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.baseballa...12/2613426.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)
Top 100 List:http://insider.espn....draft-prospects
Jim Callis Baseball America
Top 100 List: http://www.baseballa...12/2613410.html
Jonathan Mayo MLB.com
Mock (first 10 picks):http://mlb.mlb.com/n...ws_mlb&c_id=mlb
Top 100 List: http://www.mlb.com/m...012/#list=draft
Matt Garrioch Minorleagueball.com
Top 373 List: http://www.minorleag...t-board-5-17-12
Edited by cmb0252, 19 May 2012 - 11:12 AM.