While Day One and Day Two are followed closely by fans because of the quality and quantity of major leaguers they produce, Day Three of the MLB Draft is fun for a multitude of different reasons. Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein do a yearly mock draft over at our main site in which they pick strictly based on a player’s first and last name, and most of these players wind up being selected on Day Three for one reason or another. Teams routinely pick siblings or relatives of current players or executives: the Houston Astros took the younger brothers of both Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, and you might remember the Dodgers once selected Mike Piazza in the 62nd round as a favor to his father, who was a childhood friend of then-Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda. While it’s true that the odds are severely stacked against any Day Three selection, teams have found Hall of Fame players such as Nolan Ryan, Ryne Sandberg, John Smoltz and Piazza in the latter rounds. Instead of writing about all 30 selections, let’s take a look at five of the Mets more interesting and noteworthy Day Three picks. As always, drawing any meaningful conclusions at this point would be a worthless exercise.
Round 11, 320nd Overall: Franklin Parra, LHP, Copiague HS
The Mets were heavily linked to local prep arms with their second-round pick, but they passed in favor of Simeon Woods-Richardson at 48 and ultimately chose to wait until Day Three. A native of the Dominican Republic, Parra is a lean, 6’1” left-hander who struck out 74 batters in just 34 innings for Copiague this season. Deceptive out of the wind-up and the stretch, Parra throws four pitches currently: a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup. Projectable with room to add to the frame, Parra will turn 19 later this season, which likely contributed to him being available on Day Three.
Parra is committed to play at San Jacinto Community College next spring, but he’s likely going to sign with the Mets for an over-slot deal. As a reminder, the bonus pool only applies to the first ten rounds of the draft. The Mets can pay any selection on Day Three a signing bonus of up to $100,000 without using a single dollar from the allotted bonus pool. If the Mets want to sign a player for over $100,000 though, they’ll have to dip into the bonus pool for the extra cash. I think it’s a safe bet to assume that Parra is going to get an over-slot deal, somewhere in the $300,000-$400,000 range, in order to forego his junior college commitment and sign with the Mets.
There’s undeniable upside here, but I’m not yet convinced that Parra was the right prep pitcher to target. A long developmental curve seems likely, but that’s not incredibly enticing considering his age. The Mets’ player development staff has their work cut out for them with Parra, so here’s hoping they can turn him into a prospect before he becomes Rule 5 eligible.
Round 12, 350th Overall: Ross Adolph, CF, University of Toledo
After taking Jarred Kelenic with the sixth overall pick, the Mets waited until the 12nd round to select another outfielder. Adolph fits a theme seen throughout the Mets draft: third-year college player who saw a power spike in his junior season but had previously underwhelmed. He broke out this season with a .322/.445/.654 line and 15 home runs after hitting a combined seven in the two seasons prior. He’s a good athlete who should stick in center in pro ball, but Adolph has major swing and miss issues. He struck out 47 times this season against 37 walks, his third consecutive season with at least 42 Ks, and he doesn’t project to have even an average hit tool at peak. The best chance for Adolph to make it seems to be as a three-true-outcomes player with good defense in center. If nothing else, Adolph provides some depth in a system sorely lacking interesting outfielders.
Round 23, 680th Overall: Saul Gonzalez, RHP, Montverde Academy
Montverde Academy is known more for producing NBA draft picks such as Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and D’Angelo Russell, but the baseball program counts Fransisco Lindor among its established alumni and Gonzalez is looking to add his name to the list. Standing 6’7” and 235 pounds, Gonzalez has room to add some weight to his frame and possibly gain a couple more ticks on a fastball that already sits in the low- to mid-90s. Although he’s incredibly imposing on the mound, his delivery lacks physicality and likely needs some tweaks.
This all sounds incredibly enticing, especially in the 23th round, but Gonzalez has no feel for a breaking ball. He relied solely on his fastball this spring, choosing to sparingly use a curveball that needs a ton of work. Gonzalez is committed to Alabama State and would be a tough sign, but the Mets should have extra pool money to work with and adding an upside play like Gonzalez to the system would be a welcomed addition. Teaching pitchers spin is incredibly tough and the Mets don’t have a great track record of working with pitchers like Gonzalez, but there’s huge upside here. Signing Gonzalez to an over-slot deal is a worthy gamble in my opinion, but I’m admittedly not all that confident the Mets are the right organization to develop him.
Round 32, 950th Overall: Jake Mangum, LHP, Mississippi State
Mangum was the most talented player taken by the Mets on Day Three, but that’s not why he’s on this list. After the Mets took the Mississippi State junior in the 32nd round, he announced on Twitter that he won’t be signing and will instead return to school for his senior season. Mangum was the SEC freshman of the year after hitting .408/.458/.510 in 2016, but his numbers have regressed the past two seasons and he hasn’t shown any game power, slugging just four career home runs. He’s a switch hitter with a contact-based approach, but he doesn’t walk enough and strikes out a little too often for this sort of profile to work. His best tool is his plus-plus speed, but his instincts aren’t great, leading to mediocre stolen base production and questionable outfield defense. Mangum also has a plus arm, topping out at 93 mph on the mound, and was actually announced as a pitcher although that was a mistake. While I’m down on the profile overall, signing Mangum would’ve been a fine Day Three pick if the money wasn’t too exorbitant. His number was reportedly too high for the Mets liking though, so he’ll take his chances as a senior in the 2019 draft.
Round 39, 1160th Overall: Kody Darcy, SS, Kentridge HS
Beyond blessed to have been given the opportunity to play professional baseball in the New York Mets organization. Thanks to everyone who has helped me out along the way!
— Kody Darcy (@KodyDarcy) June 6, 2018
Darcy has a commitment to Xavier, but his tweet after being selected last night might indicate he plans to forego that commitment and sign with the Mets. A shortstop with good actions and a strong arm, Darcy looks comfortable at the six and projects to stay there as he ages. While his glove should provide most of the value, Darcy has an open stance and a slight leg kick that could help him unlock some raw power as he builds his frame out. He’s also shown an ability to take the ball to the opposite field and hit .425 with 18 RBI this season for Kentridge.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports