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Found 16 results

  1. Mock Draft season is upon us. We're still a solid seven weeks from having any clarity, but it's always fun to start to speculate. Last year's draft got crazy early. Even crazier than normal when you consider two pitchers went in the Top 7 and barely anyone saw a pitcher going in the Top 15. Other players fell to teams who were elated to take someone they never thought they'd have a chance to select. Mock Drafts and speculation are a lot of fun. When the Twins 'won' the first Draft Lottery and got the fifth overall draft pick in the 2023 draft, it allowed Twins fans to get excited. Many believe that it is a good year to have a Top 5 pick. A year after getting Brooks Lee with the eighth overall pick, the Twins will have a chance to get another premium prospect. Here is my first mock draft of the 2023 season. More to come, and much, much more detail on the potential top picks. Please share your thoughts on this mock draft. How would you feel about the pick we made for the Twins at #5? 1.) Pirates – Dylan Crews, OF, LSU - Arguably the best hitting prospect since Bryce Harper, Crews should be a no-doubt pick for Pittsburgh. 2.) Nationals – Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU - This is the highest Washington has drafted since having back-to-back first overall picks in 2009 and 2010. Skenes is the best pitcher available by a relatively wind margin and the Nationals would be wise to add such a highly regarded prospect. 3.) Tigers – Walker Jenkins, OF, North Carolina prep - Remarkably, this is going to be the fifth year out of the last six that the Tigers have had a top five pick. And they have very little to show for it. They’ve missed on both high school and college pitchers. They’ve had a little more success recently with prep hitters and Jenkins is the highest-ceiling hitter available. 4.) Rangers – Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida - The Rangers have went the collegiate route the last four years and the SEC in three of those four years. Langford fits the bill and is more than deserving of being picked here… or higher. 5.) Twins – Max Clark, OF, Indiana prep - There are certainly reasons and rumblings why the Twins would go a different direction here. But, at this point, it’s more of a “just make the easy choice” and that’s whichever of these top five names are available. The Twins have definitely been a college-bat lean recently. Langford would likely be preferred. Is this too early for Teel? Gut says yes (in late May anyway). 6.) A’s – Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt - The A’s are a mess and a team I’ve never been able to peg down - which is ok because they’ve struggled to hit on first-round picks. Bradfield has game-changing speed and the A’s have the third most stolen-base attempts in the league. Bradfield can help with that. 7.) Reds – Kyle Teel, C, Virginia - With the exception of Nick Lodolo in 2019, the Reds have gone hitter each year dating back to Hunter Greene in 2017. Either Chase Dollander or Rhett Lowder would make sense here too. 8.) Royals – Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest - It’s hard to really see a trend with the Royals. They’ve taken from each of the four demographics in the first round the last four years. Lowder has done well for himself and is the second college pitcher drafted here. 9.) Rockies – Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee - I’ve long believed the Rockies best chances to add difference-making pitchers come in the draft. Dollander hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, but he’s still a Top 10 pick. 10.) Marlins – Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi - The Jacob Berry selection last year was a head-scratcher to me. This would be a chance to get it right. 11.) Angels – Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon - A small-school hitter is one of the few things the Angels have done well in identifying in the draft lately. 12.) Diamondbacks – Arjun Nimmala, SS, Florida prep - Consider me someone who thinks Nimmala breaks into the Top 10. Arizona has gone the prep route in four of the last five years. 13.) Cubs – Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford - Maybe he doesn’t stick at shortstop, but the bat plays at second base. There’s a mix of players here would could go anywhere in the next 20 picks so it’s going to be a lot of mixing team preference with price tags. 14.) Red Sox – Colin Houck, SS, Georgia prep - Houck seems to be doing well for himself as the draft gets closer. And the Red Sox have gone this route recently. 15.) White Sox – Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida - It seems like it’s always college pitchers for the White Sox. 16.) Giants – Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, Virginia prep - Maybe too high for Eldridge, but they may have reached for Reggie Crawford last year too. 17.) Orioles – Noble Meyer, RHP, Oregon prep - The Orioles are in a good position to add to their depth of prospects and here the top-rated prep pitcher falls into their lap. 18.) Brewers – Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland - The profile of a hitter who probably can’t stick at shortstop and his last name is Shaw. Sure seems to fit with the Brewers. At this point in time it becomes a “here are some other guys I think go in the first round.” 19.) Rays – Thomas White, LHP, Massachusetts prep 20.) Blue Jays – Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU 21.) Cardinals – Kevin McGonigle, SS, Pennsylvania prep 22.) Mariners – Blake Mitchell, C, Texas prep 23.) Guardians – Jack Hurley, OF, Virginia Tech 24.) Braves – Brock Wilken, 2B, Wake Forest 25.) Padres – Aidan Miller, 3B, Florida prep 26.) Yankees – George Lombard Jr., SS, Florida prep 27.) Phillies – Colt Emerson, SS, Ohio prep 28.) Astros – Chase Davis, OF, Arizona 29.) Mariners – Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Florida Atlantic 30.) Mariners – Colton Ledbetter, OF, Mississippi State What do you think? Any names missing? Would you want the Twins to take a prep outfielder if Max Clark is available with that pick? Discuss in the COMMENTS below. View full article
  2. Mock Drafts and speculation are a lot of fun. When the Twins 'won' the first Draft Lottery and got the fifth overall draft pick in the 2023 draft, it allowed Twins fans to get excited. Many believe that it is a good year to have a Top 5 pick. A year after getting Brooks Lee with the eighth overall pick, the Twins will have a chance to get another premium prospect. Here is my first mock draft of the 2023 season. More to come, and much, much more detail on the potential top picks. Please share your thoughts on this mock draft. How would you feel about the pick we made for the Twins at #5? 1.) Pirates – Dylan Crews, OF, LSU - Arguably the best hitting prospect since Bryce Harper, Crews should be a no-doubt pick for Pittsburgh. 2.) Nationals – Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU - This is the highest Washington has drafted since having back-to-back first overall picks in 2009 and 2010. Skenes is the best pitcher available by a relatively wind margin and the Nationals would be wise to add such a highly regarded prospect. 3.) Tigers – Walker Jenkins, OF, North Carolina prep - Remarkably, this is going to be the fifth year out of the last six that the Tigers have had a top five pick. And they have very little to show for it. They’ve missed on both high school and college pitchers. They’ve had a little more success recently with prep hitters and Jenkins is the highest-ceiling hitter available. 4.) Rangers – Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida - The Rangers have went the collegiate route the last four years and the SEC in three of those four years. Langford fits the bill and is more than deserving of being picked here… or higher. 5.) Twins – Max Clark, OF, Indiana prep - There are certainly reasons and rumblings why the Twins would go a different direction here. But, at this point, it’s more of a “just make the easy choice” and that’s whichever of these top five names are available. The Twins have definitely been a college-bat lean recently. Langford would likely be preferred. Is this too early for Teel? Gut says yes (in late May anyway). 6.) A’s – Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt - The A’s are a mess and a team I’ve never been able to peg down - which is ok because they’ve struggled to hit on first-round picks. Bradfield has game-changing speed and the A’s have the third most stolen-base attempts in the league. Bradfield can help with that. 7.) Reds – Kyle Teel, C, Virginia - With the exception of Nick Lodolo in 2019, the Reds have gone hitter each year dating back to Hunter Greene in 2017. Either Chase Dollander or Rhett Lowder would make sense here too. 8.) Royals – Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest - It’s hard to really see a trend with the Royals. They’ve taken from each of the four demographics in the first round the last four years. Lowder has done well for himself and is the second college pitcher drafted here. 9.) Rockies – Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee - I’ve long believed the Rockies best chances to add difference-making pitchers come in the draft. Dollander hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, but he’s still a Top 10 pick. 10.) Marlins – Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi - The Jacob Berry selection last year was a head-scratcher to me. This would be a chance to get it right. 11.) Angels – Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon - A small-school hitter is one of the few things the Angels have done well in identifying in the draft lately. 12.) Diamondbacks – Arjun Nimmala, SS, Florida prep - Consider me someone who thinks Nimmala breaks into the Top 10. Arizona has gone the prep route in four of the last five years. 13.) Cubs – Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford - Maybe he doesn’t stick at shortstop, but the bat plays at second base. There’s a mix of players here would could go anywhere in the next 20 picks so it’s going to be a lot of mixing team preference with price tags. 14.) Red Sox – Colin Houck, SS, Georgia prep - Houck seems to be doing well for himself as the draft gets closer. And the Red Sox have gone this route recently. 15.) White Sox – Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida - It seems like it’s always college pitchers for the White Sox. 16.) Giants – Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, Virginia prep - Maybe too high for Eldridge, but they may have reached for Reggie Crawford last year too. 17.) Orioles – Noble Meyer, RHP, Oregon prep - The Orioles are in a good position to add to their depth of prospects and here the top-rated prep pitcher falls into their lap. 18.) Brewers – Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland - The profile of a hitter who probably can’t stick at shortstop and his last name is Shaw. Sure seems to fit with the Brewers. At this point in time it becomes a “here are some other guys I think go in the first round.” 19.) Rays – Thomas White, LHP, Massachusetts prep 20.) Blue Jays – Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU 21.) Cardinals – Kevin McGonigle, SS, Pennsylvania prep 22.) Mariners – Blake Mitchell, C, Texas prep 23.) Guardians – Jack Hurley, OF, Virginia Tech 24.) Braves – Brock Wilken, 2B, Wake Forest 25.) Padres – Aidan Miller, 3B, Florida prep 26.) Yankees – George Lombard Jr., SS, Florida prep 27.) Phillies – Colt Emerson, SS, Ohio prep 28.) Astros – Chase Davis, OF, Arizona 29.) Mariners – Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Florida Atlantic 30.) Mariners – Colton Ledbetter, OF, Mississippi State What do you think? Any names missing? Would you want the Twins to take a prep outfielder if Max Clark is available with that pick? Discuss in the COMMENTS below.
  3. Drafting pitchers is fraught with risk. It's also the most important position on a baseball team. The pitching position is, in most people’s opinions, the most important position on a baseball team in terms of having both quality and depth. Yet, the term “there is no such thing as a pitching prospect (TINSTAAPP)” is one that is used quite frequently. What you see as a high schooler or collegiate pitcher isn’t always what you get as a professional. Cases in point: Danny Hultzen was drafted second overall in the 2011 draft out of Virginia as one of the “safest” pitchers in recent memory. He made a six-game cameo in the majors and is out of baseball. Mark Appel is another great example of a sure thing being less than that. Brendan McKay was going to rival Shohei Ohtani as a two-way player. He briefly made the majors in 2019. These are only a handful of the hundreds examples that can be used. High school pitchers is even more of a mixed bags. And therein lies the rub. Teams need great pitchers and teams need a lot of pitchers. Yet drafting a pitcher can prove fruitless. The Twins have taken an approach lately where they will use their top pick (or picks) to draft bats. And then deal from their surplus of bats to land major-league ready pitching. In fact, their Opening Day rotation was made up exclusively of arms acquired by trade. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. In the first five installments, we covered players from the midwest, catchers, shortstops, third baseman and outfielders. Today, we’ll look at some pitchers. And, again, as a warning, my radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. It would be really easy to just devote the next five minutes of reading to write-ups about Paul Skenes, LSU’s ace who could go as high as #2 overall and could be helping an MLB rotation in relatively short order. It would also be easy to write about the consensus top prep, Noble Meyer, the Oregon kid committed to stay in state and play for the Ducks, but much more likely to begin his pro career after going in the first round. But let’s look at some pitchers who are flying lower on the radar who may have a chance to make a big impact later. Kiefer Lord, Washington: Despite being far out west, there’s a midwest connection in that Lord transferred from a small D3 school in Minnesota. And he has been on an upward trajectory. The tough part about drafting anyone who has really improved their stock over a short period of time is that you can either take them while they’re still climbing (great!), as their progress starts to plateau (good) or right before they come back down to earth (bad). The track-record here is recent, but the velocity has risen and the secondaries have flashed. Joe Whitman, Kent State: A lefty equipped with a high-spin slider, Whitman throws in the mid-90s but lacks the third pitch to project him as a starter. There might not be a ton of projection left, but there’s enough present ability to potentially be a Day 2 pick. Jason DeCaro, New York HS (committed to North Carolina): DeCaro is unique in that he recently reclassified so there is going to be less scouting done on him and that he is extremely young (he just turned 17). He’s got a great pitcher’s build already (6’ 4”, 205), but there is plenty of development yet to come. Josh Knoth, New York HS (committed to Ole Miss): Knoth is going to be highly sought-after potentially on Day 1 but definitely early on Day 2 if he has any desire to go professional. In addition to increased velocity, Knoth has a curveball with freaky high spin rates. And if that’s not enough for the analytical crew to fall in love with, he also doesn’t turn 18 until August. Knoth could certainly go the route of college and be drafted in three years, but there’s too much helium here to think that’s the most likely scenario. Travis Sykora, Texas HS (committed to Texas): Sykora is a big-bodied righty with a really big fastball. The hardest-throwing prep in the draft is old for his grade and could be drafted again in two years if he goes to Texas. There are plenty of cautionary tales about players throwing 100 mph in high school. Sykora could be the next… or he could be the next big thing. And everything is bigger in Texas. Next week we will have our first mock draft of the season and later in the series we will take a look at more pitchers. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own local #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments! View full article
