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Twins postseason game times, TV

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:15 PM
Dust off that antenna, folks: the Twins 2020 postseason debut is over the air on ABC (albeit at 1 PM on a Tuesday, pre-empting some soap...
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The Perfect Length of a Baseball Season?

Other Baseball Today, 02:43 PM
So Twitter got me thinking... What's the perfect length of baseball season? And then what's the perfect playoffs to be paired with that s...
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A (pretty accurate) look at the seedings

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:17 PM
Going into the final weekend of the season, the eight-team AL field is nearly set, though no team is locked into its seed. Here's what I...
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My thoughts on Tyler Duffey..

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:47 AM
First of all, congratulations to the entire Twins organization, fans and friends for winning the AL Central!This was a tough division in...
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Twins developed starting pitching history since Bert

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:55 AM
Using my Cards as an example: The only major miss of the Cards trading young developed starters since trading both Jerry Reuss and Steve...
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Recent Blogs


Mining the Twins Top 5 Draft Gems

With the NFL Draft kicking off tonight (albeit virtually) it seemed only appropriate to stick with a similar theme here at Twins Daily. Selecting unproven talent is hard, and in baseball when dealing with high school kids, it gets even more complicated. What does the all-time success look like in the later rounds though?
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Drafting in baseball is a ridiculously nuanced practice. Not only are you trying to project future ability, but you’re doing so with athletes that have not yet even began to experience body maturation. On top of that you have the split between scouting acumen and analytical importance, and then add in a pool that spans 40 rounds. To say the practice is hard is putting it lightly.

When looking back over the course of Twins history, there are certainly some gems that have stuck out, however. Excluding anyone taking before a double-digit round, and focusing entirely on hitters, here’re the top five gems ever uncovered by the Minnesota Twins:

5. Marty Cordova 4.8 fWAR (1989 10th round)
Cordova was taken by the San Diego Padres in the eighth round out of high school but did not sign. After going to college and being eligible two years later, he fell to Minnesota in the 10th round. Cordova reached the big leagues in 1995 at the age of 25. Posting an .839 OPS in 137 games, he went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year edging out names like Garret Anderson, Andy Pettitte, and Troy Percival.

Despite an even higher .849 OPS in 1996, Cordova’s 3.6 fWAR in his debut season was easily a career high. He went on to play for another eight seasons and compiled just 1.2 fWAR in that stretch. What began so promising eventually led to Cordova leaving Minnesota in 2000 after five relatively mediocre years. Kicking this list off with one of Minnesota's one-hit wonders should only highlight how hard drafting truly is.

4. Lyman Bostock 9.3 fWAR (1972 26th round)
Taken in the 26th round Bostock burst onto the scene as an incredibly special talent. He debuted for the Twins at the age of 24 in 1975 and put up a .282 average. Although not a power hitter, he established himself as a very talented outfielder and earned MVP votes in 1977 thanks to an .897 OPS. Playing just three years for Minnesota, he became one of the first players to cash in on the new free agency opportunity and signed with the Angels for a cool $2 million.

Sadly, he played just one season in California as his life was tragically ended at the age of 27. On a trip home to Gary Indiana he was in a car that was fired upon and the bullet damage ended up taking his life within a few hours. A few years ago, Twinkie Town did a nice story on the former Minnesota outfielder.

3. Matt Lawton 9.3 fWAR (1991 13th round)
Taken by the Twins in the 13th round out of Community College, Lawton would make his big-league debut four years later. It was just a 21-game sample in 1995, but he posted a .317/.414/.467 slash line to kick off his major league career. Lawton wound up playing parts of seven seasons with the Twins and made his first All-Star appearance in 2000 as he posted a strong .865 OPS.

Following the departure from Minnesota, Lawton went on to play for another six organizations. It was in Cleveland that he found another stable home, being there for three years from 2002-2004, and eventually made his second All-Star team. He posted 138 career long balls and tallied a .785 OPS over a 12-year Major League resume.

2. Corey Koskie 23.2 fWAR (1994 26th round)
Taken in the 26th round out of Canada, Koskie went on to have a nine-year career that placed him 10th all-time among fWAR for Twins hitters. He spent his first seven seasons in Minnesota and is one of the most under-recognized stars in franchise history. In six full seasons he averaged an .840 OPS and never once posted a mark in the .700 range. Koskie earned MVP votes in 2001 and ripped 25 dingers in a season twice.

For the early part of the 2000’s Koskie was among the most stable things in baseball. He was a staple at the hot corner for the Twins and was a big part of teams that ripped off three-straight AL Central Division titles. Still plenty active in the Minnesota baseball scene, Koskie is a strong contender as one of the best draft gem selections in baseball history.
1. Kent Hrbek 37.6 fWAR (1978 17th round)
Just missing the top five in fWAR among hitters in Twins history, Kent Hrbek was the local kid that stayed home to make good. From Minneapolis and drafted out of Bloomington Kennedy High School, Hrbek was in The Show just three years after his pro debut. He was an All-Star during his rookie season and finished runner up in the Rookie of the Year voting to some guy named Cal.

Kent finished just seven dingers shy of 300 for his career. He owned an .848 OPS and should have won the American League MVP in 1984 (Willie Hernandez grabbed both the Cy Young and MVP award that year). Hrbek is a two-time World Series champion, and there’s no doubt that he’ll tell you Ron Gant was out.

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6 Comments

Tossing in one of my all time favorite utility players, Denny Hocking in the 52nd round, which doesn't even exist anymore.
    • spanman2, rdehring and Nine of twelve like this

Wasn't Hildenberger a 49th or 50th round pick?I think getting a couple years of value out of a pick that low may be a bigger find than a 10th or 15th round pick becoming a good starter.But that's just me.

 

Although not a draft pick, getting value out of an undrafted free agent like Dobnak is going to be huge.

I'd consider Dozier on this list.

 

Maybe Garver in a couple more years.

 

Kubel gets an honorable mention.

I doubt you will find too many of these anymore, except for players that drop because of signing issues.Yeah, there will be a few that slip through cracks, always will be, but with high school show cases all over now players will get on radar much ealier and with so much digital video passing around less likely someone gets missed on.

 

Think Hrbek growing up in 70's in cold Minnesota, not a hot bed for talent, despite three HOF players coming out of Twin Cities during that time, Molitor, Morris and Winfield.All three of them went to college to better show case their skills.I doubt many scouts ever saw Hrbek growing up.  

 

Not a Twin, but to me the biggest draft find of them all is Mike Piazza draft in 62 round as a favor.1389 players picked before him.  

    • Nine of twelve likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Apr 25 2020 08:09 AM

I'd consider Dozier on this list.
 
Maybe Garver in a couple more years.
 
Kubel gets an honorable mention.


Dozier was an 8th round pick though.
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Nine of twelve
Apr 25 2020 04:00 PM

 

Tossing in one of my all time favorite utility players, Denny Hocking in the 52nd round, which doesn't even exist anymore.

This is the first player I thought of.

    • DocBauer likes this

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