Miami Hurricanes star David Thompson could be on track to one day replace David Wright as the New York Mets’ third baseman.
Thompson, who leads the nation with 19 homers and 87 RBI heading into the College World Series this weekend, was drafted in the fourth round by the Mets on Tuesday.
“We all started screaming, jumping up and down,” said Thompson, who watched the draft on his computer, surrounded by his parents, a couple of friends and his grandmother. “My grandmother was the loudest one.”
If he signs — the recommended bonus for a player drafted in his slot is $474,000 — Thompson would immediately become the highest-profile third-base prospect in the Mets’ system. In fact, among the Mets’ top dozen prospects, none are third basemen.
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“It doesn’t matter who is in front of me,” Thompson said. “I’m just pumped for this opportunity.”
Thompson, who turns 22 in August, would likely need a couple of years — if all goes well — to get to the majors. (Former Hurricanes slugger Ryan Braun, for example, was drafted in 2005 and made the majors by May 2007.)
Wright, who is signed through 2020, turns 33 in December and missed a combined total of 78 games the past two seasons. This season has been even worse for Wright, who has played only eight games and could be out quite a while because of a back injury.
Circumstances could change — there could be a trade or a future draft choice that would alter the Mets’ picture. But it’s clear Thompson could move quicker than most through the system because of his advanced bat and the Mets’ need at the position.
Thompson, who also can play first base and outfield, said the Mets called him before and after he was drafted but did not discuss his defensive position.
“They just wished me well in Omaha and said they can’t wait to get me into a Mets uniform,” Thompson said. “I love third base. I hope to play there as long as I’m in this game.”
Thompson was the second Hurricanes player selected in this year’s draft. Left-hander Andy Suarez was picked Monday in the second round, going to the Giants with selection No. 61.
The recommended signing bonus for Suarez, who turns 23 in September, is $987,000. Suarez, who recently earned his Bachelor’s degree, also was a second-round pick last year but turned down the Nationals to return to school.
Other local players drafted Tuesday include:
▪ Barry shortstop J.C. Cardenas, who turns 21 this month and played high school ball at Westwood Christian, was picked by the Blue Jays in the sixth round. Cardenas is a switch-hitter who stole 46 bases in 52 attempts during his Barry career. As a junior this year, he hit .352.
▪ FIU first baseman Edwin Rios, who tied for fourth in the nation with 18 homers, was picked in the sixth round by the Dodgers. Rios, 21, hit .314 with 56 RBI.
▪ Second baseman George Iskenderian was picked in the seventh round by the Brewers.
▪ Right-hander Sarkis Ohanian, 21, who played high school ball for North Broward Prep, was picked by the Reds in the ninth round. He had a 1.97 ERA as a Duke reliever this year.
▪ Two Florida State players with local ties were drafted: catcher Danny De La Calle (Miami’s Ferguson High and Miami Dade College) was taken in the ninth round by the Rays, and lefty reliever Billy Strode (American Heritage) was picked in the 10th round by the Cubs.
The three-day draft concludes Wednesday with rounds 11 through 40.