  4. The pitching position is, in most people’s opinions, the most important position on a baseball team in terms of having both quality and depth. Yet, the term “there is no such thing as a pitching prospect (TINSTAAPP)” is one that is used quite frequently. What you see as a high schooler or collegiate pitcher isn’t always what you get as a professional. Cases in point: Danny Hultzen was drafted second overall in the 2011 draft out of Virginia as one of the “safest” pitchers in recent memory. He made a six-game cameo in the majors and is out of baseball. Mark Appel is another great example of a sure thing being less than that. Brendan McKay was going to rival Shohei Ohtani as a two-way player. He briefly made the majors in 2019. These are only a handful of the hundreds examples that can be used. High school pitchers is even more of a mixed bags. And therein lies the rub. Teams need great pitchers and teams need a lot of pitchers. Yet drafting a pitcher can prove fruitless. The Twins have taken an approach lately where they will use their top pick (or picks) to draft bats. And then deal from their surplus of bats to land major-league ready pitching. In fact, their Opening Day rotation was made up exclusively of arms acquired by trade. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. In the first five installments, we covered players from the midwest, catchers, shortstops, third baseman and outfielders. Today, we’ll look at some pitchers. And, again, as a warning, my radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. It would be really easy to just devote the next five minutes of reading to write-ups about Paul Skenes, LSU’s ace who could go as high as #2 overall and could be helping an MLB rotation in relatively short order. It would also be easy to write about the consensus top prep, Noble Meyer, the Oregon kid committed to stay in state and play for the Ducks, but much more likely to begin his pro career after going in the first round. But let’s look at some pitchers who are flying lower on the radar who may have a chance to make a big impact later. Kiefer Lord, Washington: Despite being far out west, there’s a midwest connection in that Lord transferred from a small D3 school in Minnesota. And he has been on an upward trajectory. The tough part about drafting anyone who has really improved their stock over a short period of time is that you can either take them while they’re still climbing (great!), as their progress starts to plateau (good) or right before they come back down to earth (bad). The track-record here is recent, but the velocity has risen and the secondaries have flashed. Joe Whitman, Kent State: A lefty equipped with a high-spin slider, Whitman throws in the mid-90s but lacks the third pitch to project him as a starter. There might not be a ton of projection left, but there’s enough present ability to potentially be a Day 2 pick. Jason DeCaro, New York HS (committed to North Carolina): DeCaro is unique in that he recently reclassified so there is going to be less scouting done on him and that he is extremely young (he just turned 17). He’s got a great pitcher’s build already (6’ 4”, 205), but there is plenty of development yet to come. Josh Knoth, New York HS (committed to Ole Miss): Knoth is going to be highly sought-after potentially on Day 1 but definitely early on Day 2 if he has any desire to go professional. In addition to increased velocity, Knoth has a curveball with freaky high spin rates. And if that’s not enough for the analytical crew to fall in love with, he also doesn’t turn 18 until August. Knoth could certainly go the route of college and be drafted in three years, but there’s too much helium here to think that’s the most likely scenario. Travis Sykora, Texas HS (committed to Texas): Sykora is a big-bodied righty with a really big fastball. The hardest-throwing prep in the draft is old for his grade and could be drafted again in two years if he goes to Texas. There are plenty of cautionary tales about players throwing 100 mph in high school. Sykora could be the next… or he could be the next big thing. And everything is bigger in Texas. Next week we will have our first mock draft of the season and later in the series we will take a look at more pitchers. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own local #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments!
  5. We’re moving to the outfield in this week’s #PersonalCheeseballs installment. We’ve looked most recently and players who project to play the left side of the infield. Now we shift to the grass. The outfield group can certainly be an eclectic group. There will be your burners at centerfield. The group that is athletic enough to play shortstop, but are either so fast or slightly-built that they are best suited for the middle of the outfield. You’ll have your really big-bodied corner outfielders that still move well enough to have a chance to stay in the grass (before moving to first base). There’s also the group that has played in the dirt but probably needs to be moved down the defensive spectrum. And, of course, there is a group of just really good outfield prospects who may sort of fit into one of those categories… or just be a really good baseball player who plays best in the outfield. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. If the first four installments, we covered players from the midwest, catchers, shortstops and third basemen. Today, we’ll look at some outfielders. And, again, as a warning, my radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. Before getting into other names, it should go without saying that the trio of Wyatt Langford (Florida), Walker Jenkins (South Brunswick, NC HS) and Max Clark (Franklin, IN HS) are all definitely in play for the Twins first pick (#5 overall). If there was a line on it, the Twins selecting one of these three would be heavily favored at this point in time. We will cover these three plenty over the next two months, but for today we're going to look at some other outfielders in the draft. Enrique Bradfield, Vanderbilt: Bradfield isn’t the highest-ranked college outfielder. Or even the highest-ranked SEC outfielder (or second for that matter). But he’s the fastest. He’s a safe bet to have a long major league career, but there’s a floor for any prospect who may not ever develop power and has an arm better suited for left field. But if that floor is Billy Hamilton - and I’d buy Bradfield’s hit tool over Hamilton’s any day - that’s still a very usable player. Will Gasparino, Harvard-Westlake HS, California (committed to Texas): A big (6-6) above-average runner will turn heads. Sprinkle in some power and a father with a background in baseball and Gasparino will have plenty of people’s full attention. There is so much to like about the son of the Dodgers scouting director, but there’s also plenty of questions about the hit tool. Plus, a hand injury over the winter limited the views people could get of him. But the potential is there… so, like Gasparino, maybe you take a swing for the fences. Parker Picot, Rochester Adams HS, Michigan (committed to Alabama): This young, super athletic outfielder who also plays quarterback for his football team has plenty of untapped potential. It might be difficult to keep from the SEC - and could really help his stock in three years - where the currently 17-year-old could skyrocket with a singular focus and college coaching. Kyle Henley, Denmark HS, Georgia (committed to Georgia Tech): If you’re a fan of Bradfield, then you’re also a fan of Henley. He’s got elite speed which translates to the outfield, but hitting is a question mark. If you believe he can be a productive hitter, the sky’s the limit. JonJon Vaughns, UCLA. Vaughns is a unique collegiate two-sport athlete playing baseball and football. But even more unique that it’s as a outfielder/linebacker! Maybe Vaughns doesn’t go the baseball route. I’d simply suggest, in a 20-round draft, you could find a spot to take a chance on a stud athlete with raw tools. Next week, we will take a look at some pitchers, though there will be a second installment of pitchers later in the process as well. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments! View full article
