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  1. There are a lot of pressures that come with having the draft’s first pick and that pressure was felt by the newly hired front office duo of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Multiple names were in the conversation for first overall pick and two of the top-five picks have already made their big-league debuts. Let’s see what the Twins passed over to take Lewis. Royce Lewis, Pick 1- Minnesota Twins Lewis is out for all of 2021 after needing to undergo ACL surgery this spring. That being said, he is only 22 years old, and his future still looks promising. When he was last on the field, he won MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League after hitting .353/.411/.565 (.975) with 12 extra-base hits in 22 games. This was on the heels of a 2019 season that saw him reach Double-A, but he also struggled offensively as he combined for a .661 OPS. He entered the 2021 season as a top-35 prospect on all three major national rankings. At Twins Daily, he was ranked as the organization’s number two overall prospect behind Alex Kirilloff. Hunter Greene, Pick 2- Cincinnati Reds Leading into the draft, Greene was on the cover of Sports Illustrated comparing him to Lebron James and Babe Ruth. No pressure, right? As a teenager, he could hit over 100 mph so there was plenty to be excited about. His first two professional seasons didn’t exactly go perfectly as he struggled with command while striking out a ton of batters. Then an elbow injury struck, and he underwent Tommy John surgery which means this year was his first back on the mound since 2018. At Double-A this season, Greene is almost four years younger than the average age of the competition. He’s also living up to his high draft status for the first time. In six starts (35 innings), he has a 2.31 ERA with a 51 to 10 strikeout to walk ratio. Greene has yet to face a batter younger than himself and he has held hitters to a .541 OPS. MLB.com was the only major prospect ranking to include Greene coming into the season and that will likely change heading into 2022. MacKenzie Gore, Pick 3- San Diego Padres Gore didn’t make the cover of Sports Illustrated as an amateur, but he might wind up being the best high school pitcher taken in 2017. Entering the 2021 season, Gore was considered a top-12 prospect in baseball by all three major rankings. In his last full season (2019), he split time between High-A and Double-A. For the season, he posted a 1.69 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP while striking out 12 batters per nine innings. So far in 2021, he has made four starts at Triple-A and there have been some struggles as he has allowed 11 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings. He’s also dealing with a blister issue that has kept him from making all his turns in the rotation. It’s early in the season and he is a 22-year-old getting his first taste of Triple-A. His future still looks bright. Brendan McKay, Pick 4- Tampa Bay Rays McKay was an intriguing amateur as he was a two-way player during his collegiate career at Louisville. When it came to the draft, some teams saw him as a pitcher and other’s saw him as a hitter. As the draft approached, he was interested in going to an organization that would continue to allow him to continue be a two-way player. There have been some mixed results, so far in his professional career. As a hitter, he has combined for a .679 OPS throughout his minor league career. At the big-league level, he has gone 2-for-10 with a home run and a walk. McKay was a powerful hitter in college as he posted a .966 OPS in three collegiate seasons, so his bat hasn’t lived up to the hype. As a pitcher, he has posted a 1.78 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP with 226 strikeouts in 172 minor league innings. His big-league appearances (13 games) have resulted in a 5.14 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. He has yet to make a pitching appearance this season after having season-ending shoulder surgery in August 2020. Obviously, it is going to take years to know if Lewis was the right pick. With the Twins pitching struggles, some of the other arms look intriguing in retrospect. Twins fans can hope that Lewis ends up being a multi-time All-Star that is the face of the franchise. If you could go back and make the pick, would Lewis be your first choice? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. It’s been nearly four seasons since the Twins had the number one pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. As time passes, more players from this draft are starting to debut, so did the Twins make the right pick? There are a lot of pressures that come with having the draft’s first pick and that pressure was felt by the newly hired front office duo of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Multiple names were in the conversation for first overall pick and two of the top-five picks have already made their big-league debuts. Let’s see what the Twins passed over to take Lewis. Royce Lewis, Pick 1- Minnesota Twins Lewis is out for all of 2021 after needing to undergo ACL surgery this spring. That being said, he is only 22 years old, and his future still looks promising. When he was last on the field, he won MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League after hitting .353/.411/.565 (.975) with 12 extra-base hits in 22 games. This was on the heels of a 2019 season that saw him reach Double-A, but he also struggled offensively as he combined for a .661 OPS. He entered the 2021 season as a top-35 prospect on all three major national rankings. At Twins Daily, he was ranked as the organization’s number two overall prospect behind Alex Kirilloff. Hunter Greene, Pick 2- Cincinnati Reds Leading into the draft, Greene was on the cover of Sports Illustrated comparing him to Lebron James and Babe Ruth. No pressure, right? As a teenager, he could hit over 100 mph so there was plenty to be excited about. His first two professional seasons didn’t exactly go perfectly as he struggled with command while striking out a ton of batters. Then an elbow injury struck, and he underwent Tommy John surgery which means this year was his first back on the mound since 2018. At Double-A this season, Greene is almost four years younger than the average age of the competition. He’s also living up to his high draft status for the first time. In six starts (35 innings), he has a 2.31 ERA with a 51 to 10 strikeout to walk ratio. Greene has yet to face a batter younger than himself and he has held hitters to a .541 OPS. MLB.com was the only major prospect ranking to include Greene coming into the season and that will likely change heading into 2022. MacKenzie Gore, Pick 3- San Diego Padres Gore didn’t make the cover of Sports Illustrated as an amateur, but he might wind up being the best high school pitcher taken in 2017. Entering the 2021 season, Gore was considered a top-12 prospect in baseball by all three major rankings. In his last full season (2019), he split time between High-A and Double-A. For the season, he posted a 1.69 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP while striking out 12 batters per nine innings. So far in 2021, he has made four starts at Triple-A and there have been some struggles as he has allowed 11 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings. He’s also dealing with a blister issue that has kept him from making all his turns in the rotation. It’s early in the season and he is a 22-year-old getting his first taste of Triple-A. His future still looks bright. Brendan McKay, Pick 4- Tampa Bay Rays McKay was an intriguing amateur as he was a two-way player during his collegiate career at Louisville. When it came to the draft, some teams saw him as a pitcher and other’s saw him as a hitter. As the draft approached, he was interested in going to an organization that would continue to allow him to continue be a two-way player. There have been some mixed results, so far in his professional career. As a hitter, he has combined for a .679 OPS throughout his minor league career. At the big-league level, he has gone 2-for-10 with a home run and a walk. McKay was a powerful hitter in college as he posted a .966 OPS in three collegiate seasons, so his bat hasn’t lived up to the hype. As a pitcher, he has posted a 1.78 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP with 226 strikeouts in 172 minor league innings. His big-league appearances (13 games) have resulted in a 5.14 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. He has yet to make a pitching appearance this season after having season-ending shoulder surgery in August 2020. Obviously, it is going to take years to know if Lewis was the right pick. With the Twins pitching struggles, some of the other arms look intriguing in retrospect. Twins fans can hope that Lewis ends up being a multi-time All-Star that is the face of the franchise. If you could go back and make the pick, would Lewis be your first choice? