Importance Of The 2017 Draft
Image courtesy of Steve BuhrMake sure to order a copy of the 2018 MINNESOTA TWINS PROSPECT HANDBOOK if you want to know more about Minnesota’s recent draftees and other players in the minor leagues. This book provides over 170 profiles on players throughout the Twins’ farm system. It is a must own for any baseball fan.
New Front Office
As the Twins were searching for a new regime, the ability to draft at the beginning of every round in the 2017 draft had to be an intriguing selling point. After being hired, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had to be licking their chops to dive into the draft process.
There is also pressure on the front office to make the right pick. It will be multiple years before the Twins know the results of the 2017 draft. Prospects can have lots of bumps in the road before becoming regular at the big league level. Not every prospect is Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Even recent top Twins prospects like Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios went through some growing pains.
The new front office entered the draft process and made their best selections.
Royce Lewis wasn’t the consensus number one pick but there might not have been a consensus top prospect as the draft approached. Lewis quickly made an impact in his professional debut. In fact, he cracked a home run in his first professional at-bat. In 42 games between the GCL and the MWL, he hit .279/.381/.407 with 15 extra-base hits. He was over three years younger than the competition in the MWL.
With their second pick in the draft, the Twins selected a familiar name. Brent Rooker had been the team’s 38th round pick in 2016 as a redshirt sophomore. He returned to Mississippi State and the decision paid off. Rooker split time between the Appalachian League and the Florida State League while combining for a .930 OPS.
Other top draft choices like Landon Leach, Blayne Enlow, Charlie Barnes and Andrew Bechtold are also going to figure into Twins top prospect lists this offseason.
Prospects can be a fickle bunch. Not every prospect is going to live up to the hype that is bestowed on him at such a young age. However, there are players in every organization who will blossom into the next wave of talent.
John Mirabelli, the Cleveland Indians Senior Director of Scouting Operations, said, “If you have a core of guys on the cusp, it’s important to get that next group and move them along as quick as you can. If you can see that coming… When you see that coming, it’s imperative to be aggressive to get them seasoned.”
The Twins were aggressive with Lewis and Rooker in their first professional season and that trend will likely continue. There are plenty of young pieces ready to contribute at the big league level. Other pieces from the 2017 draft could make it to Target Field as early as the 2018 season.
Drafting top talent is important but drafting the right pieces, that fit an organization, can make a world of difference.
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