As you know, there will be a lot of rumors even throughout the day. It’s obviously a moving target. The reality is that there are likely a handful of people who know who the Twins will take at 1.1. At some point on Monday, they’ll have their decision.
It will be based on a number of factors. First and foremost, it will be based on talent. The Twins will acquire a player with the first overall pick who has the potential and ability to be an all-star caliber player. That doesn’t always happen, of course, but the player will have the tools and such to become that.
The Twins have likely seen each of the players in consideration for the top pick dozens upon dozens of times. The scouts, cross-checkers, and front office types are fully aware of what those players are as a player and as a person. They’ve had conversations with those players, their families, friends, teammates, coaches and others. For the college players, it’s likely they’ve been watching them for four to six years.
The trick of course is looking at the player and all of the information on him and trying to project what that player will be in five to ten years. That is the part that isn’t a science, at least not yet.
But science and technology has become more a part of the process. Many of the college programs have Trackman systems installed. Even some high schools are starting to get those. There is so much more information available.
But the teams are also trying to figure out who can stay healthy. Drafting a pitcher comes with a bigger injury risk than drafting a hitter for obvious reasons.
And, of course, dollars also come into play. It’s a strategy that has been used since the slotting system has been in the MLB draft. Most famously, the Astros were able to convince SS Carlos Correa to take millions less than the slot value for the #1 pick in 2012, and because of it, they were able to take RHP Lance McCullers and IF Rio Ruiz with their next two picks. As Jeremy has pointed out, the new draft slotting instituted this year makes it a bit more difficult to manipulate the draft, and since there are a handful of teams that have a second selection before the Twins, it could be difficult.
At this stage, we pretty well know the names of the players the Twins are considering with the top pick.
Louisville 1B/LHP Brendan McKay.
Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright.
Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA) SS/RHP Hunter Greene.
In my opinion, all three of these guys are "safe" picks, but for different reasons. McKay legitimately has two paths to big league success. He can be a top-of-rotation starting pitcher, or he could be a middle-of-the-lineup bat. Could he possibly be both? Kyle Wright, in my opinion, is the safest pick for starting pitchers because of his stuff and his size and his makeup and more. How is Hunter Greene a safe pick? Well, he's the guy that everyone seems to believe is the best prospect. If the Twins took him and he didn't make it, most in the industry would say that the Twins were still right in shooting for the moon with such an elite talent.
The bold pick, in my opinion, would be taking MacKenzie Gore. Many believe he is the best prep pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball and good secondary pitches.
Most believe that those three are the guys most in consideration for the Twins first pick. However, if guys like MacKenzie Gore or Royce Lewis are willing to accept less money, they could still fit into the equation. While those two have not been talked about as much as the three listed above, they are both very talented. They are also both Scott Boras guys. Normally that might mean they’re guys to stay away from. However, Boras wants to maximize what his clients can get, so if they can make a little more than what they believe they will get by falling in the draft, maybe something could be worked out.
MOST RECENT PERFORMANCES
With both Louisville and Vanderbilt playing in Super Regionals, they pitched on Saturday. Here are their final lines:
Brendan McKay (vs Kentucky): 6 IP, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts. Fastball was 89-94, with impressive curveball, slider, and cutter too.
Kyle Wright (vs Oregon State): 6.2 IP, 8 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts. Fastball was 90-95, with an impressive curveball and changeup. He mixes those pitches well also.
Hunter Greene hasn’t played lately (and hasn't pitched for a month or more), but he did come to Target Field on Friday for a workout. As you would expect, he was quite impressive. He is clearly the guy who would show up highest on prospect rankings because of the fastball and his athleticism and makeup.
While the Twins had people at all of those performances, it’s important to remember that each performance is just one data point on a chart that likely has 100s of dots on it. In other words, just because Wright’s line looked bad (and was bad), it isn’t likely to sway the Twins brass either way.
TWINS DAILY DRAFT CONTENT
Jeremy provided a Draft Preview in which he discussed the slot values of each pick and overall. He wrote about the possibility of the Twins taking advantage of the slotting system to acquire more high-end talent.
Seth caught up with ESPN’s Keith Law about the names at the top of the first round. Cody wondered if not drafting Hunter Greene could come back to haunt them. Nick wrote why Kyle Wright might be The Wright Fit for the Twins, considering his timeline.
TWINS DAILY PREDICTIONS
Here are some quick thoughts from Twins Daily writers:
Personal Top 5 Rankings (as prospects): 1.) Hunter Greene, 2.) Kyle Wright, 3.) MacKenzie Gore, 4.) Royce Lewis, 5.) Brendan McKay
Who Would You Take? Probably Kyle Wright.
