2004 Mets Draft Q&A with Gary LaRocque

NYfansonly.com recently sat down with Mets' Scouting Director Gary LaRocque to get his thoughts on the Mets 2004 Draft. Find out what Gary has to say about Philip Humber, Scott Hyde, the potential of first base prospects Mike Carp and Jim Burt, the draft pick that he feels could be the suprise player of the draft, and a whole lot more. NYF Premium Members can find out right now!

NYF: How would you rate the Mets' draft this season in comparison to the other teams, and why?

LaRocque: I do not compare with other teams. Nor do I compare any player we drafted with anyone in our organization. We wouldn't draft them if we didn't feel they had potential. What I could say is that we're pleased with out early results. We did sign 25 of the players we drafed and we're still negotiating with a few of the higher draft picks. A majority of our selections were pitchers. We looking forward to seeing how they develop.

NYF: How would you rank Philip Humber among all the Mets' pitching prospects currently?

LaRocque: I don't rank them. I could say stuff wise he has a good curveball, a good feel for his change-up, and has command of all his pitches. Humber knows how to pitch. He has a good makeup, poise, and mound presence. He has pitched and done well in big games.

NYF: Who is the biggest "sleeper" prospect drafted and why?

LaRocque: Once we draft them they aren't sleepers anymore. It is still too early to tell. If you consider a 5th round pick a sleeper I would say Nick Evans. We were pleased to get such a good HS bat in such a late round.

NYF: Catcher Aaron Hathaway is widely regarded as a top-notch defensive catcher. How good could he be with the bat? The Mets are heavily stocked with good hitting catchers. Can Hathaway be the most complete catching prospect in the organization? How does he compare to Michael Jacobs, Justin Huber, and the rest of the Mets' catching prospects?

LaRocque: All I want to say about Hathaway is he's a very aggressive defensive catcher whose bat we hope will come along. We are also happy to have Marino Santana (just promoted from GCL to Kingsport last week)and Flores (in GCL) giving us a trio of fine, strong armed, defensive catchers.

NYF: Can you give us some insight into Scott Hyde's game? What is his potential?

LaRocque: Just signed him last week and assigned to Brooklyn. Good projection, very competitive. Has good arm strength, loves to challenge hitters.

NYF: The Mets seem to like selecting Long Beach State relievers after selecting Josh Alliston in 2001, Carlos Muniz last season, now Neil Jamison. How does Jamison compare to Alliston and Muniz?

LaRocque: (Laughing). It does seem that way but Long Beach State is a top program so they have a lot of exposure so their players will get drafted. We haven't signed Jamison yet but are hopefully we'll eventually get it done. Best pitch is his fastball, and is a good competitor which is what one looks for in a releiver.

NYF: 1B Chris "Mike" Carp seems to have some more projection in him than Jim Burt Jr. simply because of their age. How do the two compare with the rest of the first base prospects in the Mets' system?

LaRocque: Burt comes from a big time college program so is well polished. Carp is coming out of high school. Both have positives. We like the way Carp handles fastballs. We're interested to see how these two players play out. As for where they fit in with our 1B prospects, I just would like to say we're happy that we have so many 1B prospects to talk about.

NYF: Of the draftees selected at the outfield position this year (Brahiam Maldonado, Joshua Wyrick, Martinez Allen, Parris Austin, Kyle Brown, Tim Smith, Caleb Stewart, BJ Suggs, etc), who do you think could be the best of the bunch and why? Could any of these players, in your opinion, be Major League caliber outfielders (starters)? If so, which ones?

LaRocque: It is too early to tell. I would like to say that when I joined the Mets we had only one legit stolen base threat. Now we have about two on every team, most of them outfielders and most of them have high batting average and power potential as well.

NYF: Do the Mets currently have any intriguing draft-and-follow prospects that we should keep an eye on this season? And which of those players intrigue you the most?

LaRocque: We are keeping a close eye on Brad Meyers all summer and will continue to follow his progress. He is committed to a 4-year school but he wouldn't be the first to forego such a committment to attend a junior college so he can be signed as a draft and follow, or re-enter the draft the following year. He's a complete package, possessing three plus pitches: fastball, curveball, and change-up.

NYF: While most teams have their #1 picks signed by now the Mets year after year don't sign their top picks until much later. How come?

LaRocque: I don't want to talk about other teams but we feel that we usually sign all of our top picks and that's what matters.

NYF: There is talk that many teams have pre-draft deals, or call prospective draftees and ask them if they will accept this amount or money or they won't draft them. Is this legal?

LaRocque: All a team could do is ask a prospective draft pick, his family or his agent what would it take for him to sign a pro contract. The player could tell the team it will take this amount or money, or this round, or this has to be part of the deal. I can't answer for other other teams but the Mets have always abided by the rules.

NYfansonly.com would like to thank Gary LaRocque for taking the time to answer these questions about the Mets' 2004 Draft.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories