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Article: Draft Preview: Five to Focus On

hunter greene kyle wright alex faedo jeren kendall mlb draft
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#1 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 05:55 PM

Despite the snow that hit parts of the midwest and the return to winter for many of the rest of the reading area, baseball is back alive and well.

As the Twins kicked off their exhibition season, many colleges and high schools around the nation also started (or continued) their seasons. That means draft season has officially kicked off.

How did the top draft prospects do?Hunter Greene, RHP, California prep. Greene made his regular-season debut on Saturday and lived up to the hype. He struck out seven batters in five innings. He allowed two walks on the day and two runs on two hits (and a balk) in the first inning. His fastball was reportedly clocked as high as 97 mph.

The highlight of the day, though, was when Greene hit a grand-slam to give his team a 5-2 lead. He finished the 10-3 win playing shortstop.

You can follow Greene throughout the spring right here at Twins Daily. Judging by his team’s schedule, he will likely throw again next Saturday. The Twins were definitely in attendance on Saturday, though I was unable to confirm who was scouting the game.

Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt. You might say that Wright has been up-and-down-and-then-back-up so far this season. In inning one of game one last week, Wright was mid-to-high 90s for an inning. But then he dropped to the low 90s for the next four innings, walking (three) more than he struck out (two). His outing was done after five frames and he didn’t show any sort of breaking ball.

Friday night was a different story. Over 93 pitches in six innings, Wright struck out seven, allowing a run on four hits (but no walks). He worked in the low-to-mid 90s, touching 97 mph and showing a plus curveball.

Wright has the stuff #1 overall draft picks (and front-end pitchers) are made of. For me, Wright is the leader in a very tightly-contested college pitching class.

Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt. Kendall started off his weekend with a bang: a 436' bomb to centerfield. He added a hustle-double later in the game and finished 2-for-5.

Saturday’s game highlighted the biggest issue that Kendall has: he struck out four times (twice looking, twice swinging) and was intentionally walked in his fifth plate appearance.

On Sunday, Kendall went 0-for-5 with an extra-inning strikeout. He also failed to bunt successfully earlier in the game. Kendall was asked to bunt last week and ended up bunting into the air, causing a game-ending double-play.

Kendall’s speed, arm strength and pretty left-handed stroke along with his potential to hit home runs and play center field make him a five-tool prospect. But those tools come with a few question marks that were highlighted over the last three games.

Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida. On a similar path as Wright - Faedo struggled in a 4.2 inning, four-run showing in his debut - game two was a bounce-back.

Against rival Miami, Faedo was one out short of a complete game, allowing only two hits and striking out eight. He was replaced in the ninth inning after a two-out error was followed by a full-count walk, his first and only walk of the game. He threw 119 pitches.

Though I couldn’t connect with anyone who was at the game, there are reports that he had “full command” of “nasty” arsenal, which includes a low-to-mid 90s fastball with movement, a very good slider and a developing change-up.

Royce Lewis, SS, California prep. The JSerra Catholic High School athlete will begin answering questions about whether he can stick at shortstop when his season kicks off on March 11.

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Though there is no official “board” anywhere in any Twins front office member’s office, Greene’s name sits atop the unofficial board I’ll be updating over the next few months. I’d put both Faedo and Wright slightly in front of Kendall. Lewis remains a bit of a dark horse until he starts to play, but the Twins are high on his potential.
  • Hunter Greene
  • Kyle Wright
  • Royce Lewis
  • Alex Faedo
  • Jeren Kendall
How does your board look?

--

Hrbowski also posted on some draft prospects this weekend.

Click here to view the article
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#2 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:29 PM

Weak draft?Strong draft?

 

Looks like there are definitely options at Number One.


#3 dcbona

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:51 PM

I like that Greene plays SS as well because it shows he's a team player, but I don't like the stress it puts on his arm. Either way, he's the freak of this class. Easy choice at this point.

