For the second draft in as many years under general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets officially have secured first-round-caliber talent after the first round.
They signed Mississippi State righthander J.T. Ginn, their second-round choice, on Monday to a $2.9 million signing bonus, a source said. That is more than double the pick value of $1.4 million and about as high as the Mets were allowed to go without losing future draft picks, per MLB’s rules governing spending on amateur talent.
Ginn, the last of the Mets’ six picks to sign, was the linchpin of their 2020 draft success. They chose him knowing that he would ask for a bonus well beyond the recommended amount for the No. 52 overall pick, but they were able to meet his asking price by saving money on their later picks.
That is similar to the strategy deployed by the Mets in last year’s draft, their first under Van Wagenen. They selected righthander Matthew Allan — viewed as a potential first-rounder — in the third round and gave him $2.5 million after they saved money on seven college seniors, who had virtually no negotiating leverage and received much smaller bonuses.
Drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 2018, Ginn opted for college. He had a strong freshman year in 2019 but had his sophomore season cut short by a torn ulnar collateral ligament and Tommy John surgery in March.
Ginn’s injury did not deter the Mets, who have a long track record of turning Tommy John patients into good major-league pitchers. That list includes Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz.
“He’s got all of the qualities of being a top-of-the-rotation guy,” Tommy Tanous, the Mets’ senior adviser for amateur scouting, said the night the Mets picked him.
Director of amateur scouting Marc Tramuta added: “He pitches with a mean streak. He’s an athlete. You look on our major-league staff, we’ve got power pitchers. This fits right in that mold.”
The Mets felt at the time they drafted Ginn that they would be able to sign him. Now, they officially have.
“We recognize that he’s a premium talent, and premium talent is going to require real investment in terms of dollars,” Brodie Van Wagenen said earlier this month. “Our hope and our belief is that his talent and his expectation for the value of his talent will match up to our interest in rewarding him for that talent with a premium signing bonus.”
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.