B Travis Lee (#2, Twins), P Braden Looper (#3, Cardinals), P John Patterson (#5, Expos), OF Mark Kotsay (#9, Marlins), 3B Eric Chavez (#10, Athletics), P Eric Milton (#20, Yankees), P Jake Westbrook (#21, Rockies), P Gil Meche (#22, Mariners), P Chris Reitsma (#34, Red Sox), P Jason Marquis (#35, Braves), OF Jacque Jones (#37, Twins), OF Milton Bradley (#40, Expos), SS Jimmy Rollins (#46, Phillies) and OF Josh Paul (#47, White Sox).

  • Selected in this draft was former Dallas/Jets QB/Pothead Quincy Carter (#52, Cubs). In this draft, Lee and Patterson used loopholes which made them free agents after not signing with the teams that drafted them. Both inked with the expansion Diamondbacks and have been disappointments to this point.

1995-Greg Wooten

  • A righty drafted out of Portland State University by the Mariners who used to pitch for my hometown New Haven Ravens (who used to exist). The Mariners organization was really high on the guy, but he got shelled as a 28 year-old in AAA and is not on the big league roster.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected SS Ryan Jaroncyk (#18) and P/SS Brett Herbison (#48).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Wooten include OF Darin Erstad (#1, Angels), OF Jose Cruz, Jr. (#3, Mariners), P Kerry Wood (#4, Cubs), 1B/P Todd Helton (#8, Rockies), OF Geoff Jenkins (#9, Brewers), P Matt Morris (#12, Cardinals), P Mark Redman (#13, Twins), P Roy Halladay (#17, Blue Jays), SS Michael Barrett (#28, Expos), P Jarrod Washburn (#31, Angels), SS Mark Bellhorn (#35, Athletics), 2B Marlon Anderson (#42, Phillies), C Craig Wilson (#47, Blue Jays), OF Carlos Beltran (#49, Royals), 1B Sean Casey (#53, Indians) and P Brett Tomko (#54, Reds).

  • Selected with the 19th pick in the draft by the Kansas City Royals? None other than toolsy outfielder Juan LeBron, who the Mets acquired in 1998 for Joe Randa. He never made the majors. Randa ruined the 2005 season.

1994-John Crowther

  • This righty was drafted out of Coker College by the Toronto Blue Jays as a reliever. He spent three years in the system, at which point he apparently vanished. He resurfaced in 2005 pitching for the Sioux Falls Canaries in the Independent League. His ERA was 12.79.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Paul Wilson (#1), 1B/OF Terrence Long (#20), OF Jay Payton (#29) and P Sean Johnston (#35). They also used pick #63 on C Matt LeCroy, who did not sign.

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Crowther include Wilson, P Dustin Hermanson (#3, Padres), 2B Todd Walker (#8, Twins), P Jaret Wright (#10, Indians), SS Nomar Garciaparra (#12, Red Sox), C Paul Konerko (#13, Dodgers), OF Jason Varitek (#14, Mariners), C Ramon Castro (#18, Astros), Long, P/1B Scott Elarton (#25, Astros), Payton and 3B/P Troy Glaus (#37, Padres) (did not sign).

  • Selected by the Florida Marlins with the #5 pick was SS Josh Booty, who appeared in 13 games for Florida over his career, but never succeeded as a baseball player. He went to quarterback at LSU and was a third-stringer on the Browns a couple of years ago. He has since retired.

1993-Scott Sullivan

  • Sullivan was a MLB-ready reliever drafted out of Auburn. He middled his entire career in the bigs, pitching ten years and compiling a 40-28 relief record with a 3.98 career ERA. He only recorded 9 saves.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Kirk Presley (#8) and P Eric Ludwick (#50).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Sullivan include SS Alex Rodriguez (#1, Mariners), OF Trot Nixon (#7, Red Sox), P Billy Wagner (#12, Astros), 1B Derrek Lee (#14, Padres), P Chris Carpenter (#15, Blue Jays), OF Torii Hunter (#20, Twins), OF Jason Varitek (#21, Twins) (did not sign), P John Wasdin (#25, Athletics), P Jamey Wright (#28, Rockies), 3B Scott Rolen (#46, Phillies), P Jeff Suppan (#49, Red Sox), P Jay Witasick (#58, Cardinals) and 3B Greg Norton (#59, White Sox).

