Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/19): Nelson Cruz Crushes...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:25 PM
That’s more like it. The Twins averaged nearly six runs a game through August, but entered Thursday averaging just 4.4 runs per game so f...

Front Page: Should Eddie Rosario Be Benched for Not Hustl...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:08 PM
Eddie Rosario is one of five Twins hitters to hit 30 home runs or more this season to help the team set a new standard at the big-league...

Front Page: The Underappreciated, Hard-Luck Legacy of Kyl...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:25 PM
From the very beginning, Kyle Gibson's career was defined by injury and disappointment. Coming out of the University of Missouri in 2009,...

Magic Number Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:08 PM
Why no magic number thread?     Why can't I post pictures?      BYTO was fun.    

Game Thread: Twins vs KC 4:40 PM PST (6:40 PM CDT) 9/19/19

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:30 PM
The Twins took two steps forward toward the goal of winning the division during the series of games against the Sox. Unfortunately, after...


Blog 1: What could have been Twins First Round Pick, Part I

Posted by 33mvp , 23 May 2019 · 1,356 views

Blogging about the Twins is something I have been wanting to do for a long time but life has just gotten in the way too much. Over the past five years or so I have been wanting to get into doing this but have never seen a good time to commit. I am finally at the point where I have time to start doing this and I’ve decided to just jump in. Over these past five years I have been preparing to do this by keeping a list of topics I would like to write about so I have a good inventory of subjects I am ready to cover. I hope my writing will prove to be good content for Twins fans who, like me simply can’t get enough coverage of our favorite team.

This first topic is going to sound like a bit of a wine piece but I am not intending it to be that way. This topic will have a lot of content so I decided to divide it into 10 parts. In my first 10 editions of of this blog I will be looking at what could have been. I know this is a topic that would have probably played better in the previous years but also think it will be fun in light of the upcoming draft and will help highlight what a crap-shoot drafting amateur baseball players truly can be.

In the first 10 editions of my blog I will be looking at each of the Twins’ first round draft selections over the past 10 years. I will be analyzing who the Twins drafted, how they did, and what they could have had instead.
To keep this a realistic exercise, I am going to highlight the guy the Twins actually drafted with their pick in the respective year and then will take a look at the five guys that were drafted immediately after them. I feel like this is a way to say “here are the guys we could have taken” while still keeping it realistic and avoiding saying we should have taken a certain player that all teams missed on. So without further ado here is my first blog post, I hope you enjoy.

Twins Selection: Kyle Gibson
With the 22nd overall pick the the 2009 MLB draft, the Twins selected Kyle Gibson out of the University of Missouri. Gibson took five years to get to the major leagues which seems like too long for a college pitcher. He did have some injuries in the minor leagues that required Tommy John Surgery which we all know really takes at least two years to get right. So when this is taken into consideration taking three productive seasons to break into the big leagues is not that bad. Gibson has a career 9.3 WAR and is a nice piece for the current Twins rotation. He finally broke out last season and after starting slow this year, likely because of E.coli suffered during the off-season, he has come around a looked like a nice 3/4 starting pitcher. With the 22nd overall pick this might not be exactly what you want, but as you will soon see is not anywhere close to the worst of the group.
The next five picks:
OF Jared Mitchell- CWS
OF Randal Grichuk- LAA
OF Michael Trout- LAA
RHP Eric Arnett- MIL
SS Nick Franklin- SEA

As soon as you look at this list you immediately know the Twins messed it up. The best player of the generation and maybe ever was drafted three spots behind Kyle Gibson. The only thing that can be said in the Twins’ credit is that 23 other teams also missed out on the man who nine years into his career owns a 67.4 WAR and is a sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Heck, even the Angels weren’t sold on Trout as they took another outfielder right before selecting Trout out of Millville, NJ. So yes, the Twins missed out on the best player in baseball, but they could have done worse in selecting someone who never made it to the big leagues like a some of the group mentioned above.
Jared Mitchell made it to AAA but never to the big leagues. He was actually drafted by the Twins in the 10th round of the 2006 draft but decided to attend LSU instead. He bounced around in the minor league systems of the White Sox, Angels and Yankees for a few years and is currently playing in the Independent League as a member of the Sugar Land Skeeters. He is a career .227 hitter in the minor leagues and never got to trot onto a major league field.

