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Article: Twins Select Ryan Jeffers in the Second Round of the 2018 Draft

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#1 Andrew Thares

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:22 PM

Some of the Twins’ most successful second-round draft picks include Frank Viola, Butch Wynegar, Scott Baker, Tim Teufel, Jacque Jones and Jesse Crain. Derek Falvey and the rest of the front office are hoping Ryan Jeffers someday joins that list.

With their second-round pick, No. 59 overall, the Twins took Jeffers, who is a catcher out of UNC Wilmington.Jeffers isn’t the sexiest pick in the draft, but he might just be exactly the type of pick that we could have expected the Twins to take entering tonight. The Twins' limitations with their bonus pool were evident and this pick is most likely a move to save a little bit of money in that pool.

As a player, Jeffers is an offense-first catcher whose numbers playing for UNC Wilmington will jump off the page. Here are his three-year career numbers in college.

542 PA; .322 AVG; .450 OBP; .616 SLG; 78 K; 85 BB; 44 2B; 2 3B; 27 HR

This year, Jeffers hit .315/.460/.635 with 16 home runs and 50 RBIs this season. He also had 51 walks compared to just 44 strikeouts. He led the Colonial Athletic Association in home runs and on-base percentage.

Even though Jeffers doesn’t play in one of the top tier baseball conferences, this is still production that you can't ignore, especially from a catcher.

Jeffers was the offensive leader this season for a UNC-Wilmington team that won the Colonial Athletic Association this year, and advanced to the regional final before being knocked out by the South Carolina Gamecocks earlier today.

With the Twins selecting Jeffers this early in the draft, it's apparent they believe in his ability to stay behind the plate. If so, this will be a great addition to the Twins farm system that is pretty thin in the backstop department.

Behind the plate, he threw out just 12 of 48 base stealers (25 percent), but there's obviously a lot more that goes into catching than just throwing out runners. Jeffers also saw some time in the outfield, though he's a big guy, listed at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds.

Here's what Carlos Collazo of Baseball America had to say about Jeffers:

And here's a Tweet from Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs:


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#2 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:24 PM

Money saving move?
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#3 jud6312

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:25 PM

MLB Pipeline doesn't have him in the Top 200. Ouch.

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#4 Mike Sixel

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:25 PM

Number 77 on fangraphs.... Here is their summary....

Big catcher with non-zero chance to stay back there and above-average raw power
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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#5 jud6312

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:26 PM

 

Number 77 on fangraphs.... Here is their summary....

Big catcher with non-zero chance to stay back there and above-average raw power

So Matthew LeCroy?

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#6 Tuba

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:26 PM

Underslot I assume? Twins looking to go shopping for free-falling talent tomorrow?


#7 Mike Sixel

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:29 PM

Underslot I assume? Twins looking to go shopping for free-falling talent tomorrow?


Why not take the player they like now? They don't pick for some time.....
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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#8 drivlikejehu

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:30 PM

I imagine he will sign for a bit under slot, but that wouldn't be the motivation for the pick. The Twins presumably think Jeffers is good at baseball.

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#9 jud6312

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:31 PM

BA's got him at 295. 

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#10 jimbo92107

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:33 PM

"...non-zero chance to stay back there..." What the heck is that supposed to mean? He's such a bad defensive catcher that it will take massive physical therapy to get him behind home plate? 

 

I'm hoping this statement is attributable to the hardened cynicism of baseball scouts. Otherwise the Twins just drafted maybe a so-so DH somewhere down the line. 

 

I googled it. Jeffers is a power hitting catcher. Not much else from video.

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#11 Mike Sixel

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:34 PM

"...non-zero chance to stay back there..." What the heck is that supposed to mean? He's such a bad defensive catcher that it will take massive physical therapy to get him behind home plate?

I'm hoping this statement is attributable to the hardened cynicism of baseball scouts. Otherwise the Twins just drafted maybe a so-so DH somewhere down the line.


No. It means he has a chance to stay at catcher, unlike some others. It's the opposite of what you just typed.
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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#12 jokin

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:43 PM

I am hoping for some Gonsalves-type coming up in the next couple picks. So far, not too impressed. 

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#13 Tom Froemming

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:56 PM

It seemed like a lot of folks wanted the Twins to draft a college catcher. Well, here you go :)

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#14 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:56 PM

Here is what BA had to say about him:

 

Jeffers has put up remarkably consistent numbers in his three years at UNC-Wilmington, and is a career .325/.452/.623 hitter with the Seahawks through the first 54 games this spring, with none of his individual season lines far off from that mark. Since becoming an everyday player as a sophomore, Jeffers has tapped into double-digit home run power, though there are scouts who are skeptical of that sort of home run production continuing to show up as a professional. A team not convicted in his power might be out on Jeffers, as he’s a below-average runner with an average arm behind the dish, and questions about whether he can stick there. If a team buys into the bat being real—and there’s also wood bat track record to suggest it’s not—he could be an interesting offensive option in the middle of the top ten rounds

#15 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:59 PM

 

I imagine he will sign for a bit under slot, but that wouldn't be the motivation for the pick. The Twins presumably think Jeffers is good at baseball.

Slot is 1.1M and he's more like a 4th Rd talent at best so maybe the Twins got him at 400-600K which saves ~500-700K for the next pick


#16 Darius

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:19 PM

I'm not sure the math adds up, but maybe I'm not following.

Slot is $1.1M in the second, and you "save" 600K. Say you save $1M in the first round. Now, say slot is $600k in the third.

In the second you'd have the $2.1 million to allocate to a player. In the third you'd have $2.2.

So why not just take the guy you want in the second? What difference does $100K make?

#17 DocBauer

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:32 PM

Arm and defense make me pretty skeptical here. Consistent hitting and power impresses me. Catcher is probably the hardest position to scout, evaluate, predict and draft. There are just so many factors, and developmental factors, that go in to what makes a good catcher. Maybe he's a real leader who calls a good game, seems coachable, and the Twins like the bat and feel they can work on aspects of his defense. But have to admit, though I am reaching with any opinion here, sounds like a strange selection this early.
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#18 AZTwin

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:43 PM

I'm not sure the math adds up, but maybe I'm not following.

Slot is $1.1M in the second, and you "save" 600K. Say you save $1M in the first round. Now, say slot is $600k in the third.

In the second you'd have the $2.1 million to allocate to a player. In the third you'd have $2.2.

So why not just take the guy you want in the second? What difference does $100K make?

You need to find a player who will entertain the extra dollars and work out a deal ahead of time. Much easier to do with more time on the clock. And zero chance they saved $1M on the first pick.

Edited by AZTwin, 04 June 2018 - 10:44 PM.

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#19 Brandon

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:49 PM

These first 2 pics seem like bats that can reach the majors quickly. The goal here could be to try to find a bat during our window of contention that can help. A high schooler wouldnt be up in time.

While their defense wont be quite ready. I think their bats could be in 2 seasons. And saving money for a pick that falls in the draft is a bonus as well.
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#20 Tom Froemming

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:57 PM

 

Arm and defense make me pretty skeptical here. Consistent hitting and power impresses me. Catcher is probably the hardest position to scout, evaluate, predict and draft. There are just so many factors, and developmental factors, that go in to what makes a good catcher. Maybe he's a real leader who calls a good game, seems coachable, and the Twins like the bat and feel they can work on aspects of his defense. But have to admit, though I am reaching with any opinion here, sounds like a strange selection this early.

This pick only makes sense to me -- slot savings or otherwise -- if they're convinced they can keep his guy behind the plate.

 

It's entirely possible his caught stealing rates were down because his pitchers were bad at holding on runners or maybe there are some minor mechanical tweaks the Twins think they've identified that would clean things up in a jiffy. I'm sure they'll talk up his character, which is particularly important for a catcher, but maybe they also see some things in Jeffers that make them believe he is/can be a plus pitch framer, blocker and manager of a pitching staff. Who knows?

 

Above-average power is nice, but I have to imagine there were plenty of other 55 raw power guys still available at that pick if they were simply looking for a bat.

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