If the draft occurred on January 5th
, instead of June 5th
, there is a good chance Trea Turner would have been selected before the Minnesota Twins made their first round selection, fifth overall. Now just two weeks from the draft’s first round, there is no doubt that Turner will be available to the Twins with their pick. Could the Twins use that pick to take the college shortstop?
Who is This Guy?
Trea Turner grew up in Florida and following his high school career, he was drafted in the 20th
round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead of signing an above-slot offer, Turner enrolled at North Carolina State. He arrived as a skinny, 6-1, 170 pounder, and as he (likely) leaves, he will have added about ten pounds to his lanky build.
As a freshman, he hit .336/.432/.459 (.891) while playing third base. That season, he stole 57 bases in 61 attempts. As a sophomore, he made the move over to shortstop. He hit .368/.455/.553 (1.008). Despite an ankle injury, he still was successful in 30 of 36 steal attempts.
He came into this season looking to build on those numbers. Going into tournament play, he was hitting .318/.414/.507 (921). These were steps back and yet still very good numbers. He also had stolen 24 of 27 bases.
Why the Twins will pick him
As you may assume from his stolen base totals (111-124), he has tremendous speed and is a very good, sound base runner. He has elite speed and was once clocked at 3.42 seconds from home to first base… from the right-handed batter’s box.
Despite the lanky frame, Turner is not just a slap hitter. In fact, he generally takes a very healthy cut. Over his three years, his extra base hit total went from 18 to 24 to 22. That includes 20 home runs. Certainly his drafting team should not expect 20 homer seasons from Turner, but he will hit a few and drive the ball from gap to gap.
Turner has also done a tremendous job at controlling the strike zone. In all three years, he has walked more than struck out. In the three years, he walked 115 times while striking out 94 times. This certainly is a strong indicator and could potentially allow him to move quickly.
On defense, there are mixed opinions on whether he can stick at shortstop. That said, his fielding percentage has continued to improve each year. As a third baseman his freshman year, he posted a .921 fielding percentage. In his first year at shortstop, it improved to 940, and this year, it is .961.
Though the Twins have some depth at shortstop in the system right now (Danny Santana, Jorge Polanco, Niko Goodrum), the Twins enjoy drafting athletes who can hopefully play in the middle of the field. Turner can. He also has played three seasons of high-caliber college competition as well as competed for Team USA in summers. He could certainly move up quickly.
Why the Twins won’t pick him
The Twins typically do not take college bats in the first round. They did take North Carolina infielder Levi Michael with the 30th
overall pick in 2011. Before him, the last time the Twins used a first round pick on a college hitter was Travis Lee in 1996 (Matt LeCroy was a supplemental 1st
round pick in 1997). Other college bats they have drafted in the first round included Todd Walker (1994), David McCarty and Scott Stahoviak (1991), Chuck Knoblauch (1989)
The Twins have generally gone with athletic high school bats with big ceilings. There are a couple of them who may also be available to the Twins with the number five pick.
There is some concern about his decline in performance in 2014, although the numbers are still very good.
Stop back tomorrow when we will get to know another potential 2014 Twins draft pick.
The Twins beat the Padres last night so on Wednesday you can get a half price large or extra-large pizza from PapaJohns.com with the promo code TWINSWIN.