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Thread: One stop shop for the Twins 2012 First-Year Player Draft

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    One stop shop for the Twins 2012 First-Year Player Draft

    Helloha Twins Daily Community,

    This my first post so be nice. I'm an avid MLB First-Year Player Draft follower who's passion for the draft is only surpassed by my love for the, albeit currently embarrassing, Twinkies. I have read several great articles about the draft here on this site but I figured I would add one more to the bunch. Being a person with a scientific background I'm going to try my hardest to keep to the facts and leave my opinions out of it. To write this post I used articles and chats mostly from Jonathan Mayo, the staff at Baseball America, Matt Garrioch from Minorleagueball.com, and Keith Law from ESPN (their latest top draft prospect lists and mocks will be linked at the end of the article). Hope you enjoy.

    MLB's First-Year Player Draft will be held on June 4th and will go on till the the 6th. The signing deadline has been moved up, was the 15th of August last year, to July 13th at 5 P.M. ET. Why do you care about this change? Due to the late signing date most of the top draft prospects were shut down instead of being sent to the minors. With the new signing date most draft prospects, still questions about how much college pitchers will pitch due overuse and high pitch counts, will get a chance to hit the minors before the season ends.

    The Twins have the largest signing budget of any team, 12,368,200, and the #2 overall. For the full list of Twins picks in the first 10 rounds and bonuses take the following link:http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...2/2613426.html. Teams can spread the money among their picks in the top 10 rounds in different ways so long as they stay under the total budget. However, if a team fails to sign a player, it cannot apply the budgeted amount for that pick to other players and loses that amount from its overall budget. Due to the lose of overall budget and new harsher penalties for going over budget their is a belief that signability will be as big of factor as ever. If the Twins didn't resign Matt Capps they would have received the 50th overall pick which is worth $1,000,000.

    When asked how he would grade this draft on the 20-80 scale Jim Callis, Baseball America, responded with, "40-45 depending on how jaded you want to be....but there's talent in any draft." This seems to the universal view of the draft this year. Every draft has a cut off in talent and this year it seems to be after the top 8 players (Buxton, Zunino, Appel, Gausman, Zimmer, Correa, Fried, Giolito). Seeing we are drafting with the #2 pick that is good for us. The question is, who do we take? The Twins have been linked to Buxton, Zunino, Appel, Gausman, Zimmer, and Giolito according to Law's, Callis', and local beat writer's sources. When Callis was asked about the Twins drafting need over BPA he responded with, "they need a pitcher more than anything, but the vibe I get is that they'll take the best player available." This vibe has been reinforced by Law's and Mayo's sources. The next question after who do we take is who do the Twins have atop their board? Obviously with out being part of the inner circle we cant know but we can look at the six players they have been linked to.

    Buxton- "
    He's still on top of most scouts' individual preferred lists, with game-altering speed, an incredibly athletic body, a plus arm and a swing that produces a lot of contact and should lead to future power, although he has just one home run this spring. He's risky and no lock to go first overall, but a player who earns comparisons to Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton and other superstars has to be a strong consideration up top." Keith Law.
    Zunino- He's considered the best college bat in this draft. "With some more consistency with his swing, he could be a middle of the order bat. Behind the plate, he's a natural leader who can run a pitching staff. Zunino has a very good and accurate arm, good hands and agility, giving him a a package of plus catch and throw skills." Mayo
    Appel- "Appel has the complete package of size, stuff and ability to throw strikes. His fastball is a plus pitch now, which sits comfortably in the mid-90s and the scary thing is there might be room for a little bit more as he matures and fills out. The ball explodes out of his hand with a free and easy delivery and his fastball has above-average movement to boot. He's got an outstanding hard slider with late tilt that he can bury down in the strike zone and his circle changeup is at above-average as well, bottoming out when his mechanics are right. He can throw all three for strikes and gets very high marks for his poise and aggressiveness." Mayo
    Gausman-"He'll sit 93-97 and has reached 99. Has improved command of the pitch, although he can still find too much of the middle of the plate. He switched his primary breaking ball in mid-March from a below-average curve to an above-average slider that flashes plus. When his changeup is on, it's plus, 83-86 with strong fading action." Law
    Zimmer- "Zimmer has the makings of four pitches that could be at least Major League average. Any talk about the strong, durable right-hander has to begin with his plus fastball that he can run up to 97 mph. He maintains velocity deep into his starts and he has pretty good run and sink to it. His curve is a power breaking pitch, one that could be an out pitch at the next level. He also throws a slider that's very effective when he throws it right. Zimmer doesn't throw his changeup much, but he does have one and it looks like it can be deceptive with sink if he starts throwing it more consistently. He is a very consistent strike thrower." Mayo
    Giolito-"He had hit 100 mph in his last outing before the injury and would sit 93-98 in most outings, showing better late life on the pitch and better command within the zone, losing some of his former tendency to give up hard contact on fastballs in the zone. His curveball is sharp and he changes its shape, throwing some with typical two-plane break and others with shorter more slider-like action, mostly in the 83-86 mph range. He'll flash a changeup but it's clearly his third option, probably the main thing he'll need to work on in pro ball." Law

