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Article: Twins Draft Preview: Tyler Kolek

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 11:33 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...iew-Tyler-Kolek

#2 AM.

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:49 AM

He seems to have the highest upside of anyone in the draft. If he falls to the Twins, I hope they select him, to make it three straight years of snagging "highest upside." That's what you should be doing with these picks.

If he is gone, my vote, which counts for nothing, is Nola. He has a lower ceiling, but not really that much lower (although a different way of getting there), and to me seems like the risks are considerably lower with Nola.

#3 tobi0040

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:17 AM

He seems to have the highest upside of anyone in the draft. If he falls to the Twins, I hope they select him, to make it three straight years of snagging "highest upside." That's what you should be doing with these picks.

If he is gone, my vote, which counts for nothing, is Nola. He has a lower ceiling, but not really that much lower (although a different way of getting there), and to me seems like the risks are considerably lower with Nola.


As far as I am concerned, sign this kid up. Would it really be a tragedy if five years from now his velocity dipped from 100 to 97-98? Give me upside here and the chance at a front line starter. #3 starters can be purchased in free agency, front line starters can't. Heck, we signed two #3 starters last off-season without breaking the bank and we had an offer for Garza (2 or 3 starter) that was the highest AAV offer, reportedly.

#4 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:25 AM

Fast fastball is not that hard to hit, if it is straight and if he doesn't have a breaking ball. I'd be ok with it, but I'm not sure just throwing hard is enough.

#5 Willihammer

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:34 AM

A fast fastball is hard to hit though. Anything 96+ you can throw straight as an arrow, in the zone, and still miss bats.

To be able to throw in the zone and still miss bats - that's the holy grail.

If he falls, we have to take him.

#6 zenser

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:49 AM

A fast fastball is hard to hit though. Anything 96+ you can throw straight as an arrow, in the zone, and still miss bats.


I tend to agree with this with the exception of Kyle Farnsworth. His fastball is a straight as they come and he can get roughed up.

#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:58 AM

Kolek appears to be a polarizing potential draft pick...

I think he's an arm surgery waiting to happen, but that kind of velocity is rare. That said, 80% of big league hitters can hit 97 and straight. He will need to add one more pitch to become a potential power closer. He will need to add two more pitches to become a potential dominant starting pitcher.

I still lean to Nola because I think he has upside too. I think I would take Nola over Gordon though... maybe.

#8 Willihammer

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:59 AM

http://www.baseballp...articleid=22139

#9 gunnarthor

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:02 AM

If he's there at #5, I can't see the Twins passing on him. I think Beede is the only pitcher that scares me more than Kolek but the Twins won't pass on him. But he won't be there either.

#10 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:03 AM

Cool article! Thanks willihammer.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#11 jimbo92107

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:09 AM

Depends what kind of game you want to play. Today all we really know about Kolek is that he's a big, strong kid that can throw a baseball incredibly fast. Can he learn to control a curve, slider, change, etc? If not, he's a closer you took with the fifth pick in the draft. Can he maintain his incredible velocity without hurting his arm? His mechanics look good, but that kind of speed can wreck an arm in a hurry. If he becomes a mid to low 90's guy with not much for secondary pitches, what a wasted pick.

Then you've got Aaron Nola, one of those guys with a smooth, easy whip-arm motion that looks almost like skimming stones on a Sunday at the lake. That guy will be in the majors within one year and pitch effectively for a decade, while Tyler Kolek struggles for at least a couple years to develop a slider, curve and change in the minors.

If both guys are available I take Nola for a simple reason: time. If the Twins want to compete while Mauer is still near his peak, they need their young arms to get to the bigs as a group within a couple years. Nola would definitely be a starter in that frame. Kolek would not. Even if he could become the next CC Sabbathia, right now Tyler Kolek is a thrower. This team can't afford to wait for him to become a pitcher. Nola is a pitcher right now. Take the pitcher!

Edited by jimbo92107, 30 May 2014 - 08:14 AM.


#12 tobi0040

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:15 AM

Kolek appears to be a polarizing potential draft pick...

I think he's an arm surgery waiting to happen, but that kind of velocity is rare. That said, 80% of big league hitters can hit 97 and straight. He will need to add one more pitch to become a potential power closer. He will need to add two more pitches to become a potential dominant starting pitcher.

I still lean to Nola because I think he has upside too. I think I would take Nola over Gordon though... maybe.


From what I have read, his curve has nice bite to it but is inconsistent. Very few high schoolers have a good change up, but an average change up is probably not the hardest thing to develop and average would be fine with that kind of fastball velocity.

#13 tobi0040

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:21 AM

Depends what kind of game you want to play. Today all we really know about Kolek is that he's a big, strong kid that can throw a baseball incredibly fast. Can he learn to control a curve, slider, change, etc? If not, he's a closer you took with the fifth pick in the draft. Can he maintain his incredible velocity without hurting his arm? His mechanics look good, but that kind of speed can wreck an arm in a hurry. If he becomes a mid to low 90's guy with not much for secondary pitches, what a wasted pick.