  • A few Mets were involved in this draft. With pick #93, the Twins selected 3B Jose Valentin from Manati, PR. With pick #690, the Dodgers selected C Paul Lo Duca from Arizona State.

1992-A.J. Hinch

  • Hinch was a catcher drafted by the White Sox who didn't sign. He went to Stanford and was selected by Oakland with a third rounder in 1996. He was a journeyman backup catcher who played in 4 games for Philadelphia in 2004 and hung 'em up, batting .182. Also played with KC, Oakland and Detroit.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected SS/OF Preston Wilson (#9), P/OF Chris Roberts (#18) and P Jon Ward (#30).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Hinch include 3B Phil Nevin (#1, Astros), SS Derek Jeter (#6), P Ron Villone (#14, Mariners), OF Shannon Stewart (#19, Blue Jays), P Rick Helling (#22, Rangers), OF Jason Kendall (#23, Pirates), OF Johnny Damon (#35, Royals), P Jon Lieber (#44, Royals), 1B/OF Todd Helton (#55, Padres) (did not sign) and 3B Jason Giambi (#58, Athletics).

  • Pro Bowl Denver Broncos Safety John Lynch was drafted by the Marlins with the #66 pick as a pitcher out of Stanford. He chose football.

1991-Terrell Lowery

  • Lowery, drafted by the Rangers out of Loyola Marymount, eventually made it to the big leagues in 1997 as a utility outfielder with the Cubs. He spent two years on the Cubs before signing with the Devil Rays in 1999. He played for the Giants in 2000. No news from him since. Lowery was also a Met minor leaguer. The Mets dealt Damon Buford to acquire him in 1996 but then lost him in the the Rule V draft later that year before he ever played a game for the big club.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Al Shirley (#18) and P Bobby J. Jones (#41) (though Bobby M. Jones was also drafted this year). They also drafted P Bill Pulsipher with their #65 pick.

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Lowery include SS/OF Dmitri Young (#4, Cardinals), P Shawn Estes (#11, Mariners), 3B/OF Manny Ramirez (#13, Indians), 1B Cliff Floyd (#14, Expos), OF Shawn Green (#16, Blue Jays), 1B Eduardo Perez (#17, Angels), P Aaron Sele (#23, Red Sox), P Trever Miller (#41, Tigers) and OF Scott Hatteberg (#43, Red Sox).

1990-Chris Weinke

  • The Toronto Blue Jays selected the third baseman out of Cretin High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. He inked with them and spent six years in their farm system, reaching the AAA level. He got sick of it, though, and opted to go to FSU as a 24 year-old freshman. In 1998, he lead the Seminoles to #2 in the country, but suffered a season-ending neck injury. In 1999, he and the 'Noles beat Ron Mexico and Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, after which they won the national championship and Weinke the Heisman Trophy. He also took FSU to the title game in 2000. Currently he backs up Jake Delhomme on the Carolina Panthers.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Jeromy Burnitz (#17) and SS Aaron Ledezma (#57).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Weinke include SS/P Larry Jones (#1, Atlanta), OF Tony Clark (#2, Tigers), C Mike Lieberthal (#3, Phillies), OF Carl Everett (#10, White Sox), Burnitz, P Mike Mussina (#20, Orioles), P Steve Karsay (#22, Blue Jays), OF Rondell White (#24, Expos) and P Bob Wickman (#44, White Sox).

  • This draft went a record 101 rounds.

1989-Kevin Castleberry

  • Second baseman drafted by the Braves out of University of Oklahoma. Never made it to the bigs, but had the honor of being traded for Danny Heep near the end of his career.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected C Alan Zinter (#24) and P Tom Engle (#54).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Castleberry include 1B Frank Thomas (#9, White Sox) and P Todd Jones (#27, Astros). Other notables ahead of him include 1B Mo Vaughn (#23, Red Sox) and SS Chuck Knoblauch (#25, Twins).

  • Former UConn star and NBA journeyman Scott Burrell was drafted with pick #26 in the first round. He did not sign.

1988-Billy Ashley

  • A 6'7" outfielder selected by the Dodgers from Belleville, Michigan, Ashley had a relatively long though unheralded major league career. He played from 1992-1997 with the Dodgers. He spent 1998 with the Boston Red Sox before calling it a career. Career average of .233, best season (1996) had 9 HR and 27 RBI in 110 AB.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Dave Proctor (#21) and P Jeff Seale (#51).