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  3. On Tuesday afternoon, news came out that Brent Rooker had been promoted from Elizabethton to Ft. Myers. It was a strategy the Twins had mentioned after selecting the four-year college start from Mississippi State with the 35th overall pick (supplemental 1st round). He played in 22 games for Elizabethton and posted a.952 OPS with seven homers. John Bonnes tweeted the following: I hear stuff like that a lot. Many believe that the Twins aren’t aggressive enough with prospects. But for a 2017 draft pick, even a college hitter, I think that jumping to High-A ball is pretty aggressive. But honestly, I was just really curious. I needed to know.So, I went to Baseball-Reference (I know, obviously) and researched which college hitters were drafted ahead of Brent Rooker in the 2017 draft. I was curious to see where other teams had started those players and where they are now, if different. Secondly, because Rooker is a four-year college guy (the Twins actually drafted him in 2016 in the 38th round), I thought it would make sense to look at the college hitters drafted in the first round in 2016 as well. For them, I was curious where they got to by the end of 2016 as well as where they are right now, midway through the 2017 season. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, but I did have a couple of assumptions in my mind before doing the research. I assumed that none of the other college hitters drafted in 2017 have reached High-A yet. I did expect that a couple of the very high draft picks would be at Low A by now.I assumed that most of the college hitters drafted in 2016’s first round were at least at High-A, unless there was an injury at play or something.The College Hitters Drafted in 2017 ahead of Brent Rooker (4) Brendan McKay - Tampa Bay Rays - There were rumors that the Twins were interested in the two-way player from Louisville. To this point, McKay has played in just two games in the New York-Penn League (NYPL) which is a short-season A league. The Twins don’t have a short-season A club, but the level is between Advanced Rookie Leagues like the Appalachian League and Low-A Leagues like the Midwest League. McKay is 0-8 with 4 strikeouts, but I think that would be considered Small Sample Size. (7) Pavin Smith - Virginia - Arizona Diamondbacks - Smith has played in 20 games for the DBacks affiliate in the Northwest League. Like the NYPL, the Northwest League is a short-season A league. (8) Adam Haseley - Virginia - Philadelphia Phillies - Smith’s teammate began his pro career with three games in the GCL before moving up to the NYPL where he’s played in 14 games. (9) Keston Hiura - Milwaukee Brewers - Hiura, who was drafted out of UC-Irvine, has played in 15 games for the Brewers affiliate in the Arizona League which is similar to the Gulf Coast League (the lower short-season league), though he is hitting .435 (1.339 OPS). (11) Jake Burger - Chicago White Sox - Burger was drafted out of Missouri State. He played in four games in the Arizona League before moving up to the White Sox Low A affiliate in the South Atlantic League (Low A). (17) Evan White - Seattle Mariners - The first baseman was drafted out of Kentucky. The Mariners have had him play 14 games so far in the Northwest League (short-season A). (22) Logan Warmoth - Toronto Blue Jays - The middle infielder selected out of North Carolina began his career with five games in the GCL. He moved up to the Northwest League (short-season). (23) Jaren Kendall - Los Angeles Dodgers - The Wisconsin kid was drafted out of Vanderbilt. He signed on the final signing day, so he is yet to play in a game. (33) Kevin Merrell - Oakland A’s - Drafted out of South Florida, the A’s placed Merrell in the NYPL to start his career. SUMMARY Of nine college hitters drafted before Brent Rooker at the 35th pick, here is the quick breakdown of where they are playing right now: Low Rookie - 1 Advanced Rookie - 3 Short-season A - 3 Low A - 1 Rooker played 22 games for Elizabethton (Advanced Rookie) before playing in his first Ft. Myers Miracle (High-A) game on Tuesday night. While he is the first to play in High-A from this group, it doesn’t mean he’ll be the last. In fact, it’s likely he won’t be. He shouldn’t be as the 35th overall pick, not when there are five college hitters who were taken in the first 11 picks. And, of course, on an even bigger level, we won’t really know the value of any of these picks for another half-dozen years, at least. The College Hitters Drafted In 2016s First Round (2) Nick Senzel - Cincinnati Reds - The second overall pick in the draft out of Tennessee, Senzel reached the Midwest League last season. He began this year in the Florida State League, but he was promoted to AA where he has now played 23 games. (5) Corey Ray - Milwaukee Brewers - Drafted out of Louisville, Ray started his career with three games in Low A before being pushed to High A where he played 57 games to end the season. That is where he remains to this point in the 2017 season as well. The only difference is that the Brewers High-A affiliate is now in the Carolina League. (10) Zack Collins - Chicago White Sox - Collins was playing in the Florida State League shortly after playing in the College World Series. That is where he remains to this point in the 2017 season. (11) Kyle Lewis - Seattle Mariners - Lewis was believed by some to be a possibility as the #1 overall pick. He fell to #11 and played some in the short-season A ball league. He had a major knee injury and has just recently began to play in 2017, playing two games in High A. (16) Matt Thaiss - Los Angeles Angels - The first baseman from Virginia began his career last year in rookie ball before playing 52 games in Low A. He began 2017 in High A before being promoted to AA about a couple of weeks ago (22) Will Craig - Pittsburgh Pirates - The third baseman from Wake Forest spent his entire 2016 pro season in the NYPL. This season, he jumped straight to High-A, where he remains. (32) Will Smith - Los Angeles Dodgers - The catcher from Louisville spent about two weeks in rookie ball, 23 games in Low A and 25 games in High A in 2016. He began 2017 in High A with 72 more games in High A. He was promoted to AA about a week ago. He played one game before landing on the DL. (39) Anfernee Grier - Arizona Diamondbacks - After signing last year out of Auburn, Grier split his 2016 between two levels of the rookie leagues. He has spent the 2017 season in Low A ball. 2016 SUMMARY There were eight college hitters selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. Here is where they ended their 2016 season (First pro season): Short-season A - 2 Low A - 3 High A - 3 Here is where those eight players are right now: Low A - 1 High A - 4 AA - 3 (the three players have a combined 33 games in AA) OVERALL SUMMARY Brent Rooker was the Triple Crown winner in the SEC this year at Mississippi State. He is the first to do that since Rafael Palmiero. In other words, he should be considered an advanced hitting prospect. Hence, he was selected with the 35th overall pick a year after the Twins made him the 38th round pick. I understand that Rooker is 22, and he will turn 23 in November. While many want to push him to the big leagues in 2018 or early in 2019, I’m not even a little bit concerned about that. I want him to come up when he is ready to come up and contribute, whether that is in June of 2018 or July of 2020. The reality is that the Twins can get 6+ seasons out of a player before free agency hits. I don’t care whether those are their age 21 through 28 seasons or 25 through 32 seasons. Brian Dozier was a four-year guy. He debuted within two years of being drafted. Mitch Garver was a four-year guy. As a catcher, he’s taken a little longer to develop behind the plate. So, he’s 26, but when he comes up (hopefully soon), he will be ready to go. Trevor Hildenberger was a five-year college guy. His first pro season was spent only in the GCL. Does that matter now? We need to get rid of the stigma placed upon these guys that they are older than their level, even if it is factual. It just isn’t all that important. At the same time, I do think it is important to do a little research like this. I didn’t know what it would tell me. However, when honestly comparing where Rooker is relative to his draft class (2017) or his age class (2016 college draft picks as juniors), the Twins are certainly pushing him with this promotion to Ft. Myers. ---------------------------------------------------- BONUS CONTENT Looking at this, I was curious where some of the other college hitters that the Twins drafted and signed in recent years are now. Here’s a very quick look. 2016: (7) Matt Albanese - Bryant College (RI) - Elizabethton (debuting this season due to wrist injuries) (9) Mitchell Kranson - California - Ft. Myers (10) Brandon Lopez - Miami - Ft. Myers (14) Andre Jernigan - Xavier - Cedar Rapids (22) Hank Morrison - Mercyhurst (PA) - Cedar Rapids (23) Caleb Hamilton - Oregon State - Cedar Rapids (29) Dane Hutcheon - Montevallo (AL) - Elizabethton (down from Ft. Myers for Rooker) (31) Juan Gamez - NDSU - Elizabethton (drafted as catcher, transitioned to pitching) (34) Joe Cronin - Boston College - Cedar Rapids (39) Casey Scoggins - Tampa - Release (after spending time in Ft. Myers early this year) From 2015, Chris Paul (6), Sean Miller (10), Zander Wiel (12), and Jaylin Davis (24) are with the Miracle. LaMonte Wade (9) and Alex Perez (23) are with the Lookouts. Five other college hitter picks have been released. I show this only to show how difficult the path is to the big leagues, even for college hitters. Even for college hitters from big-time colleges in big-time conferences. Baseball is Good, but Baseball is Hard! Click here to view the article
