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Article: Draft Theories

mlb draft draft royce lewis brent rooker blayne enlow
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#1 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:15 AM

The MLB Draft is a complicated beast.

For instance, the draft pool rules are somewhat confusing. You can't trade (most) picks. And the pool is full of two specific groups - prep and college players - that are typically separated by three years of age, skills and development.

Those are just a few things. Before Day 3 kicks off, I'm going to run through my theory of what was going on inside the draft room over the last two days.We're all aware that the Twins entered the draft process with an advantage over the other clubs - that coming off the heels of being the worst team in baseball last season and cushioned by the fact they qualified for a Comp Round A pick - owning the largest draft pool in all of baseball and the largest pool of all time.

It was entirely fair to assume that the club wasn't going to spend its entire allotment ($7.7m) on the first pick. No team ever had. In all likelihood, no team ever will. The Twins were going to take the player they liked the most in a price range they were comfortable with.

There are rumblings that Brendan McKay turned down an offer from the Twins. I'd be surprised if he was the only one. But I doubt it was an "offer" as much as it was the Twins trying to find the magic number with a handful of players. Brendan McKay will likely break the new-rule bonus record of $6.7m held by Kris Bryant when he signs with the Rays. It wouldn't surprise me if Hunter Greene's number is in that range too.

But Royce Lewis wasn't a "money-saving" pick. Lewis was the club's top target and will sign for a fair price - a price that will likely be very close to - if not more than - $6.7m.

Basically, what I'm saying is that Lewis, McKay and Greene will all sign for relatively similar bonuses. And, honestly, I think the Twins had a pretty good inkling that regardless of who they drafted - and they didn't make their mind up til the very end according to various reports - they were going to bank around a $1 million.

That's not being cheap. That's just using the resources available to them.

Now let's turn the page...

Immediately our focus turned to picks 35 and 37. We knew there would be some money available to spend later in the draft. It made a ton of sense to do it at 35 and/or 37.

And I'm sure - OK, not sure but guessing - that the club had a handful of prospects they really hoped would fall to these spots and that the money would be used up. Purely speculative, but I'd put Shane Baz and Seth Romero in that group. Sam Carlson was someone fans placed in that group. Call it whoever you want and call that pie-in-the-sky Plan A.

The fact is, though, outside of the draft room not one knows who was actually in that group or how big it was. From everything that I can gather, they weren't "sniped," there just wasn't a prospect they liked so much to blow their entire pool on (which at that time could have been nearly $3 million). So they stuck to their board at #35 with Brent Rooker and took a player at #37 in Landon Leach who was quickly moving up draft boards.

And then they turned to Plan B, which was still a really good plan.

When Leach's name was called - and Carlson's wasn't - and then fans looked for where he was ranked by Baseball America and MLB.com, many were aghast. How dare they go cheap! Did they just screw up their whole draft? Those types of things filled up both my Twitter timeline and mentions. To many I replied with some variety of "let's see what happens tomorrow."

The reality was they knew they still had around $1.5m with which to play around. They probably also - when they picked at #35 and #37 - had a really good idea which group of prep arms would fall to the first pick of the third round. A group that I'm assuming they thought would include Sam Carlson and definitely included Blayne Enlow.

As soon as Monday's picks wrapped up, I'm guessing they got on the phone with Enlow's reps and made sure the (reportedly) $2 million they had to offer him was enough. It was.

One question that gets asked often is, "Then why not just draft Enlow in Round 2 and take Leach in Round 3. Hoping he falls was risky." Yep, it was. But you can also look at it from a couple of other perspectives: Maybe Leach was a guy the club had to have. And Enlow was one of a group they knew they'd get one of.

It also could do with the draft pools. If Enlow is drafted in Round 2 and doesn't sign, the club loses a lot more of their pool than if he's drafted in Round 3 and doesn't sign.

Then they turned the page to the next rounds, which they seemed to have played relatively straight until round 8, when they draft their first of three consecutive college seniors.

When the smoke cleared on Day 2, I asked about the signability of the players and the remaining draft pool: No concerns on signability and no money left.

As we turn the page to Day 3, the focus shifts to filling rookie-league rosters. Though reports of Enlow's bonus started to drift out last night, there will still be a few back-up guys drafted just in case he doesn't sign and they have money to use.

All in all, the Twins did a pretty good job manipulating their pool to get the best high school shortstop, one of the top college bats, and two really good prep arms.

Maybe they do know what they're doing.

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#2 Nick Nelson

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:34 AM

My theory? They wanted Enlow. Had him lined up at 35 or 37 (where the bonuses are 1.9m/1.8m) but told him they would give him a little more if he informed other teams he wasn't going to sign so he could slide and the Twins could use those picks on other guys they liked. Then, they draft him at 76, give him a bonus higher than either the 35 or 37 slot (I hear $2M?) and come away with what they feel are four 1st/2nd-round talents.

 

I like it. 

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#3 Steve Lein

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:53 AM

Definitely believe they had Enlow higher on their boards than Carlson.

