Read: Paul DePodesta discusses a balanced farm system, graduating players, etc.

M BaronIn a post to Amazin’ Avenue, Chris McShane talked with Paul DePodesta, the Mets Vice President of Player Development, about the state of the Mets farm system.

DePodesta is pleased they’ve been able to develop some top-tiered position players in recent years.

Paul DePodesta“Now you look at our top ten, it’s mainly position players,” DePodesta told McShane. “I think that’s been the biggest change, and we’re happy with that development because it’s certainly something we targeted, even going back to 2011. We knew we needed to add some more position player talent to the system, and fortunately we’ve been able to do that.”

In regards to Michael Conforto, DePodesta compared him to Brandon Nimmo in terms of his age as far as gauging where he belongs in the minor league system to start the 2015 season.

“We’re certainly not going to start Conforto at Triple-A, but at least it gives us a frame of reference that what’s sort of fair and reasonable, in terms of not only where we start this guy but where maybe we give him a chance to finish, which is probably more important than where he starts,” DePodesta explained.

For the first time under Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta and his team will be drafting without a first round pick; they surrendered their pick with the signing of OF Michael Cuddyer, who received a qualifying offer from the Rockies last fall.

However, DePodesta is not concerned over the lack of an early pick this summer, as it only shifts their focus to other areas of the draft.

“That frees us up to actually get more looks at guys that we think are going to go later. And more looks than we would traditionally get,” DePodesta said. “So that’s what we’re trying to focus on, realizing that we can know picks 50 to 200 even better than we’ve been able to in the past—maybe get an extra look or two at most of those players than we otherwise would have in past years.”

This is fantastic work by McShane, and is well worth your time to read his entire Q&A with DePodesta.

I’m curious to see how DePodesta and his team handle this year’s draft in particular. As he told McShane, the top of the farm system is slowly being infiltrated by more position players, while at the same time they continue to develop strike throwing pitching prospects, such as Matt BowmanJohn Gant, and more. They will lack the luxury of taking perceived top-tiered talent early in the draft, but knowing that could allow them to find sleepers and other diamonds in the rough which can be developed into Major League talent.

For more from DePodesta, including his thoughts on Rafael Montero, finding innings for their pitching-rich system, and more, check out Amazin’ Avenue.