Twins MLB Draft Preview: Kyle Wright, SP
Image courtesy of Vanderbilt AthleticsWho Is He?
Kyle Wright is “best player in the the draft by far” a Twins scout told me about a month ago.
It just so happened to be an echo of what the same scout told me late last summer, around the time the Hunter Greene hype-train started barreling down the tracks. Wright had just completed his time pitching for the Collegiate National team, with his last outing coming in relief, but pitching five one-hit innings and striking out five Cubans. That was the exclamation point to a very strong summer showing: 16 2/3 innings, 16 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.20.
Kyle Wright had officially arrived. Armed with a low-to-mid-90s two-seamer, a four-seamer that touches 97, two breaking balls - a curveball and slider that both sit around 80 mph and a changeup that has slowly been getting better and better. Four usable pitches when he’s at his best, Kyle Wright has the makings of a top draft prospect.
You can read an interview with Kyle Wright done by the boy wonder Chris Cotillo.
Why the Twins Will Pick Him
When you’re picking first, you take the best player in the draft, right? Well, that’s arguably one feather that Wright has in his hat. But that’s all relative. If you want ceiling, there are higher ceilings than Wright's. If you want a higher floor, Wright’s got a lower floor than some others. What Wright has, in many people’s opinion, is the perfect combination of potential and floor.
He’s developed admirably since arriving at Vanderbilt. As a high school senior, he was 6’ 3”, 175 lbs with a fastball that touched 90 if the wind was blowing right. Three years later, he’s 6’ 4”, 220 and can touch 97 and could still have more developing to do.
After being a stud in the bullpen as a freshman, Wright moved into the rotation and was Vandy’s Friday night starter as a junior. The stars were aligned… and then he struggled. The velo was there. The consistency wasn’t.
But after not putting up great numbers, he’s Wrighted the ship. The 5-5 record might not be as pretty as last year’s 8-4 or the 6-1 as a freshman, but the peripherals are all better. His K/9 is up to 10.5 from 10.3. His WHIP went down to 1.06 from1.22. His walks are down. His home runs are down. He’s just better.
His performance last Saturday, with many Twins scouts in attendance, was the stuff worthy of being the first overall pick. You can read all about it here.
Why the Twins Will Not Pick Him
When you think of first overall picks, the names Stephen Strasburg and David Price pop into your heads. Wright isn’t those guys. There isn’t a “generational” college prospect. Ideally, when you’re drafting first, there’s the can’t-miss guy that’s going to breaking into the major leagues within a year of signing. This isn’t one of those drafts.
You may make a comparison between Wright and Strasburg though. Only it revolves around their deliveries. I went into more depth a few weeks ago in a separate piece for Twins Daily. While Kyle Wright has a clean bill of health, Strasburg hasn’t as he’s had multiple arm injuries. Is it enough to make the Twins look another direction? That remains to be seen.
Then there are the inconsistencies that Wright has shown over not only the last few months, but the last few seasons. As with anyone with a developing body and skills would, that shouldn’t be too alarming. But when mixed with the other things, how does it stack up against other prospects?
Nick Nelson wrote about the Vandy product being the Wright fit recently. I’d say he is. I would guess that somewhere in the upper parts of Target Field the team has made a call to Wright’s representatives, CAA, and have begun negotiating what it’s going to take to get that name on the dotted line. (Editor's note: they haven't... yet.)
In my estimation, that conversation - if the sides aren’t close - is the biggest factor as to whether the Twins pick him or not. And I’m guessing they won’t be too far apart… at least not by the end of the weekend.
Follow Kyle on Twitter too.
Previous Draft Profiles:
Hunter Greene, SP/SS by Nick Nelson
Brendan McKay, SP/1B by Cody Christie
Royce Lewis, SS/OF by Nick Nelson
Pavin Smith, 1B by Tom Froemming
My 10-round Mock Draft
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