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Twins Select Ryan Jeffers in the Second Round of the 2018 Draft

Some of the Twins’ most successful second-round draft picks include Frank Viola, Butch Wynegar, Scott Baker, Tim Teufel, Jacque Jones and Jesse Crain. Derek Falvey and the rest of the front office are hoping Ryan Jeffers someday joins that list.

With their second-round pick, No. 59 overall, the Twins took Jeffers, who is a catcher out of UNC Wilmington.
Jeffers isn’t the sexiest pick in the draft, but he might just be exactly the type of pick that we could have expected the Twins to take entering tonight. The Twins' limitations with their bonus pool were evident and this pick is most likely a move to save a little bit of money in that pool.

As a player, Jeffers is an offense-first catcher whose numbers playing for UNC Wilmington will jump off the page. Here are his three-year career numbers in college.

542 PA; .322 AVG; .450 OBP; .616 SLG; 78 K; 85 BB; 44 2B; 2 3B; 27 HR

This year, Jeffers hit .315/.460/.635 with 16 home runs and 50 RBIs this season. He also had 51 walks compared to just 44 strikeouts. He led the Colonial Athletic Association in home runs and on-base percentage.

Even though Jeffers doesn’t play in one of the top tier baseball conferences, this is still production that you can't ignore, especially from a catcher.

Jeffers was the offensive leader this season for a UNC-Wilmington team that won the Colonial Athletic Association this year, and advanced to the regional final before being knocked out by the South Carolina Gamecocks earlier today.

With the Twins selecting Jeffers this early in the draft, it's apparent they believe in his ability to stay behind the plate. If so, this will be a great addition to the Twins farm system that is pretty thin in the backstop department.

Behind the plate, he threw out just 12 of 48 base stealers (25 percent), but there's obviously a lot more that goes into catching than just throwing out runners. Jeffers also saw some time in the outfield, though he's a big guy, listed at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds.

Here's what Carlos Collazo of Baseball America had to say about Jeffers:

And here's a Tweet from Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs:


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56 Comments

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twinsfanstreif
Jun 04 2018 09:24 PM
Money saving move?
    • Bob Sacamento and Dman like this

MLB Pipeline doesn't have him in the Top 200. Ouch.

    • gunnarthor and h2oface like this
Number 77 on fangraphs.... Here is their summary....

Big catcher with non-zero chance to stay back there and above-average raw power
    • glunn, Mike Frasier Law and beckmt like this

 

Number 77 on fangraphs.... Here is their summary....

Big catcher with non-zero chance to stay back there and above-average raw power

So Matthew LeCroy?

    • jokin, Kelly Vance and d-mac like this

Underslot I assume? Twins looking to go shopping for free-falling talent tomorrow?

Underslot I assume? Twins looking to go shopping for free-falling talent tomorrow?


Why not take the player they like now? They don't pick for some time.....
    • jorgenswest, gunnarthor, markos and 2 others like this
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drivlikejehu
Jun 04 2018 09:30 PM

I imagine he will sign for a bit under slot, but that wouldn't be the motivation for the pick. The Twins presumably think Jeffers is good at baseball.

    • Thrylos, Mike Sixel and Twins33 like this

BA's got him at 295. 

    • h2oface likes this

"...non-zero chance to stay back there..." What the heck is that supposed to mean? He's such a bad defensive catcher that it will take massive physical therapy to get him behind home plate? 

 

I'm hoping this statement is attributable to the hardened cynicism of baseball scouts. Otherwise the Twins just drafted maybe a so-so DH somewhere down the line. 

 

I googled it. Jeffers is a power hitting catcher. Not much else from video.

    • DocBauer, twinssporto and Shaitan like this

"...non-zero chance to stay back there..." What the heck is that supposed to mean? He's such a bad defensive catcher that it will take massive physical therapy to get him behind home plate?

I'm hoping this statement is attributable to the hardened cynicism of baseball scouts. Otherwise the Twins just drafted maybe a so-so DH somewhere down the line.


No. It means he has a chance to stay at catcher, unlike some others. It's the opposite of what you just typed.
    • d-mac likes this

I am hoping for some Gonsalves-type coming up in the next couple picks. So far, not too impressed. 