  4. So, I went to Baseball-Reference (I know, obviously) and researched which college hitters were drafted ahead of Brent Rooker in the 2017 draft. I was curious to see where other teams had started those players and where they are now, if different. Secondly, because Rooker is a four-year college guy (the Twins actually drafted him in 2016 in the 38th round), I thought it would make sense to look at the college hitters drafted in the first round in 2016 as well. For them, I was curious where they got to by the end of 2016 as well as where they are right now, midway through the 2017 season. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, but I did have a couple of assumptions in my mind before doing the research. I assumed that none of the other college hitters drafted in 2017 have reached High-A yet. I did expect that a couple of the very high draft picks would be at Low A by now. I assumed that most of the college hitters drafted in 2016’s first round were at least at High-A, unless there was an injury at play or something. The College Hitters Drafted in 2017 ahead of Brent Rooker (4) Brendan McKay - Tampa Bay Rays - There were rumors that the Twins were interested in the two-way player from Louisville. To this point, McKay has played in just two games in the New York-Penn League (NYPL) which is a short-season A league. The Twins don’t have a short-season A club, but the level is between Advanced Rookie Leagues like the Appalachian League and Low-A Leagues like the Midwest League. McKay is 0-8 with 4 strikeouts, but I think that would be considered Small Sample Size. (7) Pavin Smith - Virginia - Arizona Diamondbacks - Smith has played in 20 games for the DBacks affiliate in the Northwest League. Like the NYPL, the Northwest League is a short-season A league. (8) Adam Haseley - Virginia - Philadelphia Phillies - Smith’s teammate began his pro career with three games in the GCL before moving up to the NYPL where he’s played in 14 games. (9) Keston Hiura - Milwaukee Brewers - Hiura, who was drafted out of UC-Irvine, has played in 15 games for the Brewers affiliate in the Arizona League which is similar to the Gulf Coast League (the lower short-season league), though he is hitting .435 (1.339 OPS). (11) Jake Burger - Chicago White Sox - Burger was drafted out of Missouri State. He played in four games in the Arizona League before moving up to the White Sox Low A affiliate in the South Atlantic League (Low A). (17) Evan White - Seattle Mariners - The first baseman was drafted out of Kentucky. The Mariners have had him play 14 games so far in the Northwest League (short-season A). (22) Logan Warmoth - Toronto Blue Jays - The middle infielder selected out of North Carolina began his career with five games in the GCL. He moved up to the Northwest League (short-season). (23) Jaren Kendall - Los Angeles Dodgers - The Wisconsin kid was drafted out of Vanderbilt. He signed on the final signing day, so he is yet to play in a game. (33) Kevin Merrell - Oakland A’s - Drafted out of South Florida, the A’s placed Merrell in the NYPL to start his career. SUMMARY Of nine college hitters drafted before Brent Rooker at the 35th pick, here is the quick breakdown of where they are playing right now: Low Rookie - 1 Advanced Rookie - 3 Short-season A - 3 Low A - 1 Rooker played 22 games for Elizabethton (Advanced Rookie) before playing in his first Ft. Myers Miracle (High-A) game on Tuesday night. While he is the first to play in High-A from this group, it doesn’t mean he’ll be the last. In fact, it’s likely he won’t be. He shouldn’t be as the 35th overall pick, not when there are five college hitters who were taken in the first 11 picks. And, of course, on an even bigger level, we won’t really know the value of any of these picks for another half-dozen years, at least. The College Hitters Drafted In 2016s First Round (2) Nick Senzel - Cincinnati Reds - The second overall pick in the draft out of Tennessee, Senzel reached the Midwest League last season. He began this year in the Florida State League, but he was promoted to AA where he has now played 23 games. (5) Corey Ray - Milwaukee Brewers - Drafted out of Louisville, Ray started his career with three games in Low A before being pushed to High A where he played 57 games to end the season. That is where he remains to this point in the 2017 season as well. The only difference is that the Brewers High-A affiliate is now in the Carolina League. (10) Zack Collins - Chicago White Sox - Collins was playing in the Florida State League shortly after playing in the College World Series. That is where he remains to this point in the 2017 season. (11) Kyle Lewis - Seattle Mariners - Lewis was believed by some to be a possibility as the #1 overall pick. He fell to #11 and played some in the short-season A ball league. He had a major knee injury and has just recently began to play in 2017, playing two games in High A. (16) Matt Thaiss - Los Angeles Angels - The first baseman from Virginia began his career last year in rookie ball before playing 52 games in Low A. He began 2017 in High A before being promoted to AA about a couple of weeks ago (22) Will Craig - Pittsburgh Pirates - The third baseman from Wake Forest spent his entire 2016 pro season in the NYPL. This season, he jumped straight to High-A, where he remains. (32) Will Smith - Los Angeles Dodgers - The catcher from Louisville spent about two weeks in rookie ball, 23 games in Low A and 25 games in High A in 2016. He began 2017 in High A with 72 more games in High A. He was promoted to AA about a week ago. He played one game before landing on the DL. (39) Anfernee Grier - Arizona Diamondbacks - After signing last year out of Auburn, Grier split his 2016 between two levels of the rookie leagues. He has spent the 2017 season in Low A ball. 2016 SUMMARY There were eight college hitters selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. Here is where they ended their 2016 season (First pro season): Short-season A - 2 Low A - 3 High A - 3 Here is where those eight players are right now: Low A - 1 High A - 4 AA - 3 (the three players have a combined 33 games in AA) OVERALL SUMMARY Brent Rooker was the Triple Crown winner in the SEC this year at Mississippi State. He is the first to do that since Rafael Palmiero. In other words, he should be considered an advanced hitting prospect. Hence, he was selected with the 35th overall pick a year after the Twins made him the 38th round pick. I understand that Rooker is 22, and he will turn 23 in November. While many want to push him to the big leagues in 2018 or early in 2019, I’m not even a little bit concerned about that. I want him to come up when he is ready to come up and contribute, whether that is in June of 2018 or July of 2020. The reality is that the Twins can get 6+ seasons out of a player before free agency hits. I don’t care whether those are their age 21 through 28 seasons or 25 through 32 seasons. Brian Dozier was a four-year guy. He debuted within two years of being drafted. Mitch Garver was a four-year guy. As a catcher, he’s taken a little longer to develop behind the plate. So, he’s 26, but when he comes up (hopefully soon), he will be ready to go. Trevor Hildenberger was a five-year college guy. His first pro season was spent only in the GCL. Does that matter now? We need to get rid of the stigma placed upon these guys that they are older than their level, even if it is factual. It just isn’t all that important. At the same time, I do think it is important to do a little research like this. I didn’t know what it would tell me. However, when honestly comparing where Rooker is relative to his draft class (2017) or his age class (2016 college draft picks as juniors), the Twins are certainly pushing him with this promotion to Ft. Myers. ---------------------------------------------------- BONUS CONTENT Looking at this, I was curious where some of the other college hitters that the Twins drafted and signed in recent years are now. Here’s a very quick look. 2016: (7) Matt Albanese - Bryant College (RI) - Elizabethton (debuting this season due to wrist injuries) (9) Mitchell Kranson - California - Ft. Myers (10) Brandon Lopez - Miami - Ft. Myers (14) Andre Jernigan - Xavier - Cedar Rapids (22) Hank Morrison - Mercyhurst (PA) - Cedar Rapids (23) Caleb Hamilton - Oregon State - Cedar Rapids (29) Dane Hutcheon - Montevallo (AL) - Elizabethton (down from Ft. Myers for Rooker) (31) Juan Gamez - NDSU - Elizabethton (drafted as catcher, transitioned to pitching) (34) Joe Cronin - Boston College - Cedar Rapids (39) Casey Scoggins - Tampa - Release (after spending time in Ft. Myers early this year) From 2015, Chris Paul (6), Sean Miller (10), Zander Wiel (12), and Jaylin Davis (24) are with the Miracle. LaMonte Wade (9) and Alex Perez (23) are with the Lookouts. Five other college hitter picks have been released. I show this only to show how difficult the path is to the big leagues, even for college hitters. Even for college hitters from big-time colleges in big-time conferences. Baseball is Good, but Baseball is Hard!
