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McKay Says No Way

Yesterday became a whirlwind as the hours and minutes counted down to the Twins making the first overall selection. No experts or reporters were able to crack the Twins front office and figure out who the club would be taking at the top of the draft. It really did feel like it was coming down to the wire.

Eventually, the Twins decided on prep shortstop Royce Lewis. He wasn't the highest ranked prospect on many draft boards so why did he end up in Minnesota? Did the Twins have a different plan with the first pick?
Image courtesy of University of Louisville Sports Information
Most predictions leading into Monday night had the Twins going after college pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay. Multiple reports surfaced on Monday that McKay was the target for the Twins but he declined the offer the Twins had on the table.


McKay would fall to the Tampa Bay Rays with the fourth overall pick. It might have come down to the dollar amount. The assigned value for the first overall pick is $7,770,700 but team's rarely hand out the total amount of that bonus. For the fourth pick, the assigned value was $6,153,600 which is over $1.6 million less than the top spot. It also looks like the Twins offer to Lewis could save the team up to $1.3 million.

In interviews last night, McKay made it clear that the Twins had approached him with an offer. He said, "They had offered a number that we felt that we could get a better offer from another team." The Twins saved some money on the top pick and wanted to transfer that savings to later picks in the draft. It's just hard to imagine their offer to McKay would have been less than the value of the fourth pick.

Another reasons McKay might have turned down the Twins was his on field position. McKay had told different media outlets that the Twins preferred him as a pitcher. When the Rays called McKay's name, he was announced as a first baseman. He clearly likes playing both positions and there's a possibility that some teams were taking a harder stance on him playing one position over another.

Teams could float the idea of him doing both during his time after he signs. "It could be just for that initial summer," said McKay, "but it'd be fun to be able to do both and see where it takes you." The possibility of a true two-way player could be intriguing but it seems like a very hard path to follow to the big leagues.

No one will ever know what type of conversations happened between the Twins and the top players in the draft. There is a lot of posturing that happens with the top players in the draft. However, the Twins are saying all the right things when it comes to Lewis,

"We see this guy as an impact player on both sides of the ball," Mike Radcliff, Twins vice president of player personnel, said. "He also has a unique ability to impact the clubhouse and the community. This guy gets it. He's got that 'it' factor that a No. 1 pick needs to survive and move forward and have success at the end of the journey. He checked all the boxes for us."

We will never know if the Twins got the top player on their board but it's clear that an offer was made to McKay. Did the Twins miss out on their top pick? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


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114 Comments

What a joke. We get the top pick for the first time in 17 years and try and save money.

One of the worst owners in sports.
    • darin617, notoriousgod71, jun and 2 others like this
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Cody Christie
Jun 13 2017 07:42 AM

 

What a joke. We get the top pick for the first time in 17 years and try and save money.

One of the worst owners in sports.

Realistically, it was probably a coin flip between many of the top prospects. I like the fact that they went after an everyday player with lots of upside.

    • Carole Keller, ashburyjohn, gil4 and 10 others like this

I think we knew this is what was going to happen. Clearly the Twins liked McKay, Wright, Greene and Lewis. When it came down to it, the Twins liked McKay and Lewis and as all teams do the last couple of days, they start talking about dollars. 

 

I think McKay wanted to hit, and the Twins wanted to pitch. I definitely think that was a big part of it. 

 

I think this is much ado about nothing as the Twins got a great player either way. 

    • pbrezeasap, BD57, Mike Frasier Law and 16 others like this
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drivlikejehu
Jun 13 2017 07:46 AM

Board sentiment was overwhelmingly against McKay, so it's not really convincing now for posters to come back lamenting the fact that the Twins didn't pick him.

    • gunnarthor, Intramural Legend, brvama and 11 others like this

McKay looked like he wanted to cry on TV talking about just being a hitter... Are we sure he just wanted to play in the field and not pitch?