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#4 nytwinsfan

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:07 PM

I know this is insane but . . . what about Greene being a real two-way player? By all accounts he has the talent, the athleticism and the makeup to do whatever he puts his mind to. I'm just saying, imagine it is 2021 or 2022, and Travis Blankenhorn is your second baseman against RHP (he can't hit LHP for ****), but Greene pitches every fifth game and platoons at 2B against LHP . . . Just saying. I know the chances of this are less than 1%, but still . . . how cool would that be.

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#5 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:23 PM

 

Weak draft?Strong draft?

 

Looks like there are definitely options at Number One.

 

I think the answer to this question always depends on who you talk to. The Twins are going to the get the guy they like most out of everyone. That's a strength, though there isn't this elite, franchise-changing talent like a Bryce Harper. There are options at #1, so that's good for teams picking #2-5. There are deeper groups than others. But a lot will play out as the season goes. 

 

If a group of, say, 10 players separate themselves and then there's another group of 30 or so... that's great for the teams drafting at the top and not good for the teams drafting at the bottom. 

 

I think this draft pool plays out in a way that is good for the Twins. It would be less good if they were drafting in the teens.

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#6 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:28 PM

 

I know this is insane but . . . what about Greene being a real two-way player? By all accounts he has the talent, the athleticism and the makeup to do whatever he puts his mind to. I'm just saying, imagine it is 2021 or 2022, and Travis Blankenhorn is your second baseman against RHP (he can't hit LHP for ****), but Greene pitches every fifth game and platoons at 2B against LHP . . . Just saying. I know the chances of this are less than 1%, but still . . . how cool would that be.

 

Baseball didn't get to where it is today by people thinking in the box. 

 

With that being said, you'll never unlock a guy's true potential if you let him split his focus. Best-case scenario for that to happen is if he doesn't pan out as a top pitcher and can become a reliever/infielder, which is far from the best-case scenario.

 

It's not a thought that's never come up though, the Padres are planning to use Christian Bethancourt as a reliever, backup catcher and reserve outfielder. It would be extremely difficult to do something like that with a starting pitcher while trying to take care of his arm in between starts.

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#7 nytwinsfan

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:33 PM

 

Baseball didn't get to where it is today by people thinking in the box. 

 

With that being said, you'll never unlock a guy's true potential if you let him split his focus. Best-case scenario for that to happen is if he doesn't pan out as a top pitcher and can become a reliever/infielder, which is far from the best-case scenario.

 

It's not a thought that's never come up though, the Padres are planning to use Christian Bethancourt as a reliever, backup catcher and reserve outfielder. It would be extremely difficult to do something like that with a starting pitcher while trying to take care of his arm in between starts.

Yeah, I guess I don't know enough about starting pitcher arm care and routines. That's why I suggested 2B, since it would minimize the need to strain the arm, and obviously he wouldn't play there the day after he pitches. Just seems like a shame to waste his bat. Maybe he should be drafted by a team in the National League, ideally.


#8 Darius

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 08:49 PM

They can't possibly pass on Greene, right? The guy's upside at SP and/or SS is absurd, and the Twins can't seem to find either.

At the very least, If I were Falvey, I'd be too terrified of this kid fulfilling his potential on another team to pass, and have it follow me for my whole career (which could be made significantly shorter as a result).

Of course, all of this is said under the assumption that the kid is healthy throughout the process, and that his measurables are for real (and that he doesn't actually throw 92 on a legitimately calibrated gun).
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#9 Darius

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 08:57 PM

Yeah, I guess I don't know enough about starting pitcher arm care and routines. That's why I suggested 2B, since it would minimize the need to strain the arm, and obviously he wouldn't play there the day after he pitches. Just seems like a shame to waste his bat. Maybe he should be drafted by a team in the National League, ideally.

Well, theoritcally, if he's that good (which, he would have be pretty darn good offensively....he wouldn't be the first one to sacrifice the offense)...AL teams wouldn't have to run a DH when he's on the mound, and he could hit for himself. I'm sure it's been done before, but I don't remember hearing about it happening since I've been watching the game.

