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  • Twins Thrilled with Draft's First Night


    Seth Stohs

    80 players heard their name called on Sunday night, altering the course of their lives, or at least their potential bank accounts. The top 68 draft spots have a slot value of over $1 million. The Twins had three picks in that top 68 picks, and they couldn’t be happier with the players they selected. 

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    Let’s start with the basics. The draft was filled with surprises at the start. After Jackson Holliday and Druw Jones went with the top two picks, the Rangers messed up a lot of mock draft boards by selecting righty Kumar Rocker with the third overall pick. In addition, the Cubs used the seventh overall pick on Oklahoma right-hander Cade Horton

    That left the Twins with several options that we have read a lot about, including Cam Collier (18th, Reds), Gavin Cross (9th, Royals), Kevin Parada (11th, Mets) and others. 

    The Twins scouting department was ecstatic that shortstop Brooks Lee was available. 

    “We see him as a playmaker. He’s a creative, skilled, and instinctual player,” Scouting Director Sean Johnson said following the first day of picks. 

    Lee could have been a very high pick out of high school but, as Johnson noted, “chose to go play for his dad, Larry Lee, who is a heavily decorated college coach, and they have a very close connection. He comes from a really strong baseball family.”

    Interestingly, Johnson noted that in 2021, when the Twins selected Wisconsin prep shortstop Noah Miller, they were comparing him to Brooks Lee, who the Twins have been watching for several years going back to high school. He noted, they both “have really good instincts, elite baseball IQ, great feel for the game, really great feel to hit in the batter’s box.”  

    “We think, whether he plays shortstop, or second or third or wherever he ends up, we think that he has a chance to have impact power to go along with the hit skills that he possesses.”

     

     

     

    Lefty Conner Prielipp was the team’s second-round pick (#48 overall) out of the University of Alabama. He had Tommy John surgery in May of 2021, but he has thrown bullpens and was impressive at the draft combine. Many believe he has the talent to be a top-of-the-rotation starter in time. 

    Several Twins scouts saw him before the injury, but they have been around him a lot. The area scout, Matt Williams, and the supervisor, Derek Dunbar, got the chance to know him. Johnson said, “Our scouting staff has absolutely loved the pitcher, loved the pitches. The uniqueness of the slider is a real draw. It’s a high-velocity breaking ball that you don’t see a lot because his grip on it is pretty unique.” 

    Johnson also said that Alabama head coach Brad Bohanon was very helpful in giving the Twins insight on his makeup and the type of person he is off the field. 

    At the combine, he was up to 95 or 96 mph and the breaking ball was at 90, and he flashed a changeup. It was an impressive outing (just 20 pitches), and it certainly is a signal that he’s tracking toward full health.” 

    In 2021, the Twins drafted Steve Hajjar in the second round. They added Cade Povich in the third round. In the fifth round, they took Christian MacLeod. All three are left-handed, and Prielipp adds another left-handed arm with upside to the mix. Is this a trend? A strategy? Or, just who the best pitcher was on their board at the time. 

    Johnson said, “Our aim is not to acquire left or right-handed pitching, it’s just impact pitching, regardless of which hand they throw with. So obviously it’s a little more unique being left-handed. A guy with his kind of pitches and upside is exciting to turn over to our player development group which has done such an amazing job with a lot of the pitchers we have taken in the last couple of years. To be able to add him into the mix is really exciting for our future, as it pertains to pitching prospects in our system. 

    Finally, with the 68th overall pick, the Twins took infielder Tanner Schobel from Virginia Tech. Now, he is listed at 5-10 and 170 pounds, but his stats might surprise you. This season, he hit .362/.445/.689 with 18 doubles, a triple, 19 home runs, and 74 RBI. He led the Hokies in home runs, RBI and total bases, a team that included Gavin Cross who was taken by the Royals with the ninth overall pick. 

    “He really performed. He’s a guy that grows on you a little bit. He’s not the most physical guy on the board, but he’s got surprising strength and he can jolt the ball farther than you’d ever think he could,” Johnson continued. “His makeup is really good. Comes from a really great background, and family. He’s really competitive. He was the leader on that Virginia Tech team.” 

