06/04/2002 1:52 pm ET
Kazmir thrilled with Mets
High school pitcher is happily surprised with draft
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
Mets round-by-round picks
NEW YORK -- To the surprise of no one, the Mets went with pitching with their first pick in the 2002 draft. To the surprise of almost everyone in the organization, however, hard-throwing high school hurler Scott Kazmir was available when New York made the 15th selection in the first round on Tuesday.
The Cypress Falls High [Texas] southpaw, rated by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect available in the draft, was high on the draft board of several teams. Kazmir, who has committed to the University of Texas, was expected to go in the top five, possibly to Cincinnati at No. 3.
"I am a little surprised but I couldn't be happier since I'm going to the Mets," Kazmir said. "It's a team I didn't think I had a chance to go to based on what I had been told but I am thrilled."
Cypress Falls HS
Medium, wiry, well-defined frame. Three-quarter arm angle, high leg kick and lightning-quick, live arm. 91-93 fastball jumps out of hand, explodes at plate.
The six-foot, 175-pounder is wiry and sports a high leg kick and possesses a durable and lively arm. Kazmir, 17, has a fastball that consistently clocks in the mid-90s and has topped out as high as 97 mph. His fastball has a great deal of movement and explodes as it reaches the plate.
Kazmir doesn't rely solely on bringing the heat. He throws a slider at approximately 81 mph and a curveball at 82-83 mph and has recently begun experimenting with a change-up.
"People ask me to compare Scott to [fellow Texan and current Florida Marlin] Josh Beckett," said Phil Cross, coach of the Houston Heat, a summer-league team for which Kazmir played. Cross coached against Beckett when he played in the same league. "In a way, it's not fair. Josh is 6-4 and right-handed. Scott is 6-foot and left-handed. Josh has more power but Scott has better command and that's the big difference."
Cross also coached current Mets reliever Scott Strickland.
Kevin T. Czerwinski covers the Mets for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.