    • HitInAPinch likes this
I would have liked to have McKay. He was my personal favorite. But, the guy they took might be good. I'm not holding the current management up against our club's recent track record. I'm willing to give them a chance and see how things work out. The thing I wanted most is change at the top and I got it. So, rather than nitpick every move, I'm willing to let things play out.
    • Cory Engelhardt, 70charger, CUtomorrownight and 2 others like this

I did want a college pitcher over Lewis but that is partly me being wrong and drafting for need. Lewis seems to be a pretty good prospect so ... still, I don't like bring Boras into our clubhouse.

    • 70charger and sploorp like this
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ashburyjohn
Jun 13 2017 08:04 AM

What a joke. We get the top pick for the first time in 17 years and try and save money.

One of the worst owners in sports.

I don't think it's that dire.

 

The June draft is covered by a bonus pool for each team to distribute amongst all their draftees. The pool is computed by adding the slot bonuses for each pick the team has. Failing to sign a given draftee reduces their pool by the amount of the slot the player was drafted at.

 

Conversely, going over the total pool limit is taxed punitively by the league, including loss of draft picks for going as little as 5% over.

 

Within this structure, there's some game theory involved. For example, it's harder to sign high-schoolers than college players, for a combination of reasons, and thus the bonuses necessary to sign them tend to be higher. Saving some money on the early-round draft picks gives the team flexibility to lure lower-round picks to sign.

 

The Twins are likely to spend their full bonus pool, or close to it, as will every team. As the #1 picking team, their pool is the largest. They will spend the most.

 

There are various reasons to be critical of the Twins' spending pattern, but I don't think draft bonuses are one.

 

These two links show this year's pool sizes, and the rules governing them, respectively:

 

http://www.baseballa...GOX2RXUPsp7Z.97

https://en.wikipedia...raft#Bonus_pool

    • glunn, brvama, ThejacKmp and 6 others like this

I think McKay wanted to cry because he lost his gamble.

    • Thrylos, 70charger and sploorp like this

 

Board sentiment was overwhelmingly against McKay, so it's not really convincing now for posters to come back lamenting the fact that the Twins didn't pick him.

 

Yes. Glad that McKay turned them down.

    • gil4, big dog and howieramone2 like this
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Cody Christie
Jun 13 2017 08:11 AM

 

McKay looked like he wanted to cry on TV talking about just being a hitter... Are we sure he just wanted to play in the field and not pitch?

This was some of my thinking. I believe he is passionate about both but his desire to be an everyday hitter might have been the tipping point in favor of the Rays.

    • HitInAPinch and Vanimal46 like this
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Cody Christie
Jun 13 2017 08:13 AM

 

I did want a college pitcher over Lewis but that is partly me being wrong and drafting for need. Lewis seems to be a pretty good prospect so ... still, I don't like bring Boras into our clubhouse.

I like the fact that Lewis is an everyday player with a high ceiling. McKay's lack of up the middle defensive position had me leaning towards Lewis over McKay

I know for a fact that McKay prefers pitching.

    • Bob Sacamento likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Jun 13 2017 08:15 AM

 

He said, "They had offered a number that we felt that we could get a better offer from another team." 

 

Yeesh. That was some bad advice from him agent. As predicted, McKay fell to the Rays and there's no way he's getting 1-1 money at 1-4, where the pool is a full $2.5m lower.

    • Steve Lein, glunn, pbrezeasap and 6 others like this

How high is Lewis' ceiling if his arm is weak? Buxton still cannot hit major league pitching. Lewis might be worse than Buxton. I really don't feel good about this pick. This team needs pitching, pitching and more pitching. It seems like this team got blown out in almost half of the losses this season.

    • sploorp and Dave The Dastardly like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Jun 13 2017 08:21 AM

And while I know some people love the idea of a two-way player, I simply don't know if that's possible in the modern game. There is so much specialization and the competition level is so high that I think you may end up with a guy who's mediocre at everything where he could be truly special at one or the other.