Unfortunately, the rule doesn't allow you to DH for your next weakest position player....which would be fun.

Edited by Darius, 26 February 2017 - 09:34 PM.


#10 Thrylos

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 09:20 PM

Too early to figure out who the Twins should pick.

 

However.The last prep pitcher who was drafted 1-1 and signed, was a "cannot miss prospect" like Hunter Greene is.The immortal Brien Taylor, lefty mind you. (Great retrospective on that signing here.A must for any Greene fans.)

 

The competition that high schoolers are facing is about 5-10% (at best) of what College pitchers are facing (and this assumes that 1 of their opponents will make it as a starter in a College squad, which is not really true.)And if one has a 98 mph fastball as their only good pitch, he can fool a lot of high school kids....

 

 

Edited by Thrylos, 26 February 2017 - 09:22 PM.

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#11 Darius

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 09:47 PM

Too early to figure out who the Twins should pick.

However. The last prep pitcher who was drafted 1-1 and signed, was a "cannot miss prospect" like Hunter Greene is. The immortal Brien Taylor, lefty mind you. (Great retrospective on that signing here. A must for any Greene fans.)

The competition that high schoolers are facing is about 5-10% (at best) of what College pitchers are facing (and this assumes that 1 of their opponents will make it as a starter in a College squad, which is not really true.) And if one has a 98 mph fastball as their only good pitch, he can fool a lot of high school kids....

A few things cause me to disagree with this take:

1). You're not necessarily drafting a pitcher. What do you think about drafting high school shortstops (or young shortstops from Latin America). A whole mess of those have turned out well.

2). I don't buy a whole lot into the high school pitcher myth. Plenty have worked out for teamspicking 2-the end of the draft. Is there a serious implication that there a supernatural force a sabotaging the career of any high school pitcher pitched number 1, but may be a hall of famer if picked number 2?

3). A lot of #2 has to do with arm health. Kids taken number #1 out of high school generally throw harder, and more often, causing extra stress and the potential arm issues that come with bad mechanics/certain breaking pitches. I feel that there have been a lot of developments made in that regard.

4) If you get into trouble with #3, TJ surgery isn't a death sentence like it was a couple of decades ago, or even assuredly career altering like it was a decade ago. A lot of young guys have it these days and return to form nicely.

I could list a few more reasons, but I think a refusal to pick a HS pitcher number 1 is flawed logic. It's a statistical anomolie.

Edited by Darius, 26 February 2017 - 09:49 PM.

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#12 DocBauer

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 09:50 PM

No question Greene I is tantalizing as a prospect, and overall ceiling he may indeed be the top player in the draft. And if you don't take him, you may live with deep regret. Right now though, I'd lean to Faedo or Wright. There is a ton of baseball to be played before the draft and the hope is, obviously, that someone truly separates from the pack. I just can't find myself feeling comfortable with a HS pitcher as the #1 overall pick. There is a reason it's never/seldom happened before, (LH yes, RH no). Injury potential and just so far from the majors makes it such a risky proposition.
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#13 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 09:59 PM

 

They can't possibly pass on Greene, right? The guy's upside at SP and/or SS is absurd, and the Twins can't seem to find either.

 

That's the seven million dollar question.

 

Short answer, though... yeah, they could pass on him. There are other players that have really high upsides.

 

...But his is the highest. As Thrylos has said before, Greene's secondary pitches aren't great. And honestly, that's what it's going to come down to. He's getting great coaching. If he's not able to show improvement over the course of this season, I think his upside gets knocked down a few levels where Lewis and Wright/Faedo become equally intriguing options.

 

I'm pulling for Greene. And I try not to let that opinion jade things, so if it appears I'm anti-Greene at times, I'm really not. I'm just trying to present things fairly.