 

Falvey is known for identifying pitching, and I've heard him talk about things like spin rate multiple times when talking about pitchers. Enlow had the highest spin-rate on his curve in the draft, and was largely considered the best breaking ball available as well. Wonder if they see some Kluber-like traits in there.

 

My favorite pick of the day though? Rooker. I find it strange he wasn't more highly regarded and think that was based on past seasons, not this year and the work he's put in. Dude is going to hit.

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#4 Tibs

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:59 AM

 

Definitely believe they had Enlow higher on their boards than Carlson.

 

Falvey is known for identifying pitching, and I've heard him talk about things like spin rate multiple times when talking about pitchers. Enlow had the highest spin-rate on his curve in the draft, and was largely considered the best breaking ball available as well. Wonder if they see some Kluber-like traits in there.

 

My favorite pick of the day though? Rooker. I find it strange he wasn't more highly regarded and think that was based on past seasons, not this year and the work he's put in. Dude is going to hit.

I can't wait for Rooker to get started. The guy can mash

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#5 Mike Sixel

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:15 AM

Assuming all those players sign for the same money.......

 

they must just like Lewis more than McKay, Wright, Greene.

It's IL now, btw, not DL.....


#6 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:20 AM

 

Assuming all those players sign for the same money.......

 

they must just like Lewis more than McKay, Wright, Greene.

 

That's essentially what I was told:

 

"Just because the media had other guys ahead of Lewis, doesn't mean the industry did."

 

Had the Twins not drafted him, he would have went to San Diego (is the belief).

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#7 tobi0040

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:22 AM

When I google Enlow, the first article is one from SB nation, just seven days ago titled "Blayne Enlow's velocity loss has his draft stock crashing"

No link on phone but you can easily find it. Says he went from 90-94 (earlier pegged at 92-94) to 89-91.

Is this a rogue article? I can't find any other traction on this.
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#8 InfraRen

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:24 AM

Good work Jeremy!

 

Was reading Callis this morning too, he loves the Twins draft thus far. Said Enlow has best curve of any pitcher in draft and that Barnes has best changeup. 

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#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:24 AM

 

Assuming all those players sign for the same money.......

 

they must just like Lewis more than McKay, Wright, Greene.

 

I have very little doubt in my mind that Royce Lewis was #1 on their board.

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#10 Carole Keller

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:27 AM

My initial disappointment after the first pick has waned. I still wanted Greene, but I think the big picture looks pretty good.

 

Good write up and theories.

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#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:33 AM

I posted this on twitter...

 

After talking a bit, reading more, and then making some guesses... here is how I think the Twins draft board was at the top... (take it for what its' worth)

 

1.) Royce Lewis

2.) Brendan McKay

3.) Kyle Wright

4.) Hunter Greene

5.) MacKenzie Gore

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#12 spycake

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:34 AM

 

My theory? They wanted Enlow. Had him lined up at 35 or 37 (where the bonuses are 1.9m/1.8m) but told him they would give him a little more if he informed other teams he wasn't going to sign so he could slide and the Twins could use those picks on other guys they liked. Then, they draft him at 76, give him a bonus higher than either the 35 or 37 slot (I hear $2M?) and come away with what they feel are four 1st/2nd-round talents.

 

I like it. 

I don't know.  Seems like the teams picking 38-56 or so wouldn't have had much trouble meeting that price for Enlow.  And Enlow takes some risk staying on the board until 76 -- what if the Padres grab him at 69 and offer $1.6 mil?  Now he either has to take a couple hundred thousand less to sign, or pass up signing altogether, just to help the Twins and get another $100-200k?

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#13 Steve Lein

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:36 AM

 

When I google Enlow, the first article is one from SB nation, just seven days ago titled "Blayne Enlow's velocity loss has his draft stock crashing"

No link on phone but you can easily find it. Says he went from 90-94 (earlier pegged at 92-94) to 89-91.

Is this a rogue article? I can't find any other traction on this.

 

I've also seen reports that the lower velocity was earlier in the season and he was back up to 90-93 when the weather warmed up.

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#14 tobi0040

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:36 AM

It is sort of funny.

Greene could come back to totally haunt the Twins and if he does, Lewis could literally be a punchline a la Darko Milicic

Or it could be a Mauer/Prior or Correa/Appel thing.

Those are the two extremes
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#15 ThejacKmp

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:44 AM

 

It is sort of funny.

Greene could come back to totally haunt the Twins and if he does, Lewis could literally be a punchline a la Darko Milicic

Or it could be a Mauer/Prior or Correa/Appel thing.

Those are the two extremes

 

Or they both flame out. (knocks on wood)


#16 ashbury

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:55 AM

My theory is a little more big-picture: FalVine are all about gearing up for the cohort that marks the next five-year window of contention. Only Rooker looks like he might contribute significantly in a year or two. The extreme emphasis on high-schoolers for the high-end-talent portion of the draft won't start to bear fruit until 2021 at the soonest.

