• 2014 Draft Board v.1.0

    With the college season getting underway (where weather allowed), it's a good time to kick off the first of what will become a series of Draft Boards. These are not my draft boards. I've tried to gather as much information as possible from people involved in the actual decision-making process. Of course, at the end, I still have to try to slot them in an order.

    At this point, there is so much that can happen. The Twins draft 5th overall. The most recent info suggests there are around 20 guys on the radar and there are already a few that the Twins don't think will be available when they are on the clock.
    There are a couple of threads already on TwinsDaily about the draft, so feel free to chime in there as well as in the comments below.

    1) Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC St
    Rodon has been considered the crown jewel of this class since dominating during his freshman season. On a number of occasions, John Manuel of Baseball America has said that, as a prospect, Rodon would ranked #2 or #3 already. Of course, Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel has pointed out that the gap between Rodon and the field isn't insurmountable.

    My take: It would be an upset for Rodon to fall from #1. Short of injury, he isn't falling much further. And even in the event of injury, chances are he would role the dice and come back to go #1 next year. With that being said, if he blew his arm out and dropped to #5, I'd take him without hesitation.

    2) Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
    Hoffman used an impressive showing in the Cape Cod League to catapult up draft boards. One might draw the parallel between Hoffman and Jonathan Gray from last year. While Rodon (and Appel) are better prospects right now, there is a ceiling that Hoffman has (and Gray had last year) that might make him more attractive to teams than Rodon. Some have thrown out Justin Verlander comps. That's high praise.

    My take: While it could be argued that drafting Hoffman may not be the Marlins style, I would be hard pressed to argue against him falling past the White Sox at #3.

    3) Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
    Ah, a wildcard. Beede was drafted out of high school in 2011 by the Blue Jays and went unsigned. While he's had success at Vanderbilt, he's also had control issues. At his best, he deserves to be mentioned with both of Rodon and Hoffman, but there's been too many times when he's not at his best.

    My take: personally - and I've been a fan of Beede for a long time - I wouldn't have him so high, but he's a name that's come up in regards to the Twins thinking he "won't be around". The caveat - because there needs to be one - is that if he drops to five, he'll drop further, because the control is an issue and the Twins wouldn't "risk that type of money".

    4) Alex Jackson, C, California HS
    I have a feeling we're going to see Jackson all over the board. He got early comps to Bryce Harper and Wil Myers - prep catchers with bats that couldn't be held back long enough to fully learn how to catch. Now there are rumblings that his bat isn't as advanced and that teams could be patient with his glove. Either way, he's got a ton of value.

    My take: I haven't checked in lately, but I didn't get any impression that the Twins believe he would fail to hit or catch at the highest level. He should find himself squarely in the mix very early in the draft.

    5) Trae Turner, SS, NC St
    The old college shortstop, eh? Do yourself a favor and check how many of the 30 starting shortstops came the major college route. I'll help you out: not many. While Turner should stick at shortstop at the professional level, he has a lot of value in his legs. With plus-plus speed, Turner could fit nicely at the top of the Twins order. There are questions about his bat (and strength), but he's shown well early this college season.

    My take: let's bring that college shortstop conversation even closer to home then let's bring it straight to Tobacco Road. Would you be gun-shy about making the same mistake that was made when Levi Michael was drafted? Would you trust that same signing scout? Interesting questions to consider, obviously, and while I think they are two completely different players, the microscope will be fixed closer on Trae Turner.

    6) Luke Weaver, RHP, FSU
    Weaver is an interesting name to show up this high as he's not been rated as highly on national lists. I watched an FSU game late last season and was impressed with Weaver. To be honest, he reminded me a lot of Kevin Slowey. Not that I want to burn such a high pick on Kevin Slowey, but his command was superb. When I mentioned that to a Twins scout, I was told that it's a fair comp, but sells Weaver far short. Weaver's fastball is way better and that a better comp would be Zack Greinke. Hook. Line. Sinker.

    My take: if I was a betting man, I would put my money on Weaver and enjoy the payout. While he may not be the sexiest name, he has the potential to be a very, very good major league pitcher.

    7) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Texas HS
    Why not go back to the same well as last year? Kolek spits fire. And his upside may be unmatched in this draft class.

    My take: as a high school pitcher, we could see so much happen to his draft stock. Right now, he possesses a plus-fastball. If he can turn one of his other offerings into a plus-pitch, he'll challenge for the #2 pick. But at this point, there is too much left unseen. One thing that needs to not go unnoticed is that area scout Greg Runser has had a hand in landing what seems like all of the most recent pitching draft picks. Runser also keeps his cards close to his chest.

