We're all aware that the Twins entered the draft process with an advantage over the other clubs - that coming off the heels of being the worst team in baseball last season and cushioned by the fact they qualified for a Comp Round A pick - owning the largest draft pool in all of baseball and the largest pool of all time.
It was entirely fair to assume that the club wasn't going to spend its entire allotment ($7.7m) on the first pick. No team ever had. In all likelihood, no team ever will. The Twins were going to take the player they liked the most in a price range they were comfortable with.
There are rumblings that Brendan McKay turned down an offer from the Twins. I'd be surprised if he was the only one. But I doubt it was an "offer" as much as it was the Twins trying to find the magic number with a handful of players. Brendan McKay will likely break the new-rule bonus record of $6.7m held by Kris Bryant when he signs with the Rays. It wouldn't surprise me if Hunter Greene's number is in that range too.
But Royce Lewis wasn't a "money-saving" pick. Lewis was the club's top target and will sign for a fair price - a price that will likely be very close to - if not more than - $6.7m.
Basically, what I'm saying is that Lewis, McKay and Greene will all sign for relatively similar bonuses. And, honestly, I think the Twins had a pretty good inkling that regardless of who they drafted - and they didn't make their mind up til the very end according to various reports - they were going to bank around a $1 million.
That's not being cheap. That's just using the resources available to them.
Now let's turn the page...
Immediately our focus turned to picks 35 and 37. We knew there would be some money available to spend later in the draft. It made a ton of sense to do it at 35 and/or 37.
And I'm sure - OK, not sure but guessing - that the club had a handful of prospects they really hoped would fall to these spots and that the money would be used up. Purely speculative, but I'd put Shane Baz and Seth Romero in that group. Sam Carlson was someone fans placed in that group. Call it whoever you want and call that pie-in-the-sky Plan A.
The fact is, though, outside of the draft room not one knows who was actually in that group or how big it was. From everything that I can gather, they weren't "sniped," there just wasn't a prospect they liked so much to blow their entire pool on (which at that time could have been nearly $3 million). So they stuck to their board at #35 with Brent Rooker and took a player at #37 in Landon Leach who was quickly moving up draft boards.
And then they turned to Plan B, which was still a really good plan.
When Leach's name was called - and Carlson's wasn't - and then fans looked for where he was ranked by Baseball America and MLB.com, many were aghast. How dare they go cheap! Did they just screw up their whole draft? Those types of things filled up both my Twitter timeline and mentions. To many I replied with some variety of "let's see what happens tomorrow."
The reality was they knew they still had around $1.5m with which to play around. They probably also - when they picked at #35 and #37 - had a really good idea which group of prep arms would fall to the first pick of the third round. A group that I'm assuming they thought would include Sam Carlson and definitely included Blayne Enlow.
As soon as Monday's picks wrapped up, I'm guessing they got on the phone with Enlow's reps and made sure the (reportedly) $2 million they had to offer him was enough. It was.
One question that gets asked often is, "Then why not just draft Enlow in Round 2 and take Leach in Round 3. Hoping he falls was risky." Yep, it was. But you can also look at it from a couple of other perspectives: Maybe Leach was a guy the club had to have. And Enlow was one of a group they knew they'd get one of.
It also could do with the draft pools. If Enlow is drafted in Round 2 and doesn't sign, the club loses a lot more of their pool than if he's drafted in Round 3 and doesn't sign.
Then they turned the page to the next rounds, which they seemed to have played relatively straight until round 8, when they draft their first of three consecutive college seniors.
When the smoke cleared on Day 2, I asked about the signability of the players and the remaining draft pool: No concerns on signability and no money left.
As we turn the page to Day 3, the focus shifts to filling rookie-league rosters. Though reports of Enlow's bonus started to drift out last night, there will still be a few back-up guys drafted just in case he doesn't sign and they have money to use.
All in all, the Twins did a pretty good job manipulating their pool to get the best high school shortstop, one of the top college bats, and two really good prep arms.
Maybe they do know what they're doing.
- birdwatcher, BigSkyTwinsFan, Dance with Disco Dan and 3 others like this