    • gil4 and PDX Twin like this

 

And while I know some people love the idea of a two-way player, I simply don't know if that's possible in the modern game. There is so much specialization and the competition level is so high that I think you may end up with a guy who's mediocre at everything where he could be truly special at one or the other.

 

Chris Gimenez says hello! He might as well be considered part of the bullpen now with how many times he's pitched. 

    • Cody Christie, Blake, Twins33 and 8 others like this

 

Yes. Glad that McKay turned them down.

Me too, which means he's probably headed for Cooperstown.

    • Cody Christie and sploorp like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Jun 13 2017 08:28 AM

 

Chris Gimenez says hello! He might as well be considered part of the bullpen now with how many times he's pitched. 

While I know you're kinda joking, Chris Gimenez is pretty bad at most things.

 

I just don't know that it's possible for anyone to have enough hours in the day to focus on their swing mechanics and the 3+ pitches it usually requires to be an above average pitcher.

 

Doubly so for McKay, who is a LHB. It's hard enough for a lefty to become competent enough against LHP to be an everyday player, much less a lefty who has to pitch every fifth day.

    • Blake, beckmt and Vanimal46 like this
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Cody Christie
Jun 13 2017 08:29 AM

 

How high is Lewis' ceiling if his arm is weak? Buxton still cannot hit major league pitching. Lewis might be worse than Buxton. I really don't feel good about this pick. This team needs pitching, pitching and more pitching. It seems like this team got blown out in almost half of the losses this season.

I know it's easy to get down on Buxton. He was coming from rural Georgia where he faced very little competition. Lewis played in California and has faced very good competition throughout his prep career. 

    • glunn, Hosken Bombo Disco and sploorp like this
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Cody Christie
Jun 13 2017 08:31 AM

 

And while I know some people love the idea of a two-way player, I simply don't know if that's possible in the modern game. There is so much specialization and the competition level is so high that I think you may end up with a guy who's mediocre at everything where he could be truly special at one or the other.

I think two-way players would get overwhelmed with trying to fix their swing, work on their pitching mechanics, and watch video of opposing batters and pitchers. 

Like everyone, I wanted the Twins to take the guy named Strasburg. Oh, someone like him wasn't there this year. So in the real world, immediate pitching help doesn't come from the draft.

The last two games were examples of how badly the Twins need pitching, both starters and relievers. But that help will only come from one of three places, trades, free agents and pitchers in the high minors. So the answer to their problem wasn't McKay, Greene or Wright. But it may be guys named Jorge, Romero, Gonsalves and maybe Thorpe.
    • Steve Lein, Blake, brvama and 7 others like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Jun 13 2017 08:33 AM

 

I know it's easy to get down on Buxton. He was coming from rural Georgia where he faced very little competition. Lewis played in California and has faced very good competition throughout his prep career. 

And there's something really wrong with Buxton that virtually no one identified for years. The guy was the consensus #1 prospect in baseball and absolutely annihilated every level of competition.

 

Buxton was a great pick that has unraveled for reasons unknown. Any prospect who is universally adored by scouts and analysts every moment until he hits an MLB field has to be considered a good pick.

    • BD57, HitInAPinch, sploorp and 2 others like this

Yeesh. That was some bad advice from him agent. As predicted, McKay fell to the Rays and there's no way he's getting 1-1 money at 1-4, where the pool is a full $2.5m lower.


We don't know what the Twins were offering. If it was $2 mil less, and they weren't going to let him choose his position(s), that's probably a worse offer.
    • Willihammer and sploorp like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Jun 13 2017 08:38 AM

 

We don't know what the Twins were offering. If it was $2 mil less, and they weren't going to let him choose his position(s), that's probably a worse offer.

I mean, maybe... but I counter with "the Rays".

 

If I was a pick, that's one of the last teams I'd want to fall to in a draft (though Cincy would probably be the bottom). The Twins aren't much higher on that list but they are higher.

    • Blake likes this

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