  5. Yesterday became a whirlwind as the hours and minutes counted down to the Twins making the first overall selection. No experts or reporters were able to crack the Twins front office and figure out who the club would be taking at the top of the draft. It really did feel like it was coming down to the wire. Eventually, the Twins decided on prep shortstop Royce Lewis. He wasn't the highest ranked prospect on many draft boards so why did he end up in Minnesota? Did the Twins have a different plan with the first pick?Most predictions leading into Monday night had the Twins going after college pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay. Multiple reports surfaced on Monday that McKay was the target for the Twins but he declined the offer the Twins had on the table. McKay would fall to the Tampa Bay Rays with the fourth overall pick. It might have come down to the dollar amount. The assigned value for the first overall pick is $7,770,700 but team's rarely hand out the total amount of that bonus. For the fourth pick, the assigned value was $6,153,600 which is over $1.6 million less than the top spot. It also looks like the Twins offer to Lewis could save the team up to $1.3 million. In interviews last night, McKay made it clear that the Twins had approached him with an offer. He said, "They had offered a number that we felt that we could get a better offer from another team." The Twins saved some money on the top pick and wanted to transfer that savings to later picks in the draft. It's just hard to imagine their offer to McKay would have been less than the value of the fourth pick. Another reasons McKay might have turned down the Twins was his on field position. McKay had told different media outlets that the Twins preferred him as a pitcher. When the Rays called McKay's name, he was announced as a first baseman. He clearly likes playing both positions and there's a possibility that some teams were taking a harder stance on him playing one position over another. Teams could float the idea of him doing both during his time after he signs. "It could be just for that initial summer," said McKay, "but it'd be fun to be able to do both and see where it takes you." The possibility of a true two-way player could be intriguing but it seems like a very hard path to follow to the big leagues. No one will ever know what type of conversations happened between the Twins and the top players in the draft. There is a lot of posturing that happens with the top players in the draft. However, the Twins are saying all the right things when it comes to Lewis, "We see this guy as an impact player on both sides of the ball," Mike Radcliff, Twins vice president of player personnel, said. "He also has a unique ability to impact the clubhouse and the community. This guy gets it. He's got that 'it' factor that a No. 1 pick needs to survive and move forward and have success at the end of the journey. He checked all the boxes for us." We will never know if the Twins got the top player on their board but it's clear that an offer was made to McKay. Did the Twins miss out on their top pick? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  6. Most predictions leading into Monday night had the Twins going after college pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay. Multiple reports surfaced on Monday that McKay was the target for the Twins but he declined the offer the Twins had on the table. https://twitter.com/jimcallisMLB/status/874402552879734784 McKay would fall to the Tampa Bay Rays with the fourth overall pick. It might have come down to the dollar amount. The assigned value for the first overall pick is $7,770,700 but team's rarely hand out the total amount of that bonus. For the fourth pick, the assigned value was $6,153,600 which is over $1.6 million less than the top spot. It also looks like the Twins offer to Lewis could save the team up to $1.3 million. In interviews last night, McKay made it clear that the Twins had approached him with an offer. He said, "They had offered a number that we felt that we could get a better offer from another team." The Twins saved some money on the top pick and wanted to transfer that savings to later picks in the draft. It's just hard to imagine their offer to McKay would have been less than the value of the fourth pick. Another reasons McKay might have turned down the Twins was his on field position. McKay had told different media outlets that the Twins preferred him as a pitcher. When the Rays called McKay's name, he was announced as a first baseman. He clearly likes playing both positions and there's a possibility that some teams were taking a harder stance on him playing one position over another. Teams could float the idea of him doing both during his time after he signs. "It could be just for that initial summer," said McKay, "but it'd be fun to be able to do both and see where it takes you." The possibility of a true two-way player could be intriguing but it seems like a very hard path to follow to the big leagues. No one will ever know what type of conversations happened between the Twins and the top players in the draft. There is a lot of posturing that happens with the top players in the draft. However, the Twins are saying all the right things when it comes to Lewis, "We see this guy as an impact player on both sides of the ball," Mike Radcliff, Twins vice president of player personnel, said. "He also has a unique ability to impact the clubhouse and the community. This guy gets it. He's got that 'it' factor that a No. 1 pick needs to survive and move forward and have success at the end of the journey. He checked all the boxes for us." We will never know if the Twins got the top player on their board but it's clear that an offer was made to McKay. Did the Twins miss out on their top pick? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. Happy MLB Draft Day 1, Twins fans! Since it became clear that the Minnesota Twins had the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, which happened fairly early last September, the fandom has been very excited about who the Twins might be able to add at the top of the draft. That day has come. This purpose of this article is to be a place for several draft-related resources and links, and a place for fans to keep updated of rumors and rumblings throughout the day. We ask that if you see an article online or a tweet with a rumor or nugget, that you post it in the comments below. At 6:00 central time, the draft will officially start. Moments later, the Twins will make their much-anticipated draft selection. But that won’t be it for the night. The Twins also have the 35th and 37th overall picks as well. Twins Daily will post articles about those draft picks moments after they are made. Note also that we will have Day 2 and Day 3 articles. In those articles, we will post the Twins picks made those days. Those articles will be updated throughout those two days. Rounds 3 through 10 are on Tuesday, and Rounds 11 through 40 will take place on Wednesday.As you know, there will be a lot of rumors even throughout the day. It’s obviously a moving target. The reality is that there are likely a handful of people who know who the Twins will take at 1.1. At some point on Monday, they’ll have their decision. It will be based on a number of factors. First and foremost, it will be based on talent. The Twins will acquire a player with the first overall pick who has the potential and ability to be an all-star caliber player. That doesn’t always happen, of course, but the player will have the tools and such to become that. The Twins have likely seen each of the players in consideration for the top pick dozens upon dozens of times. The scouts, cross-checkers, and front office types are fully aware of what those players are as a player and as a person. They’ve had conversations with those players, their families, friends, teammates, coaches and others. For the college players, it’s likely they’ve been watching them for four to six years. The trick of course is looking at the player and all of the information on him and trying to project what that player will be in five to ten years. That is the part that isn’t a science, at least not yet. But science and technology has become more a part of the process. Many of the college programs have Trackman systems installed. Even some high schools are starting to get those. There is so much more information available. But the teams are also trying to figure out who can stay healthy. Drafting a pitcher comes with a bigger injury risk than drafting a hitter for obvious reasons. And, of course, dollars also come into play. It’s a strategy that has been used since the slotting system has been in the MLB draft. Most famously, the Astros were able to convince SS Carlos Correa to take millions less than the slot value for the #1 pick in 2012, and because of it, they were able to take RHP Lance McCullers and IF Rio Ruiz with their next two picks. As Jeremy has pointed out, the new draft slotting instituted this year makes it a bit more difficult to manipulate the draft, and since there are a handful of teams that have a second selection before the Twins, it could be difficult. THE NAMES At this stage, we pretty well know the names of the players the Twins are considering with the top pick. Louisville 1B/LHP Brendan McKay. Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright. Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA) SS/RHP Hunter Greene. In my opinion, all three of these guys are "safe" picks, but for different reasons. McKay legitimately has two paths to big league success. He can be a top-of-rotation starting pitcher, or he could be a middle-of-the-lineup bat. Could he possibly be both? Kyle Wright, in my opinion, is the safest pick for starting pitchers because of his stuff and his size and his makeup and more. How is Hunter Greene a safe pick? Well, he's the guy that everyone seems to believe is the best prospect. If the Twins took him and he didn't make it, most in the industry would say that the Twins were still right in shooting for the moon with such an elite talent. The bold pick, in my opinion, would be taking MacKenzie Gore. Many believe he is the best prep pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball and good secondary pitches. Most believe that those three are the guys most in consideration for the Twins first pick. However, if guys like MacKenzie Gore or Royce Lewis are willing to accept less money, they could still fit into the equation. While those two have not been talked about as much as the three listed above, they are both very talented. They are also both Scott Boras guys. Normally that might mean they’re guys to stay away from. However, Boras wants to maximize what his clients can get, so if they can make a little more than what they believe they will get by falling in the draft, maybe something could be worked out. MOST RECENT PERFORMANCES With both Louisville and Vanderbilt playing in Super Regionals, they pitched on Saturday. Here are their final lines: Brendan McKay (vs Kentucky): 6 IP, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts. Fastball was 89-94, with impressive curveball, slider, and cutter too. Kyle Wright (vs Oregon State): 6.2 IP, 8 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts. Fastball was 90-95, with an impressive curveball and changeup. He mixes those pitches well also. Hunter Greene hasn’t played lately (and hasn't pitched for a month or more), but he did come to Target Field on Friday for a workout. As you would expect, he was quite impressive. He is clearly the guy who would show up highest on prospect rankings because of the fastball and his athleticism and makeup. While the Twins had people at all of those performances, it’s important to remember that each performance is just one data point on a chart that likely has 100s of dots on it. In other words, just because Wright’s line looked bad (and was bad), it isn’t likely to sway the Twins brass either way. TWINS DAILY DRAFT CONTENT Draft Profiles: MacKenzie Gore, Hunter Greene, Royce Lewis, Brendan McKay, Pavin Smith, Kyle Wright, and potential Minnesotans in the Draft. Jeremy provided a Draft Preview in which he discussed the slot values of each pick and overall. He wrote about the possibility of the Twins taking advantage of the slotting system to acquire more high-end talent. Seth caught up with ESPN’s Keith Law about the names at the top of the first round. Cody wondered if not drafting Hunter Greene could come back to haunt them. Nick wrote why Kyle Wright might be The Wright Fit for the Twins, considering his timeline. TWINS DAILY PREDICTIONS Here are some quick thoughts from Twins Daily writers: Seth Stohs: Personal Top 5 Rankings (as prospects): 1.) Hunter Greene, 2.) Kyle Wright, 3.) MacKenzie Gore, 4.) Royce Lewis, 5.) Brendan McKay Who Would You Take? Probably Kyle Wright. Who Do You Think The Twins Will Take? Brendan McKay I'd love to see the Twins get creative and find a way to save seven figures on their #1 pick. Hunter Greene is the most intriguing. Kyle Wright is probably the safest pitcher to pick. I'd be very curious to see if Derek Falvey would truly let McKay hit and pitch on his way up the ladder to really possibly be a big league two-way player. If he can do that, I'm all on board. I also really, really like Gore and Lewis and if the Twins can convince Boras to cut back a couple million from slot, I'd have no problem with them either. Nick Nelson: What is the definition of a "safe pick"? On the one hand, you could easily apply that description to someone like Kyle Wright or Brendan McKay – collegiate superstars and prototypical top-of-draft talents. On the other hand, isn't Hunter Greene the safest pick when you really think about it? He ranks first on almost every analyst's board. He's a media sensation and will generate tremendous buzz for the franchise. If he fizzles out, the Twins aren't going to look silly; they made the choice most people in the industry viewed as obvious. But that will be of little consolation if his development stalls exactly as they foresaw in their evaluations. I guess at the end of the day, there really is no safe pick. My Top Five: 1. Hunter Greene 2. Kyle Wright 3. MacKenzie Gore 4. Brendan McKay 5. Royce Lewis Cody Christie: Personal Top 5 Rankings: 1.) Hunter Greene, 2.) Royce Lewis, 3.) Kyle Wright, 4.) MacKenzie Gore, 5.) Brendan McKay Who Would You Take? Hunter Greene Who Do You Think The Twins Will Take? Kyle Wright I’ve always put a higher value on younger players with a ton of potential. That was one of the reasons I had Miguel Sano number one on my prospect list while he was still playing in the rookie leagues. Greene has impressed me every step of the way. The more I hear about him, the more I want him to be part of the Twins organization. Lewis is also a raw talent that the Twins could develop over the next decade. He could be a mainstay in their line-up for years to come. Wright is the safest and I think that’s the direction the club will go. Tom Froemming: Personal Top 5 Rankings (as prospects): 1) Hunter Greene, 2) MacKenzie Gore, 3) Kyle Wright, 4) Brendan McKay, 5) Royce Lewis Who Would You Take? Greene Who Do You Think Will The Twins Take? Greene Have you seen a single big board that didn’t have Hunter Greene on top? I’ve heard all the rumors saying the Twins are going another direction, but I’m not buying it. Greene is the best athlete and has the highest ceiling. Sure, that comes with a scary floor/bust potential, but the opportunity to acquire a talent like this isn’t going to come around every year. On the other hand, I look at those top five names and don’t see a single bad pick. I’ll understand if the Twins pass on Greene, especially if that means they net more talent with the 35th and 37th picks. NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE Here are some of the most recent draft player rankings and some mock drafts. ESPN’s Keith Law updated his mock draft on Sunday morning.MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo writes about two favorites, two high school players and two dollar savers.MLB.com’s Friday mock draft. 12 hours later, he changed the Twins pick from Kyle Wright to Brendan McKay.John Manuel’s Baseball America Mock Draft 4.0 (from Friday). (UPDATE - on Monday, they updated with version 4.5)FanGraphs Mock Draft (June 5).MLB.com’s Top 200 Draft Prospects.Baseball America’s Top 100 Draft ProspectsBaseball America’s Top 500 Draft Prospects.KATOH’s Top 250 Draft-Eligible College Players (fangraphs).DOLLARS AND SENSE Here the slot values for the Twins picks in the top ten rounds. 1st overall (Round 1): $7,770,700 35th overall (Comp Round A): $1,935,300 37th overall (Round 2): $1,846,100 76th overall (Round 3): $755,500 106th overall (Round 4): $507,000 136th overall (Round 5): $378,700 166th overall (Round 6): $283,300 196th overall (Round 7): $220,700 226th overall (Round 8): $174,400 256th overall (Round 9): $148,000 286th overall (Round 10): $137,100 ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE Until the Twins officially make their announcement, it’s hard to know with complete certainty what the Twins will do. Consider six weeks ago, everyone assumed that Hunter Greene was the easy choice at #1. Starting about a month ago, people believed that Kyle Wright was the top choice. Then suddenly on Friday, about 12 hours after writing that Wright would go #1, mlb.com’s Jim Callis posted a new mock draft in which he said the Twins were planning to take McKay with the top pick. That’s why this Day 1 thread is here. We want the comments to be filled with everything that’s out there as things are subject to change even throughout the day. Again, moments after the Twins make their first pick, we’ll have an article, and we can discuss the player that the Twins take (and presumably many will write about the players the Twins did not take) with the first overall pick. Click here to view the article