  • Current major leaguers selected ahead of Ashley include SS Royce Clayton (#15, Giants), SS/OF Brian Jordan (#29, Cardinals) and P/OF Arthur Rhodes (#34, Orioles). Notable major leaguers selected ahead of Ashley include P Andy Benes (#1, Padres), P Jim Abbott (#8, Angels), 3B Robin Ventura (#10, White Sox), 1B Tino Martinez (#14, Mariners), P Charles Nagy (#17, Indians), 1B/P Rico Brogna (#26, Tigers).

  • Speaking of 62... In the 62nd round of this draft, the LA Dodgers selected 1B Mike Piazza with their pick.

1987-Alex Arias

  • Drafted as a third baseman by the Cubs out of New York, NY, Arias signed and spent 1992-2002 as a utility infielder in the bigs. He won a World Series ring with Florida in 1997 and also played for the Cubs, Phillies, Yankees and Padres.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected 3B Chris Donnels (#24), OF Todd Hundley (#39) and P Pete Schourek (#56).

  • Active major leaguers selected ahead of Arias include OF Ken Griffey, Jr. (#1, Mariners), P Mike Remlinger (#16, Giants) and C Craig Biggio (#22, Astros). Other notable major leaguers selected ahead of him include P Jack McDowell (#5, White Sox), P Kevin Appier (#9, Royals), P Pete Harnisch (#27, Orioles), OF Albert Belle (#47, Indians) and OF Derek "Operation Shutdown" Bell (#49, Blue Jays).

  • Future major leaguer Orlando Palmeiro was drafted in Round 57, Pick #1213.

1986-Rod Robertson

  • This man's first name is Rod. Come now, if that isn't a porn star first name I don't know what is. Drafted as a SS by the Phillies, Rod never made it to the bigs.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF/1B Lee May (#21) and C Fritz Polka (#49).

  • Active major leaguers selected ahead of Robertson are SS Gary Sheffield (#6, Brewers) and P Roberto Hernandez (#16, Angels). Other notables drafted ahead of him include 3B Matt Williams (#3, Giants), P Kevin Brown (#4, Rangers), P Kevin Tapani (#40, Athletics) and OF Todd Zeile (#55, Cardinals).

  • With the 821st overall pick, the Mets selected P Scott Erickson. Although he did not sign, he paid us back (or got his payback) by pitching for the team in two horrible starts in 2004.

1985-Jeff Oller

  • Never made it to the big leagues and didn't find any info on him as a SS drafted out of HS in LA by the Expos.

  • Ahead of him the Mets drafted SS Gregg Jefferies (#20)(!!) and OF Scott Servais (#48).

  • Active major leaguers selected ahead of Oller are OF Barry Bonds (#6) and P Randy Johnson (#36). Other notables selected ahead of him include 1B Will Clark (#2, Giants), SS Barry Larkin (#5, Reds) and OF Rafael Palmeiro (#22, Cubs).

  • Neon Deion was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 6th round, but did not sign.

1984-John Verducci

  • Shortstop drafted by Minnesota out of Stanford, never made the bigs.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Shawn Abner (#1), C Lorenzo Sisney (#29) and C Mark Brunswick (#55).

  • Active players selected ahead of Verducci include P Terry Mulholland (#24, Giants), P Greg Maddux (#31, Cubs) and P Tom Glavine (#47, Braves). Other notables selected before Verducci include SS Jay Bell (#8, Twins), 1B Mark McGwire (#10, Athletics), P Norm Charlton (#28, Expos) and P Al Leiter (#50, Yankees).

  • With their 12th round pick in the draft, the Mets selected future Yankee closer John Wetteland, but he did not sign.

1983-Mike Friedrich

  • Shares a name with some comic book artist. But I don't think this pitcher drafted out of Texas HS by the 'Stros ever did Justice League of America.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected 3B Eddie Williams (#4), OF Stan Jefferson (#20), P Calvin Schiraldi (#27), 1B Dave Magadan (#32) and P Rick Aguilera (#58).

