Mets pick first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith; Yankees draft third baseman, outfielder, pitcher
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All 30 major-league teams were in Mets mode Thursday night, planning for the (possibly distant) future with the opening of the three-day 2013 amateur draft in Secaucus, N.J.
The Mets, among the sport's more present-impaired teams, used the 11th pick to select Los Angeles high school first baseman / outfielder Dominic Smith after Stanford pitching ace Mark Appel was taken first overall by the Houston Astros.
University of San Diego third baseman / outfielder Kris Bryant went to the Chicago Cubs with the second pick and University of Oklahoma power pitcher Jonathan Gray to the Colorado Rockies at No. 3.
The Yankees, with three late first-round selections, chose Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo, a lefthanded power hitter, with the 26th pick. They took Aaron Judge, a 6-7 Fresno State outfielder, at No. 32 and San Diego high school lefthander Ian Clark with the 33rd pick.
So as the world spins forward and the drafting teams cast eyes to the far-off horizon, Mets amateur scouting director Tommy Tanous hinted in a conference call that, although the Mets could use outfield help, Smith more likely eventually could supplant 2008 top draft choice Ike Davis, who has struggled in the first half the past two years.
Smith, who will turn 18 later this month, "has played in the outfield and also pitched; he's very athletic," Tanous said. "But we think he's a special defender at first base. We think he has a chance to impact the game at first base."
At 6 feet and 185 pounds, Smith impressed the Mets as "one of the most advanced high school hitters that you will find," Tanous said. "The fact that he's lefthanded is even nicer. You don't find a swing like that very often." Tanous said the Mets' regional scout has been aware of Smith since he was 11 years old.
Smith, who noted that his high school is 10 minutes from where former Mets great Darryl Strawberry was a prep star and said Strawberry has offered him encouragement, pronounced himself "just happy right now, very excited. I can't wait to get my chance to put on a Mets uniform."
Besides Davis, two other current Mets had been first-round picks: David Wright (2001) and Matt Harvey (2010). Yankees first-round choices still on their roster are Derek Jeter (1992), Phil Hughes (2004) and Joba Chamberlain (2006).
Top overall pick Appel, a 6-5, 21-year-old Houston native, had been drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with last year's No. 8 pick but chose to return to Stanford for his senior year and became the school's career strikeout leader.
Bryant hit 31 home runs and was named the national collegiate player of the year. Gray, like Appel a hard-throwing righthander, had been drafted in the 13th round by Kansas City in 2010 out of high school and, after the 2011 season at Eastern Oklahoma Junior College, in the 10th round by the Yankees.
In the second round, the Mets selected righthander Andrew Church (Basic, Nev.) High School with the 48th pick.