  8. As you know, there will be a lot of rumors even throughout the day. It’s obviously a moving target. The reality is that there are likely a handful of people who know who the Twins will take at 1.1. At some point on Monday, they’ll have their decision. It will be based on a number of factors. First and foremost, it will be based on talent. The Twins will acquire a player with the first overall pick who has the potential and ability to be an all-star caliber player. That doesn’t always happen, of course, but the player will have the tools and such to become that. The Twins have likely seen each of the players in consideration for the top pick dozens upon dozens of times. The scouts, cross-checkers, and front office types are fully aware of what those players are as a player and as a person. They’ve had conversations with those players, their families, friends, teammates, coaches and others. For the college players, it’s likely they’ve been watching them for four to six years. The trick of course is looking at the player and all of the information on him and trying to project what that player will be in five to ten years. That is the part that isn’t a science, at least not yet. But science and technology has become more a part of the process. Many of the college programs have Trackman systems installed. Even some high schools are starting to get those. There is so much more information available. But the teams are also trying to figure out who can stay healthy. Drafting a pitcher comes with a bigger injury risk than drafting a hitter for obvious reasons. And, of course, dollars also come into play. It’s a strategy that has been used since the slotting system has been in the MLB draft. Most famously, the Astros were able to convince SS Carlos Correa to take millions less than the slot value for the #1 pick in 2012, and because of it, they were able to take RHP Lance McCullers and IF Rio Ruiz with their next two picks. As Jeremy has pointed out, the new draft slotting instituted this year makes it a bit more difficult to manipulate the draft, and since there are a handful of teams that have a second selection before the Twins, it could be difficult. THE NAMES At this stage, we pretty well know the names of the players the Twins are considering with the top pick. Louisville 1B/LHP Brendan McKay. Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright. Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA) SS/RHP Hunter Greene. In my opinion, all three of these guys are "safe" picks, but for different reasons. McKay legitimately has two paths to big league success. He can be a top-of-rotation starting pitcher, or he could be a middle-of-the-lineup bat. Could he possibly be both? Kyle Wright, in my opinion, is the safest pick for starting pitchers because of his stuff and his size and his makeup and more. How is Hunter Greene a safe pick? Well, he's the guy that everyone seems to believe is the best prospect. If the Twins took him and he didn't make it, most in the industry would say that the Twins were still right in shooting for the moon with such an elite talent. The bold pick, in my opinion, would be taking MacKenzie Gore. Many believe he is the best prep pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball and good secondary pitches. Most believe that those three are the guys most in consideration for the Twins first pick. However, if guys like MacKenzie Gore or Royce Lewis are willing to accept less money, they could still fit into the equation. While those two have not been talked about as much as the three listed above, they are both very talented. They are also both Scott Boras guys. Normally that might mean they’re guys to stay away from. However, Boras wants to maximize what his clients can get, so if they can make a little more than what they believe they will get by falling in the draft, maybe something could be worked out. MOST RECENT PERFORMANCES With both Louisville and Vanderbilt playing in Super Regionals, they pitched on Saturday. Here are their final lines: Brendan McKay (vs Kentucky): 6 IP, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts. Fastball was 89-94, with impressive curveball, slider, and cutter too. Kyle Wright (vs Oregon State): 6.2 IP, 8 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts. Fastball was 90-95, with an impressive curveball and changeup. He mixes those pitches well also. Hunter Greene hasn’t played lately (and hasn't pitched for a month or more), but he did come to Target Field on Friday for a workout. As you would expect, he was quite impressive. He is clearly the guy who would show up highest on prospect rankings because of the fastball and his athleticism and makeup. https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/873296225642176513 While the Twins had people at all of those performances, it’s important to remember that each performance is just one data point on a chart that likely has 100s of dots on it. In other words, just because Wright’s line looked bad (and was bad), it isn’t likely to sway the Twins brass either way. TWINS DAILY DRAFT CONTENT Draft Profiles: MacKenzie Gore, Hunter Greene, Royce Lewis, Brendan McKay, Pavin Smith, Kyle Wright, and potential Minnesotans in the Draft. Jeremy provided a Draft Preview in which he discussed the slot values of each pick and overall. He wrote about the possibility of the Twins taking advantage of the slotting system to acquire more high-end talent. Seth caught up with ESPN’s Keith Law about the names at the top of the first round. Cody wondered if not drafting Hunter Greene could come back to haunt them. Nick wrote why Kyle Wright might be The Wright Fit for the Twins, considering his timeline. TWINS DAILY PREDICTIONS Here are some quick thoughts from Twins Daily writers: Seth Stohs: Personal Top 5 Rankings (as prospects): 1.) Hunter Greene, 2.) Kyle Wright, 3.) MacKenzie Gore, 4.) Royce Lewis, 5.) Brendan McKay Who Would You Take? Probably Kyle Wright. Who Do You Think The Twins Will Take? Brendan McKay I'd love to see the Twins get creative and find a way to save seven figures on their #1 pick. Hunter Greene is the most intriguing. Kyle Wright is probably the safest pitcher to pick. I'd be very curious to see if Derek Falvey would truly let McKay hit and pitch on his way up the ladder to really possibly be a big league two-way player. If he can do that, I'm all on board. I also really, really like Gore and Lewis and if the Twins can convince Boras to cut back a couple million from slot, I'd have no problem with them either. Nick Nelson: What is the definition of a "safe pick"? On the one hand, you could easily apply that description to someone like Kyle Wright or Brendan McKay – collegiate superstars and prototypical top-of-draft talents. On the other hand, isn't Hunter Greene the safest pick when you really think about it? He ranks first on almost every analyst's board. He's a media sensation and will generate tremendous buzz for the franchise. If he fizzles out, the Twins aren't going to look silly; they made the choice most people in the industry viewed as obvious. But that will be of little consolation if his development stalls exactly as they foresaw in their evaluations. I guess at the end of the day, there really is no safe pick. My Top Five: 1. Hunter Greene 2. Kyle Wright 3. MacKenzie Gore 4. Brendan McKay 5. Royce Lewis Cody Christie: Personal Top 5 Rankings: 1.) Hunter Greene, 2.) Royce Lewis, 3.) Kyle Wright, 4.) MacKenzie Gore, 5.) Brendan McKay Who Would You Take? Hunter Greene Who Do You Think The Twins Will Take? Kyle Wright I’ve always put a higher value on younger players with a ton of potential. That was one of the reasons I had Miguel Sano number one on my prospect list while he was still playing in the rookie leagues. Greene has impressed me every step of the way. The more I hear about him, the more I want him to be part of the Twins organization. Lewis is also a raw talent that the Twins could develop over the next decade. He could be a mainstay in their line-up for years to come. Wright is the safest and I think that’s the direction the club will go. Tom Froemming: Personal Top 5 Rankings (as prospects): 1) Hunter Greene, 2) MacKenzie Gore, 3) Kyle Wright, 4) Brendan McKay, 5) Royce Lewis Who Would You Take? Greene Who Do You Think Will The Twins Take? Greene Have you seen a single big board that didn’t have Hunter Greene on top? I’ve heard all the rumors saying the Twins are going another direction, but I’m not buying it. Greene is the best athlete and has the highest ceiling. Sure, that comes with a scary floor/bust potential, but the opportunity to acquire a talent like this isn’t going to come around every year. On the other hand, I look at those top five names and don’t see a single bad pick. I’ll understand if the Twins pass on Greene, especially if that means they net more talent with the 35th and 37th picks. NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE Here are some of the most recent draft player rankings and some mock drafts. ESPN’s Keith Law updated his mock draft on Sunday morning. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo writes about two favorites, two high school players and two dollar savers. MLB.com’s Friday mock draft. 12 hours later, he changed the Twins pick from Kyle Wright to Brendan McKay. John Manuel’s Baseball America Mock Draft 4.0 (from Friday). (UPDATE - on Monday, they updated with version 4.5) FanGraphs Mock Draft (June 5). MLB.com’s Top 200 Draft Prospects. Baseball America’s Top 100 Draft Prospects Baseball America’s Top 500 Draft Prospects. KATOH’s Top 250 Draft-Eligible College Players (fangraphs). DOLLARS AND SENSE Here the slot values for the Twins picks in the top ten rounds. 1st overall (Round 1): $7,770,700 35th overall (Comp Round A): $1,935,300 37th overall (Round 2): $1,846,100 76th overall (Round 3): $755,500 106th overall (Round 4): $507,000 136th overall (Round 5): $378,700 166th overall (Round 6): $283,300 196th overall (Round 7): $220,700 226th overall (Round 8): $174,400 256th overall (Round 9): $148,000 286th overall (Round 10): $137,100 ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE Until the Twins officially make their announcement, it’s hard to know with complete certainty what the Twins will do. Consider six weeks ago, everyone assumed that Hunter Greene was the easy choice at #1. Starting about a month ago, people believed that Kyle Wright was the top choice. Then suddenly on Friday, about 12 hours after writing that Wright would go #1, mlb.com’s Jim Callis posted a new mock draft in which he said the Twins were planning to take McKay with the top pick. That’s why this Day 1 thread is here. We want the comments to be filled with everything that’s out there as things are subject to change even throughout the day. Again, moments after the Twins make their first pick, we’ll have an article, and we can discuss the player that the Twins take (and presumably many will write about the players the Twins did not take) with the first overall pick.