  6. The outfield group can certainly be an eclectic group. There will be your burners at centerfield. The group that is athletic enough to play shortstop, but are either so fast or slightly-built that they are best suited for the middle of the outfield. You’ll have your really big-bodied corner outfielders that still move well enough to have a chance to stay in the grass (before moving to first base). There’s also the group that has played in the dirt but probably needs to be moved down the defensive spectrum. And, of course, there is a group of just really good outfield prospects who may sort of fit into one of those categories… or just be a really good baseball player who plays best in the outfield. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. If the first four installments, we covered players from the midwest, catchers, shortstops and third basemen. Today, we’ll look at some outfielders. And, again, as a warning, my radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. Before getting into other names, it should go without saying that the trio of Wyatt Langford (Florida), Walker Jenkins (South Brunswick, NC HS) and Max Clark (Franklin, IN HS) are all definitely in play for the Twins first pick (#5 overall). If there was a line on it, the Twins selecting one of these three would be heavily favored at this point in time. We will cover these three plenty over the next two months, but for today we're going to look at some other outfielders in the draft. Enrique Bradfield, Vanderbilt: Bradfield isn’t the highest-ranked college outfielder. Or even the highest-ranked SEC outfielder (or second for that matter). But he’s the fastest. He’s a safe bet to have a long major league career, but there’s a floor for any prospect who may not ever develop power and has an arm better suited for left field. But if that floor is Billy Hamilton - and I’d buy Bradfield’s hit tool over Hamilton’s any day - that’s still a very usable player. Will Gasparino, Harvard-Westlake HS, California (committed to Texas): A big (6-6) above-average runner will turn heads. Sprinkle in some power and a father with a background in baseball and Gasparino will have plenty of people’s full attention. There is so much to like about the son of the Dodgers scouting director, but there’s also plenty of questions about the hit tool. Plus, a hand injury over the winter limited the views people could get of him. But the potential is there… so, like Gasparino, maybe you take a swing for the fences. Parker Picot, Rochester Adams HS, Michigan (committed to Alabama): This young, super athletic outfielder who also plays quarterback for his football team has plenty of untapped potential. It might be difficult to keep from the SEC - and could really help his stock in three years - where the currently 17-year-old could skyrocket with a singular focus and college coaching. Kyle Henley, Denmark HS, Georgia (committed to Georgia Tech): If you’re a fan of Bradfield, then you’re also a fan of Henley. He’s got elite speed which translates to the outfield, but hitting is a question mark. If you believe he can be a productive hitter, the sky’s the limit. JonJon Vaughns, UCLA. Vaughns is a unique collegiate two-sport athlete playing baseball and football. But even more unique that it’s as a outfielder/linebacker! Maybe Vaughns doesn’t go the baseball route. I’d simply suggest, in a 20-round draft, you could find a spot to take a chance on a stud athlete with raw tools. Next week, we will take a look at some pitchers, though there will be a second installment of pitchers later in the process as well. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments!
  7. Like last week, with shortstops who end up moving off the position, third base is more of the same. The difference, of course, is that a move off third base is a move even further down the positional totem pole, which likely ends at first base. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. If the first three installments, we covered players from the midwest, catchers and shortstops. This list will look at projected third basemen. And, again, as a warning, my radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. You will notice the position is heavier on the college side, but that’s because of the aforementioned defensive totem pole. Most college third basemen were likely high school shortstops. Most high school third basemen find a new defensive home. Mac Horvath, North Carolina: I was asked why Horvath didn’t make the local list. It’s possible that his exclusion really fired him up because he’s been on a heater lately. Just a few weeks removed from an 8-RBI game, Horvath currently has a .312/.418/.726 slashline plus great speed and should now likely hear his name called on Day 1. LuJames “Gino” Groover III, North Carolina State: Groover began his collegiate career at Charlotte before transferring to NC State after a prep career in Georgia. After a slow start to his junior season, he’s been on a tear. After starting his season on a 6-for-30 slump, he’s hit 52-for-140 (.371). Though he’s showing slightly less power than last year, he’s drawing walks almost twice as frequently as striking out. It’s a toss-up where Groover ends up defensively. He doesn’t necessarily have the offensive power profile to fit in a corner, but third base is as good of bet as any. Kyle Karros, UCLA: It’s hard to ignore the son of a former big leaguer. It’s also hard to ignore a 6-5, 220-pound specimen. Karros hasn’t put up the power numbers that you may expect from such a large human, but he’s drastically improved his strikeout and walk numbers throughout his career and is currently sporting an OPS over .900. Bryson Ware, Auburn: Ware has kind of come out of nowhere after a relatively non-descript collegiate career. But in his senior season Ware has unlocked a ton of power (18 home runs in 170 at-bats) while reducing his strikeout rate and improving his walk rate. It will be interesting to see where he is drafted, considering he’s played his way up draft boards, yet will likely come at a discounted rate. Aidan Miller, Florida high school (committed to Arkansas): The lone prep on the list, Miller is well-known as a longtime U.S. National team player. He’s got a great bat that will fit the profile to play in any corner. Miller certainly has the arm to be a third baseman and despite an Arkansas commitment should be a pro later this summer as a first-round pick. Next week we will take a look at some outfielders, though there will be a second installment of outfielders later in the process as well. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own local #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments!
  8. We’re moving around the infield in this new #PersonalCheeseballs installment. After looking at shortstops this week, we’ll be be focusing on third basemen. Or at least, those who project to play third base as professionals. Like last week, with shortstops who end up moving off the position, third base is more of the same. The difference, of course, is that a move off third base is a move even further down the positional totem pole, which likely ends at first base. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. If the first three installments, we covered players from the midwest, catchers and shortstops. This list will look at projected third basemen. And, again, as a warning, my radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. You will notice the position is heavier on the college side, but that’s because of the aforementioned defensive totem pole. Most college third basemen were likely high school shortstops. Most high school third basemen find a new defensive home. Mac Horvath, North Carolina: I was asked why Horvath didn’t make the local list. It’s possible that his exclusion really fired him up because he’s been on a heater lately. Just a few weeks removed from an 8-RBI game, Horvath currently has a .312/.418/.726 slashline plus great speed and should now likely hear his name called on Day 1. LuJames “Gino” Groover III, North Carolina State: Groover began his collegiate career at Charlotte before transferring to NC State after a prep career in Georgia. After a slow start to his junior season, he’s been on a tear. After starting his season on a 6-for-30 slump, he’s hit 52-for-140 (.371). Though he’s showing slightly less power than last year, he’s drawing walks almost twice as frequently as striking out. It’s a toss-up where Groover ends up defensively. He doesn’t necessarily have the offensive power profile to fit in a corner, but third base is as good of bet as any. Kyle Karros, UCLA: It’s hard to ignore the son of a former big leaguer. It’s also hard to ignore a 6-5, 220-pound specimen. Karros hasn’t put up the power numbers that you may expect from such a large human, but he’s drastically improved his strikeout and walk numbers throughout his career and is currently sporting an OPS over .900. Bryson Ware, Auburn: Ware has kind of come out of nowhere after a relatively non-descript collegiate career. But in his senior season Ware has unlocked a ton of power (18 home runs in 170 at-bats) while reducing his strikeout rate and improving his walk rate. It will be interesting to see where he is drafted, considering he’s played his way up draft boards, yet will likely come at a discounted rate. Aidan Miller, Florida high school (committed to Arkansas): The lone prep on the list, Miller is well-known as a longtime U.S. National team player. He’s got a great bat that will fit the profile to play in any corner. Miller certainly has the arm to be a third baseman and despite an Arkansas commitment should be a pro later this summer as a first-round pick. Next week we will take a look at some outfielders, though there will be a second installment of outfielders later in the process as well. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own local #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments! View full article
  9. With just under three months left before the 2023 draft gets underway, you’ll see an increase in coverage. Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll be doing a series called “Personal Cheeseballs” which will take a closer look at groups of potential draftees. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. The first installment will cover players from the Midwest. These aren’t necessarily the best draft prospects from the area, but players that are more solidly on my radar for one reason or another. My radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. Zion Rose, Catcher, IMG Academy (committed to Louisville): If you’re wondering how someone finishing his prep career in Florida counts as a local, it’s because Rose spent his first three years of high school at Brother Rice in Chicago. Catching prospects often seem like the hardest to find and Rose rises to the top with his athleticism and speed. Louisville has had three catchers drafted in the top five rounds over the last three years (including Henry Davis going first overall in 2021), so it’s entirely possible that Rose will make it to campus next fall but all it takes is one team to have enough conviction to draft Rose high enough to get him to turn pro. Mac Horvath, 3B, North Carolina: Horvath was a Minnesota prep before spending a year at IMG Academy en route to Chapel Hill. Horvath followed up a good sophomore campaign with a solid showing in the Cape Cod League and has been tearing the cover off the ball as a junior. Averaging a home run every 10 at-bats, Horvath has posted an OPS of nearly 1100 through 33 games and is quieting those who questioned his hitting ability. He’s definitely working his way in to top 100 draft prospect status. George Klassen, RHP, Minnesota: There are a few traits that work in your favor if you’re looking to achieve #personalcheeseball status. Being a pitcher that throws over 100 mph is one of those traits. There’s still work to do (23 walks in 30 ⅔ innings) with that fastball and Klassen has a delivery that portends a move to the bullpen, but who doesn’t love it when a manager turns to his bullpen and calls for the flamethrower? Exactly. Oh, and Klassen is a Wisconsin prep who hails from the same hometown (Port Washington) as the late Dustin Diamond aka Screech. Klassen may be an interesting case as he took a redshirt year after Tommy John surgery and has more leverage to return to school as he can reenter the draft two more times. Myles Naylor, SS, Canada prep (committed to Texas Tech): Ok, this might be a stretch because Ontario is far from local, but there’s a couple things to really like here and I didn’t want to wait until covering the shortstops. Naylor is the younger brother of Josh and Bo, so he’s got a built-in advantage of how to “become a pro baseball player.” And he’s young too, turning 18 this month. Analytically-driven teams love the “yeah, but he’s young” model. The other thing that is easy to like - and the most important - is that he’s going to hit and that even if he grows off shortstop, he should hit well enough to find a home in a corner. Dylan Questad, RHP, Wisconsin prep (committed to Arkansas): Always a fan of midwest kids, who sometimes lack exposure, potentially heading to the SEC and that’s Questad. Not big at only 6’0”, Questand probably isn’t going to get much bigger, but has a big fastball and a solid mix of pitches. George Wolkow, OF, Illinois prep (committed to South Carolina): Wolkow is a big dude (6’7”, 220) and because of reclassifying from the 2024 class is likely to be one of the youngest players drafted. His profile is going to be all about his left-handed power. The ceiling is very high, and the floor is very low. But if you’re going to dream, dream big. Easton Breyfogle, OF, Minnesota prep (comitted to Arizona): Breyfogle is arguably the best prep prospect in the state of Minnesota and the left-handed hitting outfielder should have the opportunity to go pro if he chooses. Next week, we will take a closer look at catchers. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own local #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments! View full article
  10. The term “personal cheeseball” (better represented by #personalcheeseball) originated over twenty years ago in the Baseball America offices when former writer and current Twins scout John Manuel started using it as “shorthand for a personal favorite that does not reflect the popular consensus.” And that’s what you’ll see here. The first installment will cover players from the Midwest. These aren’t necessarily the best draft prospects from the area, but players that are more solidly on my radar for one reason or another. My radar isn’t reflective of any single team’s preferences or draft board. Zion Rose, Catcher, IMG Academy (committed to Louisville): If you’re wondering how someone finishing his prep career in Florida counts as a local, it’s because Rose spent his first three years of high school at Brother Rice in Chicago. Catching prospects often seem like the hardest to find and Rose rises to the top with his athleticism and speed. Louisville has had three catchers drafted in the top five rounds over the last three years (including Henry Davis going first overall in 2021), so it’s entirely possible that Rose will make it to campus next fall but all it takes is one team to have enough conviction to draft Rose high enough to get him to turn pro. Mac Horvath, 3B, North Carolina: Horvath was a Minnesota prep before spending a year at IMG Academy en route to Chapel Hill. Horvath followed up a good sophomore campaign with a solid showing in the Cape Cod League and has been tearing the cover off the ball as a junior. Averaging a home run every 10 at-bats, Horvath has posted an OPS of nearly 1100 through 33 games and is quieting those who questioned his hitting ability. He’s definitely working his way in to top 100 draft prospect status. George Klassen, RHP, Minnesota: There are a few traits that work in your favor if you’re looking to achieve #personalcheeseball status. Being a pitcher that throws over 100 mph is one of those traits. There’s still work to do (23 walks in 30 ⅔ innings) with that fastball and Klassen has a delivery that portends a move to the bullpen, but who doesn’t love it when a manager turns to his bullpen and calls for the flamethrower? Exactly. Oh, and Klassen is a Wisconsin prep who hails from the same hometown (Port Washington) as the late Dustin Diamond aka Screech. Klassen may be an interesting case as he took a redshirt year after Tommy John surgery and has more leverage to return to school as he can reenter the draft two more times. Myles Naylor, SS, Canada prep (committed to Texas Tech): Ok, this might be a stretch because Ontario is far from local, but there’s a couple things to really like here and I didn’t want to wait until covering the shortstops. Naylor is the younger brother of Josh and Bo, so he’s got a built-in advantage of how to “become a pro baseball player.” And he’s young too, turning 18 this month. Analytically-driven teams love the “yeah, but he’s young” model. The other thing that is easy to like - and the most important - is that he’s going to hit and that even if he grows off shortstop, he should hit well enough to find a home in a corner. Dylan Questad, RHP, Wisconsin prep (committed to Arkansas): Always a fan of midwest kids, who sometimes lack exposure, potentially heading to the SEC and that’s Questad. Not big at only 6’0”, Questand probably isn’t going to get much bigger, but has a big fastball and a solid mix of pitches. George Wolkow, OF, Illinois prep (committed to South Carolina): Wolkow is a big dude (6’7”, 220) and because of reclassifying from the 2024 class is likely to be one of the youngest players drafted. His profile is going to be all about his left-handed power. The ceiling is very high, and the floor is very low. But if you’re going to dream, dream big. Easton Breyfogle, OF, Minnesota prep (comitted to Arizona): Breyfogle is arguably the best prep prospect in the state of Minnesota and the left-handed hitting outfielder should have the opportunity to go pro if he chooses. Next week, we will take a closer look at catchers. There are plenty of others that could have been listed here. This isn’t to say anyone is or isn’t going to be a good draft or baseball prospect. If you have your own local #personalcheeseball, leave in the comments!
  11. Once the college season gets underway, it’s only a matter of time before we enter Mock Draft SZN. The good folks over at Baseball America aren’t necessarily kicking that off yet, but they’re definitely getting the pump primed with their first Staff Draft. Image courtesy of Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports They carefully explain it’s not a mock draft, per se. They aren’t using any intel to try and determine who these teams are taking. They are instead taking on the role of what they would do if they were in these positions. In this first version, they have the two stud college pitchers (Paul Skenes and Chase Dollander), the best college hitter (Dylan Crews) and the best high school hitter (Max Clark) off the board. This could very well be the reality the Twins face when they go on the clock at pick #5 in July. In this iteration, Tom Lipari selects TCU third baseman Brayden Taylor for the Twins. Lipari says Taylor is “perhaps the best pure college bat in the country” and that he “will continue to add size and strength with time.” A left-handed hitting third baseman, Taylor has certainly looked the part in the batter's box in his two-plus years with the Horned Frogs. He has hit at a .324/.457/.577 (1.034) clip in his career including getting off to a blistering .384/.548/.613 (1.161) start through eight games this season. Impressively, Taylor has always walked more than he has struck out. The knock on Taylor is that he doesn’t project to have a carrying tool. He may silence some critics, though, if he continues to tear the cover off the ball this spring. And there's been evident improvement already. It’s not a well-kept secret that the Twins love to draft (and sometimes trade) hitters. Adding another really good hitter to a stable of them provides the depth that all organizations should love. But who are the Twins passing on? Taylor isn’t the biggest name (at this point) that was available to them. This scenario would have them passing on Florida OF Wyatt Langford as well as Ole Miss SS Jacob Gonzalez, both of whom could be really good options for the Twins at #5. (You can watch Gonzalez, Ole Miss, and other prospects at this weekend's Cambria Classic at US Bank Stadium.) So much can (and ultimately will) change in the next four months. If the draft were today, would you take Taylor? View full article
  12. The Twins made the biggest jump in the first-ever draft lottery. As a result, they'll draft in the Top 5 - not only higher than they expected, but this also gives them more money to spend on their draft class. How is the draft projected to shake out in four months? Carlos Collazo takes his first shot in Baseball America's first mock draft of the season. As you're scrolling through the story, you're going to read one of the most Twins-iest things you could think of when Collazo says this, "Currently it feels like a good year to have a top-four pick." Of course it does. The Twins fall right outside of that range and is there anything more Minnesotan than that!? But don't overreact just yet. If you've been following college baseball at all to this point, you're probably pretty familiar with LSU's Dylan Crews and Florida's Wyatt Langford separating themselves from the pack as hitters and LSU's Paul Skenes (ascending) and Tennessee's Chase Dollander (coming back) in their own tier as pitchers. It should be relatively easy right now to project them as the first four picks as Collazo does. This is where I remind you that funny things - like Kumar Rocker getting drafted third out of nowhere last year - tend to happen. And, worse case scenario, nothing funny happens and the Twins have their pick of the litter outside of the top four in a what is considered to be a very strong draft. In the event those four are gone, Baseball America has the Twins selecting Indiana prep outfielder Max Clark. Collazo says of Clark: The thing about drafting fifth in a "four-man draft" and settling for Clark is that Clark is... a stud. Which parts of his scouting profile don't you like: Vanderbilt commit (ok, you might not love that... some times Vandy guys are hard to sign. But they're also one of the best programs in all of the country. Plus to plus-plus hitting ability Plus-plus running ability No doubt center fielder with plus-plus arm Excellent make-up Projectable power That's a not-yet-19-year-old who is going to be a Top 100 prospect for the next handful of years. Projecting how much power is the biggest question make surrounding Clark. If it comes, you're looking at a middle-of-the lineup hitter who plays premium defense at a premium position. Jacoby Ellsbury is a comparison that you may hear on Clark. Aside from one year where he hit 32 home runs, Ellsbury did most damage with his legs, stealing 50 or more bases three times. It wasn't a highly-decorated career, but Ellsbury was Rookie of the Year, a one-time All-Star, Golden Glover and Silver Slugger. He twice received MVP votes. At any rate, Clark projects to be a difference-maker. It's also important to remember that college players get a head-start on their season - and to make an impression in their draft season. Clark still has plenty of time to play himself out of the Twins range. Which other players would you like to see play their way into the Twins draft discussion? --- You'll be able to see how things change through the mock draft season. TWINS MOCK DRAFTS Baseball America BA Staff Mayo TwinsDaily McDaniel Callis Law Max Clark, OF, Indiana HS (V1.0 3/16 Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU (V1.0 3/2) STORY View full article
