Dueling Bloggers: Draft Debate (Part 1)
by, 05-24-2012 at 12:08 PM (1243 Views)
As you probably know, the MLB Draft will be taking place in just a little over a week. There is a lot of draft-related material scattered all over this very website. Among them are a handful of Draft Previews that I've written. Recently, there was a lengthy thread started by "cmb0252" which is all about the draft.
What follows is a tag team effort between myself and "cmb0252" (I'm not sure if he's ready to introduce himself to the world yet), which took place over the last couple of days.
Jeremy Nygaard: The assumption – right or wrong – is that the Astros take Mark Appel first overall. That doesn’t affect my board at all. I have Byron Buxton solidly at #1. I know there are knocks on him – and the perception that outfield is the deepest position in the system – but, as the organizational philosophy goes: he’s the best player available. No one, besides Miguel Sano (and maybe not even Sano), has the upside that this guy has.
cmb0252: If we are going by the assumption that the Astros take Mark Appel with the first overall pick, that also doesn't affect my board.
As Keith Law put it, "he could easily end up the best player out of this draft, given his youth and upside at the plate." No, he wasn't talking about Buxton, but Carlos Correa. Correa just turned 17, a year and a half younger than Buxton, and is considered to have the best high school bat in the draft. Where Buxton might have the defensive edge profiling as a plus plus up the middle player and while most feel Correa will outgrow SS he still profiles as a plus defensive 3B. Younger, better bat, huge upside, AND is at a position we actually need. Twins actually haven't been linked to Correa so for arguments sake I will bring up a name they have: Gausman. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The Twins were linked to Correa last night.)
Once again quoting Keith Law, "Gausman is flashing two plus secondary pitches now and getting ground balls and has the velocity to match the other guys, not to mention better results as a sophomore in the nation's best conference. "While Gausman profiles as a #2, which would still put him in the top 40-50 pitchers in baseball, he does have a ceiling of a number one. I guess my question to my counterpart would be, why does a 18+ year old HS kid have a better chance to hit his ceiling than a 21 year old college kid? In the end they both have high ceilings but one also has a high floor.
JN: If the Twins decide to go college pitcher, I really hope it is Gausman. I also think there is better chance that Gausman reaches his ceiling than Buxton. Buxton’s ceiling, though, is higher. The moment he signs he’s going to be a top-25 prospect in all of baseball. The same can’t be said for any of the college pitchers, in my opinion. While the Twins haven’t gotten a lot of opportunities to draft the top-of-the-line starters, they also haven’t had the chance to draft very many middle-of-the-order, middle-of-the-defense-type players either. We’re talking Justin Upton/Matt Kemp comps. That’s league MVP comparables. But that’s ceiling again and far from a slam-dunk.
With all that being said, I wouldn’t fault the Twins for drafting Buxton, Gausman or Correa. Chances are one of those guys is going to sign for $3.5 million as the #5 pick, a much better value than the $6.2 million that the #2 pick is worth. Long story short, I don’t think there is a $2.7 million difference in those three guys, and a case can be made that any of the three are the best.
JN: I’m curious to see what happens with Mitch Brown. Being local, he’s as “can’t-miss” as we’ve seen since Mauer. My philosophy going in would be to let him know that we have him evaluated as a “sandwich round” prospect, tell him we really want him and offer him a little over “sandwich-round average” ($1.2 million) as the 32nd pick. I hope that buys him out of his commitment and the team can bank $350,000 savings.
CB: For Twins fans who follow the draft outside of who the Twins are taking at #2 the hottest topic is Mitch Brown. For those of you that haven't heard of Brown "the best draft prospect out of Minnesota in 2012" here is MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's take on him:
"While not the biggest guy in the world, he is strong and durably built. He also has a good idea of what he’s doing on the mound. The right-hander can run his fastball up to 94 mph. He can spin a breaking ball pretty well, throws a good cutter and even shows a feel for the changeup. That gives him the chance to have four Major League average or well above offerings in the future."