    The Twins went to watch Gavin Cross a lot, but “The more you see that team play, the more you appreciated Schrobel’s game. He’s got a chance to stay in the middle of the diamond. He’s got a fast swing with some sneaky power. Like Brooks Lee, he’s got plus-intangibles.” 

    Fair to say that the draft couldn’t have gone much better for the Twins. They have two players that probably should have gone higher in the draft fall to them, and their third pick is clearly a guy they really like too and maybe even drafted just a little higher than he might rank, knowing that they don’t have a third-round pick on Monday and he would be gone long before Round 4. 

    The Twins draft room was very happy, according to Johnson. 

    “We were just saying in the room that some years, it feels like you don’t get any bounces falling your way, and some years you feel like some of them go, but you never feel like they all fall that way. But to get the three guys we got tonight, felt like a really good night for our room. We coveted all three players. We were hopeful that ones would make it to certain ranges on the board, and the fact that they did, our room is in a really good spot going into Day 2.”

    Here’s hoping that Sean Johnson and the personnel at Target Field are just as excited about Day 2’s selections. 

    Regarding Day 2, Johnson said,  "Day 2 always seems to be the craziest!" 

     

     

     

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    1 hour ago, LewFordLives said:

    I wonder to what extent signability scared teams off Prielipp. Given his circumstances it's possible he's seeking 1st round $$$$.

    I honestly think the Twins may have had an agreement in place before the draft.   I think he is going to come in overslot,  maybe by as much as 5-600,000.   This was a player they clearly targeted.  I think the Twins do really well, in the mid to late rounds,  I think they have struggled from time to time with their early picks. The last 2 years feels like things have partially been falling their way better, especially early on.  The comment by Johnson,  that essentially these were the best players they could have expected to come out of the day with tells you they are very happy with how things went.   Lets see how day 2 goes.  

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    2 hours ago, Morneau for Gov said:

    The 2021 draft looks to have been a home run one year later. These early picks in 2022 have the same feel coming from the early reaction. 

    Could it be that the Twins have formed an elite scouting department under Falvey/Levine?!

    It's all the same people. Deron Johnson's still around. Sean Johnson was promoted. Mike Radcliff is involved. The cross-checkers have been around a long time. 

    One thing they do now is include player development in evaluating players and the communication is great between departments. 

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    Even though I would have chosen Parada with the Twins first pick, I understand why Lee was ranked higher in every prospect ranking. I do have every confidence in the people who fashioned the 2021 draft and therefore I have the same confidence in the 2022 draft selections. Now about the lack of highly ranked catching prospects.... Who, if anyone is left to be selected today at catcher? 

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    Great night for the Twins.  It will be interesting to see where the Twins Daily team slots these players in the prospect rankings.  I want to thank Jeremy, Jamie and the whole TD team for the incredible work they put into the draft.  I had your site pulled up all night as the draft was progressing.  Fantastic job guys.  Makes me proud to be a caretaker.  Can't wait for more action today.

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    I agree with Johnson's assessment that things fell the Twin's way for once.  Both Lee and Prielipp were talked about as 1-1 picks at times so to get two of those guys in one draft is absolutely amazing.  I know there are a lot of durability questions about Prielipp and I have to believe that is why he fell.  At Fangraphs he is essentially listed as a reliever right now so no sure thing to be a starter.  Still no one really knows how well the arm will hold up after surgery and with one elite pitch and another not far behind he has relief ace floor if he stays healthy.  Arms are tough things you just never know.  Still I thought the Twins got great value at 48 with Prielipp.  It was the pick I wanted them to make.  His ceiling was higher than anyone else they had left to choose from.  If he does make it as a top of the rotation starter this pick will be seen as an absolute steal in hindsight.

    I wasn't thrilled with doubling down on mini Lee (Tanner Schobel)  Obviously the Twins got to see him a lot and felt better about him than anyone else in that spot.  Normally I would say awesome but with the glut of utility guys in the system and after just picking Lee it just didn't make much sense to me.  He looks like a good player and one who will likely exceed his scouting reports.  If he truly was as good as Cross in the box you could say the Twins got three first rounders with their first three picks.  Not too shabby if things work out with all three.

    These last two drafts I have really been on board with what they have doing.  Going high upside, getting lefty pitchers, finding legit talent deep in the draft.  Hope they have a good day 2 especially on the pitching side as the arms are stalling all way to AA.  Need to find difference making arms on day 2.