Randal Grichuk is the only player on this list besides Mike Trout to have a higher career WAR than Gibson. His career WAR is at 10.1 and has been a good but not great MLB player for six seasons now. Although he was drafted by the Angels, he was traded as part of the David Freese trade to the Cardinals in November of 2013. He is currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays and is signed there through the 2023 season.

Eric Arnett out of the University of Indiana played his entire professional career with the Milwaukee Brewers organization but never made it past high-A. Be has not played since 2013. This is likely due to his bum knee that required surgery in 2013 or the fact that he posted a 5.18 career MiLB ERA.

Nick Franklin made it to the big leagues but only has 301 more career games played than I do. He hit .214 across six seasons with Seattle, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, and LAA. The last MLB game he played came in his only appearance of the season in 2018 with the Brewers. He owns a career WAR of 1.3 with is actually better than I would have expected for a guy who only played in 301 career games.

In conclusion, yes the Twins missed on Mike Trout, the MIKE TROUT! However it could have been much worse and they picked a decent player who is still helping them win games in 2019. Even though Grichuk has a better WAR, I feel like the Twins made the second best choice of the group as Grichuk would not be much use on the current Twins roster.

Up next,
2010 Draft
Twins Selection: Alex Wimmers

  • Oldgoat_MN, David HK, nclahammer and 1 other like this

This could be done for nearly every team. I went through the rest of the draft results and of course there were a few big names picked after our pick.

This would be a nit-picking exercise but for your approach.

Using only the next 5 picks makes it interesting.

Thank you

    • birdwatcher likes this
John Bonnes
May 27 2019 02:16 PM


This would be a nit-picking exercise but for your approach.

Using only the next 5 picks makes it interesting.

Thank you


I thought the same thing. I really appreciated the approach and methodology, and the research it required. Great idea, and well-executed. 

I've gone through and done this haphazardly as well, and it is always interesting.  Thanks for doing this in a methodical fashion.


It just occurred to me to wonder about the Angels picking Trout with that second pick-


Had they not had that "bonus" pick, and taken a chance on the unrefined kid from Jersey, how much farther might Trout have fallen?

    • birdwatcher likes this
May 29 2019 07:50 AM

Nicely done. 


For the longest time, I've been critical of comments that suggest a competence issue related to talent evaluation with the Twins. My main objection has been the lack of a COMPARATIVE and FAIR assessment.


Looking at the five "ones you could have had" is a good and fair thing. But I find it useful to also look at the five PRIOR picks in particular, but also the entire round in general. For example, Gibson was I believe the 14th pitcher selected, and only one (#1 pick Strasburg) has outperformed Gibson. Looking at that in isolation might suggest even more.


I think what we'll discover, and maybe you already have, is that it's almost invariable, regardless of WHICH team's record you look at, that at least ONE of the next five picks will have been better, unless your pick was Trout.


Over half the teams (16)"missed" on Kyle Gibson based on today's cumulative WAR in Baseball Reference. Grichuk and Gibson now have matching 9.6 WAR.


The other thing you might discover is that there WILL be a draft or two every decade where an organization, ANY organization, will have a disastrous draft where MANY picks make their own look rather pathetic. As you are saying, it's hard to be consistently right at this.


Last comment: for those seeking to draw any conclusions about organizational prowess on a RELATIVE basis, be aware of two things. One, that capabilities change over time. And two, that ALL teams are better at this in 2019 than they were in 2009, and the opportunity to "out-draft" the competition is fairly limited these days.


Again, great exercise and very well done. Thank you for your contribution.



    • dbminn likes this