    While I cant tell you what will happen on June 4th, in my opinion any of the top 8 players would greatly help the Twins rebuilding process, I can tell you that following the draft can be fun. I understand if most of the information above might have been wasted on the most avid of draft followers but I hope it helped some of the people new to following the draft. I will end this insanely long forum post on this: three of the following four mocks have the Twins taking Buxton (same three have him ranked as the #1 draft prospect) but who do you have?

    Keith Law ESPN (insider required)
    Mock:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story...mock-draft-mlb
    Top 100 List:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story...raft-prospects

    Jim Callis Baseball America
    Mock:
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...2/2613371.html
    Top 100 List:
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...2/2613410.html

    Jonathan Mayo MLB.com
    Mock (first 10 picks):
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...s_mlb&c_id=mlb
    Top 100 List:
    http://www.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/wat...12/#list=draft

    Matt Garrioch Minorleagueball.com
    Mock: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/...irst-10-rounds
    Top 373 List:
    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/...-board-5-17-12
    Last edited by cmb0252; 05-19-2012 at 12:12 PM.

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    So who do we take? Zunino is the safest bet, while an above average all around catcher is valuable, he has the lowest ceiling. The two high schoolers, Giolito and Buxton, have the highest ceilings but also have the biggest bust potential. As Law noted most scouts have Buxton as the top talent but there are still plenty of doubters that question if he will hit enough in proball. Giolito has true ace potential and had a chance to be the first ever high school righty to go #1 overall before he was injured. He hasn't pitched in over a month and nothing shouts WARNING like an elbow injury. What about the 3 college arms? Lets take a little closer look at them.

    Which pitcher do the experts like best? Baseball America has Zimmer ranked #3, Appel ranked #4, and Gausman ranked #5 overall. Jim Callis at Baseball America said, "I'd take Zimmer over Appel, and go back and forth on Appel vs Gausman." Law has Gausman at #3, Appel #6, and Zimmer #8. His reasoning being, "
    I could make a case for Gausman, Mark Appel or Kyle Zimmer as the top college arm, but 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." Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has Appel #2, Gausman #4, and Zimmer #6. Three different experts and three different choices for best college pitcher. While they might disagree on who is the best college pitcher they all seem to agree that while they have #1 ceilings they all profile better as #2s. Instead of putting them in the top 10-20 pitchers in baseball that would put them more in the 40-50 range which, while not the ace we might want, would still be a giant upgrade over the garbage we are running out there right now.

    Personally? Give me Gausman or Correa. Pure upside give me Correa. Lots of experts think Correa has a chance, when all is said and done, to be the best player from this draft and I agree. I like him better than Buxton. He is currently an SS but most likely will end up at 3B. Has the glove and bat to be plus there (65-70 power with a solid hit tool). While we currently have Sano playing third there is a lot of talk he will eventually move to RF or 1B. A 1-2 combo of Sano and Correa hitting in the middle of the order is a championship waiting to happen. As for Gausman I feel that not only does he have a similar ceiling as the other two college pitchers but is safer. I just don't trust Appel's poor results in a weaker conference and Zimmers velocity drop. Even if he ends up a high level #2 that puts his name in with the top 40 pitchers in baseball and that is something I can live with. It also doesn't hurt that he will making it to the show just about the same time as the rest of our top prospects.

