Of the last decade's drafts, I think it’s safe to say that the two first round picks for which the Twins took the most immediate heat were 2001 and 2007. It might be worth noting just how ridiculous that looks right now. In 2001, the Twins took Joe Mauer as the #1 pick and were lambasted for being too damn cheap and possibly blinded by a local kid. In 2007, the fiscal-based criticism was similar when they drafted Ben Revere "above slot" and it was compounded by a perception that the Twins were way too happy with their annoying little Piranhas and devoid of power.
But if you take a look at first round picks the Twins have made, Mauer and Revere currently rank among some of the best, even given Revere’s limited role so far.
The problem with writing about the draft the day after is that you’re writing in a void. After all, we have very little idea what these players will become. And when confronted with a void, the human mind creates a reality. So we start with rankings culled by a few media members and bloggers who are sensitive to what other media member and bloggers perceive. Then we extend realities from the ones we perceive while following the club, especially when they are supported by rankings.
So which realities do you want to embrace?
You could go with the “Twins Love Toolsy Outfielders” paradigm, which explains why the Twins nabbed high school prep star Byron Buxton. If you're disappointed by Aaron Hicks, then that's a bad thing. If you admire Denard Span or Torii Hunter, then that's a good thing. But, of course, neither Span nor Hunter nor Hicks have any impact on the development of Buxton.
Or you could go with the “Twins Are Too Cheap” which explains why they didn’t select Scott Boras client Mark Appel with the #2 pick and leaves you feeling a little bitter. It explains why the next two picks - Puerto Rican high school pitcher Jose Orlando Berrios and college relief pitcher Luke Bard - were chosen slightly above where they had been ranked by Baseball America
and other ranking systems. By doing so, the Twins might save money since these players don’t have that high bonus expectations others might have had. Or it could be that the Twins didn't agree with Baseball America
There will be others realities someone will want to extend. I'm quite sure someone will absolutely find a “Pitch To Contact” trend, though I think it’s going to take some imagination. More obvious is the “Twins Are Oblivious” since they didn’t come out of the first day with a college starting pitcher. Or a “Twins Are Medical Quacks” since third pick, Bard, is down with non-arm injury.
I’m looking forward to reading them. But the longer I do this, the more I conclude that none of them are legitimate.
Here’s what happened yesterday: the Twins nabbed some black boxes. Or maybe a better analogy would be some junk bond portfolios. Some are very promising, highly graded, with a possible high payout. Some are less so.
Twenty-nine other traders did the same thing. They did so based on experience and insider information that we have little access to. Our perceptions on what drove them or didn’t drive them are probably wrong. More than likely, they looked at these opaque boxes, shook them a bit, and picked the ones they like best.
Now we get to wait to see what’s in them.