Mayo has him at 66, Law has him at 45, and BA has him at 44. While I won’t argue that we shouldn't target Brown- we need all the pitching we can get- I'm going to suggest it would be better to roll the dice and hope he is there at pick #42. There should still be premium talent around at #32, we need as much premium talent as we can get, and we can’t waste that pick on sentiment.
Obviously we won’t know who will be there at #32 on draft day but looking at mocks there are is a good chance a player like Zach Elfin, Matt Smoral, Corey Seager, or Stryker Trahan could be waiting for us.
JN: The industry sentiment is that teams are going to take guys they like early, pay them less than slot value and see what falls to them later, knowing they would be able to pay those guys more than slot value. I would argue that unless there is a guy the Twins like more (that has similar demands), they should absolutely draft Brown at #32.
As you mentioned, Baseball America, who I trust more than the others, rates Brown 44, which is probably close to where I’d rank him on talent alone. But don’t forget to account for the guys that are rated higher that will drop because of their demands. If some of those guys are there at #32, I’d rather risk letting them slide to #42, knowing that I’ve at least gotten the guy I want (Brown) at #32. It would also be easier to stomach – from a pure financial standpoint – letting a lower draft pick go unsigned, as that money is removed from the spending pool.
JN: With the rules around bonuses changing, I’ve spent so much time wondering how the Twins squeeze every last penny out of their $12,368,200 bonus pool to make this draft as productive as possible. At the end of the day, though, I have a hard time believing the “cost-effective” team even spends $11 million.
CB: I agree that there is a very slim chance the Twins use their whole‚ $12,368,200 bonus pool‚ but I wouldn't be surprised if they broke $11M. The Twins spent $5.9M on 2011 draft which was actually over the recommended amount last year. Where that sounds like a small number compared to this year you have to take into account that the #2 pick, $6.2M bonus, has a higher recommended bonus than our whole draft last year. Also, the 30th overall pick Levi Michael signed for $1.175M last year which is actually less money than the recommended signing bonus for the #32 pick this year. Not only do the Twins have the chance, money, and picks to bring a lot of talent into our minor league system, they have the need.
JN: You’re right, obviously the $6.2 million figure skews the data. Looking at their signing history, though, the Twins – and every other team, presumably – are going to bank savings on college seniors: Adam Bryant signed for $25,000 last year (this year’s value: $125,600), Matt Hauser ($45,000 vs $141,700) and Kyle Knudson ($25,000 vs $129,300) in 2010. Heck, even Brian Dozier ($30,000 vs $139,500) was a great “value” pick. Yes, this could give them the chance to sign some later-drafted guys to bigger deals, but I just have a feeling: When all is said and done, the Twins will have shaved a lot of money off their full allotment.
JN: I’m going to dream a little bit. Pie-in-the-sky hope here: Buxton and Brown go #2 and #32. The team knows their demands and will have around $2 million to spend on #42. Keeping with the pie-in-the-sky theory, I really hope that a high-school pitcher with high demands, like a Matt Smoral, Zach Eflin, J.O. Berrios or Hunter Virant, can be convinced to take a couple million - that other teams won't be able to offer - to join the Twins.
CB: Where we differ at who we prefer the Twins to take at #2, Buxton vs Correa/Gausman, we have pretty much the same names at #32/42.....just different order.‚ If you are asking me my realistic "dream" draft?‚ Gausman at #2, Elfin at #32, and Brown at #42 would work for me. Three guys that profile as mid to top of the rotation starters who have a chance to be more. Sounds exactly like what the doctor ordered to fix our woe minor league pitching staffs.
In the end though I would be happy with a draft of one of Buxton/Correa/Guasman, Brown, and one of Virant/Smoral/Eflin/Seager.
JN: I would be ecstatic if Seager fell out of the first round and the Twins were able to draft him and get him signed. If he’s fallen that far, though, I have to believe that no one was able to meet his demands and that would be enough to scare the Twins off too. If the Twins get two high-ceiling pitchers out of the first three picks, I’d end Day 1 of the draft a pretty happy Twins fan.
Part 2: COMING SOON!