  3. #3
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the detailed discussion. Very interesting. I could be convinced about Gausman over Appel and Zimmer, I suppose. I don't care as long as they draft one of them. Stanford hurt Appel's chances.

    Thanks again.

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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21489259

    Some good videos on Plawecki, Mitchell Brown, Chris Stratton, etc.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    My thoughts today would be: 1.) Zunino, 2.) Gausman, 3.) Buxton, 4.) Appel, 5.) Correa, 6.) Zimmer, 7.) Giolito...

    Of course, since I'm just reading about these guys, I definitely won't pretend to know what the tie-breakers are between them, and frankly, I'll be excited about any of these guys when the TWins pick them. I'm hoping they'd take Gausman, I guess...

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    Twins Contributor All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    I'm trying to set up my own board based on what I've read and seen on the prospects. Right now, Buxton is solid as my #1. The belief is that Appel goes #1 to Houston, and I've all but accepted the fact that the Twins pop Buxton at #2. (I'm hoping he won't cost the full $6.2m... and I hope that their asking price is a factor.)

    Buxton would immediately become the Twins #2 prospect. (Sano will be a top 10 overall . I believe Buxton will be top 25.) It's also been pointed out that the Twins have a lot of toolsy OFs... but none have the near the ceiling (all 55s) that Buxton has (65-70).

    (If they go college pitcher, I'd prefer Gausman. I also neglected to mention that whoever they pick will become their #2 prospect, in my opinion.)
    Last edited by Jeremy Nygaard; 05-19-2012 at 10:27 AM.

  7. #7
    I definitely agree that if we draft a college pitcher I would really like it to be Gausman.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
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    I would say that i would choose Zimmer, because he has the least wear on his arm because he was moved from 2b, I believe. He also has several pitches that are all "Major-League average", which isn't always easy to obtain after changing positions. After Zimmer I would probably choose Gausman, because he realized that one of his pitches wasn't working for him, tried out another pitch, and it is really working our for him now.

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    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    What an amazing first post! Please keep up the excellent work.

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    First, I want to say thank you for the warm welcome and I'm glad to join a great group of Twinkie fans. Second, thanks for the great feed back. Third....well I only really had two things to say so there.

    I have no problem with anything you said J-Dog. As I posted above the three college pitchers seem to be interchangeable depending on what you look for. Not only does Zimmer have the least wear and tear, where Appel has the most, he also is the best athlete of the bunch. One article I read about Zimmer calls him an 80 athlete who's natural gifts will let him adapt to anything. Also, you are right that like Gausman he also has 3 above average pitches. Not only does he have three above average pitches but he has the best secondary pitch of the bunch. Both Zimmer (curve ball) and Gausman (change up) have secondary pitches that score 65 and as Keith Law put it, you can teach a great change up but a great curve ball you are born with. After all the gooing over Zimmer why would I still prefer Gausman? His last three starts with the velocity drop is a huge red flag, his next start will determine is draft spot, and where he has the highest upside it still isn't leaps and bounds ahead of the other two. All three have ceilings of #1s but profile as #2s so give me the safest of the bunch.

    Thanks for the videos Shanewahl. Any scouting links are always appreciated. Mitchell Brown, like most MN born Twins fans, is a huge favorite. I wouldn't take him at 32 but if he is there at 42 they have to take him. MN native, should sign for close to slot, pitcher, and has some upside. Talking about signing for close to slot that leads me to your first post and Nygaard's post regarding drafting at #2.

