06/13/08 10:56 PM ET
Mets ink first rounder Havens to deal
Club locks up prospect as well as No. 33 pick Holt on Friday
By Jon Blau / MLB.com
On Friday, they both officially became property of the Mets by signing pro contracts. Havens, the No. 22 overall pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, couldn't hold back his ever-widening smile when thinking about how to use that $1.4 million signing bonus.
But in a few days, they will both head down to Brooklyn to join the organization's short-season Class A affiliate. It was just the first day in a long journey, which they hope will take them back to Citi Field in a few years -- where they would be playing instead of touring.
"It's awesome," said Havens, a shortstop prospect who took batting practice sessions and fielded ground balls alongside Jose Reyes. "I dreamed growing up that I'd play pro ball, and being here now is kind of living the dream."
Practically following around Reyes, even joining the Mets cornerstone in picking up scattered balls in the infield grass and dumping them into the practice pitchers basket, Havens was constantly reminded on Friday that his collegiate position might not suit him in New York.
That isn't a concern for the 21-year-old, though, as he'd change positions if it meant playing time. Already an accomplished bat at South Carolina, maintaining a .359 average this past season, Havens has actually played some second and third base throughout his high school and college careers. And catcher -- even though the Mets insist that isn't in the plans right now -- didn't seem out of the question if it meant a place in the lineup.
"I was drafted as a shortstop, but as long as I'm in the starting lineup, it doesn't matter where I'm playing," Havens said. "I'll just keep going to work and whatever happens happens."
Holt, the No. 33 pick in the Draft, also has a few things he has to work on. At UNC-Wilmington, the 6-foot-4 righty threw about "99 percent" fastballs, and he'll begin developing a secondary pitch when he starts working out with the Cyclones.
Mets' top five selections
|18.||1B||Isaac Davis||Arizona St U|
|22.||SS||David Havens||U of S.C. Columbia|
|33.||RHP||Bradley Holt||UNC Wilmington|
|68.||OF||Javier Rodriguez||Puerto Rico BB Academy HS|
|100.||CF||Kirk Nieuwenhuis||Azusa Pacific U|
|Complete Mets Draft results >|
Right now, he might only sprinkle in a slider or split-fingered fastball on occasion, a repertoire that still earned him a 19-9 collegiate record in three seasons with the Seahawks and eventually made him the highest drafted player in the program's history.
Even without the extra pitches, the Mets were still pleased with the stuff he brought to his 25-pitch session in the Shea Stadium bullpen on Friday. In fact, if he weren't wearing that uniform for show on Friday, the coaches joked that they'd throw him in that day's game.
"I plan on throwing all three pitches," Holt said. "Everything looked sharp. They told me if I had gone on the mound, and if I was going in today, everything would have been positive."
Instead, both players watched Friday's game from a box suite at Shea Stadium. More than a few dollars richer, they'll have some time to get their big league lifestyles in order, because at this point, Havens has been too busy to worry about investing his newfound riches.
"No, I haven't even thought about that yet," Havens said, taking a moment to ponder being a seven-figure signee. "I'm just focused on playing."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.