  • There are no active MLBers selected ahead of Fried. (Clemens doesn't count.) Notables selected ahead of him include P Tim Belcher (#1, Twins) (did not sign), P Roger Clemens (#18, Red Sox) and P Dan Plesac (#26, Brewers).

  • In the January draft, Jeff Wilpon was selected by the Montreal Expos in the fourth round.

1982-Tony Mack

  • Drafted out of Lamar University by the Angels, he pitched in one game in 1985. Allowed 4 ER in 2.3 innings. Never pitched in the bigs again.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Dwight Gooden (#5), P Floyd Youmans (#33) and P Roger McDowell (#59).

  • Notables selected before Mack include SS Shawon Dunston (#1, Cubs), SS Spike Owen (#6, Mariners), P Duane Ward (#9, Braves), 1B Sam Horn (#16, Red Sox), P Todd Worrell (#21, Cardinals), OF Barry Bonds (#39, Giants) (did not sign) and SS Bo Jackson (#50, Yankees) (did not sign).

  • In the 39th round, the Rangers selected P/OF Kenny Rogers with pick #814 overall. The rest is history?

1981-Brad Powell

  • A pitcher selected by the the Giants out of Ridge HS in New Jersey. Never made the big leagues.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Terry Blocker (#4) and OF John Christensen (#38).

  • Notables chosen before Powell include OF Joe Carter (#2, Cubs), SS Dick Schofield (#3, Angels), OF Kevin McReynolds (#6, Padres), P Ron Darling (#9, Rangers), Frank Viola (#37, Twins) and Tony Gwynn (#58, Padres).

  • Both chosen in picks 50-60? Hall of Fame QB John Elway (#52, Yankees) and Mets catching instructor Tom Nieto (#60, Cardinals).

1980-Bart Mackle

  • Catcher drafted out of Lynwood, Washington by the Indians. Never made the majors.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Darryl Strawberry (#1), P Billy Beane (#23) (yes, that billy beane), OF John Gibbons (#24) and P Jay Tibbs (#27).

  • Notables selected ahead of Mackle include OF Darnell Coles (#6, Mariners), OF Terry Francona (#22, Expos), OF Dion James (#25, Brewers) and 3B Glenn Wilson (#18, Tigers).

  • This draft was marred by controversy as the selection of Billy Cannon Jr. by the New York Yankees was nullified due to tampering. He had written the other 25 major league clubs to say that he would attend college, but the Yankees were sent a letter explaining otherwise. When they selected him in the third round, the pick was voided and he opted to play college football at Texas A&M. Does that actually seem like something the Yankees wouldn't do?

1979-Jose DeLeon

  • A pitcher selected by the Pirates out of Perth Amboy, NJ, DeLeon was a middling swingman for the bulk of his career. Career record of 86-119 with ERA of 3.76. Pitched for the Pirates as well as the White Sox, Cardinals, Expos and Phillies from 1983-1995.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Tim Leary (#2), P Jeff Bettendorf (#28) and P Craig Jones (#54).

  • Notables selected ahead of DeLeon include OF Andy Van Slyke (#6, Pirates), 1B Tim Wallach (#10, Expos), P Steve Howe (#16, Dodgers) and P Atlee Hammaker (#21, Royals).

  • This was a bigtime football draft, as QBs P Dan Marino (#99, Royals), OF John Elway (#463, Royals) and OF Kurt Warner (#784, Phillies) were all selected.

1978-Michael Taylor

  • I don't believe he ever made the majors, though with names as common as Michael and Taylor, it's pretty hard to tell. He was an outfielder from Columbia State Community College drafted by the Cleveland Indians.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected SS/P Hubie Brooks (#3) and 2B Brian "Not that Brian Giles" Giles (#55)

  • Notables drafted ahead of Taylor include 1B Lloyd Moseby (#2, Blue Jays), OF Kirk Gibson (#12, Tigers), OF Tom Brunansky (#14, Angels), P/SS Cal Ripken, Jr. (#48, Orioles) and P Steve Bedrosian (#53, Atlanta Braves).

  • In this draft, four players went directly to the majors after signing. Last year, 0 players did.

1977-Mike Fox

  • Fox, a shortstop out of Fontana HS in California, was drafted by the Giants. He never reached the majors. He is not to be confused with UNC Head Coach Mike Fox, who was previously a professional baseball player.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected SS Wally Backman (#16) and OF Mookie Wilson (#42). With their #68 pick in the draft, the Mets selected SS Steve McQueen. No relation.