Then you've got Aaron Nola, one of those guys with a smooth, easy whip-arm motion that looks almost like skimming stones on a Sunday at the lake. That guy will be in the majors within one year and pitch effectively for a decade, while Tyler Kolek struggles for at least a couple years to develop a slider, curve and change in the minors.

If both guys are available I take Nola for a simple reason: time. If the Twins want to compete while Mauer is still near his peak, they need their young arms to get to the bigs as a group within a couple years. Nola would definitely be a starter in that frame. Kolek would not. Even if he could become the next CC Sabbathia, right now Tyler Kolek is a thrower. This team can't afford to wait for him to become a pitcher. Nola is a pitcher right now. Take the pitcher!


It is a supply and demand issue for me. The supply of pitchers with Kolek's upside is very low and too pricey for us. Every off-season you can get #3/#4 starters. I think drafting at #5 based on how quickly a guy will be here (or even using it as a tie breaker) is not the way to do it. Sign another Nolasco, Hughes, or Garza next off-season if we need something next year, plant a seed in the garden that could grow to be a front line starter.

#14 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:25 AM

I agree on not being worried about the next year or two....they have Meyer and May. I want the guy that will be great for 3-6 years at some point.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:25 AM

I'd take Kolek over Nola in a heart beat here. For one, quickness to the majors means nothing when he's blocked by Meyer, May, Darnell, Hughes, Gibson, Gilmartin, and Nolasco. Berrios could be in the way too in a year.

Second, it's said the fastball has a nice drop to it... It's not a straight fastball.

Go with high upside. If he flames out, he flames out, but the reward is way too tantalizing.

#16 DJL44

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:44 AM

KLaw says the White Sox love Kolek.

#17 Dantes929

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:07 AM

I agree on not being worried about the next year or two....they have Meyer and May. I want the guy that will be great for 3-6 years at some point.

There is the risk and there is what is fun about baseball. Mark Buehrle would contradict that you need to miss bats or strike out people to be successful. Frank Viola would contradict that it is necessary to have a blazing fastball to strike people out. Nolan Ryan would argue that it certainly helps to have a blazing fastball. It is most likely that the #1 in the draft will not become a legendary player. Less likely that the #5 will . If you think Kolek has a 10% chance of being Roger Clemens, a 40% chance of being Joel Zumaya and a 50% chance of being a bust do you take him? Do you take that over Nola if Nola has a 20% chance of being Viola, 20% chance of being Buehrle, 30% chance of being Radke and #30% chance of being a bust? I agree that you do not look short term but risk reward is very real.

#18 laloesch

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:34 AM

KLaw says the White Sox love Kolek.



I'm not even going to pick up the bong. Kolek is not going to fall to us. Zero chance of it happening.

#19 tobi0040

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:47 AM

There is the risk and there is what is fun about baseball. Mark Buehrle would contradict that you need to miss bats or strike out people to be successful. Frank Viola would contradict that it is necessary to have a blazing fastball to strike people out. Nolan Ryan would argue that it certainly helps to have a blazing fastball. It is most likely that the #1 in the draft will not become a legendary player. Less likely that the #5 will . If you think Kolek has a 10% chance of being Roger Clemens, a 40% chance of being Joel Zumaya and a 50% chance of being a bust do you take him? Do you take that over Nola if Nola has a 20% chance of being Viola, 20% chance of being Buehrle, 30% chance of being Radke and #30% chance of being a bust? I agree that you do not look short term but risk reward is very real.


These are all good points, but you have to go off of history and the rules, not the exceptions.

-In general, pitchers that throw with velocity get more K's

-More K's usually means better overall numbers

-Pitchers at 18 have a better chance to develop pitches than a pitcher at 21

Regarding the odds bit, I think you are looking at Nola in a very favorable light and have a pessimistic view of Kolek. The career ERA's of Voila, Mark B., and Radke are 3.73, 3.81, and 4.22. For argument sake, you have a 40% chance at a #2 starter and a 30% chance at a #3 starter. Most reports have Nola's ceiling as a #3 starter. I would also argue something exists between Roger Clemons and Joel Zumaya and certainly, at a minimum a comp could be given to a closer that stays healthy

#20 drivlikejehu

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 10:02 AM

He'll probably be gone, but I'm not crazy about him. I wouldn't take a pitcher at #5 unless I was confident he could be solid with a low-90s fastball. Too many pitchers throw hard as an amateur but can't hold it over a pro workload, or get hurt, etc.

Of course, you hope for as much velocity as you can get, but ideally the prospect knows how to pitch and it's not an all-or-nothing situation.