The 2010s Twins and 1st Round Heartbreak
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsFor this painful trip down memory lane, I decided to look at the Twins first round draft picks between 2011-2015. This timeline looks to be a sweet spot of players that would likely still be with the team in the present day. We’ll take a look at the Twins picks, the pick that they should have made, and other top players drafted during that year, all being displayed with their fWAR next to their names just to drive the point home. Brace yourselves Twins fans, this is going to get ugly.
Twins Pick: Levi Michael (0)
The Redraft: Mookie Betts (40.2)
Other Options: Trevor Story (17.9), Joe Musgrove (8.2), Blake Snell (11.6), Josh Bell (3.5), Mike Clevinger (11.8), Tyler Glasnow (4.0), Marcus Semien (18.6)
I told you this would be painful. Michael never made it to the majors and is no longer with the organization. Meanwhile, Mookie Betts just signed a nine-figure extension with the Dodgers and will get MVP votes for years to come. In this case it’s fair to point out that every team whiffed on Mookie multiple times, as he was drafted in the fifth round. Even with the Twins stockpile of outfield talent, I’m pretty sure we could have made room for Mookie Betts. The same can be said for any other name on this list. Terry Ryan and company were one of those teams that flat out missed in the first round in 2011.
Twins Pick: Byron Buxton (8.7)
The Redraft: Corey Seager (20.1)
Other Options: Max Fried (5.1), David Dahl (2.9), Lucas Giolito (6.8), Corey Seager (20.1), Marcus Stroman (15.8), Joey Gallo (9.5), Lance McCullers (10.9), Edwin Diaz (7.3), Josh Hader (6.3)
This one was tough for me, as I wanted to stand by the Twins draft selection here. They took the most athletic player in this draft, and we’ve seen it play out when Buxton has been on the field. The issue is Buxton remaining on the field. He could easily be leading the entirety of the 2012 draft in fWAR if not for injury. That being said, it’s hard not to dream on a franchise shortstop like Corey Seager. He may not be a gold glover, but Seager would be the face of a franchise if not for playing in a lineup full of other stars. That being said, it’s hard to fault the Twins for taking Buxton, who’s been one of their more successful recent draft picks.
Twins Pick: Kohl Stewart (.2)
The Redraft: Cody Bellinger (16.7)
Other Options: Austin Meadows (4.0), Tim Anderson (9.9), Aaron Judge (18.8), Sean Manaea (7.8), Jeff McNeil (8.4), Luke Voit (5.7)
Another yikes here. While Stewart did make it to the majors, what else can you say? He was released last offseason and picked up by the Orioles who also had no role for him. While Judge has been the more valuable player, Bellinger hasn’t had the injuries and is an athletic player who can switch between 1B and OF. For what it’s worth, the Twins were interested in Bellinger in the trade market when dangling Brian Dozier. If only they had shown their interest a bit earlier.
Twins Pick: Nick Gordon (0)
The Redraft: Trea Turner (17.1)
Other Options: Aaron Nola (19.2), Michael Conforto (16), Matt Chapman (16.7), Alex Verdugo (3.7), Spencer Turnbull (4.7), John Means (3.3)
Gordon could still carve a nice career out for himself. Unfortunately that probably won’t play out with the Twins after injuries have buried him in the depth chart. Again we see plenty of options here, but for the sake of the Twins getting a franchise shortstop, it would have worked out nicely to grab the speedy Turner in the first round. Matt Chapman being a slugging all world defensive 3B wouldn’t have hurt either, but he recently had a significant hip surgery that ended his season. You’re starting to see the trend here, nailing a draft pick isn’t an exact science.
Twins Pick: Tyler Jay (0)
The Redraft: Walker Buehler (8.4)
Other Options: Andrew Benintendi (8.5), Ian Happ (6.7), Mike Soroka (4.9), Triston McKenzie (.6), Brandon Lowe (5.8), Harrison Bader (6.5)
Another swing and a miss here, as the Twins gave Tyler Jay away to the Reds for cash considerations a few years back. This is at least a draft where missing wasn’t uncommon, as the list of slam dunk picks after Jay is thinner than a lot of the others we’ve seen. Buehler is in contention for the ace of the Dodgers who just won the world series which makes this choice pretty simple. Buehler is also another player the Dodgers refused to move in Brian Dozier talks a few years ago.
So as you can see, not a ton of success from the front office in the first round during these five years. Worth noting however is that Derek Falvey took over shortly thereafter and the early returns have been promising. At the very least the Twins look like they’ll avoid complete whiffs like we saw all too often in the past. There’s not much we can do about past decisions, but it’s interesting to dream on what could have been if the Twins made a few different decisions. Do you agree with the redraft decisions? Would you have chosen anyone else? Let us know below!
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