    • Dman and Major Leauge Ready like this
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Tom Froemming
Jun 04 2018 09:56 PM

It seemed like a lot of folks wanted the Twins to draft a college catcher. Well, here you go :)

    • glunn, Danchat, dbminn and 1 other like this
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Bob Sacamento
Jun 04 2018 09:56 PM

Here is what BA had to say about him:

 

Jeffers has put up remarkably consistent numbers in his three years at UNC-Wilmington, and is a career .325/.452/.623 hitter with the Seahawks through the first 54 games this spring, with none of his individual season lines far off from that mark. Since becoming an everyday player as a sophomore, Jeffers has tapped into double-digit home run power, though there are scouts who are skeptical of that sort of home run production continuing to show up as a professional. A team not convicted in his power might be out on Jeffers, as he’s a below-average runner with an average arm behind the dish, and questions about whether he can stick there. If a team buys into the bat being real—and there’s also wood bat track record to suggest it’s not—he could be an interesting offensive option in the middle of the top ten rounds
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Bob Sacamento
Jun 04 2018 09:59 PM

 

I imagine he will sign for a bit under slot, but that wouldn't be the motivation for the pick. The Twins presumably think Jeffers is good at baseball.

Slot is 1.1M and he's more like a 4th Rd talent at best so maybe the Twins got him at 400-600K which saves ~500-700K for the next pick

I'm not sure the math adds up, but maybe I'm not following.

Slot is $1.1M in the second, and you "save" 600K. Say you save $1M in the first round. Now, say slot is $600k in the third.

In the second you'd have the $2.1 million to allocate to a player. In the third you'd have $2.2.

So why not just take the guy you want in the second? What difference does $100K make?
Arm and defense make me pretty skeptical here. Consistent hitting and power impresses me. Catcher is probably the hardest position to scout, evaluate, predict and draft. There are just so many factors, and developmental factors, that go in to what makes a good catcher. Maybe he's a real leader who calls a good game, seems coachable, and the Twins like the bat and feel they can work on aspects of his defense. But have to admit, though I am reaching with any opinion here, sounds like a strange selection this early.
    • glunn, Twins33, beckmt and 4 others like this

I'm not sure the math adds up, but maybe I'm not following.

Slot is $1.1M in the second, and you "save" 600K. Say you save $1M in the first round. Now, say slot is $600k in the third.

In the second you'd have the $2.1 million to allocate to a player. In the third you'd have $2.2.

So why not just take the guy you want in the second? What difference does $100K make?

You need to find a player who will entertain the extra dollars and work out a deal ahead of time. Much easier to do with more time on the clock. And zero chance they saved $1M on the first pick.
    • d-mac likes this
These first 2 pics seem like bats that can reach the majors quickly. The goal here could be to try to find a bat during our window of contention that can help. A high schooler wouldnt be up in time.

While their defense wont be quite ready. I think their bats could be in 2 seasons. And saving money for a pick that falls in the draft is a bonus as well.
    • glunn, rukavina, Kelly Vance and 1 other like this
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Tom Froemming
Jun 04 2018 10:57 PM

 

Arm and defense make me pretty skeptical here. Consistent hitting and power impresses me. Catcher is probably the hardest position to scout, evaluate, predict and draft. There are just so many factors, and developmental factors, that go in to what makes a good catcher. Maybe he's a real leader who calls a good game, seems coachable, and the Twins like the bat and feel they can work on aspects of his defense. But have to admit, though I am reaching with any opinion here, sounds like a strange selection this early.

This pick only makes sense to me -- slot savings or otherwise -- if they're convinced they can keep his guy behind the plate.

 

It's entirely possible his caught stealing rates were down because his pitchers were bad at holding on runners or maybe there are some minor mechanical tweaks the Twins think they've identified that would clean things up in a jiffy. I'm sure they'll talk up his character, which is particularly important for a catcher, but maybe they also see some things in Jeffers that make them believe he is/can be a plus pitch framer, blocker and manager of a pitching staff. Who knows?

 

Above-average power is nice, but I have to imagine there were plenty of other 55 raw power guys still available at that pick if they were simply looking for a bat.

    • glunn, ThejacKmp, gagu and 1 other like this

Couple random comments about this pick that I've thought through since it was announced:

 

1.) It's important to remember that the Twins Top 200 or their draft board or whatever you want to call it isn't the same as MLB.com or Baseball America or FanGraphs or anyone else... and that's a good thing. The Twins have had eyes on these guys far longer and more often than those sites. So, just because he wasn't in whoever's top 200 really isn't a big deal.

