New York Mets Mar 26, 2022; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; The New York Mets logo stands in center field before the game against the Washington Nationals at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, the New York Mets had themselves a pretty successful 2023 MLB Draft. But as we know, what’s on paper isn’t going to develop players; that’s what good organizations with good player development systems do. 

Now that the MLB Draft is completed, one Twitter user thought to take a look at the last 10 years of draft picks and the percentage of each Major League team’s picks that made it to the majors (for any team).

If you’re loyal to the Orange and Blue and consider yourself to be a Mets fan, this is the part where you may want to look away. Just 30 of New York’s 328 draft picks over the past decade have reached the MLB. That number is a whopping nine percent, which is dead last in the league and two percent less than the 29th ranked ballclub—the Oakland Athletics.

As you can imagine, this led to a lot of angst from Mets fans on social media:

Now, you’re probably asking yourself why the team with the highest payroll in the sport is so bad at developing players, but there’s merely one simple answer to this question: Fred and Jeff Wilpon. Under the previous regime, the Mets’ player development was pretty bleak. Yes, you saw players like Jacob deGrom and Brandon Nimmo carve out successful MLB careers, but that happening in the Mets organization was so few and far between. 

The Mets weren’t good at developing their own draft picks, let alone self-scouting them. Oftentimes over the past decade, the Mets haven’t realized what they have in a prospect until that player reaches the major leagues. The team’s inability to self-scout is how the Pittsburgh Pirates end up with a player like Endy Rodríguez, currently MLB pipeline’s No. 36 overall prospect, in a trade that sent Joe Musgrove to San Diego and Joey Luchessi back to New York. It appears that All-Star closer David Bednar is the centerpiece of that deal as currently constructed, but it’s clear that Rodriguez could end up being a long-term fixture in Pittsburgh. And the Mets traded him away for a pitcher that can’t currently crack one of the league’s worst rotations.

The reason we delved into that is that Rodríguez is a former draft pick of New York, but perhaps looking at the team’s first-round picks since 2013 offers a bigger bite at the apple. 

2013: Dominic Smith

2014: Michael Conforto

2015: No first-round pick because the Mets signed a then 35-year-old Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal.

2016: Justin Dunn

2016: Anthony Kay

2017: David Peterson

2018: Jarred Kelenic

2019: Brett Baty

2020: Pete Crow-Armstrong

2021: Kumar Rocker*

2022: Kevin Parada

2022: Jett Williams

2023: Colin Houck

Arguably the two best players on this above list are no longer with the organization. One of them —Kelenic— is in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners, while Crow-Armstrong is a top-10 prospect. This again, is largely because the Mets didn’t know what they had in either and were willing to trade them for Edwin Diaz and Javier Báez. Diaz is the best closer in baseball when healthy, but you get the point.

Obviously, seven of those players above have made it to the major leagues, but few have developed into anything more than a marginal starter. That calls into question the team’s player development, which Steve Cohen has since heavily invested in, as to why the Mets haven’t been able to consistently send prospects that they’ve drafted to the big leagues.

Give Cohen credit. He’s trying to invest in the future of this team, but after years of neglecting the farm system has definitely reared its ugly head and why the Mets have had to invest so much in free agency. Perhaps Parada, Williams and Houck can help change the tide, but that’s certainly a lot of pressure to make up for years of bad drafting.

[Jay Cuda]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.