• 2012 MLB Draft starting to come into focus

    Original post from North Dakota Twins Fan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There are less than two months left until the MLB Draft and this means clubs are starting to get a picture of who the top prospects are going to be when it comes to selection time. Many of the top baseball writing sites have started to put together their initial lists of who are the best players available in the June draft. Baseball America thinks there are five major players for the top pick. Keith Law of ESPN has a similar ranking with high school outfielder Byron Buxton named as the top player on his mid-season list:


    The Twins will be selecting second in the draft and this puts a lot of pressure on the club to pick up a player that can be an impact arm or bat for years to come. This leaves the team in an interesting predicament when it comes to the second player to come off of the board. Should the team pick the best available player? Or since there are no clear-cut favorites for the top spots, should the team pick the best available player at a position of need for the organization?

    As I documented during this offseason, the Twins have a variety of options at their disposal with the second pick. Currently in the Twins farm system, there is a surplus of high quality outfielders and this could allow the team to focus on some other needs in the draft. During last year's first round, the Twins selected middle infielder Levi Michael with the 30th pick of the draft. The team also moved one of their top prospects, Eddie Rosario, from the outfield to second base. Does this mean the team is set in the middle infield? Both of these players are multiple years away from appearing at Target Field so it is hard to say they will be the cornerstones of the infield for foreseeable future.

    At the same time, pitching is a vital part of the game and finding top of the rotation starters can be hard to do. Free agent starting pitching is extremely costly so the best way to save money is to find arms in the draft. The Twins could be losing four out of the five members in their starting rotation at the end of the year. Former first round picks Alex Wimmers and Kyle Gibson might be ready to join the rotation at some point next year but both of those players are far from guaranteed to make it the big leagues in 2013. By adding a college arm like Kyle Zimmer or Mark Appel that could move through the system quickly, the organization might be benefited the most in the short term.

    With all of that being said, what happens if the Astros don't take Byron Buxton with the first pick in the draft? The young outfielder is being compared to players like the BJ Upton and Justin Upton who were top prospects coming out of high school. In the past the Twins have seemed to have a tendency to select highly athletic outfielders with some of their early round picks. Denard Span, Ben Revere, Joe Benson, and Aaron Hicks were all high school players with enough athletic ability that the club felt good about selecting them in the first or second round. Buxton would certainly fit into this athletic outfielder mold and the Twins could jump at the chance to pick him if he falls to their spot in the draft.

    If the draft were to play out as shown in the graph above, the Twins would be selecting the top college position player in the draft, Mike Zunino. The stud catcher from the University of Flordia was recently named as Baseball America's Midseason Most Outstanding Player for the collegiate level. He is the best player on the best team in the country and he continues to get better as the season goes on. As a junior he has hit .346/.408/.684 with 10 home runs and 15 RBI. At the same time he is an outstanding catcher behind the plate who can control the base paths and be in command of the pitching staff. The Twins have already seen Mauer move away from some of his catching duties this season and it would make sense to pick the player to replace him in this year's draft.

    There is still a little less than half of the season for players to separate themselves for the MLB Draft. The picture for the top players available has started to come into focus with Buxton and Zunino being near the top of the list. There will be plenty of options for the Twins when it comes to the selection in the second spot of the draft. But with no clear-cut favorites for the top spots in the draft, there are going to be some people who are unhappy with the team's selection. The Twins could take an athletic high school outfielder, the top college bat, or an experienced college pitcher. Now there are only a few weeks until June 4th for these players to stand out above the crowd.
    This article was originally published in blog: 2012 MLB Draft starting to come into focus started by Cody Christie
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Where does this year's draft talent stack up against other or "normal" draft's talent? I have the impression that the talent is down this year, but I may be wrong.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I've heard it is down, but there's no way of actually knowing that. I'm working on some draft preview kind of stories too and finding that it's really impossible to project.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      I was thinking how herculean a task it would be to make a determination of talent in one draft compared to another, but no so difficult to compare the talent 1-10. I do think the 1-10 projections this year are not as talented comparatively, but what the heck do I know.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Consider that in each draft, somewhere around 1600 players get drafted. Maybe 50-55% of them sign.

      Even just analysing the first ten rounds, we're talking about 350-400 players. Can we analyze the draft before the draft? Can we even analyze it 5 or even 10 years later? Probably not. I've looked back 30+ years. It's incredible.
    1. twinsfanstreif's Avatar
      twinsfanstreif -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I've heard it is down, but there's no way of actually knowing that. I'm working on some draft preview kind of stories too and finding that it's really impossible to project.
      I've heard that it is down on top end talent but deep overall, especially in pitching. Guys like Appel and Zimmer would've been on the bottom of the top 10 or early teens last year but buxton and zunino could've been top 5. I don't think this really affects us because we have a top 2 pick. I really think that the weakness in this draft is due to all the questions around players whether it's injuries or inconsistencies. There is some really good talent though and I think draft experts are gonna be surprised with how well this draft turns out.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      Consensus is that the talent is waaaaaaaayyyyy down at the top of the draft. Buxton is rated slightly worse than Starling, and the consensus said Starling was drafted too high. The top pick this year would maybe have gone 8-10 last year. While it may be true that this is a deep draft, that doesn't matter at all for the 2nd pick. As usual, the Minnesota team gets hosed with its top pick after a miserable previous season. What's really sad is that last year's pitchers were all the guys the Twins need this year:

      Bauer
      Cole
      Bundy
      Hultzen
      Bradley
      and then there's Anthony Rendon, a 3B/2B who could quickly take Valencia's spot (Sano's going to end up corner OF)

      The Twins would have taken ANY of those five pitchers long before any pitcher this year. Zimmer might have some possibilities, but I think Houston will take him if he's good enough to go #2, which is debatable. Appel is getting hit and not striking guys out at a good enough rate for a very high pick (3.32 ERA in 57 IP, 55 K as of last week). This looks bad. Right now the safest pick Zunino. Giolito would have been the first pick, I think, and I guess now I'm following Gausman, Wacha, and Stroman. All these guys are reaches right now, but maybe two will look better come June.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      I quit reading as soon as you mentioned drafting for need. Terry Ryan cant assess the current needs of the club let alone the needs of the club 3 years down the road when these prospects are ready. Stick to the. NFL draft Cody you have shown you know nothing about mlb draft logic.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      My take is Cody was not advocating the draft for need philosophy, just stating that it is a option. Which it is. Is it the best, probably not. But I can see where having another high tools high school outfielder would not be something to make most Twins fans hearts stop from excitement. It would however make someone like Aaron Hicks or Joe Benson expendable to a trade however, if either hit enough this year to make themselves attractive to another team. Could that bring a arm the Twins could use at the top of the roatation at some point. Maybe. Stock piling assests is not a bad thing. Me I kind of like the Catcher, that it a position of need.
    1. dave_dw's Avatar
      dave_dw -
      I sure hope they just draft whoever they think is the best player. If Buxton falls to #2, they better not pass him up solely on the fact that they've got organizational depth in the OF.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave_dw View Post
      I sure hope they just draft whoever they think is the best player. If Buxton falls to #2, they better not pass him up solely on the fact that they've got organizational depth in the OF.
      I highly doubt the Twins have a major league starting calibur outfield in their system outside of Sano (if he doesnt end up at 1b).

      Hicks, Benson, and Revere all appear to be fringe mlb starters at best and all have had enough time in the minors that you wonder if they will ever make it.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I gotta say, I'm intrigued about Zunino at #2. If Buxton goes to Houston (a big if) an eventual Mauer/Zunino C/DH platoon could be pretty impressive.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Comparing to last year is odd. It is considered the deepest draft ever. That said, if they pass on a pitcher, I have no idea how this team will ever get one.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I think that right now, conclusions can be made about the NFL draft only The MLB rule 4 draft is still far away. A couple of wildcards in those lists you see out there: The people who make the lists spend time scouting in the US and centered on certain areas in the US particularly. At some point later this spring we will start hearing about talent in Puerto Rico and Canada. Also, some of the kids, esp. high school would have developed until last time seen by the people who make lists. Still too early, but I think that the Twins should get the pitcher with the highest potential (which is different that the 'most ready now' pitcher) with the #2 overall pick
    1. Harrison Greeley III's Avatar
      Harrison Greeley III -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Comparing to last year is odd. It is considered the deepest draft ever. That said, if they pass on a pitcher, I have no idea how this team will ever get one.
      Over Zunino? I just want the best player available. If this really is a deep draft, I would rather take a sure thing position player up top and use 3 of the next 4 picks on pitching. Pitching is just so volatile in terms of outcomes. I'd rather get the best position player available.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Since I never see them trading for or signing a starting pitcher that is great and in his prime earning years, yes, I want a pitcher with the highest upside.
    1. Harrison Greeley III's Avatar
      Harrison Greeley III -
      You can get good pitchers elsewhere in the Top 72 where the Twins have 5 picks. The #2 needs to be as close to a sure thing as possible. If the best player was a pitcher by a mile by the time June comes around, then sure. But that doesn't appear to be the case here. A lot could happen, but right now I think Zunino's the guy.
    1. DJSim22's Avatar
      DJSim22 -
      I like Zunino and Correa the best. If they choose to take a pitcher, please take Zimmer over Appel. No need to choose another pitch to contact type with the #2 pick.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Kevin Goldstein answered the "strength of this draft class" question on Twitter a few days ago. On the 20-80 scouting scale, he had last years Draft class as a 65-70, this years as a 40-45, so it's a below average class according to him. Also stated that this years potential #1 picks wouldn't have been picked in the top 5 last year.
    1. James Richter's Avatar
      James Richter -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Hicks, Benson, and Revere all appear to be fringe mlb starters at best and all have had enough time in the minors that you wonder if they will ever make it.
      Career Minor league PA and OPS for:

      Revere: 1668, .788
      Benson: 2431, .797
      Hicks: 1603, .786
      Denard Span: 2428, .711
      Michael Cuddyer: 2912, .868
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Pitching is always priority #1, always. Good pitching keeps you in games, leading to more wins -- much more so than offense will on a consistent basis. That said, if there are no #2 projected starters or higher, go with the best player available, IMO.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.