 

Not that it matters, the Twins don't pay me for my opinion. Or care. :)

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#14 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 10:59 PM

My list is close to yours. Mine is
1. Greene
2. Lewis
3. Wright
4. Faedo
5. Kendall

I don't really like Kendall at all and I wouldn't pick him unless all of the other guys have completely imploded, just my take.

#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:36 AM

so here's a question Jeremy. I know that the slots are a bit lower at the top due to the new CBA, but let's just say for a second that at the end of the day, there's not much distinguishing a BPA in your top 5. Do you think the Twins could potentially play some games and get two of them?That would probably rule out Green, but they could potentially work out pre-draft deals with say Faedo and then possibly get a guy like Kendal or Wright to say they wantenough to scare off the rest... thoughts?

 

 


#16 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 07:47 AM

 

so here's a question Jeremy. I know that the slots are a bit lower at the top due to the new CBA, but let's just say for a second that at the end of the day, there's not much distinguishing a BPA in your top 5. Do you think the Twins could potentially play some games and get two of them?That would probably rule out Green, but they could potentially work out pre-draft deals with say Faedo and then possibly get a guy like Kendal or Wright to say they wantenough to scare off the rest... thoughts?

 

Two of the top 5? No.

 

The difference between the first and second pick is only $550k, so there isn't this great incentive to take less money at #1 when you can get nearly the same amount at #2. 

 

End of the day, though, they could maybe save $400k. They do have some flexibility with having #35 and #37. Maybe they have a guy they really like that agrees to take $1m at #35 and then they have $2m they can spend at #37 (but that's only equal to the #31 pick).

 

So long story longer, they do have some financial flexibility, but not enough to get two top 5 talents. They'd be better off banking it all until Round 11 and taking a Round 3-4 high school talent again like they did last year in Benninghoff.


#17 JaleelWhite FanClub

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:20 AM

Gotta love them college coaches letting their aces throw 119 pitches in the second game of the season. Hopefully for Faedo's sake he sees less stress in the upcoming weeks.

 

Count me in on Wright. Right now I would side with the top college arm in the draft. That would be someone who hopefully could rise fast and potentially be added to the mix during the prime years of Sano, Buxton, Kepler, Berrios, etc.

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#18 markos

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:35 AM

Important to always translate college velocity. Because they only pitches once a week, college starters will generally lose 1-2 mph when they switch to throwing every 5 days. So, when Wright "worked in the low-to-mid 90s, touching 97 mph", in my mind that translates to "worked in the low 90s, touching 95 mph". 


#19 birdwatcher

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:36 AM

 

Too early to figure out who the Twins should pick.

 

However.The last prep pitcher who was drafted 1-1 and signed, was a "cannot miss prospect" like Hunter Greene is.The immortal Brien Taylor, lefty mind you. (Great retrospective on that signing here.A must for any Greene fans.)

 

The competition that high schoolers are facing is about 5-10% (at best) of what College pitchers are facing (and this assumes that 1 of their opponents will make it as a starter in a College squad, which is not really true.)And if one has a 98 mph fastball as their only good pitch, he can fool a lot of high school kids....

 

 

The risks of taking a HS kid are well-known. I don't see how the Brien Taylor example is any more instructive than a hundred other examples since his selection. None of these kids makes it on talent alone, and no one goes 1-1 if there are any serious questions about their talent.

 

The really talented kids who fail do so because of factors that are extremely difficult or even impossible to predict. That's why it's so important for teams to thoroughly study the prospect's background, and even then, every organization is going to draft kids that get distracted by their own demons and never made it despite their prodigious talent. So, any hesitation in taking Greene over one of the college pitchers will come down first to an assessment of talent, then the risk factor related to age will be appropriately considered as always, but I'd suggest that if it is a close call, they'll take the prospect who displays those intangibles that get categorized as "makeup".

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#20 Vanimal46

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:44 AM

The previous regime almost always went with the "safe" college arm, or HS OF with tools... Mostly it was a conservative approach. I want the new regime to gamble on the highest upside possible. And that certainly sounds like Greene. 

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