 

The major league team needs pitching now. They no doubt have some kind of plan for addressing it, while the current cohort still is together and productive. A major free-agent signing, a major trade involving the current pipeline of prospects... some combination. But not this draft. (Bluebirds among the new college draftees of course may always fall into one's lap.) That's my draft theory. The tactics of this draft are an interesting but secondary matter. The strategy is much easier to execute when the constraint of worrying about the current 40-man roster is removed. That's how I read the 1:1 pick, and most of what followed.

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#17 mlhouse

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:35 AM

1. I don't think that the Twins drafting of Lewis at 1.1 was a straight forward money saving pick.  Based on what I have heard in public media and their deliberation, they probably had at least McKay and Lewis ranked close, with the pitchers, and took the player in that group that was willing to take the Twins offer.  

 

2. I think that the Twins management has turned to a new money-ball draft approach.  Since the original, college pitchers have become overdrafted and overpriced.  So, drafting a HS position player at or near the top of the draft gives you essentially the better bang for the buck now.

 

3.  I believe that the Twins made a mistake passing on Blayne Enlow at #37.  Draft wise it has worked out because Enlow was still available at #76, but drafting him at #37 meant it was easier to sign him above slot value and you did not have to risk losing him between picks #38 and 75. If you draft him #37, and have to pay him $3 million to sign, you only have to come up with $1.2 million over slot.  But at #76 you have to come up with $2.25 million over that slot, meaning $1 million more needs to be skimped from other picks.  

 

4.  So, you work out the deal for Enlow at #37 and then draft a guy at slot value at 76.  Since we overdrafted Leach, there is a good chance he is still available at 76.  

5.  Once the draft reached the 6th round, teams suddenly turned to college seniors to save on the lower round slotted value.  In the 10th round, 24 college seniors were selected, 6 juniors, and zero HS players.

 

6.  I think that this creates a new moneyball opportunity and shows why I would have selected ENlow at #37.  Lets say you do that, and pay Enlow all of the slot savings you made from Lewis, and you still have a bit more from that and a lower slot signing of Rooker.  Now, from rounds 3-10 instead of selecting players below slot value, you draft signable players in those rounds at the slot value.  I think that this would have given the Twins somewhat better value, particularly in the later part of the 2nd day.

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#18 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:39 AM

I just found this today, prior to the draft MLB.com did an article on the best tools in the draft here: http://m.mlb.com/new...picid=151437456

 

We came away with 2 of the best pitching tools, Best Curve (Enlow) and best Change (Barnes). We also had 2 of the "In the running," Best Speed (Lewis) and Best Power (Rooker). That's pretty darn good, the only other team to get 2 was Cincy and they were both Hunter Greene (Best Arm and Best Fastball). Cincy had no other players that made the "In the Running" category

Edited by twinsfanstreif, 14 June 2017 - 10:40 AM.

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#19 drjim

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:39 AM

 

1. I don't think that the Twins drafting of Lewis at 1.1 was a straight forward money saving pick.  Based on what I have heard in public media and their deliberation, they probably had at least McKay and Lewis ranked close, with the pitchers, and took the player in that group that was willing to take the Twins offer.  

 

2. I think that the Twins management has turned to a new money-ball draft approach.  Since the original, college pitchers have become overdrafted and overpriced.  So, drafting a HS position player at or near the top of the draft gives you essentially the better bang for the buck now.

 

3.  I believe that the Twins made a mistake passing on Blayne Enlow at #37.  Draft wise it has worked out because Enlow was still available at #76, but drafting him at #37 meant it was easier to sign him above slot value and you did not have to risk losing him between picks #38 and 75. If you draft him #37, and have to pay him $3 million to sign, you only have to come up with $1.2 million over slot.  But at #76 you have to come up with $2.25 million over that slot, meaning $1 million more needs to be skimped from other picks.  

 

4.  So, you work out the deal for Enlow at #37 and then draft a guy at slot value at 76.  Since we overdrafted Leach, there is a good chance he is still available at 76.  

5.  Once the draft reached the 6th round, teams suddenly turned to college seniors to save on the lower round slotted value.  In the 10th round, 24 college seniors were selected, 6 juniors, and zero HS players.

 

6.  I think that this creates a new moneyball opportunity and shows why I would have selected ENlow at #37.  Lets say you do that, and pay Enlow all of the slot savings you made from Lewis, and you still have a bit more from that and a lower slot signing of Rooker.  Now, from rounds 3-10 instead of selecting players below slot value, you draft signable players in those rounds at the slot value.  I think that this would have given the Twins somewhat better value, particularly in the later part of the 2nd day.

 

I think you might underrate their view of Leach. I suspect they really wanted him and don't think he would have made it to the 3rd round.

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#20 mlhouse

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:44 AM

 

I think you might underrate their view of Leach. I suspect they really wanted him and don't think he would have made it to the 3rd round.

 

I prefer Enlow to Leach by a long shot.  The bonus money is assumed to be significanly higher for Enlow vs. Leach.  SO, I guess I would rather risk losing Leach than Enlow.  

 

Even if I believe it was a mistake, it might work out in the end if they can sign both.  I hope that is the case.

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