  • Other notables selected before Fox include OF Harold Baines (#1, White Sox), P Bill Gullickson (#2, Expos), SS Paul Molitor (#3, Brewers), P Bob Welch (#20, Dodgers) and OF Dave Henderson (#26, Mariners).

  • Also selected in the fifteenth round of this draft was future Boston Celtics renaissance man Danny Ainge. He played in the Blue Jays middle infield before focusing on basketball full-time.

1976-Craig Adams

  • Adams was an outfielder drafted by the Indians out of Boone High School in Orlando, Florida. Keeping up with a rather common theme, he never made the majors.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF/P Tom Thurberg (#13), P Mike "Scuffy" Scott (#37) and 3B Curtis Baker (#61).

  • Notables drafted before Adams include P Floyd "Proud Parent of Brian" Bannister (#1, Astros), OF Ken Landreaux (#6, Angels), C Mike Scioscia (#19, Dodgers), P Bruce Hurst (#22, Red Sox) and SS Alan Trammell (#26, Tigers).

  • With pick #96 overall, the Athletics selected a pitcher out of Technical High School in their hometown Oakland. His name was Rickey. Rickey says the rest was history.

1975-Robert Hallgren

  • An outfielder drafted out of high school in Washington state by the Astros, Hallgren topped out in the mid-minors in 1977. Never made the big leagues.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected C Butch Benton (#6), P Rodney Boxberger (#30) and P George Milke (#54).

  • Notables drafted before Hallgren include C Rick Cerone (#7, Indians), OF Clint Hurdle (#9, Royals), SS Dale Berra (#20, Pirates) and P Lee Smith (#28, Cubs).

  • In round 21, the Mets selected P John Tudor, who did not sign. He went on to haunt their dreams pitching in the mid-80s for the hated Cardinals.

1974-Dean Olson

  • A pitcher selected out of high school by the Twins who never made it to the big leagues. What a shocker.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Cliff Speck (#17) and P Dwight Bernard (#41).

  • Notables drafted before Olson include OF Lonnie Smith (#3, Phillies), C Dale Murphy (#5, Braves), SS Garry Templeton (#13, Cardinals), 3B Lance Parrish (#16, Tigers), OF Willie Wilson (#18, Royals) and P Rick Sutcliffe (#21, Dodgers).

  • Twelve of the first thirteen players selected in this draft became major leaguers, numbers that are hardly likely nowadays.

1973-Gary Nevinger

  • Nevinger was a pitcher drafted out of UGA by the Mets who never made the big leagues. Hopefully RHP Kevin Mulvey's career will turn out differently.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Lee Mazzilli (#14) and P Jackson Todd (#38).

  • Notables selected ahead of Nevinger include Ex-Met C John Stearns (#2, Phillies), SS Robin Yount (#3, Brewers), OF Dave Winfield (#4, Padres) and OF Fred Lynn (#41, Red Sox).

  • Selected with the #63 overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles? Hall of Famer and onetime Met 1B Eddie Murray.

1972-Dennis Irwin

  • What a surprise. This catcher drafted by the Yankees out of Hanford High in California never made it to the big leagues.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected OF Richard Bengston (#13), OF Craig Skoglund (#37) and P Craig Swan (#61).

  • Notables drafted before Irwin include P Larry Christenson (#3, Phillies), P Scott McGregor (#14, Yankees), SS Chet Lemon (#22, A's), P Bob Knepper (#43, Giants), P John Candelaria (#47, Pirates), P Dennis Eckersley (#50, Indians) and C Gary Carter (#53, Expos).

  • With the 167th pick in the draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected a SS/C out of HS in Brooklyn. His name? Willie Randolph.

1971-Dennis Lamp

  • Lamp, a pitcher drafted out of high school by the Cubs, was pretty much the definition of average as a major league player. He pitched 16 years in the big leagues, and compiled a career record of 96-96l. His ERA was a decent 3.93. He also recorded 35 saves.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected 2B Rich Puig (#14), 2B James Kidder (#38) and SS John Busco (#60).

  • Notables drafted before Lamp include P Frank Tanana (#13, Angels), OF Jim Rice (#15, Red Sox), P Rick Rhoden (#20), SS George Brett (#29, Royals) and SS Mike Schmidt (#30, Phillies).

