Draft Series: Part 3 - What's New
Part 1: Locals
Part 2: The Top
Thursday is Draft Day! Well, the NFL Draft anyway. We're also within a month of the MLB draft. Time to shed some light on recent happenings.
When we left off in this series in late April, we looked at a handful of guys that the Twins would possibly consider at #5. Since that point, a lot has happened.
As Carlos Rodon rebounded from a rough start and both Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek jumped up draft boards, many people started projecting that Alex Jackson could be the target for the Twins.
And then a few days ago, we started to hear whispers of the Twins potentially drafting Nick Gordon, a prep SS who has really started to impress lately. Those whispers got louder Wednesday morning when Kiley McDaniel released his Top 100 (but really 116).
There are already rumors that my #5 player, Nick Gordon, will cut a below slot deal with the Twins at pick #5 with his father, former big league reliever Tom Gordon, acting as Nick's advisor. Every player/advisor in this range knows they could slip to the bottom if they lose a few coin flips in split war rooms, so they are incentivized to market themselves as signable because if they slip 5-10 picks, even an over-slot deal at a lower pick would likely be for less money.
If that were true, it would be ok for the Twins too, as McDaniel had Gordon ranked #5 overall, behind only Aiken, Rodon, Hoffman and Kolek. If the Twins could get the "best player available" at their spot and do it while saving a few hundred thousand dollars... well, that would be the best news possible (for those who subscribe to the BPA theory anyway).
It also didn't deviate far from what Chris Crawford thinks (where Gordon is slotted #6 behind the pitchers and Jackson) or what the MLB.com guys think (Gordon ranked #7). But you can see the divide - among experts anyway - though as Perfect Game had Gordon projected to go to the Giants at #14 in their most recent mock draft.
And if nothing changed over the next month and the Twins did, in fact, cut a deal with Gordon, it would be fair to say that they did an ok job for themselves.
But then things changed... in a hurry.
At exactly 11:17 Wednesday morning, Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game tweeted that East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman would miss the rest of the season. At some point later, the news came out that he would be undergoing Tommy John surgery.
All of a sudden, one of the guys many expected to be off the board by the time the Twins pick will no longer be considered by those same teams. And that deal the Twins could cut with Gordon? Well, now the Cubs are in a better position to make that same deal.
McDaniel updated his list (Hoffman drops, Gordon up to #4 and Jackson follows at #5) and Crawford's mock draft (from Wednesday) follows suit: Nick Gordon may be off of the board before the Twins are up.
That puts Alex Jackson (and Scott Boras) back in play. I wouldn't expect a discount there. But it also re-opens the chance that the Twins could go the pitching route - where many guys will be available and the team could probably save some money too. Guys like Aaron Nola, Tyler Beede, Kyle Freeland, and Erick Fedde may become more serious options.
So why save the money? Well, it simply gives you more options with every other pick you make in the draft. There are a number of prep pitchers that may expect 1st round money that drop to the Twins in the 2nd round. There's also the chance that a guy drafted on the 3rd day could take some of that banked money and sign even though he didn't plan to.
If you're looking for a list of those guys, it's too early for that. One guy you can take off that list is J.B. Bukauskas. Bukauskas reclassified into this class (effectively graduating early) to head to UNC early. He's seen a spike in velocity (touching 100) and had some first round steam. This week, he informed MLB teams that he'd like to go undrafted.
This type of move isn't unprecedented, Josh Bell did the same thing only to sign for a record-breaking amount of money a few years ago.
At the very least, though, on Wednesday we saw two top 50 prospects fall down, if not off, a lot of team's boards.
And that's why the draft is so fun... we could have more draft-altering news tomorrow.