06/05/2002 5:05 pm ET
Mets pick a variety of propects in Day 2
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Chris Munn didn't have a great deal of pitching experience prior to his senior year at St. Thomas Aquinas High. The Florida native, however, showed enough moxie on the mound this spring for the Mets to grab him in Wednesday's 28th round of the First-Year Player Draft.
Munn, 17, went 8-1 with a 0.85 ERA, striking out 103 batters in 66 innings. Not a bad effort for a player who was the team's right fielder during his junior season.
"He hit .340 as a junior but he didn't pitch," Aquinas coach Robert Lawson said. "And he wasn't even on the varsity as a sophomore though he did pitch some that year. He also pitched a little in a summer league last season and that's where some of my assistants saw him pitch. He pitched well and we had lost four senior pitchers, so we needed someone."
So Munn stepped in. The lanky right-hander [6-foot-4, 180 lbs.] has been likened to Pittsburgh's Kris Benson by some scouts. His fastball possesses a great deal of movement and his slider has proven to be a terrific out pitch. Munn, who has committed to Manatee Community College, is tenacious on the mound and handles pressure well.
"Basically I knew I had to step it up this season so I worked very hard at it," Munn said. "I pitched a little last summer, so I'm confident in my abilities."
Munn went into the draft with an open mind, knowing that college was there if he didn't like when or where he was drafted. He had his father, Ed Munn, to rely on for support as well. The elder Munn was drafted out of high school by the Reds and played a year of pro ball before becoming a police officer.
"He quit after the first year because they wanted to send him to the Dominican to play and his dad wouldn't let him go," Munn said. "So I'm a Reds fan by default. I'd go anywhere I was sent, though."
The elder Munn was a catcher and has offered his son his fair share of pointers. The advice and a few side bullpen sessions have certainly paid dividends. So much so that his days of playing the outfield are over.
"I always thought of myself as a pitcher," Munn said. "That's just the mindset I have. I like having the ball and having control of every pitch. The outfield is too boring. Pitching is where I want to be."
THIS AND THAT: UCLA center fielder Rashad Parker was chosen in the 23rd round. The speedy outfielder missed all but 13 games his junior year with a shoulder injury and played in only 28 games this season due to academic problems. When he did get into the lineup, though, he was effective. He started all 28 games in which he played, hitting .286 with 47 total bases. He hit in 18 of UCLA's final 20 games. Parker stole seven bases and grounded into only one double play in 105 at-bats. ... It was a bit ironic that Tim Didjurgis was chosen by New York in the 29th round. The Pima Community College [Tucson] product was actually in the Empire State during the second round of the draft. Didjurgis has been staying on Long Island, playing in The Federation of Amateur Baseball League, a wooden-bat league, a few miles from Shea Stadium. He is scheduled to pitch on Saturday if he doesn't sign before then. ... Todd Dulaney, a second baseman from Wabash Valley College [Ill.] was also playing in a wooden-bat league when the Mets called his name in the 32nd round. A scrappy leadoff hitter, Dulaney hit .349 this year with a .467 on-base percentage in 58 games. He stole 24 bases and drew 44 walks. "He's a very athletic kid," Wabash coach Rob Fournier said. "He started coming on late in the year and has big-time range in the hole. He's a tool player that can run, he just needs to get stronger with the bat. He can make the Major League play with the glove right now but sometimes has trouble with the routine ones." ... Right-handed pitcher John Findley, the 35th-round pick, is from Nettleton High School in Arizona, the same school that produced last year's second-round pick, shortstop William Ragsdale. ... DeWayne Carver, the 39th round pick from Daytona Beach Community College, won't impress anyone with the numbers he put up this season, posting a 5-4 mark with a 5.26 ERA in 14 games. Tim Touma, his coach, says the numbers don't figure into the bigger picture. "He's 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds," Touma said. "His body projects very well. He should put on more weight and get stronger, so there is definitely room for development. His fastball tops out at 90 miles per hour and he's a great competitor. So you can see a future there."
Kevin T. Czerwinski covers the Mets for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.