    8) Jacob Gatewood, 3B, California HS
    Gatewood snuck onto the list when I decided to expand it to eight players. Gatewood got on the map with an impressive home run display at Citi Field. There are still many questions about his game. He could stand to drive his stock through the roof or watch it drop.

    My take: some team will fall in love with Gatewood's power and take him early. I don't think it will be the Twins... at least, not yet.

    TWO OTHER NAMES TO KNOW:

    Dylan Cease, RHP, Georgia HS and Mac Marshall, LHP, Georgia HS
    While Georgia has been a hotbed for amateur talent, there hasn't been a ton of pitching to come from that state. The one name that sticks out in recent memory is Tampa Bay's Matt Moore. You know who signed Matt Moore? Jack Powell. You know who scouts Georgia for the Twins now? That's right - Jack Powell.

    While it remains to be seen how these guys perform in their senior seasons - Marshall doesn't pitch until next Friday - they both have a fan in the organization. Oh, did I mention that Powell is the guy responsible for making Buxton a Twin? Yeah, he's got the juice now.

    Obviously there are many names that can come and go when it comes to discussion about the #5 pick. These are just a few to remember as the season kicks off.

    So, what do you think?
    This article was originally published in blog: 2014 Draft Board v.1.0 started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 66 Comments
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Wow! Great job.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I think the best scenario goes something like this - Astros - Rodon, Marlins - to save money take someone like Toussant. White Sox take Hoffman. Cubs take Beede and lets the Twins grab Kolek.

      I don't think this draft will produce 4 #1 college pitchers and no college bat is exciting enough to take that early. So the Twins best case is getting the top HS arm (again). But the HS season will certainly change some perceptions.
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      My thinking right now is that I want shortstop Trae Turner to be the best player available at #5. We have a real dearth of middle infielders in the system right now, and he has the potential to be a real shot in the arm for the system. I'm also skeptical of taking the third- or fourth-best college arm, although maybe that's illogical.

      This far out, I'm definitely still thinking more about who I want to be the logical pick for us rather than who will be the logical pick for us. It feels too early for me to wrap my head around these players' actual abilities.
    1. Nate Haseman's Avatar
      Nate Haseman -
      How much farther down this list is Schwarberg from Indiana?
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Great great write-up.

      When I think college SS, I think Nomar Garciaparra. It can happen.
    1. nfisch22's Avatar
      nfisch22 -
      Schwarber I believe would be a ways down. Everything I've read is that he probably moves to 1B or the OF or even DH. His value is definitely in the bat... That being said I think a name you're gonna see sneak up draft boards is Brady Aiken, HS lefty out of California. Very similar to Max Fried from 2012 but Aiken looks to be a little bit more physically mature than Fried was at the same stage.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Schwarber is lower than Pentecost, who's not currently in the mix.

      Both Aiken and Toussaint could make moves.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Given that up until this week we still had a foot of snow on the ground here in Indy, I'm still trying to wrap my head around baseball starting.

      That said, I have to think at 5 the Twins will want highest upside. I'd look at Gatewood or Kolek personally unless by some miracle Hoffman or Rodon fall. Got to say that Turner doesn't excite me unless he suddenly shows the ability to hit for some power.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Would also take Kolek, unless something changes this spring, seems to me to be at worst a closer.
    1. whosafraidofluigirussolo's Avatar
      whosafraidofluigirussolo -
      The Levi Michael comparison will probably keep coming up as long as there is speculation about the Twins drafting Turner. I think it's worth noting that Michael was something like the 30th pick in his draft. If Turner has a reasonable case as BPA at the 5th pick in 2014 (and if he doesn't, I can't see the Twins reaching down for him with that high a pick), then he's in a different class than Michael and can be considered a surer thing.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by whosafraidofluigirussolo View Post
      The Levi Michael comparison will probably keep coming up as long as there is speculation about the Twins drafting Turner. I think it's worth noting that Michael was something like the 30th pick in his draft. If Turner has a reasonable case as BPA at the 5th pick in 2014 (and if he doesn't, I can't see the Twins reaching down for him with that high a pick), then he's in a different class than Michael and can be considered a surer thing.
      I think the Turner/Michael comps will come. Here are their college stats. The glaring difference is speed. Turner is an 80 speed guy. His freshman SB total is probably a better reflection given he had an ankle issue last year. He is 5-5 in SB attempts this year in just 4 games.

      Regardig his defense, I read Turner should stay at SS, has the footwork, range, and arm.