Who Do You Think The Twins Will Take? Brendan McKay
I'd love to see the Twins get creative and find a way to save seven figures on their #1 pick. Hunter Greene is the most intriguing. Kyle Wright is probably the safest pitcher to pick. I'd be very curious to see if Derek Falvey would truly let McKay hit and pitch on his way up the ladder to really possibly be a big league two-way player. If he can do that, I'm all on board. I also really, really like Gore and Lewis and if the Twins can convince Boras to cut back a couple million from slot, I'd have no problem with them either.
What is the definition of a "safe pick"? On the one hand, you could easily apply that description to someone like Kyle Wright or Brendan McKay – collegiate superstars and prototypical top-of-draft talents. On the other hand, isn't Hunter Greene the safest pick when you really think about it? He ranks first on almost every analyst's board. He's a media sensation and will generate tremendous buzz for the franchise. If he fizzles out, the Twins aren't going to look silly; they made the choice most people in the industry viewed as obvious. But that will be of little consolation if his development stalls exactly as they foresaw in their evaluations.
I guess at the end of the day, there really is no safe pick.
My Top Five:
1. Hunter Greene
2. Kyle Wright
3. MacKenzie Gore
4. Brendan McKay
5. Royce Lewis
Personal Top 5 Rankings: 1.) Hunter Greene, 2.) Royce Lewis, 3.) Kyle Wright, 4.) MacKenzie Gore, 5.) Brendan McKay
Who Would You Take? Hunter Greene
Who Do You Think The Twins Will Take? Kyle Wright
I’ve always put a higher value on younger players with a ton of potential. That was one of the reasons I had Miguel Sano number one on my prospect list while he was still playing in the rookie leagues. Greene has impressed me every step of the way. The more I hear about him, the more I want him to be part of the Twins organization. Lewis is also a raw talent that the Twins could develop over the next decade. He could be a mainstay in their line-up for years to come. Wright is the safest and I think that’s the direction the club will go.
Personal Top 5 Rankings (as prospects): 1) Hunter Greene, 2) MacKenzie Gore, 3) Kyle Wright, 4) Brendan McKay, 5) Royce Lewis
Who Would You Take? Greene
Who Do You Think Will The Twins Take? Greene
Have you seen a single big board that didn’t have Hunter Greene on top? I’ve heard all the rumors saying the Twins are going another direction, but I’m not buying it. Greene is the best athlete and has the highest ceiling. Sure, that comes with a scary floor/bust potential, but the opportunity to acquire a talent like this isn’t going to come around every year. On the other hand, I look at those top five names and don’t see a single bad pick. I’ll understand if the Twins pass on Greene, especially if that means they net more talent with the 35th and 37th picks.
Here are some of the most recent draft player rankings and some mock drafts.
- ESPN’s Keith Law updated his mock draft on Sunday morning.
- MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo writes about two favorites, two high school players and two dollar savers.
- MLB.com’s Friday mock draft. 12 hours later, he changed the Twins pick from Kyle Wright to Brendan McKay.
- John Manuel’s Baseball America Mock Draft 4.0 (from Friday). (UPDATE - on Monday, they updated with version 4.5)
- FanGraphs Mock Draft (June 5).
- MLB.com’s Top 200 Draft Prospects.
- Baseball America’s Top 100 Draft Prospects
- Baseball America’s Top 500 Draft Prospects.
- KATOH’s Top 250 Draft-Eligible College Players (fangraphs).
DOLLARS AND SENSE
Here the slot values for the Twins picks in the top ten rounds.
1st overall (Round 1): $7,770,700
35th overall (Comp Round A): $1,935,300
37th overall (Round 2): $1,846,100
76th overall (Round 3): $755,500
106th overall (Round 4): $507,000
136th overall (Round 5): $378,700
166th overall (Round 6): $283,300
196th overall (Round 7): $220,700
226th overall (Round 8): $174,400
256th overall (Round 9): $148,000
286th overall (Round 10): $137,100
ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Until the Twins officially make their announcement, it’s hard to know with complete certainty what the Twins will do. Consider six weeks ago, everyone assumed that Hunter Greene was the easy choice at #1. Starting about a month ago, people believed that Kyle Wright was the top choice. Then suddenly on Friday, about 12 hours after writing that Wright would go #1, mlb.com’s Jim Callis posted a new mock draft in which he said the Twins were planning to take McKay with the top pick.
That’s why this Day 1 thread is here. We want the comments to be filled with everything that’s out there as things are subject to change even throughout the day.
Again, moments after the Twins make their first pick, we’ll have an article, and we can discuss the player that the Twins take (and presumably many will write about the players the Twins did not take) with the first overall pick.