NEW YORK -- After waiting past 11 p.m. ET to make their first selection, the New York Mets drafted prep center fielder Desmond Lindsay from Bradenton, Florida, with the 53rd overall pick. The Mets had forfeited their first-round selection for signing Michael Cuddyer as a free agent in November, shortly after he received a qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies.
Mets amateur scouting director Tommy Tanous labeled the 18-year-old Lindsay an "offensive machine" and expressed an exceedingly high degree of confidence the organization will sign him. Lindsay, who played in high school for Out-of-Door Academy, has committed to the University of North Carolina.
"I would say there's a very small risk," Tanous said about the likelihood the Mets lose Lindsay to UNC. "This is a player that has expressed his interest in playing professional baseball, especially for the Mets. I know his grandmother is a huge Mets fan. Desmond will be a Met. I don't think there's much decision there."
@dez_lindsay selected 53rd overall by @mets pic.twitter.com/XTvFuVU8no
— Evoshield Canes (@EvoshieldCanes) June 9, 2015
Mets VP Paul DePodesta speculated that Lindsay was not rated in the top 100 in some draft rankings because he suffered a hamstring injury early in the year, came back and again injured the muscle.
"Without the hamstring injury this spring, we don't think there would be any way that he would have lasted until the 53rd pick in this draft," DePodesta said. "There's just too much talent there -- and the combination of power and speed, which is very difficult to find. We felt like it was an opportunity for us in a year where we didn't have a first-round pick to maybe reach up and try to get a first-round talent. That's what we did."
Lindsay, who bats and throws righty, has been listed as an infielder in some places. Tanuos said Lindsay played multiple positions to accommodate travel teams, but is a center fielder.
Tanous said the Mets scouted Lindsay "extensively over the last couple of years." That included Lindsay playing in a showcase hosted by the Mets at Citi Field.
"This is an athlete that probably has a 'plus, plus' run tool for us. He's one of the faster kids in the draft," Tanous said. "Although he's a fairly strong kid, this is a kid that can run, has a lot of versatility."
Said DePodesta: "The last few drafts we kind of looked for offensive players who we thought were hitters first, who had power potential. We think he certainly fits that mold. But then he also has the speed on top of it. Of the players we've taken with our first pick in each of the last four drafts, he is certainly a more dynamic runner than any of those guys that we've taken. But we really like the hitter first."