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    Great article.  Very well researched and thought out.  Twins claiming they were very happy with the draft?  Really what do you expect them to say?  Like always only time will tell.  It's just as likely none of these players will ever play major league baseball. Let's hope they all pan out.  Good job guys on the article.

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    1 minute ago, Dman said:

    I wasn't thrilled with doubling down on mini Lee (Tanner Schobel)  Obviously the Twins got to see him a lot and felt better about him than anyone else in that spot.  Normally I would say awesome but with the glut of utility guys in the system and after just picking Lee it just didn't make much sense to me.  He looks like a good player and one who will likely exceed his scouting reports.  If he truly was as good as Cross in the box you could say the Twins got three first rounders with their first three picks.  Not too shabby if things work out with all three.

    Do we really have a glut of utility guys, though? Maybe at the MLB/AAA level, but in 2-3 years, who knows? Of course, I'm guessing the Twins think that Schobel has a higher ceiling than that. If he really hits then he could be awfully interesting. I do think a player like him (again, if he hits) has a lot of flexibility to find a slot on the team going forward. I tend to not worry as much about where a guy might slot positionally most of the time when drafting, because you never really know where someone might end up. (The exception is catcher; trying to recall the last guy that wasn't drafted as a catcher who then shifted successfully to the position in the minors, and I'm stumped.)

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    4 minutes ago, Whitey333 said:

    Great article.  Very well researched and thought out.  Twins claiming they were very happy with the draft?  Really what do you expect them to say?  Like always only time will tell.  It's just as likely none of these players will ever play major league baseball. Let's hope they all pan out.  Good job guys on the article.

    Its not often when the head of the draft for your team says literally everything fell their way :).  You will get yeah we really liked his potential and thought he was the best available at their spot.  I honestly think in the Twins perspective we got the players they would have picked had we been in the 3-5 slot most years.  Johnson may have been the only other player the Twins would have picked over Lee in this draft from what I can gather.  

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    When was the last time any team was not "ecstatic" over the players they drafted? Optimism always rules the day.

    That said, glad to see the Twins appeared to draft some talented kids with high baseball acumen.  Now, hopefully they stay healthy and are able to develop.

    Finding a catcher or two today to add to the pipeline would be nice.

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    28 minutes ago, Dman said:

    I

    I wasn't thrilled with doubling down on mini Lee (Tanner Schobel)  Obviously the Twins got to see him a lot and felt better about him than anyone else in that spot.  Normally I would say awesome but with the glut of utility guys in the system and after just picking Lee it just didn't make much sense to me.  He looks like a good player and one who will likely exceed his scouting reports.  If he truly was as good as Cross in the box you could say the Twins got three first rounders with their first three picks.  Not too shabby if things work out with all three.

    Your last sentence pretty much sums it up,  the Twins likely had a late 1st to early second round grade on Schobel and think he likely had a higher floor and higher ceiling than any other player available - especially with a possible discount.   The Twins will win, by hitting on as many prospects as possible and then to begin flipping them for assets.  I think starting here in the next couple weeks we are going to start seeing this part of our strategy come into play.  I am expecting 1-2 of the following players to likely be traded   Palacios, Steer, Julien, Encarnacion Strand,  Cavaco or Severino.     Palacios and Julien have high possibilities,  Palacios can likely play in the big leagues immediately for a developing team and Julien has a high OBP that teams are willing to give a chance on.  

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    Wow! A team absolutely STARVED for pitching uses it's #1 for a SS! Then they seem absolutely OBSESSED with bringing in pitchers who have had Tommy John Surgery! Now even in the draft they do it? Unbelivable! Almost all of the previous Tommy John guys have not worked out. Why chance your #2 pick on damaged goods! They always look recovered after surgery and the Twins always bite. But a year later as the pitches build they get stung and velocity is gone and so are the pitchers.

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    It does look like a little redundancy with Lee and Schnobel, especially given the fact that we have Arraez, Miranda, and Steer, and now Lee and Schnobel all possibly bidding for third or a utility role, but this could all change if/when the Twins make some trades for pitching before the deadline.  If they are serious about getting a top starter, then Miranda and Steer might be part of the deals.  I am not suggesting Miranda is somebody I want to be traded, I am just saying prospects of value will have to be traded if we are looking for quality pitching.  Plus, these things seem to have a way of working out in the long run.  Another thing these selections show is the committment the Twins have to drafting players with character and high baseball IQ's.  As I have watched Seth's interviews with prospects, that is something that comes across loud and clear.  You build a quality team with quality people and the Twins are doing just that.

