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Meet the Mets: Draft Picks 21-30

The back end of the draft is an interesting place—as I researched this week I found myself wondering how some of these players hadn’t been snatched up earlier, while others were less obviously appealing. Of course six of these 10 picks are either fresh out of high school or still students, so there is both a dearth of statistical information on their performance and plenty of room to grow.

Five of these prospects have already signed and are playing with the Gulf Coast and Kingsport Mets or the Brooklyn Cyclones. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out on a few who look particularly strong (ahem, Nicholas Sergakis). Without further ado—meet your baby Mets:

Maxwell Kuhns (640th overall pick)

The 21-year-old junior hit his stride this past season as a closer for Santa Clara University where he had an ERA of 2.21 with 14 saves and 37 strikeouts in 40.2 innings. He seems to have baseball in his genes, too—his grandfather was an alum of the Cleveland State Cougars, and his cousin Freddie Avis was a successful pitcher at Stanford before leaving the sport in 2015 due to injury.

Kuhns, though, is the first in his family to make it to pro ball. He signed with the Mets last Monday, and pitched an inning in his first game with the Rookie level affiliate in Kingsport on Saturday.

Ian Strom (670th overall)

Also a 21-year-old junior, Strom was a center fielder for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks, where he recently became the 20th player in the school’s history to be picked up in an MLB draft, and the second by the Mets; the organization also picked up alum Jack Leathersich in Round 5 of the 2011 draft. Leathersich is now a pitcher for the Cubs.

Strom has good speed and is a clean fielder. He has a three-year average of .276 at UMass, with 128 hits in 126 games. This past season he hit a career high of 46 hits.

He is currently with the Kingsport Mets, and has a hit, two runs, and two walks in his first two games.

Nicholas Sergakis (700th overall)

After reading up on Sergakis, I was surprised he was left this late in the draft. A 23 year-old senior at Ohio State, Sergakis made a big impression throughout the Big 10 conference. In 2015 he won a Golden Glove Award, and was named Baseball America’s best defensive third-baseman in the Big Ten, and this year he played First Team All-Big Ten. For the 2016 Buckeyes, he led the team in the literal and figurative sense—he was co-captain and an OSU Sportsmanship Award recipient, and had the team-high batting average (.332) and on-base percentage (.451). He also had 79 hits, with 48 runs and 47 RBI in 65 games.

Sergakis is currently off to a strong start at second base for the Brooklyn Cyclones; he’s batting .289 with 11 hits, three runs, and four stolen bases across nine games.

Dariel Rivera (730th overall)

I’m always interested in the pitchers selected straight out of high school since they are so early in their development, and Rivera is the first of five very young pitching prospects selected in rounds 21-30. The 18-year-old was drafted from Dr. Juan J. Osuna High School in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He is 6’3″, and routinely pitches at around 90 MPH.

Rivera signed for a $50,000 bonus with the Mets earlier this month, and is assigned to the Gulf Coast League, though he hasn’t had an outing yet.

Cody Beckman (760th overall)

A sophomore at North Carolina State, relief pitcher Cory Beckman was one of five players from his team to be drafted, including the Orioles’ seventh round pick Preston Palmeiro. The 21-year-old lefty sat out 2015, and had an ERA of 6.05 with 23 strikeouts in 19.1 innings this year.

So far it remains unclear whether he’ll sign with the Mets or continue on at NC State.

Rylan Thomas (790th overall)

Freshly 19-years-old, the Windermare Prep School senior made local headlines in April for slugging his way to victory with 20 home runs in the Emmons Classic HR Derby. In fact, the only reason Thomas broke his streak was because he attempted his 21st at-bat left-handed, and even that hit fell just a few feet short of the wall.

Though he starts as a third baseman, Thomas also boasts a 93 MPH fastball, and pitched a complete game no-hitter with 17 strikeouts last March. He hit two home runs that same game.

Thomas has not yet signed with the Mets, and is said to be committed to the University of Central Florida.

Joel Urena (820th overall)

Hailing from East Syracuse, NY, the 16-year-old pitcher currently attends school at the Georgio Luperon High School for Math and Science in Washington Heights, Manhattan. The lefty is already 6’5″, with his fastball recorded at 85 MPH.

No word yet on whether he will leave school to sign.

William Sierra (850th overall)

Also a 16-year-old pitcher, Sierra beats Urena by a few days to be the youngest player on this list. The Montreal native was a high school student at Edouard Montpetit High, and plays for the Canadian Junior National Team. In 2016, Sierra led the Junior National Team to an impressive 11-1 victory over Puerto Rico, and received All-American and All-Region Canada/Puerto Rico Honorable Mentions.

Sierra is 6’0″ and his fastball clocks in at around 86 MPH. His contractual status is still undetermined.

Alex Haynes (880th overall)

Scouts have had an eye on this Knoxville Central High School pitcher for several years. The 19-year-old righty is known for his hard throwing, with a 91 MPH fastball and strong command over several other pitches, including a cutter clocking in at about 87 MPH.

Haynes was 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 2016. He is a Walters State commit, so his status with the Mets is as yet undetermined.

Eric Villanueva (910th overall)

The 18-year-old righty pitcher was born in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, where he recently graduated from Josefina Barcelo High School. He is 6’1″ and has an 86 MPH fastball.

Villanueva signed with a $50,00 bonus and is currently a Gulf Coast League Met, where he had a brief first outing yesterday and surrendered a run and two walks to the GCL Marlins.

Photo Caption: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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