      Trae Turner

      Freshman - .338 average, 5 HR, .891 OPS, 57 SB
      Sophomore - .368 average, 7 HR, 1.008 OPS, 30 SB

      Levi Michael

      Freshman - .290 avg, 13 HR, .909 OPS, 5 SB
      Sophomore - .346 avg, 9 HR, 1.059 OPS, 20 SB
      Junior - .305 avg, 4 HR, .911 OPS, 14 SB

      I would be very happy with Turner or one of the flamethrowing guys like Kolek or Hoffman.
    1. Dman's Avatar
      Dman -
      I am hoping the BPA is a pitcher at #5 and I also hope they take a pitcher with the #2 pick. I think we have enough position players coming up that we should be OK there with the exception of shortstop. I think we can handle one area on the field that is built more around defense than offense there. Better to focus on pitching and if they all turn out and you have excess excellent pitching then trade a pitcher for a shortstop. I really think they should keep pounding the pitching in the draft as we never compete to buy great pitchers in the FA market. We need to have as many guys who can be potential aces as possible as they fail at such a high rate. We need excellent pitching to compete in our division and beyond. Please oh, please, please find a good pitcher at #5.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      If Turner is in the discussion as one of the 10 best players, that is a very different conversation than was occurring with Michael. It's just not a realistic comparison, imo. I'd be happy for him to be great this year. It means they either get him, or a pitcher falls because someone else took him. Win. Win.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Would you be gun-shy about making the same mistake that was made when Levi Michael was drafted? Would you trust that same signing scout? Interesting questions to consider, obviously, and while I think they are two completely different players, the microscope will be fixed closer on Trae Turner.
      I wouldn't worry at all about the scout. I woudln't have any thoughts about Michael with this pick. It's very silly to do so. However, the scouting reports, as I read them, for Michael reminded me of Nick Punto. At #30, that's not so bad... At #5 overall, that is not the scouting report I would want to read. I'm with those who say Kolek is the direction... At least that type of player where there is a ton of upside!
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      If Turner is in the discussion as one of the 10 best players, that is a very different conversation than was occurring with Michael. It's just not a realistic comparison, imo. I'd be happy for him to be great this year. It means they either get him, or a pitcher falls because someone else took him. Win. Win.
      Agreed on the comp, Turner looks much more promising.
    1. Ozziedavisfan's Avatar
      Ozziedavisfan -
      I'm hoping Jackson,Turner, or Kolek either one I would be happy with. When I think college SS I think tulo, but their alway the grant green of the world to worry about.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I'm interested in both Jackson & Turner.

      If Jackson can stick at catcher with a plus bat, he'd be a nice fit for the system and with Pinto looking like a MLB-quality player the team could give him time to really learn the position and develop his bat. Love to know more about him and whether or not people think he's the real deal.

      Turner doesn't look like a Levi Michael type to me and SS is a position where you can never have too many prospects. I like the speed and if the bat is legit he could do really well.
    1. 2wins87's Avatar
      2wins87 -
      Great info, I've been looking forward to this.

      Luke Weaver is definitely the most surprising name on the list, but was ranked 5th by Big League Futures back in September, so he hasn't gone completely without notice. He reportedly hit 97 over the summer (I don't remember where that was reported but it was reputable), though most reports have had him as a low 90s fastball guy. If that bumps into the mid 90s with plus command I can see him being ranked that high.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmlease1 View Post
      I'm interested in both Jackson & Turner.

      If Jackson can stick at catcher with a plus bat, he'd be a nice fit for the system and with Pinto looking like a MLB-quality player the team could give him time to really learn the position and develop his bat..
      I think it was Keith Law that said Jackson wants to move out from catcher.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      From Callis' inbox:
      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article//pip...nt_id=68046312

      "Of the current top 15 Draft prospects, who can make the biggest jump based on what they show this year?
      -- Tory J., Tampa, Fla.


      Gainesville (Ga.) High School outfielder Michael Gettys immediately jumps to mind. For the third straight year, the most electric high school talent is a prep outfielder from the Peach State, with Gettys following Buxton (2012), Frazier and Meadows (2013).
      Gettys posted some eye-popping numbers at the Perfect Game National Showcase last June, running the 60-yard dash in 6.43 seconds, uncorking a throw clocked at 100 mph from the outfield and working at 91-94 mph off the mound. If he were solely a pitcher, he'd be an early-round prospect, but he'll get drafted as an outfielder.
      The big question is how much Gettys will hit. He has a lot of bat speed and raw power, but he swings and misses more than he should and has struggled against quality breaking pitches.
      We rated Gettys as the 10th-best Draft prospect coming into the year. If he were to somehow answer all of the questions about his bat, he'd go near the very top of the Draft and likely would be the first high school player drafted."

      Big, toolsy OF from GA. Seems like a Twins type.
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