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    5 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    Do we really have a glut of utility guys, though? Maybe at the MLB/AAA level, but in 2-3 years, who knows? Of course, I'm guessing the Twins think that Schobel has a higher ceiling than that. If he really hits then he could be awfully interesting. I do think a player like him (again, if he hits) has a lot of flexibility to find a slot on the team going forward. I tend to not worry as much about where a guy might slot positionally most of the time when drafting, because you never really know where someone might end up. (The exception is catcher; trying to recall the last guy that wasn't drafted as a catcher who then shifted successfully to the position in the minors, and I'm stumped.)

    Well right now at the MLB level they have Arraez, Polanco, Gordon, and MIranda, At AAA they have Lewis, Steer and Helman.  At AA they have Jullien and Martin with Strand a possible third baseman, At high A Severino, Holland, Rucker, Javier.  At A ball they have Miller and Perez and with their first pick tonight they have Lee.  Lets see that is about 16 players in line for three spots.  That's a lot of guys so I think they have that spot covered even if they don't pick Schobel there.  Even two to three years from now there doesn't look like there will be much room there.

    I get your point best payer available and Schobel had a great season and probably worthy to go where he went but it doesn't do much for me when most of this teams talent in the system is already at that exact spot.  I was wrong last year about the Strand pick which I kind of thought was a waste and have been singing the draft teams praises as a steal there in hindsight.  Maybe I will end up doing the same with this pick once he gets to minor league ball and starts performing.  It is just that they are not always right either.  I didn't like the Sabato pick and that one hasn't worked out yet so not every move they make is perfect either.  Time will tell but my gut reaction is I think they could have done better strengthening another area.

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    39 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    Who, if anyone is left to be selected today at catcher? 

    Keith Law lists two catchers in his top 10 for day 2. Ike Irish and Jared Jones are both high school picks so they would be a long way away from helping. Malcolm Morre, another high school pick, is listed among the best remaining in MLB.

    The reality is it takes longer for catchers to develop. They can’t really fix a current depth problem with a pick today. Jeffers was a 2018 pick. Few catchers have made it to the majors from that draft and no one has more WAR than Jeffers. They can help the minor league depth issue in taking one of the high school catchers but they may not be ready to contribute until near the end of the decade.

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    1 minute ago, jorgenswest said:

    Keith Law lists two catchers in his top 10 for day 2. Ike Irish and Jared Jones are both high school picks so they would be a long way away from helping. Malcolm Morre, another high school pick, is listed among the best remaining in MLB.

    The reality is it takes longer for catchers to develop. They can’t really fix a current depth problem with a pick today. Jeffers was a 2018 pick. Few catchers have made it to the majors from that draft and no one has more WAR than Jeffers. 

    Thank you for this info and insight.

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    2 minutes ago, MGM4706 said:

    Wow! A team absolutely STARVED for pitching uses it's #1 for a SS! Then they seem absolutely OBSESSED with bringing in pitchers who have had Tommy John Surgery! Now even in the draft they do it? Unbelivable! Almost all of the previous Tommy John guys have not worked out. Why chance your #2 pick on damaged goods! They always look recovered after surgery and the Twins always bite. But a year later as the pitches build they get stung and velocity is gone and so are the pitchers.

    Ummmm did you follow this draft at all.  All the top pitchers had major injury concerns.  Kumar Rocker, Horton, Lesko and Priellepp.   Was there someone else you thought they should have picked.  As a note Rocker was picked before we even could have picked in the first round.  As an aside we are not starved for pitching in the minor leagues.  We just have to continue to develop them.  

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    6 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

    Keith Law lists two catchers in his top 10 for day 2. Ike Irish and Jared Jones are both high school picks so they would be a long way away from helping. Malcolm Morre, another high school pick, is listed among the best remaining in MLB.

    The reality is it takes longer for catchers to develop. They can’t really fix a current depth problem with a pick today. Jeffers was a 2018 pick. Few catchers have made it to the majors from that draft and no one has more WAR than Jeffers. They can help the minor league depth issue in taking one of the high school catchers but they may not be ready to contribute until near the end of the decade.