  • Others drafted included future QBs OF Archie Manning (#439, Indians) and SS Joe Theismann (#764, Twins).

1970-Steve Baumiller

  • Righty drafted by the Senators out of HS in West Palm Beach. Didn't sign. Went to Florida Southern, fell to pick #365 overall when drafted by the Indians in 1973.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected SS George Ambrow (#23) and P Gary Nevinger (#47).

  • Notables selected ahead of Baumiller include C Darrell Porter (#4, Brewers) and P Terry Forster (#29, White Sox). It was a pretty bad draft.

1969-Rawly Eastwick

  • Eastwick was a 6' 3" righty drafted out of HS in NJ by the Reds. His big league career was short, but he had a couple of successful years in relief and became the first ever winner of the Rolaids Relief Man Award in 1976. He pitched in 326 games over 8 seasons, compiling a 28-27 record with a 3.31 career ERA.

  • Ahead of him the Mets drafted P Randy Sterling (#4), C Joe Nolan (#28) and C-OF Garnett Davis (#52).

  • Notables selected ahead of Eastwick include OF Jeff Burroughs (#1, Senators), P J.R. Richard (#2, Astros) and P Bert Blyleven (#55, Twins).

1968-Steven Tingle

  • Drafted out of HS in Kentucky, the Tinglenator never made the big leagues. Found very little on him.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected SS Tim Foli (#1), 1B Donald Dickerson (#21), C Bernard Boehmer (#41) and P Alan Dodson (#61). Foli was dealt for Rusty Staub, None of the others ever made the big leagues.

  • Notables selected ahead of Tingle include C Thurman Munson (#4, Yankees), OF Bobby Valentine (#5, Dodgers), 1B Greg Luzinski (#11, Phillies), OF Gary Matthews (#17, Giants) and 1B Bill Buckner (#25, Dodgers).

1967-Tom Krawczyk

  • Couldn't find anything on this Cubs SS taken from Central Michigan University. Never made the bigs.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected P Jon Matlack (#4), P Daniel Carey (#24) and OF Gary Myers (#44).

  • Notables selected ahead of Krawczyk include C-OF Ted Simmons (#10, Cardinals), P Vida Blue (#27, Athletics) and OF Don Baylor (#39, Orioles).

1966-Billy Joe Cotton

  • A humorously named catcher selected by the Oakland A's out of McCook High School in Nebraska who never made it to the major leagues.

  • Ahead of him the Mets selected C Steve Chilcott (#1), P Byron Von Hoff (#21), P Donald Linehan (#41) and 1B-OF Mike Jorgensen (#61).

  • Notables selected ahead of Cotton include Reggie Jackson (#2, Oakland A's) Richie Hebner (#15, Pirates) and Steve Garvey (#60, Minnesota Twins)

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Goin' West

On the topic of a brief wrapup, that past series was horribly disheartening. First all of the rain came. Then the Duke couldn't hold a 2-run lead, followed by Armandito somehow managing to extend his scoreless innings streak against the Mets to every inning he's ever pitched against them. Almost true story. While the Mets did manage to take the nightcap, Glavine was denied his league-leading ninth win and the Mets played extras for the millionth game in a row. But Firstings made me jump for joy with his pinch-run madness. And that move by Willie was top 10 clutchest moves of the year. But my Yaaaay Firstings dance was nothing compared to what would happen on Sunday. The Mets had their Disappointment-in-Chief, Steve Trachsel, on the hill for what I had assured myself would not be a bad start. He seems to always pitch well against the Giants, as I mentioned in last week's series preview. And he did pitch well, but that bullpen once again choked, despite David Wright's early jack and Firstings' clutch double. Regression to the mean, like Sanchez exhibited yesterday, is a bitch. While the righty would not have allowed a run if Reyes/Valentin/Delgado turned that double play and Bonds grounded out on the next pitch, things are not always that peachy and Sanchez imploded, though ChadBrad got a huge DP. But even though a 3-1 lead became a 4-3 deficit, David Wright weighed in with his second homer of the game to tie it. And at that point, the Mets did their usual and went to extras. A quiet ninth was followed by Aaron Heilman pitching the tenth. And after two innings of work the previous day, Heilman looked dog tired. He gave up four hits and two runs in that inning of work, clearly lacking a put-away pitch. And when Armandito came on, it seemed apparent that the Mets would be vanquished. Instead, JoVal hit what was a seemingly meaningless solo shot to right. Benitez deposited Endy Chavez in the trash can. And up came Lastings Milledge. After that point, it was all history. Sure, Feliciano couldn't finish the Giants, and sure the Mets lost, but it was all about the energy in the moment. The energy of the young rightfielder high-fiving the fans. There was nothing arrogant or "thuggish" about it. It was pure perfection.

