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  • Minnesota Twins 2021 MLB Draft Recap


    Andrew Thares

    The 2021 MLB Draft has come and gone, and the Minnesota Twins brought in a new wave of young talent after making 21 picks. How many of them will sign and how good will they eventually turn out is yet to be determined, but for now, there is certainly reason to be excited about this class.

    Image courtesy of Thiéres Rabelo

    While this year’s draft of 20 rounds was still only half of the usual 40, it pretty much felt like a return to normalcy after last year’s draft only had five rounds. 

    The Twins had a clear approach of wanting to draft players that they knew they could sign, as they targeted high schoolers with both of their picks on night one, and then drafted exclusively college players on days two and three.

    When asked about this in an interview after the draft, Twins scouting director Sean Johnson had this to say, “Once you get past the second round a lot of those high school players that you would like to bring on board become a little less signable… so you get out of that high school group pretty quick starting in the second or third round.”

    With the 26th overall pick in the first round, the Twins took a fireball high school pitcher from New Jersey named Chase Petty. In showcases last summer and leading up to the draft, Petty’s fastball has routinely been clocked in the triple digits and has reached as high as 102 mph. Petty also has a breaking ball and a changeup that show potential to be above average pitches as he develops them. As a result of his makeup, along with how high school fireball pitchers have fared in the past, Petty was seen as a risky pick. However, with the Twins picking late in the first round, it made perfect sense to bet on the high upside of Petty, as his ceiling is as high as most of the players taken with the first ten picks of the draft.

    Just ten picks after they selected Chase Petty, the Twins were on the clock again, this time closing out night one of the draft in Competitive Balance Round A. Again, they went the high school route as they selected Noah Miller, a shortstop from Wisconsin. Miller is a well thought of defensive shortstop who could stick there at the professional level. Offensively, Miller is a switch-hitter with more of a contact approach. While the power is still a bit of a question mark, Miller has time to develop that as he gets into the Twins player development program.

    The focus early on day two was college pitching, as four of their first five picks were college pitchers. While each of those four pitchers are seen as more pitch-ability guys, with potential to be back of the rotation starting pitcher or long relief options, second round pick Steven Hajjar does have some middle of the rotation upside if he can tack on a few more MPHs on his fastball. 

    With the rest of their picks on day two, the Twins focused on filling out their infield and catcher positions. In the fourth round they selected Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who is a third baseman from Oklahoma State with some power potential with the bat. They also drafted back-to-back catchers in the 8th in 9th rounds to continue to build depth at that position within the organization.

    On day three it became all about filling out the rest of their class with as many quality players as they could. Again the focus early was on pitching, as three of the first four picks on day three were pitchers. Sandwiched between those pitchers was the first and only outfielder the Twins took in the entire draft, as they selected Big East Player of the Year Kyler Fedko out of UConn. 

    Another theme of this draft was taking multiple players who played for the same university. In the 8th and 15th rounds, the Twins selected catcher Noah Cardenas and middle infielder Mikey Perez from UCLA. In the 9th and 12th rounds, the Twins took a pair of UConn Huskies in catcher Pat Winkel and outfielder Kyler Fedko. Texas Tech was also well represented in this year’s Twins draft class, as a pair of Red Raiders in right-handed pitcher Brandon Birdwell and second baseman Dylan Neuse were taken in the 11th and 17th rounds, respectively.

    One thing everyone wants to know is, how good will this draft class be, and I can promise that the guys within the Twins organization who made these selections are wondering the same thing. The truth is, nobody knows and we likely won’t be able to accurately judge this class for another five to ten years. One this is true however, the Twins just added a number of new and exciting players to their ranks, and all Twins fans should be excited to see what these guys can do.

     

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    There is soo much I don't know about these guys but I usually never feel great about the picks during and just after the draft.   Once they get going in the minors things generally look better to me.  Still it is a long journey and most of them flame out somewhere along the way.  Still some are always going to make it as well.  I wish all of them the best and hope for more than our fair share of success stories.