  13. As you're scrolling through the story, you're going to read one of the most Twins-iest things you could think of when Collazo says this, "Currently it feels like a good year to have a top-four pick." Of course it does. The Twins fall right outside of that range and is there anything more Minnesotan than that!? But don't overreact just yet. If you've been following college baseball at all to this point, you're probably pretty familiar with LSU's Dylan Crews and Florida's Wyatt Langford separating themselves from the pack as hitters and LSU's Paul Skenes (ascending) and Tennessee's Chase Dollander (coming back) in their own tier as pitchers. It should be relatively easy right now to project them as the first four picks as Collazo does. This is where I remind you that funny things - like Kumar Rocker getting drafted third out of nowhere last year - tend to happen. And, worse case scenario, nothing funny happens and the Twins have their pick of the litter outside of the top four in a what is considered to be a very strong draft. In the event those four are gone, Baseball America has the Twins selecting Indiana prep outfielder Max Clark. Collazo says of Clark: The thing about drafting fifth in a "four-man draft" and settling for Clark is that Clark is... a stud. Which parts of his scouting profile don't you like: Vanderbilt commit (ok, you might not love that... some times Vandy guys are hard to sign. But they're also one of the best programs in all of the country. Plus to plus-plus hitting ability Plus-plus running ability No doubt center fielder with plus-plus arm Excellent make-up Projectable power That's a not-yet-19-year-old who is going to be a Top 100 prospect for the next handful of years. Projecting how much power is the biggest question make surrounding Clark. If it comes, you're looking at a middle-of-the lineup hitter who plays premium defense at a premium position. Jacoby Ellsbury is a comparison that you may hear on Clark. Aside from one year where he hit 32 home runs, Ellsbury did most damage with his legs, stealing 50 or more bases three times. It wasn't a highly-decorated career, but Ellsbury was Rookie of the Year, a one-time All-Star, Golden Glover and Silver Slugger. He twice received MVP votes. At any rate, Clark projects to be a difference-maker. It's also important to remember that college players get a head-start on their season - and to make an impression in their draft season. Clark still has plenty of time to play himself out of the Twins range. Which other players would you like to see play their way into the Twins draft discussion? --- You'll be able to see how things change through the mock draft season. TWINS MOCK DRAFTS Baseball America BA Staff Mayo TwinsDaily McDaniel Callis Law Max Clark, OF, Indiana HS (V1.0 3/16 Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU (V1.0 3/2) STORY
  14. They carefully explain it’s not a mock draft, per se. They aren’t using any intel to try and determine who these teams are taking. They are instead taking on the role of what they would do if they were in these positions. In this first version, they have the two stud college pitchers (Paul Skenes and Chase Dollander), the best college hitter (Dylan Crews) and the best high school hitter (Max Clark) off the board. This could very well be the reality the Twins face when they go on the clock at pick #5 in July. In this iteration, Tom Lipari selects TCU third baseman Brayden Taylor for the Twins. Lipari says Taylor is “perhaps the best pure college bat in the country” and that he “will continue to add size and strength with time.” A left-handed hitting third baseman, Taylor has certainly looked the part in the batter's box in his two-plus years with the Horned Frogs. He has hit at a .324/.457/.577 (1.034) clip in his career including getting off to a blistering .384/.548/.613 (1.161) start through eight games this season. Impressively, Taylor has always walked more than he has struck out. The knock on Taylor is that he doesn’t project to have a carrying tool. He may silence some critics, though, if he continues to tear the cover off the ball this spring. And there's been evident improvement already. It’s not a well-kept secret that the Twins love to draft (and sometimes trade) hitters. Adding another really good hitter to a stable of them provides the depth that all organizations should love. But who are the Twins passing on? Taylor isn’t the biggest name (at this point) that was available to them. This scenario would have them passing on Florida OF Wyatt Langford as well as Ole Miss SS Jacob Gonzalez, both of whom could be really good options for the Twins at #5. (You can watch Gonzalez, Ole Miss, and other prospects at this weekend's Cambria Classic at US Bank Stadium.) So much can (and ultimately will) change in the next four months. If the draft were today, would you take Taylor?
  15. We’re still a half year away from the 2023 MLB Draft and, for the most part, every draft-eligible player will have many opportunities to help or hurt their draft stock. Today, we’re going to do a fun exercise where we look at the Twins draft spots and compare them to the recently-released Baseball America Top 200 draft prospects. The Twins had luck on their side when they moved up to the 5th draft spot earlier this winter. As a result, the organization is likely going to add another Top 100 prospect to their stable. Currently, the big two names are LSU outfielder Dylan Crews and Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander. You'll see a lot of names come in after that - almost exclusively hitters - which plays well for a Twins organization that has developed a pattern of drafting college hitters. #5 - Baseball America ranks prep outfielder Max Clark from Franklin, Indiana and a Vanderbilt commit as the #5 prospect. Clark fits the Twins M.O. as someone who is referred to as a “pure hitter.” As is typical with a hitter who doesn’t swing and miss often, there isn’t a lot of evident power. With the athleticism and instincts to play center field and the arm to play right, Clark checks a lot of boxes the Twins typically value. Likelihood: Low. While Clark fits the skill profile, the Twins organization has favored college hitters and the Twins shouldn’t miss out with a Top 5 pick. Jacob Wilson, a shortstop from Grand Canyon University, is ranked #7 and has elite bat-to-ball ability. He’s also got MLB bloodlines. It wouldn’t be hard to draw (aside from only being a right-handed hitter) comparisons to Brooks Lee. After drafting in Competitive Balance Round B last year, the Twins will draft in the Round A this year. Adding the 34th overall pick not only allows the team to add another highly-rated prospect, but gives them the advantage of having additional pool money to spend. #34 - A number of teams forfeited their second-round pick to sign a free agent, so the Twins get to draft tenth in the second round. The 34th-ranked player by Baseball America is