Mets' Draft history starts off Wright
A round-by-round look at team's best picks as it prepares for this year's event
If you thought David Wright, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro didn't have anything in common, think again. They were all drafted by the Mets.
Next week, the Mets will look for the new stars of tomorrow. The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Here's a look at the top Draft picks -- from Rounds No. 1-15 -- in Mets history.
Round 1: David Wright, 2001
The Mets picked their third baseman and captain when he was 18 years old and fresh out of Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Va., and the selection has pretty clearly paid off immensely. He is a seven-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner, and in nine full seasons, he has finished in the top 10 of the National League MVP voting four times.
You could also make cases for pitchers Jon Matlack (1967) and Dwight Gooden (1982) and outfielder Darryl Strawberry (1980) as the Mets' best first-round pick, and when all is said and done, injured ace Matt Harvey (2010) could be better than them all.
Round 2: Dave Magadan, 1983
Younger fans might best remember Magadan as the Padres/Red Sox/Rangers hitting coach during the last decade, but for six-plus years into the early 1990s, he was a reliable contact hitter manning the corner-infield positions in Queens. Before moving on to a myriad of teams during his last eight Major League seasons, Magadan's 1990 campaign featured career-highs in average (.328), homers (six), RBIs (72) and doubles (28) to garner some NL MVP votes.
Round 3: Rick Aguilera, 1983
The BYU product pitched at least parts of five seasons for the Mets in the late 1980s en route to a 16-year Major League career, but the most notable line on his resume for Mets fans might be that he was part of the Trade Deadline deal that brought Frank Viola home to New York in 1989. Aguilera went on to make three All-Star Games for the Twins and posted a career 3.57 ERA.
Round 4: Angel Pagan, 1999
Before the Mets' best fourth-round pick even saw a Major League field for them, they sold him to the Cubs. Then two years later, they packaged two Minor Leaguers to Chicago to get him back for four productive seasons 2008-11, then traded him again, this time to the Giants. Pagan won a World Series ring with San Francisco in 2012.
Round 5: Burt Hooton, 1968
Hooton is one who got away. After not agreeing to terms with the Mets following the 1968 Draft, the right-handed pitcher enrolled at the University of Texas until the Cubs selected him in 1971. Hooton went on to enjoy a 15-year career in which he won 151 games, posted a 3.38 ERA and finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting in 1978.
Round 6: Mike Fitzgerald, 1978
Fitzgerald's Mets career was forgettable: He hit .234 in 120 games across two seasons at the plate while catching one-third of would-be basestealers from behind it. But in December 1984, Fitzgerald was one of four players the Mets shipped to Montreal in exchange for perennial All-Star Gary Carter. Carter finished third in the NL MVP voting when the Mets won the World Series in 1986.
Round 7: Jon Niese, 2005
Niese stands alone among Mets seventh-round picks with a WAR above six. The club drafted the lefty out of Defiance High in Defiance, Ohio, and he ascended the Minor League ladder rather quickly for a high school arm, making his big league debut in 2008 at the age of 21. Niese has been a regular in the Mets rotation since '10.
Round 8: Rafael Palmeiro, 1982
Little did the Mets know when they selected a 17-year-old outfielder from Miami that he would go on to hit 569 home runs, bat .288 and finish in the top 20 of the MVP voting 10 times during a two-decade Major League career. If they had, they might've signed Palmeiro instead of letting him go to Mississippi State University, only to be redrafted by the Cubs in 1985.
Round 9: Fernando Vina, 1990
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound second baseman played exactly one season for the Mets, batting .250 in 79 games in 1994, but he went on to have a respectable 12-year career in the bigs. Vina was an All-Star for Milwaukee in 1998, when he hit .311 with a .386 on-base percentage, and he earned back-to-back Gold Glove Awards for the Cardinals in 2001 and '02.
Round 10: Matt Lindstrom, 2002
Lindstrom, a right-handed reliever, is the Mets' lone standout in a series of 10th-round results. He never played for the Mets, but he's pitched for six teams in eight seasons, including the White Sox since 2013. He has been traded five times, including as a piece in deals that brought in Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie and Joe Saunders on separate occasions.
Round 11: Neil Allen, 1976
This right-handed pitcher is another player whose actual on-field production for the Mets -- an ERA hovering around 3.50 and a WHIP under 1.50 -- is a footnote to the transaction that meant so much more to the organization. On June 15, 1983, the Mets sent Allen and fellow pitcher Rick Ownbey to the Cardinals to acquire first baseman Keith Hernandez.
Round 12: Nolan Ryan, 1965
Ryan was the Mets' first 12th-round pick, and it's an easy argument that they have never made a better one. He won 29 games -- and helped them to a World Series in 1969 -- in five seasons before New York traded him to the Angels. His first of eight All-Star appearances came in his first year in California, 1972, as did the first of eight top 10 finishes in the Cy Young voting. Ryan never won a Cy Young, but his staggering career totals -- 324 wins, 61 shutouts and an all-time record of 5,714 strikeouts across 27 seasons -- make him one of the best pitchers ever.
Honorable mentions to come out of the 12th round include Roger Clemens (1981), a fellow Texan, and former Yankees closer John Wetteland (1984). Neither of them signed.
Round 13: Lenny Dykstra, 1981
Another member of the 1986 World Series team, Dykstra was just a second-year center fielder when the Mets won it all, five years after they made him the 315th overall selection from Southern California. Dykstra played only three full seasons for the Mets, during which he averaged 40 RBIs and 29 stolen bases while batting .284. He went on to represent the Phillies in three All-Star Games, and in 1993, he finished second to Barry Bonds in MVP voting.
Round 14: John Milner, 1968
The Mets have had little luck in this round, with only five players in 48 years making it to the Majors. Milner, a first baseman and left fielder, finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1972, one of the top seasons of his 12-year career.
Round 15: Jeremy Guthrie, 1997
Guthrie was a high schooler from Oregon when the Mets selected him 450th overall, but even though the right-hander didn't sign, Mets fans shouldn't feel bad. He also snubbed the Pirates when they picked him in the third round of the 2001 edition, then waited four months before finally signing with the Indians as a first-round pick in 2002. Guthrie is in the midst of his third season with the Royals.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.