    With the #2 pick most people have been talking about BPA (most experts peg Buxton) vs Need (one of the 3 college pitchers) but I feel people are ignoring the third and maybe most important factor, Money. Nygaard mentioned it but I really feel it isn't getting the attention it deserves. Comparing previous draft prospects and signing bonuses none of the prospects really deserve the fully alotted, 6.2M, draft bonus. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying go cheap, but if you can get comparable talent for cheaper you would be dumb not to explore it. From what I have read if the Astros take Appel #1 it is for two reasons. All these guys at the top of the draft have huge talent but Appel is the closest to the bigs and they believe they can sign him for under slot money. If the Astros agree to a contract with Appel for under slot money before the draft why cant the Twins do the same thing? Due to the slotting system shouldn't we gain leverage? I guess the question I want to ask is would you rather sign Buxton at 6.2M (BPA), a college pitcher at 5.7M (need), or say Zunino for 5.3M (cheapest)? Obviously we don't know if the Twins rank Buxton as the BPA or how much any of these guys will sign for but it is a fun exercise. This leads me to my next topic, the supplemental round.

    Where as I pointed out above many experts feel this is a weaker draft, that doens't mean it is a bad draft, there is still plenty of talent. Experts are calling this a weaker draft because of the really poor college crop, not the HS crop of players. From everything I have read the HS players are actually average to above average. Due to overall lower signing bonuses, questions about how signing players will go, and Twins record bonus pool it looks like the Twins have a chance to get a steal at #32. I think the argument that #32 pick could be just as important as the #2 pick if you feel most of the talent at the top are close to one another. Saving a little money at #2, once again I'm still saying we need to draft one of the top 8 talents, could lead to 2 above average players for the price of 1.

  11. #11
    Have we not been linked to Correa really? I think if Buxton is there at #2 you have to grab him. Kevin Goldstein seems to be very high on him saying if he were the Twins and Buxton was there he would grab him and laugh at the Astros. He also gives Buxton the edge over Bubba Starling when asked who is the better prospect. Any ideas on who could possibly be available at #32?

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    I haven't read a single thing about the Twins being in on either Correa or Fried. Obviously they have scouted these guys but they haven't hinted to anyone, media wise, that they would be willing to take either of them with the #2 overall pick.

    Both Goldstein and Callis have Buxton rated higher than Starling. Callis said that he would slot Buxton right above Starling on his top 100 prospects (Starling debuted at 24 on BA's top 100 list). While Law prefers Starling he has stated they are close and would put Buxton right behind him (Starling debuted at 15 on Law's top 100 list). Either way with promotions and prospects rising up that would still put Buxton in the top 10-25 range on both of their top prospect lists.

    As for the 32 overall pick, or the 42nd for that matter, I haven't really read any specific names. The only name I have read that has been linked to the Twins with either of those picks is Mitch Brown but that seems more to be speculation than fact. Brown would seem to be the ideal pick at 42, if he is still there, with his MN ties. As to who will be available it is going to be really hard to tell this year seeing we are in the first year of the new CBA. If the Twins can go a little under slot at #2 or maybe a few of their other later high picks I could see a HSer as the best route at 32. Players I personally like who could be there at 32 are Zach Elfin, Walker Weickel, Matt Smoral, Corey Seager, or Ty Hensley. Once again, I haven't heard the Twins linked to any of these guys but looking at mocks all these players have a chance to be there at 32 due to injuries/signing bonuses/lack of performances.

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    Great post! I am very excited for the draft. At #2 the twins just need to get it right. Personally, for what I have read, and/or seen in video, I like Zimmer. Solid athele, four solid if not plus pitches, holds velocity deep in games. I have seen Gausman pitch on ESPN U, looks great! As for Buxton, let's just hope he pans out if choosen. So at 2 I see them taking one Buxton, Zimmer, Gausman. The money pick will be at 32. High school pitcher Matt Smoral would be my early favorite by reading the reports.

  14. #14
    At 32 I really hope someone falls because of signability or injury because we have the best chanc to sign them. Smoral would fall into that category. Guys like Lance McCullers, Hunter Varient, and Max Fried also could fall because of that. I know it's a pipe dream but I hope Giolito falls because of signability and we make a run at him.

