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2013 MLB Draft Preview: The Minnesota Twins Picks

Attached Image: draft13.jpg As the draft quickly approaches, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing the choices the Twins have with the fourth overall pick in the draft. Today, we’re going to look at what you can expect to happen in the first ten rounds.

Over the last three drafts, the Twins have selected 35 players in the Top 10 rounds. Here’s how those picks break down:[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
College right-handed pitchers: 10 (1, 1s, 2, 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10)
College left-handed pitchers: 7 (2, 3, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10)
Prep outfielders: 3 (1, 4, 6)
College shortstops: 3 (1, 5, 9)
College “corners”: 3 (3, 8, 9) *value in bat, position TBD (includes unsigned Mazzilli)
Prep right-handed pitchers: 2 (1s, 1s)
Prep shortstops: 2 (2, 10) *maybe should be labeled “prep athletes”
Prep “corners”: 1 (1s)
College outfielders: 1 (5)
Prep left-handed pitchers: 1 (6)
Prep catchers: 1 (7)
College catchers: 1 (9)

The Twins have had five extra choices in rounds one and two over the last two years, a luxury they won’t have this year. Those additional picks have been extra arms or, in Travis Harrison’s case, the only prep with his value tied exclusively to his bat in the last three years.

Though the Twins have only used two Top 10 selections on catchers in the last three years, they used a 12th-round pick on a college catcher in the odd year. They’re admittedly looking for more catching, so expect to see a catcher selected higher than in previous years. (GUESS: Twins pop a catcher somewhere in the rounds 4-6.)

The category of college shortstops is tied for third most-represented on the list. Unfortunately, the Twins haven’t gotten great value there. Levi Michael was likely viewed as the best-available and that was why he came off the board. (GUESS: There isn’t a lot of SS depth in the system or in this draft, so if there is a “senior sign” that the Twins believe in, taking one in round 6-9 wouldn’t be a shock.)

It could be tossed into the last category, but prep shortstops are different. The Twins have a history of adding a prep shortstop in the Top 15 (if not Top 10) rounds. It seems they’ll sacrifice offense for a good fielding shortstop. (GUESS: If they find a guy they like, they could move early. If not, expect them to take a chance after round 10, especially if they’ve used a pick on a college shortstop already.)

College “corners” and even the lone college outfielder (Nate Roberts) happen about once a year. (GUESS: It could happen at any time in the first ten rounds, maybe twice. One name to keep an eye on early on Day 2 is Georgia Tech OF/1B Daniel Palka.)

The Twins have always seemed to have a love-affair for toolsy prep outfielders. The truth is, though, they haven’t taken a ton of them, they’ve just had a lot of success with them when they do. (GUESS: Like prep pitchers, they do it early. There is a chance the Twins take an athlete that falls with the likelihood they add a centerfielder sometime on Day 2. It should be noted, as well, that the Twins only “overslot” signing after Round 10 was a prep centerfielder.)

Taking a prep right-hander is rare. But when it’s happened, it’s happened early. Expect the same this year. (GUESS: Kohl Stewart at 4 would qualify as early.)

The Twins have only selected one prep lefty in the Top 10 rounds and that pick turned out to have shoulder issues before signing. He was also one of a handful of Puerto Ricans drafted over the last three years. The Twins typically wouldn’t be counted on to take a prep lefty, but this year has more depth in the category than most years. (GUESS: They’ll come off the board early, so if it hasn’t happened by round 3, don’t count on it.)

College pitchers – both left- and right-handed – dominated the Twins draft board over the last three years. Nearly half of the Top 10 round picks have been pitchers and that makes sense. Last year, eight of the first 13 picks were pitchers. This year could be very similar. (GUESS: Expect the Twins to go to the pitching well early and often. Drafting six pitchers in the first ten rounds seems about right, but after drafting so many lefties recently, there is less urgency to add as many this year. If two lefties come off the board in the top 10 rounds, that would make sense.)

Round-by-round expectations:

Round 1 – There is some intrigue left because of the uncertainty before them, but (as of today) prep RHP Kohl Stewart is the pick.

Round 2 – If the pick is Stewart in Round 1, it would surprise me if they turned around and took a prep lefty here. That being said, there will be some good value here. Blake Taylor (CA) and Hunter Green (KY) are names that could be in the discussion. A more likely scenario would see a college arm come off of the board. Best available would be the way to go, especially if one falls; names that are in play are Tom Windle (Minnesota), Kent Emanuel (North Carolina) and Dillon Overton (Oklahoma). The other scenario would be a position player dropping into the Twins' lap. It’s impossible to predict who it might be, but the Twins are enamored with Aaron Judge’s power (Fresno State), though he’s upped his draft stock lately.

Round 3 and Round 4 – Some names worth remembering here are Stephen Tarpley (LHP, Scottsdale JC), Cody Reed (LHP NW Miss. JC), Corey Littrell (LHP, Kentucky) and D.J. Snelton (LHP, Minnesota). If the Twins want to take another shot on a college reliever A.J. Vanegas (RHP, Stanford) could be an intriguing name. Slowed by injuries, Vanegas still offers a high-90s fastball and a very good slider. This could also be the time you also see a prep shortstop (or other prep athlete) come off the board, though it’s a danger-zone for those with signability questions.

Round 5 through Round 7 – This is the range in which the Twins could very easily be considering a catcher. Brian Navaretto (FL) and Rene Melendez (PR) are two preps that fit the defensive profile. Mississippi State SS Adam Frazier would immediately become a Gardenhire favorite. If the Twins go the prep shortstop route, Stephen Alemais (a personal favorite of mine) would make sense. David Gates (RHP, Howard JC) and Taylor Williams (RHP, Kent State) are names that could be in the mix here.

Round 8 through Round 10 – If the Twins have passed on outfielders to this point, someone like Adam Engel (Louisville) would be a great choice. Ryan Cordell (Liberty) would also make sense. There are literally hundreds of pitchers that could be under consideration for these picks.

The baseball draft is far more unpredictable than either the football or basketball draft simply because of the volume of guys that are selected. The front office is hard at work setting their draft board, which will consist of approximately 900 names. (Yes, that’s fewer than will be selected over the 40 rounds. No, they’re not worried they’ll run out of names.) It will likely be much earlier in the draft than you’d expect when players are getting drafted who aren’t even on the Twins board. (I believe I was told it happened in the 3rd round last year.)

Once the draft is complete – and the organization has 40 more players – they will begin signing them. Of course, not all will sign (not all will even be offered contracts), but when the dust clears on July 15, expect the Twins to have signed somewhere between 22 and 26 players.

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If you haven't had enough draft talk yet, go find last week's Gleeman and the Geek podcast. I also talked draft with Fanatic Jack at BlogTalkRadio last Monday.

There's more draft talk coming: The Talk2Contact crew will be running their draft preview early next week. And if you're really crazy and can't get enough, I'll be joining the BlueJaysPlus podcast tomorrow night.


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