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Article: Kernels In A Dogfight For Mwl Postseason Spot

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:01 AM
In mid-June, after a brutal first half to their Midwest League season, the Cedar Rapids Kernels limped in to the MWL’s All-Star break wit...
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Are The Twins The Unluckiest Team In Baseball?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:19 AM
I posed this question in a column on the SweetSpot blog at ESPN.com today. You can read it here.   Basically, the premise is that wh...
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Having Issues With Sound In Ads? Screenshots Here, Please

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:53 AM
Okay, I'm tired of this happening. All the ad networks are pointing fingers at one another and nobody is taking responsibility for this a...
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Nate Roberts Released

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:10 AM
The Twins and Ft. Myers Miracle announced (via the FSL transaction page at this point) that Nate Roberts has been released.   It's u...
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Trades Now Please

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:10 AM
You can call this a rant if you want to do so.   1. Kurt Suzuki to the Orioles for either Zach Davies or Brandon Kline.   2. Jo...
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The Store

Twins MLB Draft Profile: Jonathan Gray, RHP

Attached Image: Gray_Jonathan_landscape_US_720.jpg Who IS This Guy?
Jonathan Gray is a right-handed college starting pitcher who has rocketed up the charts, becoming one of the two most coveted picks in the draft. Coming into the college season he was a decent but not remarkable prospect, but that was before posting 127 strikeouts (in 110 IP), a 9-2 record and a 1.55 ERA (pre-NCAA tournament). It was also before he unveiled improvements on two outstanding pitches.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

The first is an “80” fastball that tops three digits on occasion, as it did last week (102 mph), striking out the last batter of a 129-pitch complete game in the NCAA regionals. Coming into the year, he had never shown that kind of velocity, but this year he worked between 94 and 97 all season.

He also shows a “plus” slider that has also improved due to a tweak in the grip (running the middle finger down the right side of the horseshoe) that has increased the velocity and tightened the break. He has also shown a curveball and changeup, though both need to be further developed.

Who Could He Be?

He’s on track to be a #1 pitcher. But it’s been a short track.

Gray might have the most upside of any pitcher in the draft, or at the very least the most of any of the college pitchers. Compared to the other top name, Mark Appel, Gray might have the higher ceiling but has less history on which to base that projection.

How Soon Could He Be Playing In Target Field?

The path the Twins took with Matt Garza, another first round pick, albeit 25th overall, provides a clue. Garza was fast-tracked through the system due to his success and the state of the Twins starting rotation. The best guess is…

2013 – Twins have him pitch in rookie league and maybe low A but are careful about piling much wear and tear on his arm (especially if his Oklahoma coach keeps throwing him out there for 129-pitch outings.)
2014 – High A and maybe AA.
2015 – AA or AAA with a possible late season call-up.

If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Messed Up Because…

The most obvious reasoning used to criticize this pick would be to say that they got carried away with a player whose value was built on one-year’s performance and improvement. But, provided he signs, it would be hard to legitimately criticize, even if he doesn’t make it to the majors for some unforeseen reason. Knowing what we know, he’s the complete package and fits an area of extreme need in the organization.

If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Nailed It Because…

Well, they probably got lucky, because for most of the last two months Gray wasn’t supposed to be available at #4. However, in Keith Law’s latest mock draft, he had Gray falling into their laps – and then the Twins passed on him for high school pitching prospect Kohl Stewart. Though the Twins are clearly enamored with Stewart, Gray has similar (if not more) upside without the risks associated of drafting a high school pitcher. Oh – and he’s likely to arrive in the majors sooner.

More than any other player in the draft, Gray might be the perfect choice for the Twins.

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