Strom cooks up a storm on defense

Outfielder known for making highlight-reel catches

NEW YORK -- The later rounds of the Draft can be filled with anonymity, players seeking to stamp their reputations on the baseball world.

The Mets' 22nd-round pick, Ian Strom out of UMass-Lowell, already comes with a reputation ready-made. Three times in his amateur career, Strom has made SportsCenter's Top 10 for outfield catches, patrolling center field in a way that might even turn Juan Lagares' head.

"Honestly, I'm just lucky those videos got in the right hands," Strom said. "I have a lot to be grateful for."

Mets rely heavily on college talent in Draft

Though Strom hit only .230 at UMass-Lowell this season, down from his high of .333 as a sophomore, he made contributions to the River Hawks in other ways. Earlier in his college career, Strom spent time on the mound for a Lowell program that recently produced MLB talent Jack Leathersich, now rehabbing from Tommy John surgery with the Cubs. Strom has stolen 39 bases in 86 games the past two seasons, but his primary impact has been with the glove.

During one memorable game at SUNY Albany, Strom crashed into the outfield wall making a catch. Though the ball stayed lodged in his webbing, the impact was enough to knock his glove off his hand in the process.

"Technically, no catch," Strom said, laughing.

The jewel of Strom's highlight reel is a leaping grab he made during summer ball, in the Worcester Bravehearts' Futures Collegiate Baseball League championship game win over Martha's Vineyard. That catch earned Strom the top ranking on SportsCenter's reel. He's made the show two other times, to the delight of family and friends.

Ian Strom

"I love playing defense," Strom said. "I just love playing baseball, in general."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.