  9. 1. Twins - I'd love to put Hunter Green here. I would absolutely love to. And I think there's still a slim chance. After all, why would they bring him to town and wine and dine him in the final days leading up to the draft? Maybe, all along, their perceived lack of interest was just a smokescreen... I mean, what if they just didn't want every other team to know they were locked in on making history by drafting a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher who only threw 28 innings as a senior in high school? But what would the point of that be? Who cares if teams know what the team is doing first? Could that prevent other teams from getting a better feel about where they could save money and manipulate their own draft pools? I don't know. As would probably be expected, no one with the Twins is real interested in divulging the biggest secret of the day... and that makes me question why this late turn back to McKay came to light? As of press time, word hasn't broke from the Draft Room about the direction the club is going. But they have made their decision about who they like the most. The next eight hours will be all about money... and that could change things. Drastically. You've probably noticed there is a blank next to the Twins name above. It's because I'm torn. I think there are still a few possibilities: Kyle Wright, Brendan McKay, Royce Lewis and Hunter Greene. I'll trust the new front office - one scout who has been involved in many drafts text me "these guys are f****** good, man" - and even if the selection wouldn't be my first choice, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. And I think their choice is going to be Brendan McKay, LHP, Louisville. 2. Cincinnati - Hunter Greene, RHP, California prep 3. San Diego - MacKenzie Gore, LHP, North Carolina prep 4. Tampa Bay - Bubba Thompson, OF, Alabama prep Last year, I knew the Braves were taking Ian Anderson. I just didn't see it happening at #3. It's the same for Thompson and the Rays... only this year, I'm going to pull the trigger. They will save up to load up on prep arms later. 5. Atlanta - Royce Lewis, SS, California prep 6. Oakland - Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt 7. Arizona - Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia 8. Philadelphia - Keston Hiura, 2B, UC Irvine 9. Milwaukee - Jo Adell, OF, Louisville prep 10. LA Angels - J. B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina 11. Chicago White Sox - Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia 12. Pittsburgh - Shane Baz, RHP, Texas prep 13. Miami - DL Hall, LHP, Georgia prep 14. Kansas City - Trevor Rogers, LHP, New Mexico prep 15. Houston - Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida 16. NY Yankees - Austin Beck, OF, North Carolina prep 17. Seattle - Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State 18. Detroit - Nate Pearson, RHP, JC of Central Florida 19. San Francisco - David Peterson, LHP, Oregon 20. NY Mets - Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt 21. Baltimore - Heliot Rams, OF, Puerto Rico prep 22. Toronto - Logan Warmoth, SS, UNC 23. LA Dodgers - Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina 24. Boston - Evan White, 1B, Kentucky 25. Washington - Seth Romero, LHP, Houston 26. Texas - Tristen Lutz, OF, Texas prep 27. Chicago Cubs - Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri 28. Toronto - Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford 29. Texas - Luis Campusano, C, Georgia prep 30. Chicago Cubs - Nick Pratto, 1B, California prep 31. Tampa Bay - Matt Sauer, RHP, California prep 32. Cincinnati - Sam Carlson, RHP, Minnesota prep 33. Oakland - Stuart Fairchild, OF, Wake Forest 34. Milwaukee - Steven Jennings, RHP, Tennessee prep The Brewers have taken a lot of prospects I wish the Twins would get - so I'm assuming Jennings, who could be a steal, will go to the Brewers before the Twins get a chance. 35. Minnesota - Brady McConnell, SS, Florida prep After playing it relatively safe at 1-1, McConnell is a high-ceiling shortstop who could burn into some of the money the club saves. 36. Miami - Mark Vientos, SS, Florida prep 37. Minnesota - Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Alabama prep Don't see how Falvey can make three picks and none of them be a prep pitcher. There you have it!
  10. Believe it or not, there are good reasons for the Twins to pass on Greene (as noted recently by Nick Nelson in his excellent profile). Most seem to be concerned with his injury potential and while that may be one of them, we have to remember that almost all pitchers are a high injury risk to some degree. A study from 2016 that links the usage of fastballs (rather than velocity) may make Greene’s reliance on his fastball a slightly higher risk for Tommy John. One of the more common criticisms levied against Greene is the relatively weak set of secondary offerings to go along with his hundred mile per hour fastball. He throws a curve, slider and changeup but none of them stand out in reports. The Pioneer Press’s Charley Walters echoed this in a recent column saying "despite a fastball that reaches 100 mph, [Greene] has little concept of a breaking ball.” Is that right? Little concept? In his senior season Greene has flashed signs that he has some concept of a breaking ball as you can see on this little ditty below. https://twitter.com/parkerhageman/status/873898806819139586 Of course, that specific pitch may have been a rare one-off, well-executed bender for him. Plus, he is squaring off against high school competition that is doing everything possible to just touch the elite velocity pitch. Anything other than the fastball thrown is likely going to induce a big miss. Nevertheless, If we are to take the consensus at its face, scouting reports have been consistent in that criticism about Greene. In May MLB.com’s Jim Callis said that some scouts have rated his curveball as well-below average. While his secondary offerings may not be in the same universe as, say, Josh Beckett’s or Kerry Wood’s curveball coming out of high school, the point is, that depth, tilt and location is evidence that Greene has *some* concept of a breaking ball and that may be a significant factor in the decision whether or not to draft Hunter Greene number one overall. In terms of the tools Greene possesses as a pitcher, the most touted is his ability to reach triple-digits heat as a 17-year-old. That, in and of itself, is a big reason why he has garnered national attention. If you pop the glove at that type of speed at that age, you will be swarmed by men in bucket hats and polo shirts carrying radar guns all summer long. Having said that, the super hard throwing high school pitcher club is not the exclusive fraternity that it once was. There are 14-year-olds shoving 92 in Alabama (by comparison, Greene was hitting 83 as a freshman in high school). Elite velocity still gets hitters out at a high clip at the major league level but almost all pitchers need a wrinkle to mix in and scouts have felt Greene’s secondary offerings have average potential at best. The curveball has become a weapon du jour of analytics teams. Tom Verducci wrote an article about the revival of the pitch in major league baseball, noting the rise of Houston’s Lance McCullers and his reliance on his unhittable deuce as the reason for his big season. In the profile Verducci remarked that “[o]rganizations have learned that if someone does not show an aptitude to spin a baseball as an amateur, it’s foolish to expect him to acquire the skill.” Houston’s general manager Jeff Ludlow did not disagree. In short, if you don’t already have a snapdragon bender that spins at 2,900-plus rpm by the time you are drafted, chances are it will never come. The ability the spin a ball depends on years of release point feel, it's not like a slider or changeup that pitchers can learn in the ranks. With that in mind, it is somewhat concerning that evaluators lack confidence in Greene’s curveball and this might give an organization pause before pulling the trigger at 1-1. In the draft room, Twins staff must be contemplating this and balancing that with the fact that both Vanderbilt’s Wright and Louisville’s McKay already have curves that have been described as plus pitches. Baseball America said that Wright’s curve has been “showing tight spin and late vertical break early and often...the pitch has plus potential.” MLB.com’s draft profile said that McKay’s was “a consistent plus pitch”. The Twins war room will have to weigh this carefully. There is no doubting his makeup and talent. The real question is, do the Twins have enough confidence in Greene to develop a secondary pitch, anything to take pressure off of throwing his fastball all day long?
