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Article: Twins Hangouts, August 19: Episode 38

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The Store


Draft Board v.1.0 (2/17)

Though we are nearly four months away from the draft – and there is still much baseball to be played – it’s an event that is very significant and may stay very much on some of our minds as we progress through the spring and into summer.

I don’t know how often I’ll make changes to this – but this is my first installment of “Jeremy’s Small Board.” “Small” because only 1-4 matter, though I would anticipate having something more like a “Top 10” as the season progresses.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]In the last 20 years, the Twins have had 24 1st round draft picks (not counting supplemental picks). Of those 24 picks, 11 have been prep position players and eight have been college pitchers. The other two groups: college position players (4) and prep pitchers (1) have been much less represented.

The Twins first pick (fourth overall) will come with an approximate $4.5m price tag.

JEREMY’S SMALL BOARD
(Keep in mind, please, that this is not a “mock draft”. This is not a reflection of my top players. This is my attempt at stacking a “Twins Draft Board”, based on a number of things.)

1a) Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

WHY HE MAKES SENSE: On talent alone, he was #1 on a lot of boards last year (and probably #2 on the Twins board). In what’s predicted to be a similarly weak draft, Appel has held the top spot since deciding not to sign with the Pirates last July.
WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: Scott Boras. Even though Appel might be a guy you can plug into the top of the rotation almost immediately, is that worth the price of dealing with Scott Boras, who will suck every last penny out of an organization who has opened up their wallet once… ever? (Note: Mike Pelfrey is a Boras-client. Chris Parmelee may be too.)
MY TWO CENTS: If Appel is available at #4 and there is enough confidence in the draft room that Appel will come at a reasonable enough price as to not cripple the rest of the draft, I say go for it.
PRICE TAG: Boras thought Appel was worth $7.2m last year and not a dollar less. This year’s #1 will be worth 6-8% more, so we’re talking $7.6-7.8m. The Twins entire draft pool will be around $8.2m.

Attached Image: appel.jpg
[SIZE=2]Appel (right) with Colts QB Andrew Luck (photo from ESPN.com) [/SIZE]

1b) Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State

WHY HE MAKES SENSE: Manaea tore up the Cape Cod League last summer and the Twins have had a history of selecting guys who have had successful runs in that league. And it’s not like he was just successful either. He struck out 85 in 51.2 innings… in a year that was considered abnormally “offensive”.
WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: Manaea has been good - not dominant - in two college season and started off his junior year getting beat by Indiana University/Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IFPW). I don’t know if that’s enough reason to pass, but enough to not call him a “slam-dunk”… yet.
MY TWO CENTS: The Twins will be very much in on Manaea and will be heavily-attending his March 15th tilt at the Metrodome.
PRICE TAG: Last year’s 4th overall pick, Kevin Gausman, was able to squeeze an extra $120,000 out of the Orioles as a draft-eligible sophomore. The 5th pick, Kyle Zimmer, took half-a-million less than slot from the Royals.

3) Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas

WHY HE MAKES SENSE: If the other two pitchers are off the board, Stanek is the next best pitcher. He’s considered to be a step below Manaea and Appel stuff-wise, but he’s been very good all the while competing against the nation’s best in the SEC.
WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: If either Appel or Manaea are still on the board, or if Stanek’s demands are unreasonable. Otherwise, he’s a solid #3 option.
MY TWO CENTS: Stanek provides a nice fall-back option and can be considered "best available" as well as fill a need.
PRICE TAG: He just missed being a draft-eligible sophomore last year and is considered similar to Kevin Gausman. If Gausman got $4.32m last year, I’d start there with Stanek this year.

4) Dominic Smith, 1B/OF, California HS

WHY HE MAKES SENSE: Smith may not be the most well-known prep at this moment, but he’s got a great bat, a great arm and a great feel to play first. He could play either corner OF position, but is said to have a very high defensive-ceiling if he ends up at 1B. Though 1B is considered a landing-place for many prospects with defensive inefficiencies – for those inside the organization presently, as well – Smith would offer legitimate versatility.
WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: They need pitching. But like it will always come back to: Should the Twins take “Best Available” or “Best Available Pitcher”? Oh, the Twins are also light on catching prospects and middle infield prospects.
MY TWO CENTS: The Twins could do worse, obviously. Is Smith’s D at 1B good enough to overcome for Sano’s shortcomings at 3B? And potentially Rosario’s D at 2B? He’s not a magician (that I’m aware of), but if Smith’s defensive prowess can make up for lesser defenders at 2B and 3B, sign me up.
PRICE TAG: It’s hard to peg prep guys, but maybe you could bank a couple hundred thousand dollars taking a guy whose perceived value is a little bit lower, sort of like what the Astros did last year with the 1st overall pick and Carlos Correa.


Others to watch:
Bobby Wahl, Mississippi, is a pitcher that could really improve his draft stock with a solid college season. He started off his college season with a dominating performance against TCU and is considered to be close to a “finished product”.

Jonathan Crawford, Florida, is a flamethrower that fits the mold the Twins were into last year. A rocky opener and a belief he’s best-suited to close, not start, games keeps him out of the top tier.

Are you into “toolsy outfielders”? The Twins are and Clint Frazier (Loganville, GA) is one of the highest-rated players in his class, as is Austin Meadows (also from Loganville, different high schools). Frazier has been called a “redheaded Mike Trout” (to a lesser extent, obviously) and Meadows has been compared to Jay Bruce. Both figure to come off the board in the Top 10 picks, but neither, today, are the “toolshed” that Byron Buxton was at this point last year.

Minnesota RHP Tom Windle and prep OF Ryan Boldt both figure to go off the board sometime between the Twins first and second picks. At this point in time, it’s difficult to picture either being drafted by the Twins, simply because of their draft position.

Bonus watch:
While the Twins scouted Jacksonville U. last year before drafting both Adam Walker and Jonathan Murphy, they no doubt were also aware of RHP Chris Anderson, now a junior, who hails from Centennial (MN) HS. If the draft were today, it’s unlikely you’d hear his named called in the first few rounds. But if he continues to pitch like he did in his season debut – 7 IP, H, 13 K, BB, while throwing in the mid-90s and featuring four pitches– it’s hard to say how high he could rise before June.

Feel free to discuss.


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