But on the topic of young and talented players, the Mets have to face the Dodgers who have the most loaded farm system I've ever seen. They've called up youngster outfielders Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Joel Guzman, third baseman Willy Aybar and catcher Russell Martin, as well as young flamethrowers Jonathan Broxton and Peter Gammons' man-crush Hong-Chih Kuo. More about them later in the LAD breakdown.

Game 1: Monday, 10:10 PM (EDT)
Alay Soler, RHP (0-1, 7.36 ERA) @ Brett Tomko, RHP (5-3, 4.38 ERA)
  • This game will be a crossroads for Soler, as John Maine's rehab is progressing. Should Soler pitch poorly and have location trouble like he did in his last start, it is likely that Maine will soon assume his rotation slot. Should Soler pitch well, more along the lines of the last five innings of his first start, he will remain the fourth starter. Tomko is a case of a great arm who has never really put it all together. Signed by the Dodgers in the offseason, the righty started strong, but was disappointing near the end of May, allowing at least four runs in his last three starts. In his last two starts, Tomko has only gone 7.2 innings and allowed 13 runs. Batters have great success early against Tomko, posting a 5.73 ERA in those first innings. Push is the word for this matchup.

  • Game 2: Tuesday, 10:10
    Pedro Martinez, RHP (5-1, 2.50 ERA) @ Derek Lowe, RHP (4-3, 2.68 ERA)
  • Each staff's ace takes the hill tonight, despite the fact that they have been outperformed by their #2 starter (Tom Glavine is 8-2; Brad Penny is 6-1). Lowe has been strong this year, only making two or three bad starts. In his last twenty innings, Lowe has allowed 13 hits and six walks, but only one run. Pedro Martinez just battled through a winless May, despite allowing only 2 runs in his last 22 innings while striking out 26 in that span. Pedro has posted a phenomenal four starts with double-digit strikeouts, while maxing out at 4 ER allowed in two starts. It should also not be forgotten that his last start, made on last August's Road Trip from Hell, was a near no-hitter against the Dodgers. I believe every blog I read was either cursing Antonio Perez (who is now batting .034 for the A's) or saying that Gerald Williams (who is currently MIA from baseball) should have caught the ball. Pedro has the edge and will get his first win since April 28.

