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Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan talks scouting and the draft

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ID:	4314With the fourth overall pick waiting for them on Thursday night, the Minnesota Twins are poised to choose from one of several high profile picks.

Rich with talent in the lower levels of the farm system, the organization has another chance at the fourth overall pick to backfill the minors with another highly-skilled player and continue to construct a solid future. Among the experts’ predictions for what could be available for the Twins at number four pick include pitchers Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray and Kohl Stewart as well as infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant.

Of course, simply having a high pick does not ensure can’t miss talent.

Equipped with a scouting background which dates back to 1980 with the New York Mets, Twins general manager Terry Ryan knows this time of year well. As a general manager, he is aware of the effects missed opportunities in the draft can have on team-building. After all, the mid-1990s picks provided very little return in later years, one reason for the team’s late decade decline.

Not long ago, Ryan took the time to answer a few of our questions regarding the scouting process and his role in the identification of the upcoming fourth overall pick in the amateur draft.

Terry Ryan on understanding the limitations of the capacity of the general manager in scouting draft pick:
“Over the years I’ve realized that the less you do that, the more dangerous you are. If you are involved in that daily, you can slot guys very easily and put ‘em where they belong. If you just dabble in that thing …it’s not a good thing. I learned that when I became one of those special assignment guys.

You shouldn’t get too wrapped up in the good days/bad days but you certainly don’t have a good flavor for what’s nationwide. We got plenty of people out there and if they want me to see a guy I probably will. But I don’t see it as a necessity as a General Manager to see them.”


Ryan on letting his scouting staff do their jobs:
“If I go see a guy and we got seven guys that are all over this guy and I go in and I don’t like him, what am I going to do? Overrule seven other guys? I don’t see it as a necessity to see the guys but if they want me to, I will.”

Ryan on the difficulty of projecting Byron Buxton, who played a low-level of competition in Georgia:
“Not at all. Especially a guy like [Buxton] because there is no doubt he can throw – in fact, I saw him pitch, which wasn’t exactly what I had in mind – but you know he can run and you know he has range, ‘cause he’ll show you that when he goes to get a ball. The other things when you see a guy in a situation like Buxton in southern rural Georgia, I was fortunate enough to see him play against a good ballclub from Atlanta and that was a plus. Regardless of the competition, we’re still looking at skills and tools and body and competitiveness and attention and urgency. All that stuff.”

Ryan on cross-checkers and seeing guys:
“Now days players get seen so much more than we use to be able to back in the 1980’s. In Chicago, for instance, or Minnesota you might see a high school guy one game you got to make a decision. If you are a cross-checker – I’m not talking about an area guy – if you are a cross-checker and you get one look at a guy – and you’re probably fortunate – you make a decision, you put a number on him and then you move on to the next guy. That’s what cross-checkers are paid to do and it is a difficult job but it can be done.”

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