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    Although I would have preferred the next Chris Sale with their first pick, I do like the high upside of both of those high school kids.  Everything I have read makes it sound like there aren't going to be a lot of high school kids drafted each year.  Seems that MLB was telling us something when they eliminated 40 low level minor league teams.  That is that they are going to be a lot more like football with colleges providing the first three years of development to the majority of kids coming out of high school.  

    Was excited when I read about Canterino a few years ago.  Must say I was not excited this week reading about any of the pitchers taken beginning with round two.  Hopefully, one of them has some Josh Winder in him and gets us excited a year or two down the road.

    And thanks for all the work you put in to keep us informed during this year's draft.  It is appreciated.

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    5 minutes ago, roger said:

    Although I would have preferred the next Chris Sale with their first pick, I do like the high upside of both of those high school kids.  Everything I have read makes it sound like there aren't going to be a lot of high school kids drafted each year.  Seems that MLB was telling us something when they eliminated 40 low level minor league teams.  That is that they are going to be a lot more like football with colleges providing the first three years of development to the majority of kids coming out of high school.  

    Was excited when I read about Canterino a few years ago.  Must say I was not excited this week reading about any of the pitchers taken beginning with round two.  Hopefully, one of them has some Josh Winder in him and gets us excited a year or two down the road.

    And thanks for all the work you put in to keep us informed during this year's draft.  It is appreciated.

    I admit, I get much more excited when they draft high schoolers rather than college players. Always feels like the ceiling is so much higher. 

    That said, they've gone very college heavy after the top 2-3 rounds most years, and I think it's a sound strategy. Sands and Winder were Day 2 guys. Ober and Rogers were Day 3 guys. College pitchers. Going back to the Cleveland comparison again, Bieber, Civale, Plesac... all college guys on Day 2 or 3. 

    If you can develop a couple of #3s and 4s from the drafts, that's pretty good. 

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    The day 2 pitchers are slotted as end of rotation or long relief guys, except for the 2nd round guy projects to be better.  I would have to say, duh!  I mean how many top end expected starters will fall to rounds 3 plus?  That does not mean they are not going to develop into top guys, but if they are projected to be top guys they will not fall back that far.  

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    30 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

    I admit, I get much more excited when they draft high schoolers rather than college players. Always feels like the ceiling is so much higher. 

    That said, they've gone very college heavy after the top 2-3 rounds most years, and I think it's a sound strategy. Sands and Winder were Day 2 guys. Ober and Rogers were Day 3 guys. College pitchers. Going back to the Cleveland comparison again, Bieber, Civale, Plesac... all college guys on Day 2 or 3. 

    If you can develop a couple of #3s and 4s from the drafts, that's pretty good. 

    We talk about how the Twins haven't developed many top starting pitchers from the draft.  But what seems worse is that they haven't developed any top starting pitchers from their International signings.  I can't remember who they may have signed that become a solid starter, can you?  Yes, Santana was from Venezuela, but they got him via Rule 5/trade.  Carlos Silva came via a trade, didn't he?  Duran is an International guy who is a top prospect, but he also came in a trade.  Who is the top International pitcher they have signed since say 1996...which is 25 years?

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    Pleased with the top pick.  High risk, high reward pitcher at #26 is the right way to go, given the top college pitchers all gone by then.  Not too happy with another SS at #36, given this FO's mediocre pick of Cavaco, plus zero ML results on Lewis, not to mention the previous lack of success with other HS SSs like Gordon, Javier.  Every one of these guys have shown inability to stick at SS.  The book is not yet closed but with a flailing pitching staff, couldn't Johnson have found another high risk/high ceiling HS pitcher at #36?

