JT Ginn was considered a first-round talent, but as Day 2 of the MLB draft commenced Thursday, he remained on the board.
The Mets, banking on Ginn’s upside after a spring in which he underwent Tommy John surgery, selected the Mississippi State right-hander with the 52nd-overall pick in the second round of the draft, giving the organization a much-needed arm.
Ginn, a 21-year-old sophomore, was the seventh-rated right-handed pitcher in the draft, according to Baseball America. His selection came a day after the Mets used their first-round pick (19th overall) on high school outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Ginn, as a sophomore, has strong negotiating leverage, suggesting the Mets will have to go over-slot in signing him. It’s possible teams backed off Ginn because of such signability concerns, but the Mets took a similar tactic last year in drafting pitcher Matt Allan (at the time considered a top-15 talent) in the third round and paying him an over-slot bonus. The Mets compensated by later drafting college seniors with little negotiating leverage and giving them under-slot signing bonuses.
The Mets’ bonus slot for their second-round pick this year is $1.403 million. College seniors hold more leverage this year, with the option of returning to school for an additional season due to the abbreviated spring season because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“What we focused on, similar to what we did last year, is high-end, impact talent,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “This year we had the opportunity again to be very aggressive in targeting players that sat among the top players on our overall draft board.
“We recognize that [Ginn] is a premium talent and that is going to require real investment in terms of dollars.”
As a high school senior, Ginn was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2018 draft, but he declined a $2 million signing bonus to accept a scholarship to Mississippi State, where he was named SEC Freshman of the Year after going 8-4 with a 3.13 ERA with 105 strikeouts and 19 walks in 86 ¹/₃ innings. He appeared in just one game this season before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Ginn’s arsenal includes a plus-fastball and plus-slider.
“We have liked Ginn for years now,” Mets vice president of scouting Tommy Tanous said. “This is a rare combination of turbo sink with strikeout ability.”
In their compensation-round pick Thursday, the Mets selected outfielder Isaiah Greene from Corona High (Calif.). Greene, the 69th-overall pick, was compensation for Zack Wheeler’s departure through free agency last offseason. The Mets used their third-round pick (91st overall) to select shortstop Anthony Walters from San Diego State. In the fourth round (120th overall) the Mets picked catcher Matthew Dyer from the University of Arizona. The Mets used their final selection in this truncated draft (150th overall) on University of New Orleans right-hander Eric Orze.
The Mets could use the pitching depth. In the last 1 ½ years, the team has traded Justin Dunn, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson, depleting the minor leagues of top pitching prospects. Dunn went to the Mariners, along with top prospect Jarred Kelenic, as part of the deal for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Last summer, Kay and Woods-Richardson were traded to the Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman, who can become a free agent this offseason. David Peterson, the Mets’ top pick in the 2017 draft, and Allan have the highest upsides among pitchers within the system.
The outfielder Greene, who committed to Missouri, is a left-handed hitter whose swing Baseball America has compared to Garret Anderson’s or more recently Michael Brantley’s. He is projected as a corner outfielder.
Crow-Armstrong, a top center fielder, is best known for his glove and strong throwing arm. The Mets selected the senior from Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles to bolster a system that is thin on outfield talent.