NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Mets have made a habit in recent years of taking high schoolers with their top pick in the MLB draft.
They bucked that trend on Thursday, selecting Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto at No. 10 overall.
“Not only is he a college player, this is a pretty polished college player,” Mets vice president of amateur scouting Paul DePodesta said, according to the team’s website.
The 21-year-old Conforto was the team’s first top selection to come out of college since Matt Harvey in 2010. It’s possible he’ll leapfrog Brandon Nimmo (2011), shortstop Gavin Cecchini (2012) and first basemen Dominic Smith (2013), all players who need significant seasoning in the minors.
But DePodesta said the Mets will “take things slow” at first.
“We do think he’s an advanced hitter, and certainly has a chance to move quicker than the high school players that we’ve taken the last few years,” he said.
Conforto hit .345 with seven home runs and 55 walks in 2014. He’s a .340 batter with a .560 slugging percentage in three seasons at Oregon State.
“It’s a real fit for what we like as a hitter — the patience, the discipline,” Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said. “This is a hitter with very few weaknesses right now.”
Conforto, who was also a football prospect coming out of high school in Redmond, Wash., said he’d never experienced anything like when he was picked in Thursday’s draft.
“When my name finally got called, it was an unbelievable moment — just one of those moments where you realize that everything you’ve worked toward for your entire life has kind of culminated in one event,” he said. “I couldn’t put the feeling into words if I tried.”
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