    The Twins may be happier with their depth in the minors at the C position than we are.    Honestly for the most part they are performing very well.   

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    14 minutes ago, RJA said:

     

     Another thing these selections show is the committment the Twins have to drafting players with character and high baseball IQ's.  As I have watched Seth's interviews with prospects, that is something that comes across loud and clear.  You build a quality team with quality people and the Twins are doing just that.

    Amen RJA. I agree 100%. This is one of the main reasons I enjoy being a Twins fan.

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    2 hours ago, LewFordLives said:

    I wonder to what extent signability scared teams off Prielipp. Given his circumstances it's possible he's seeking 1st round $$$$.

    My guess is that this is why they picked Schrobel.  They probably sign him at $300-400K under slot to make up for part of the amount they are above slot on Prielipp.  I can't imagine Prielipp's signing bonus was not agreed upon before the pick was made.

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    2 minutes ago, bunsen82 said:

    The Twins may be happier with their depth in the minors at the C position than we are.    Honestly for the most part they are performing very well.   

    I agree. While they probably don't have an All Star caliber catcher in the system I feel like they have solid depth right now. They called up Hamilton who was hitting pretty well at AAA and is a solid defensive catcher.  Isola was on fire with the bat at AA until injured and while his defense might not be great I believe it was OK.  I don't know much about Chris Williams as a defensive catcher but he is hitting really well at AA too.  They just Drafted two good catchers in Winkel and Cardenous and both are doing well at A and high A.  So yeah I wouldn't say catcher is a huge strength but I doubt they see it as a huge weakness either.

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    19 minutes ago, MGM4706 said:

    Wow! A team absolutely STARVED for pitching uses it's #1 for a SS! Then they seem absolutely OBSESSED with bringing in pitchers who have had Tommy John Surgery! Now even in the draft they do it? Unbelivable! Almost all of the previous Tommy John guys have not worked out. Why chance your #2 pick on damaged goods! They always look recovered after surgery and the Twins always bite. But a year later as the pitches build they get stung and velocity is gone and so are the pitchers.

    You must really love the Ranger's pick at #3.  

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    36 minutes ago, bunsen82 said:

    Its not often when the head of the draft for your team says literally everything fell their way :).  You will get yeah we really liked his potential and thought he was the best available at their spot.  I honestly think in the Twins perspective we got the players they would have picked had we been in the 3-5 slot most years.  Johnson may have been the only other player the Twins would have picked over Lee in this draft from what I can gather.  

    I was most impressed with Johnson's comments out of all the draftees interviewed. He is a very impressive young man. I wish the Twins had had the opportunity to draft him. 

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    3 minutes ago, cheeseheadgophfan said:

    If they are going to get a legit starting pitcher at the deadline, they are going to have to give up some real assets which include Lewis (hope not), Martin and Steer all of whom play similar positions to Lee and Schrobel.  I have a feeling this played into their thinking as well.

    Good analysis  

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    5 minutes ago, cheeseheadgophfan said:

    If they are going to get a legit starting pitcher at the deadline, they are going to have to give up some real assets which include Lewis (hope not), Martin and Steer all of whom play similar positions to Lee and Schrobel.  I have a feeling this played into their thinking as well.

    If we are truly the most likely team to get Montas then yes this is going to be painful on the prospect side with 2 to 3 major prospects.  It will be more than what we received from Toronto for Berrios.  

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    12 minutes ago, bunsen82 said:

    If we are truly the most likely team to get Montas then yes this is going to be painful on the prospect side with 2 to 3 major prospects.  It will be more than what we received from Toronto for Berrios.  

    Yes, I agree that it will take 2-3 players to get Montas or Castillo. However, the farm system exists to develop future major league athletes or serve as players used to trade for the needs of the MLB roster. The Twins need a couple of relief pitchers and Castillo/Montas would be icing. When individuals get too concerned about a glut of position players, consider that some teams see value in a trade. Hopefully we read about some moves during the break, but certainly Falvey should make a few trades before August 1. 

    The first day of the draft was amazing in my view and Jeremy was right on when he noted that Carlos Correa was our choice for the third round. Correa is already showing value rarely found at that pick too.

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