    As for the rest of the draft, a big meh.  Yes, no way of knowing but certainly no one else stands out initially.  This team needs some wipeout bullpen stoppers, ones with upper 90's speed.  There is no one on their draft list that seems to fit this gaping hole, at least now.  My draft rating : a C.  Hope I'm wrong, but this org. doesn't seem to have learned the importance of pitching in building a contender.

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    living in western PA (Pittsburgh suburbs), Fedko was a small school high school player (meaning it was a Single A Private Catholich High School) so the quality of competition was quite limited at the level.  Never thought he was something more than that but he did have a solid career at UCONN.  UCONN not really a baseball powerhouse in the Big East but was D1 Baseball.  His father was a local news TV sports personality who rubbed many a people the wrong way.  He somehow became the Athletic Director for Vincentian Academy where his son played baseball on the promise to raise funds for all sports and raise the level of competitive athletics for the school.  Never happened and he got the boot.  Just food for thought, doesn't mean the kid is bad egg though

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    Liked Twins draft, pitching and college players.  Also like 20 round draft, will there be undrafted free agent pickups like in NFL. Would think would be better for player after 20 rounds to be able to choose team that has need where they play.

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    1 hour ago, roger said:

    Who is the top International pitcher they have signed since say 1996...which is 25 years?

    Pretty much relievers and not very many of them - Brusdar Graterol, Lewis Thorpe and Edwar Colina are the most recent. They traded away Huascar Ynoa.

    Fernando Romero was a bust. Silva and Liriano both came in trades.

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    12 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    Pretty much relievers and not very many of them - Brusdar Graterol, Lewis Thorpe and Edwar Colina are the most recent. They traded away Huascar Ynoa.

    Fernando Romero was a bust. Silva and Liriano both came in trades.

    Interesting, had forgotten about Graterol.  Also, Thorpe.  But that brings to mind Hendriks, who although a reliever may be the best International pitcher they have signed.

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    3 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

    I admit, I get much more excited when they draft high schoolers rather than college players. Always feels like the ceiling is so much higher. 

    That said, they've gone very college heavy after the top 2-3 rounds most years, and I think it's a sound strategy. Sands and Winder were Day 2 guys. Ober and Rogers were Day 3 guys. College pitchers. Going back to the Cleveland comparison again, Bieber, Civale, Plesac... all college guys on Day 2 or 3. 

    If you can develop a couple of #3s and 4s from the drafts, that's pretty good. 

    Yeah, I know it's always a crap shoot, but it always seems to me that the sooner they can get a kid into the MLB camp the sooner they can develop him etc....  I mean it would seem that the international kids have a huge huge advantage over the American kids because the international kids can get selected when they are 16 years old.  I'm pretty sure the Twins have better coaching than the local high school does??  I'm not knocking high school and college baseball, but to me it just doesn't seem fair that some kids(international) are able to get MLB coaching at age 16 and a lot of the American kids often have to wait until they are like 21 (Jr year of college) in order to get that same high calibre coaching instruction.  So if they have a real good high school player they might as well go after him because then they have more time to work with him.

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    2 hours ago, mike8791 said:

     Not too happy with another SS at #36, given this FO's mediocre pick of Cavaco, plus zero ML results on Lewis, not to mention the previous lack of success with other HS SSs like Gordon, Javier.  Every one of these guys have shown inability to stick at SS.  The book is not yet closed but with a flailing pitching staff, couldn't Johnson have found another high risk/high ceiling HS pitcher at #36?

     

    If you believe they have failed with all the shortstops in the system (some of whom they didn't draft), doesn't drafting a shortstop seem like a priority?

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    Big Dog:http://you believe they have failed with all the shortstops in the system (some of whom they didn't draft), doesn't drafting a shortstop seem like a priority?

    Sounds logical, but for two things:

    1.  Their overriding need is pitching so why not use their second highest pick for another high risk/high upside guy?

    2.  The 2022 FA market is loaded with proven SS.  Rather go that route than wait 4-5 years for a HS prospect(assuming we're in a retool stage than rebuild).  And if these FAs are all too pricey, I would resign Simmons.  From everything I've read, none of the SSs on the 40 man roster, nor any other non-40 man minor league player,  is said to have the skills needed in a ML SS.

