06/04/2002 7:40 pm ET
Mets follow the plan
Team takes hurlers with nine of 20 picks
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
Mets round-by-round picks
NEW YORK -- The philosophy come draft day has always focused on pitching where the Mets are concerned. And when the first 22 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft were in the books on Tuesday, New York made sure it hadn't steered far from that line of thinking.
The Mets had 20 picks on Tuesday, nine of which were used to choose pitchers. The top spot, No. 15 overall, went to highly touted Scott Kazmir. The Cypress Falls High [Texas] southpaw certainly has the speed -- he's been clocked as high as 97 miles per hour -- but has also displayed a great deal of control not often associated with young hurlers.
He was expected to go early -- most of the experts had him slated as a top-three pick.
"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."
Adam Elliott, a righty from Clayton Valley High in California, was gobbled up in the sixth round. He's a second-team All-American and rated by some to be among the top-25 prep hurlers in the country. Matthew Lindstrom was one of two players from Idaho chosen by the Mets. The 6-foot-4 right-hander from Ricks College went in the 10th round. Lindstrom has a high leg kick and hides the ball well, which adds a deceptive quality to his low 90s fastball.
Kelvin Garay went in the 11th round. The Colegio Santa Cruz High product has power in his 6-4, 220-pound frame and is reported to be a pitching coach's delight. Jeffrey Brewer from The University of British Columbia was tabbed in round 14. He has a loose, quick am, powerful legs and has been likened to John Smoltz.
Righties Elvys Quezada [Seton Hall], Ivan Maldonado [Indian Hills CC, Iowa] and Bryan King [Mesa State College] went in the 15th, 18th and 19th rounds, respectively. Maldonado has a low 90s fastball to go along with a mound presence that has been described as "mature and veteran-like." King is said to have a Freddy Garcia-type frame to go that aids a lively fastball and a devastating slider, which is murder on right-handed hitters. Timothy McNabb of Florida Atlantic University was chosen with the 657th pick [22nd round], New York's last of the day.
In between all the pitching, the Mets nabbed five outfielders, including Michigan State All-American Bob Malek, Texas Tech's Jon Slack and The University of Washington's Tyler Davidson. Malek [fourth round] is battling a torn ligament in his arm but is expected to play this summer after dominating in the Big 10 this season.
Slack has been likened to a former New York first-rounder, Jason Tyner. He has good instincts on the bases and is explosive going from first to third. Davidson, meanwhile, has tremendous power, particularly to the opposite field. He lives in the weight room and many believe he carries himself like former Major Leaguer Rob Deer.
"I was thinking about New York but it was more about the Yankees," Davidson said. "Otherwise, I don't know much about New York. I flew over it once. That's about it."
Longwood College's Laron Wilson [17th round] and Brendan Winn of Brevard Community College round out the crop of outfielders chosen.
The University of California's James Anderson [seventh round] and Zachary Clements of Christian Brothers University in Tennessee [16th round] -- both catchers -- were also tabbed. The road in front of them, however, is a long one. The organization is stockpiled with catchers lining up for a shot at Mike Piazza's job or to take Vance Wilson's place as his backup. Both will have to show something quickly to unseat the likes of Jason Phillips and Justin Huber.
The three shortstops that were chosen on the first day face an equally daunting task. The three - The University of Southern Idaho's Christian Colonel [ninth round], The University of Evansville's Blake Whealy [13th round] and Oregon State's William Hudson [20th round] -- all must leap frog over Jose Reyes. The 18-year-old phenom is a non-drafted free agent who has sparkled in his two-plus minor-league seasons. He was invited to the Major League Spring Training this year and was impressive.
Also chosen was high school third baseman Shawn Bowman. The Dr. Charles Best HS product has good rhythm at the plate and excellent bat speed. And since he doesn't turn 18 until December, he has plenty of time to develop.
Kevin T. Czerwinski covers the Mets for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.