  • Game 3: Sunday, 1:10
    Tom Glavine, LHP (8-2, 2.59 ERA) @ Odalis Perez, LHP (4-1, 6.05 ERA)
  • Good lord, Odalis. How far have you fallen? Although he has not yet turned 29, the lefty has been in the bigs since 1998. He, like Glavine, broke in with the Braves, and was dealt to LA in the Brian Jordan-Gary Sheffield deal. A free agent in the Pedro Martinez/Brad Radke/Matt Clement class, he re-upped with LA for 3 years and $24 million. He suffered from a bout of tendinitis in 2004 and then shoulder ailments last year, followed by a disappointing year so far. He's allowing far more than a hit per inning, despite the fact that he had been demoted to the bullpen. In the pen, the lefty posted a 3.12 ERA in 5 appearances. He will take over the spot vacated by the disappointing ex-Met folk hero Jae Seo, recently demoted to the bullpen. Although Tom is pitching on three days' rest, he was strong in his last start and threw only 85 pitches while earning a no-decision. Glavine's got the edge.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles Breakdown (32-25):
    This is a young team, something which I absolutely love. They've got a good, young catcher in Russell Martin as well as enough young outfielders to rebuild the Royals, like the aforementioned Guzman, Kemp and Ethier. Their team is so young due mostly to an injury bug which has destroyed the team for what seems to be the tenth consecutive year. DLers include reliever Yhency Brazoban, infielders Jeff Kent, Bill Mueller and Cesar Izturis, catcher and former Yankee über-prospect Dioner Navarro and outfielders Jayson Werth, Jason Repko and Ricky Ledee. Closer Eric Gagne was only recently promoted off the DL. The team, however, is only 2.5 games from first place in what is arguably baseball's most competitive division. J.D. Drew has recovered from last year's injuries, driving in a team-leading 42 runs while hitting at a .278 clip. Shortstop Rafael Furcal, an offseason acquisition of new GM Ned Colletti, has produced despite early season injury problems and an inability to hit. Furcal has upped his average from .198 in April to .259, by hitting .311 in May. Jeff Kent's injury has forced youngster Willy Aybar into a starting job, where he has performed well, hitting .314 on the year. Centerfield has been aptly manned by former Phillie Kenny Lofton, who spent time on the DL earlier this year, but is now hitting .324 with 12 SB. The real wonder to have been promoted from the DL is first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who is hitting .369 with 6 HR and 38 RBI and 35 runs scored in 38 games. Good lord, that's beautiful. And look at other ridiculous stats. He has a 1.052 OPS, a .428 OBP and he has only struck out 5 times in these 38 games. Wasn't he the one who was assuredly on steroids? Well, he's having a resurgence like Jason Giambi's 2005. The pitching staff has been slightly less impressive. Ex-Met acquisition Jae Seo has posted a 2-3 record with a 5.37 ERA this year. Maybe it's because there aren't all of those Koreans in the left field stands smacking their thundersticks together even though there wasn't a thundersticks giveaway and their Lord of the Mound poster, but some baseball pundits will instead chalk it up to the WBC and its unusual taxing of pitchers' arms. Starters Perez and Tomko have also been disappointments, as discussed above. The only bright spots in the rotation have been the resurgent Derek Lowe and the former Marlin Brad Penny, who is 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA on the year. He's been especially hot lately, going 4-0 in his last five starts. The rotation has also been buoyed by the out-of-nowhere Aaron Sele, who dominated for AAA Las Vegas before being promoted to take Perez's rotation spot. The righty is 3-0 in his six starts, going at least six innings and allowing no more than 3 runs each time. Good stuff. The bullpen has been bizarre, as the heralded Danys Baez for Chuck Tiffany and Edwin Jackson move has backfired, as the former D-Rays closer has blown six saves as Gagné's replacement, while only saving nine. In this capacity he also posted a 3.81 ERA and a 3-3 record. He was recently supplanted by 36 year-old rookie Takashi Saito, who is 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA and two saves. Gagne recently returned from the DL, pitching in one game against the Phillies. He threw a scoreless ninth inning with LA trailing 8-6. In that game, Baez allowed 3 hits and 2 walks and 5 runs while failing to record an out. Also pitching well in relief for LA are former Devil Ray great Joe Beimel (2-1, 3.26 ERA despite a 5.08 career ERA) and youngster Jonathan Broxton who has given the Red Sox's Papelbon a run for his money as best rookie reliever named Jonathan. Broxton is 0-0 with a 0.93 ERA in 19.1 innings. In those 19.1 innings, he has allowed only 11 hits and struck out 26. Come to think of it, it's not really close. Papelbon has a 0.32 ERA in 28 innings... and 20 saves. Never mind. My sworn enemy, lefty reliever Hong Chih-Kuo, has stunk up the joint to the tune of 0-3 with a 5.27 ERA in 11 games. The team is managed by Boston's favorite man, Grady Little, who has done a nice job after not deserving to be fired in 2003 anyway. Ex-Dodger manager Jim Tracy has surprised no one following his dismissal by posting the NL's worst record in Pittsburgh.

    Players to Watch for:
    LAD: Nomar Garciaparra. He's riding an 8-game hitting streak, with RBIs in 7 of those eight games. It's worth noting, however, that he's never faced Soler or Pedro (though they did play together for a while in Boston) and he's only a .167 career hitter against Glavine in 24 AB.

    NYM: Carlos Delgado's busting out. He's a career .333 hitter against Lowe (in 24 AB) and a .286 hitter against Tomko (in 7 AB). He looked good with the doubles to the opposite field during the final games of the Giants series and I think he's due.

    Player of the Series: Carlos Delgado

    Picks: Mets take two of three and lose Soler's start. Then it's off to face the D'Backs with the bizarre start time of 9:40 PM for each game.

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