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    One thing I was wondering about was the quote before the draft (from scouting director?) that they would be looking to take hitters early.  Then they drafted a pitcher first?  Then a SS, but followed by mostly pitchers.

    It doesn't bother me, I know they aren't really going to reveal their strategy, for obvious reasons.  It just makes me think, never trust an interview with a coach/manager/GM.   I don't think any Twins fan will complain too much about them focusing on pitchers.  

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    45 minutes ago, snap4birds said:

    One thing I was wondering about was the quote before the draft (from scouting director?) that they would be looking to take hitters early.  Then they drafted a pitcher first?  Then a SS, but followed by mostly pitchers.

    It doesn't bother me, I know they aren't really going to reveal their strategy, for obvious reasons.  It just makes me think, never trust an interview with a coach/manager/GM.   I don't think any Twins fan will complain too much about them focusing on pitchers.  

    I think he was also quoted as saying they never plan to pick certain players or positions in certain rounds it depends on who falls to them and how they have them rated.  Ratings are subjective as verified by how teams jump all over MLB's top 500 board and beyond to select players.  They likely didn't think Petty would fall that far and they were connected to the hitter Sweeney who the Yankee's took ahead of them.  Those two things likely impacted their decision making.

    I think they felt good about the SS making it to their next pick and they likely picked him early but reading between the lines they really liked his polished defense and ability to hit well from both sides of the plate a skill that is very rare so likely worth the early pick.  There is definitely a chance he doesn't stick at short but they liked his skillset just the same.

    Personally I thought they were targeting left handed pitching early but Johnson's quote makes it sound like that was not the case.  At any rate if we can believe what they say it sounds like they don't necessarily pick for need but perceived value in that spot.

     

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    I read somewhere (I can try to find a link to the quote) that Johnson didn't think Chase Petty was going to fall to them and that they were ecstatic when he did.  So, that sort of thing can change a team's draft plan.  After that, you pick the best players you can and the positions they play will sort themselves out.  

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    4 hours ago, 4twinsJA said:

    Liked Twins draft, pitching and college players.  Also like 20 round draft, will there be undrafted free agent pickups like in NFL. Would think would be better for player after 20 rounds to be able to choose team that has need where they play.

    Are there conditions for signing undrafted free agents, like how much money you can throw at them?

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    2 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    Super excited for these guys to be the savior when the fans are talking about rebuild or retool in another 4 to 5 years.

    Never could figure out why anyone thinks spreading negativity is a good idea.  Of course, it requires none of the skill or wisdom it takes to come up with finding solutions.  The solutions are also much more interesting to discuss.

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    5 hours ago, mike8791 said:

    Big Dog:http://you believe they have failed with all the shortstops in the system (some of whom they didn't draft), doesn't drafting a shortstop seem like a priority?

    Sounds logical, but for two things:

    1.  Their overriding need is pitching so why not use their second highest pick for another high risk/high upside guy?

    2.  The 2022 FA market is loaded with proven SS.  Rather go that route than wait 4-5 years for a HS prospect(assuming we're in a retool stage than rebuild).  And if these FAs are all too pricey, I would resign Simmons.  From everything I've read, none of the SSs on the 40 man roster, nor any other non-40 man minor league player,  is said to have the skills needed in a ML SS.

    Lewis may or may not stay at SS, they also have Javier who the jury is out on.  We just don't know at this time, but your statement is suspect.

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    4 hours ago, James said:

    I read somewhere (I can try to find a link to the quote) that Johnson didn't think Chase Petty was going to fall to them

    Isn't that going to be the case for literally every pick after the first handful?  There is a lot of group-think in baseball's scouting circles and front offices, but there will also be shades and variability.  So the teams will rank prospects in subtly different ways, and whoever a team happens to pick wasn't at the top of the (remaining) list for anyone else before them when it was their turn to pick, pretty much by definition.  "It's just math!"