 

2.) That said, I have to believe they got some savings from that pick, something below slot.

 

3.) I'd also say that it clearly signals that the Twins valued obtaining a catcher (or more) in the draft, and they are fully convicted that Jeffers can be a catcher, a big league catcher, at some point. They correctly predicted a mini-run on catchers (2-3 came after he was selected, and since they don't have a 3rd round pick, they didn't want to wait until then, knowing that the guy they clearly wanted (Jeffers) wouldn't be there ... This is all a guess, of course.

    • glunn, rukavina, Blake and 20 others like this
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Kelly Vance
Jun 05 2018 12:15 AM

catchers don't usually hit .300.  OK, I'm in. 

 

No. It means he has a chance to stay at catcher, unlike some others. It's the opposite of what you just typed.

 

I understand an 80% chance to stay at catcher, or 100, or 50 or 20, or even zero. I have no idea what non-zero means. Seems that if people want to communicate, they won't do it in code. Non-zero could mean anything then? Like anywhere between zero and 100% chance? Now that is sticking your predictive neck out, big time.

 

I find it interesting that this FO spends 24 million or so on a catcher that can't hit, because they like glove first, but they draft a hitting catcher, but don't sign a Ramos or a hitting catcher to play for the Twins.

    • gil4, Dman, Platoon and 2 others like this
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Kelly Vance
Jun 05 2018 12:34 AM

 

Couple random comments about this pick that I've thought through since it was announced:

 

1.) It's important to remember that the Twins Top 200 or their draft board or whatever you want to call it isn't the same as MLB.com or Baseball America or FanGraphs or anyone else... and that's a good thing. The Twins have had eyes on these guys far longer and more often than those sites. So, just because he wasn't in whoever's top 200 really isn't a big deal.

 

2.) That said, I have to believe they got some savings from that pick, something below slot.

 

3.) I'd also say that it clearly signals that the Twins valued obtaining a catcher (or more) in the draft, and they are fully convicted that Jeffers can be a catcher, a big league catcher, at some point. They correctly predicted a mini-run on catchers (2-3 came after he was selected, and since they don't have a 3rd round pick, they didn't want to wait until then, knowing that the guy they clearly wanted (Jeffers) wouldn't be there ... This is all a guess, of course.

I liked this post, because all it did was make sense. You may not have been in the room, but I can't help but think you were. I think you may be right.  Twins like hitting catchers, ala Mauer, Red Dawg (hit .341 one year as Mauer's BU) and everyone not named Butera (anybody notice he is still in the league?) 

 

So, we currently need catchers. This pick won't change that. I still suspect a trade is imminent. If Garver doesn't shine and Wilson don't hit (he has a cannon of an arm, which i saw IRL in Seattle, so I will shut up about him)  we still need a playable backstop. Which I think may mean a call up for a spell, if only a couple weeks, if we can't find a deal. But who?  I like Nav.  Give him a week in the Hilton, why don't we?

 

BTW, Can Rosario catch?

 

And am I the only one who thinks calling up a kid, maybe a Lookout, if only for a spell, makes him a better player, long run? It gets him a dose of desire for use later, right?  We have a young team. There will be hiccups, but when you go with a youth movement, you gotta let the kids play. So you toggle the switch and call up a kid. Give him a look at the Show. Send him back with his face glowing like he just saw Sophia Vergera up close. He may be back sooner than expected that way.

 

BTW, if like me you are following the  MLB draft, you don't have enough to do 

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Kelly Vance
Jun 05 2018 12:36 AM

 

I understand an 80% chance to stay at catcher, or 100, or 50 or 20, or even zero. I have no idea what non-zero means. Seems that if people want to communicate, they won't do it in code. Non-zero could mean anything then? Like anywhere between zero and 100% chance? Now that is sticking your predictive neck out, big time.

 

I find it interesting that this FO spends 24 million or so on a catcher that can't hit, because they like glove first, but they draft a hitting catcher, but don't sign a Ramos or a hitting catcher to play for the Twins.

See, that is why you will never work in the FO. You expect things to make SENSE.

If it makes any difference, I thought the same thing. 

    • jud6312 likes this

 

 

 

Is Ryan Jeffers the reincarnation of Bill Paxton?

 

"Game over, man! Game over!" (Jeffers interview after a two-run walk-off 13th inning homer vs. Coastal Carolina).

 

 

 

 

 

    • USAFChief likes this

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