Virginia Tech outfielder Jack Hurley. Having a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, Hurley is going to have to hit for power to make up for it. There’s not doubt the Twins saw plenty of Hurley while scouting Tanner Schobel, their second-round pick in 2022, as well as when Hurley played for Team USA this summer. Likelihood: Reasonably high. It makes sense from the perspective that the Twins would draft another Matt Wallner-type player: strikeouts, power and powerful arm. But once you get out of the top 10 picks, let alone the first round, projecting any specific player to a team proves futile. #49 - This one might make you chuckle. Last year, the Twins selected a falling Alabama southpaw in Connor Prielipp. Right now, Baseball America has Grayson Hill, an Alabaman southpaw, ranked forty-ninth overall. Hill lacked great control both at Alabama and in the Cape Cod League, but has shown flashes of big-time stuff. Likelihood: Coin toss. Pitching will likely dominate the Top 10 rounds for the Twins and the organization has a great relationship with the Alabama coaching staff. Hill seems to be more a project than the Twins typically take. #82 - Coming in as the 82nd ranked prospect is Wisconsin prep right-hander Dylan Questad. Committed to Arkansas, Questad falls into the category where you either have to get drafted this high or enroll at college, which most Wisconsin prep pitcher do (most notable, of late, to do that is the aforementioned Prielipp.) Likelihood: Low. Not for any other reason than because the Twins have a penchant for going the college route. Three years from now, Questad could definitely figure prominently on the Twins draft board. #113 - Jared Dickey is the 113th ranked prospect. A few things pop out immediately: He’s listed as an outfielder/catcher. The Twins desperately need to add catching prospects. He walks more than he strikes out. And he’s from Tennessee, a tough SEC school from which the Twins have plucked from three times since 2020 (Jorel Ortega, Jake Rucker and Alerick Soulaire). Likelihood: As high as you’d see at this point. He does things the Twins like and he’s from a place the Twins like to draft from. #149 - Ranked 149th is Liberty right-hander Trey Gibson. Gibson struggled and was hurt in 2022 and, when he was healthy, had a hard time throwing strikes. He’s raw, with upside, which is as good of gamble to take at this point of the draft as any. Likelihood: Low. But drafting a college pitcher here is almost definitely going to be the way the team goes. #179 - The Twins match up with another son-of-a-former-MLBer in Oregon prep lefty Paul Wilson at #179. Wilson is committed to Oregon State, the same college his father, Trevor, pitched for in the 80s. Likelihood: I’d bet on Wilson fulfilling his commitment to the Beavers. It’s normal to see preps ranked in the Top 200 not sign or, in some cases, not even get drafted. And that’s part of the danger of taking rankings as trying to use them as a quasi-mock draft. There’s still a lot of time to go between now and the July draft, but sometimes you just need a dose of it to get the draft blood flowing! View full article
  16. The Twins had luck on their side when they moved up to the 5th draft spot earlier this winter. As a result, the organization is likely going to add another Top 100 prospect to their stable. Currently, the big two names are LSU outfielder Dylan Crews and Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander. You'll see a lot of names come in after that - almost exclusively hitters - which plays well for a Twins organization that has developed a pattern of drafting college hitters. #5 - Baseball America ranks prep outfielder Max Clark from Franklin, Indiana and a Vanderbilt commit as the #5 prospect. Clark fits the Twins M.O. as someone who is referred to as a “pure hitter.” As is typical with a hitter who doesn’t swing and miss often, there isn’t a lot of evident power. With the athleticism and instincts to play center field and the arm to play right, Clark checks a lot of boxes the Twins typically value. Likelihood: Low. While Clark fits the skill profile, the Twins organization has favored college hitters and the Twins shouldn’t miss out with a Top 5 pick. Jacob Wilson, a shortstop from Grand Canyon University, is ranked #7 and has elite bat-to-ball ability. He’s also got MLB bloodlines. It wouldn’t be hard to draw (aside from only being a right-handed hitter) comparisons to Brooks Lee. After drafting in Competitive Balance Round B last year, the Twins will draft in the Round A this year. Adding the 34th overall pick not only allows the team to add another highly-rated prospect, but gives them the advantage of having additional pool money to spend. #34 - A number of teams forfeited their second-round pick to sign a free agent, so the Twins get to draft tenth in the second round. The 34th-ranked player by Baseball America is Virginia Tech outfielder Jack Hurley. Having a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, Hurley is going to have to hit for power to make up for it. There’s not doubt the Twins saw plenty of Hurley while scouting Tanner Schobel, their second-round pick in 2022, as well as when Hurley played for Team USA this summer. Likelihood: Reasonably high. It makes sense from the perspective that the Twins would draft another Matt Wallner-type player: strikeouts, power and powerful arm. But once you get out of the top 10 picks, let alone the first round, projecting any specific player to a team proves futile. #49 - This one might make you chuckle. Last year, the Twins selected a falling Alabama southpaw in Connor Prielipp. Right now, Baseball America has Grayson Hill, an Alabaman southpaw, ranked forty-ninth overall. Hill lacked great control both at Alabama and in the Cape Cod League, but has shown flashes of big-time stuff. Likelihood: Coin toss. Pitching will likely dominate the Top 10 rounds for the Twins and the organization has a great relationship with the Alabama coaching staff. Hill seems to be more a project than the Twins typically take. #82 - Coming in as the 82nd ranked prospect is Wisconsin prep right-hander Dylan Questad. Committed to Arkansas, Questad falls into the category where you either have to get drafted this high or enroll at college, which most Wisconsin prep pitcher do (most notable, of late, to do that is the aforementioned Prielipp.) Likelihood: Low. Not for any other reason than because the Twins have a penchant for going the college route. Three years from now, Questad could definitely figure prominently on the Twins draft board. #113 - Jared Dickey is the 113th ranked prospect. A few things pop out immediately: He’s listed as an outfielder/catcher. The Twins desperately need to add catching prospects. He walks more than he strikes out. And he’s from Tennessee, a tough SEC school from which the Twins have plucked from three times since 2020 (Jorel Ortega, Jake Rucker and Alerick Soulaire). Likelihood: As high as you’d see at this point. He does things the Twins like and he’s from a place the Twins like to draft from. #149 - Ranked 149th is Liberty right-hander Trey Gibson. Gibson struggled and was hurt in 2022 and, when he was healthy, had a hard time throwing strikes. He’s raw, with upside, which is as good of gamble to take at this point of the draft as any. Likelihood: Low. But drafting a college pitcher here is almost definitely going to be the way the team goes. #179 - The Twins match up with another son-of-a-former-MLBer in Oregon prep lefty Paul Wilson at #179. Wilson is committed to Oregon State, the same college his father, Trevor, pitched for in the 80s. Likelihood: I’d bet on Wilson fulfilling his commitment to the Beavers. It’s normal to see preps ranked in the Top 200 not sign or, in some cases, not even get drafted. And that’s part of the danger of taking rankings as trying to use them as a quasi-mock draft. There’s still a lot of time to go between now and the July draft, but sometimes you just need a dose of it to get the draft blood flowing!
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