    Of course there is also the other side of the coin, related to the "winner's paradox" or something like that.  "If the guy we've decided on is so great, how come none of the other geniuses picking earlier than us snapped him up?" :)

    Comes with the territory, I'm basically saying.

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    8 hours ago, Twodogs said:

    Yeah, I know it's always a crap shoot, but it always seems to me that the sooner they can get a kid into the MLB camp the sooner they can develop him etc....  I mean it would seem that the international kids have a huge huge advantage over the American kids because the international kids can get selected when they are 16 years old.  I'm pretty sure the Twins have better coaching than the local high school does??  I'm not knocking high school and college baseball, but to me it just doesn't seem fair that some kids(international) are able to get MLB coaching at age 16 and a lot of the American kids often have to wait until they are like 21 (Jr year of college) in order to get that same high calibre coaching instruction.  So if they have a real good high school player they might as well go after him because then they have more time to work with him.

    Not to mention the international players go to MLB camps at a young age and their life is baseball. 

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    13 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    Never could figure out why anyone thinks spreading negativity is a good idea.  Of course, it requires none of the skill or wisdom it takes to come up with finding solutions.  The solutions are also much more interesting to discuss.

    Thanks for pointing out my bad attempt at sarcasm as somebody that is spreading negativity, has no skill or wisdom. I can see how your post helps with solutions and is more interesting and not demeaning to another user of the site at all.

    I have no idea how good these kids will be and nobody else does either (including the Twins), if they are like most high school kids drafted they will be talked about as the next star (Lewis, Kirilloff for example) for 4 - 6 years or they will flame out/fail before that (Stewart as just one example).

    And the users of this site will talk about trading them for current help (in a few years, put this in here so you know, I know they can't be traded yet) and others will talk about how you can't trade them they are the future. And in all likely hood, the Twins will have hit bottom (hopefully that is this year) and they will raise to playoff level, then will have a slide again, by the time these kids see the majors.

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    10 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

     

    (in a few years, put this in here so you know, I know they can't be traded yet) 

    This is something I've wondered about.  Are you referring to the MLB rule that a draftee can't be traded for at least one year?  I'm not sure they still have that rule, can anyone confirm?  TIA

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    35 minutes ago, snap4birds said:

    This is something I've wondered about.  Are you referring to the MLB rule that a draftee can't be traded for at least one year?  I'm not sure they still have that rule, can anyone confirm?  TIA

    This is what I found

    A player who signs after being selected in the MLB Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) cannot be traded until after the conclusion of the World Series (no earlier than 9 AM on the day after the final game of the World Series), or for 90 days if the player signs after the World Series

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    "Sounds logical, but for two things:

    1.  Their overriding need is pitching so why not use their second highest pick for another high risk/high upside guy?

    2.  The 2022 FA market is loaded with proven SS.  Rather go that route than wait 4-5 years for a HS prospect(assuming we're in a retool stage than rebuild).  And if these FAs are all too pricey, I would resign Simmons.  From everything I've read, none of the SSs on the 40 man roster, nor any other non-40 man minor league player,  is said to have the skills needed in a ML SS."

     

    I was just arguing with the logic, not the statement. If the system needs shortstops badly, as the poster suggested, we should get one, not refuse to draft one. I certainly don't think a HS shortstop is going to be in the majors in two years, and I also certainly haven't given up on Lewis or on everyone. Just seemed like a statement that deserved a little more thought behind it.

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    16 hours ago, beckmt said:

    Lewis may or may not stay at SS, they also have Javier who the jury is out on.  We just don't know at this time, but your statement is suspect.

    Agreed, but it wasn't my statement. I think we have some good prospects at short.

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