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Thursday, June 6, 2013
Mets select Church in second round

By Adam Rubin


WASHINGTON -- The Mets have selected Nevada high school right-hander Andrew Church with their second-round pick (48th overall).

Paul DePodesta described Church as having the potential for being a "solid middle-of the rotation starter," who logs innings, with a plus curveball and three-pitch arsenal (fastball that tops out at 93 mph and changeup).

Mets officials said Church faced first-round pick Dominic Smith in a tournament in Las Vegas and Smith doubled and homered against him during an otherwise solid start for the right-hander.

"It was a nice mix of stuff and command," amateur scouting director Tommy Tanous said. "... I went back to see Andrew pitch in his high school playoffs and he was tremendous in that game."

According to reports, Church played high school baseball his freshman year, then transferred, forcing him to sit out his sophomore year. A dispute with the staff after turnover among the coaches then prompted him to skip his junior year and transfer again. He initially was declared ineligible at the third school for his senior year, but eventually was allowed to play.

DePodesta suggested Church merely followed a coach to one school and then another.

"We also saw him last summer, and even saw him this spring while he wasn't pitching for his high school," Tanous said. "So we still got to see him quite a bit."

Writes Baseball America:

Church ranked as the No. 90 high school prospect in the country heading into the season. He has a 6-foot-1, 185-pound build and shows some feel for a four-pitch mix. His fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range with some riding life and he's dialed it up as high as 95. Church mixes in a mid-to-upper 70s curveball and a changeup and slider that are both in the 78-80 mph range. Church has swing-and-miss stuff and has cleaned up his delivery since the summer showcase circuit. A member of Team Vegas in the summer and fall, Church is committed to San Diego as part of the Torero's outstanding class.

Taking high school picks with their first two selections was not intentional, according to DePodesta, who likened it to the 2011 draft when prep players Brandon Nimmo and Michael Fulmer were the top two picks.

"In an ideal world you'd love to have somebody who is really close to the big leagues, but our specific marching orders that we've been given is to try to get the best player available," DePodesta said. "And that's what we've done each of the last three years."