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    Twins Contributor All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
    Players I personally like who could be there at 32 are Zach Elfin, Walker Weickel, Matt Smoral, Corey Seager, or Ty Hensley. Once again, I haven't heard the Twins linked to any of these guys but looking at mocks all these players have a chance to be there at 32 due to injuries/signing bonuses/lack of performances.
    I think we're on the same page - or close - when it comes to pick 32. If the Twins can shave a $.2-.5m off the #2 slot, I think Matt Smoral could definitely be a target. It will hard for the teams in the area he's projected to go - late first round - besides the Red Sox and Brewers to overpay him. Eflin and Weickel could be targets. If J.O. Berrios is still available, I think he'd be a great get. The other name I'd add there is another UCLA commit - lefty Hunter Virant.

    Seager has had a lot of late helium, so - although I like him - he'll be off mid-1st.

    The other thing I have heard a lot of is that teams will take guys they like early - and pay them less -and then wait to see who's on the board later. It's a whole new can of worms - but I wonder if there is anyone that the Twins love so much that they'd consider taking at #2 and only pay $1.5m-$2m with the idea of overpaying HS arms in the sandwich and 2nd rounds. The guy that is always referenced is Ben Revere and what the Twins did with him.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
    The other thing I have heard a lot of is that teams will take guys they like early - and pay them less -and then wait to see who's on the board later. It's a whole new can of worms - but I wonder if there is anyone that the Twins love so much that they'd consider taking at #2 and only pay $1.5m-$2m with the idea of overpaying HS arms in the sandwich and 2nd rounds. The guy that is always referenced is Ben Revere and what the Twins did with him.
    Sorry to ask but what did the Twins do with Revere?

  17. #17
    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 30whales View Post
    Sorry to ask but what did the Twins do with Revere?
    30whales? I've been trying to figure out where I've seen 30whales before. I remember now... You are the former 1st basemen turned Racquetball master. lol.

    Ben was a 1st round reach in 2007. He was thought to be a 3rd or 4th rounder. Not only did the Twins draft him in the 1st round (i'm glad they did) but they signed him for one of the lowest 1st round signing bonuses in a decade or so. Don't remember the number but it was well short of a million. Maybe $750,000?

  18. #18
    Twins Contributor All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    $750K is correct. Over $300K less than slot. The draft was on ESPN that year (I believe televised for the first time ever) and when his name was called they literally knew nothing about him besides, "uh... he went a lot higher than expected."

  19. #19
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    The Twins need to take college arms with their first 3-4 picks and hope that they can get 2 pitchers from that draft group and Gibson/Wimmers in the starting rotation within 2 years. Appel or Gausman should be the top pick and they should just give him a Twins jersey on day one (I am sure the Twins will send him to Beloit or something).

    The minor league system has decent young positional players at the lower levels. They used a top pick on a HS pitcher and 3B, and Sano, Hicks, Rosario, and a couple of other hitters are still decent prospects.

    But we need pitching, and pitching quickly. It is bad luck that Appel and Gausman, etc do not project to be #1 starters, but that is the breaks. We can draft one with the first overall pick NEXT year, and fit the other guy as a #2.

  20. #20
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    Hunter Virant would also be a great grab. Forgot about him. Heck, any high upside HS arm would be a great grab at #32. The reason I brought up Seager is because I read he was looking for 2.5M+ which is top 10-15 money. Outside of a couple of the teams with 2 first round picks we might be the only team able to pay that because I don't see him going that high.

    I have also read that lots of teams might over-draft and take a player they really like at a discounted rate in the first round but not the Twins. After the first 7 or 8 guys the draft gets kind of muddy. With the overall amount of picks they have and having the #2 pick you just cant do that. What I would like to see is if the Astros make a deal, most think with Appel, the Twins try to do the same thing with their pick. If they went for Zunino/one of the college pitchers they seem to have the upper hand on negotiating. Maybe Buxton too but I'm not sure what his current signing demands are.The difference between picks 2 and 3 is 1M bucks. If they could get a .2M-.5M discount and maybe have a predraft deal at either 63rd or 72nd spot with a college senior they could easily have an extra million+ to throw at the #32 pick. Add an extra million to the alotted slot value at pick 32, 1.55M, and we are talking about top 12 money. Going to be really hard for a player who slipped to ignore that kind of scratch.

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