  11. If you are following baseball’s upcoming draft, you have undoubtedly heard the name Hunter Greene - the two-way hard-throwing kid from a Los Angeles-area prep school. If you somehow missed it, Sports Illustrated offered a glowing profile of a kid with plus makeup and off the charts attitude. After reading it, you come away certain this is a can’t miss, surefire Hall of Famer. To drive the point home, on the cover the magazine asked “Baseball’s Lebron or the next Babe?” In less than 24 hours we will know which direction Derek Falvey, Thad Levine and company have decided to lead the Minnesota Twins. Will they go with the sky-high ceiling of prep school graduate Hunter Greene or target a “safer” college pitcher like Kyle Wright or Brendan McKay, two arms that are further along the development timeline, or, hell, even a position player like Royce Lewis or Pavin Smith? If you are basing your reaction off the SI article, you will be sadly disappointed when and if the Twins decide to go another direction. Here’s one reason why the Twins might be vindicated on the decision to pass on baseball’s Lebron.Believe it or not, there are good reasons for the Twins to pass on Greene (as noted recently by Nick Nelson in his excellent profile). Most seem to be concerned with his injury potential and while that may be one of them, we have to remember that almost all pitchers are a high injury risk to some degree. A study from 2016 that links the usage of fastballs (rather than velocity) may make Greene’s reliance on his fastball a slightly higher risk for Tommy John. One of the more common criticisms levied against Greene is the relatively weak set of secondary offerings to go along with his hundred mile per hour fastball. He throws a curve, slider and changeup but none of them stand out in reports. The Pioneer Press’s Charley Walters echoed this in a recent column saying "despite a fastball that reaches 100 mph, [Greene] has little concept of a breaking ball.” Is that right? Little concept? In his senior season Greene has flashed signs that he has some concept of a breaking ball as you can see on this little ditty below. Of course, that specific pitch may have been a rare one-off, well-executed bender for him. Plus, he is squaring off against high school competition that is doing everything possible to just touch the elite velocity pitch. Anything other than the fastball thrown is likely going to induce a big miss. Nevertheless, If we are to take the consensus at its face, scouting reports have been consistent in that criticism about Greene. In May MLB.com’s Jim Callis said that some scouts have rated his curveball as well-below average. While his secondary offerings may not be in the same universe as, say, Josh Beckett’s or Kerry Wood’s curveball coming out of high school, the point is, that depth, tilt and location is evidence that Greene has *some* concept of a breaking ball and that may be a significant factor in the decision whether or not to draft Hunter Greene number one overall. In terms of the tools Greene possesses as a pitcher, the most touted is his ability to reach triple-digits heat as a 17-year-old. That, in and of itself, is a big reason why he has garnered national attention. If you pop the glove at that type of speed at that age, you will be swarmed by men in bucket hats and polo shirts carrying radar guns all summer long. Having said that, the super hard throwing high school pitcher club is not the exclusive fraternity that it once was. There are 14-year-olds shoving 92 in Alabama (by comparison, Greene was hitting 83 as a freshman in high school). Elite velocity still gets hitters out at a high clip at the major league level but almost all pitchers need a wrinkle to mix in and scouts have felt Greene’s secondary offerings have average potential at best. The curveball has become a weapon du jour of analytics teams. Tom Verducci wrote an article about the revival of the pitch in major league baseball, noting the rise of Houston’s Lance McCullers and his reliance on his unhittable deuce as the reason for his big season. In the profile Verducci remarked that “[o]rganizations have learned that if someone does not show an aptitude to spin a baseball as an amateur, it’s foolish to expect him to acquire the skill.” Houston’s general manager Jeff Ludlow did not disagree. In short, if you don’t already have a snapdragon bender that spins at 2,900-plus rpm by the time you are drafted, chances are it will never come. The ability the spin a ball depends on years of release point feel, it's not like a slider or changeup that pitchers can learn in the ranks. With that in mind, it is somewhat concerning that evaluators lack confidence in Greene’s curveball and this might give an organization pause before pulling the trigger at 1-1. In the draft room, Twins staff must be contemplating this and balancing that with the fact that both Vanderbilt’s Wright and Louisville’s McKay already have curves that have been described as plus pitches. Baseball America said that Wright’s curve has been “showing tight spin and late vertical break early and often...the pitch has plus potential.” MLB.com’s draft profile said that McKay’s was “a consistent plus pitch”. The Twins war room will have to weigh this carefully. There is no doubting his makeup and talent. The real question is, do the Twins have enough confidence in Greene to develop a secondary pitch, anything to take pressure off of throwing his fastball all day long? Click here to view the article
  12. LAST CALL Saturday was monumental for Brendan McKay and Kyle Wright. Each collegiate hurler took the hill as starting pitcher for his team in a critical Super Regionals game. Both were televised on ESPN. And on top of all that, the draft prospects know they were making their closing arguments for the distinction (and signing bonus) of becoming the first player taken Monday. For their teams and for them personally, the stakes could not have been higher for McKay and Wright. McKay rose to the occasion in a big way, leading his Louisville Cardinals to a series-clinching victory over Kentucky with 6 2/3 scoreless innings. His impressive performance came on the heels of this report from MLB.com's Jim Callis: "Though the teams selecting behind the Twins think they're leaning toward Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright, I started hearing whispers Thursday night that Minnesota prefers Louisville two-way star Brendan McKay. That noise is getting louder Friday, and I now believe the Twins will take McKay No. 1, as a left-handed pitcher rather than a first baseman, unless California high school righty Hunter Greene overwhelms them in his visit to Target Field on Friday afternoon." Did Greene overwhelm them? Will McKay's final impression push him over the edge? And how did Wright's Saturday evening go in an elimination game against a daunting opponent? The latest on all three, below (click names for full in-depth profiles): Brendan McKay: LHP/1B, Louisville While cruising through his outing against Kentucky, McKay didn't flash the kind of velocity that catches your eye, but showed immense polish. He struck out nine and walked none, looking much like a guy who could go out and get it done on a big-league mound right now. McKay peppered the zone with good breaking balls, and is putting the finishing touches on a two-way collegiate career for the ages. Though he went 0-for-5 at the plate, his abilities at the plate as a lefty-hitting first baseman are well established. That would be less useful in the American League but there's a real possibility he could be a pinch-hitting option between starts, a la Madison Bumgarner. McKay's jump to the head of the pack, if the Callis report is accurate, comes after weeks of speculation that Wright was the favorite. Kyle Wright: RHP, Vanderbilt Wright had his work cut out for him, guiding his unranked Commodores against the nation's No. 1 team, Oregon State. He battled 6 2/3 innings, and while the numbers don't impress – he was charged with seven earned runs, three coming on a big homer in the third inning – he threw pitches with a ton of life while showing smooth and consistent mechanics. It's hard to hold the way he finished against him; Wright loaded the bases and walked in a run before being pulled at 122 pitches (two more would score afterward, adding to his ledger). He was laboring but answering the call as the ace of a team on the brink of elimination. There was plenty to like about the righty's outing, in which he struck out eight and threw some truly filthy sliders. Mike Berardino's comparison to a young Kevin Brown seems apt in many ways. Wright has everything you look for in a prospective frontline starting pitcher, and he could speed through the minors. As I wrote last week, his potential for rapid ascent would be a nice timeline fit for a team that appears to be at the front end of its contention window. Despite the recent steam for McKay, I still see Wright as the most likely pick. It's this simple: the Twins need fast-tracked pitching and he is pretty clearly the best college arm in the country. Historically, those are fairly safe picks. McKay, by the admission of his own coach at Louisville, may not be the best pitcher or hitter in college baseball (he places the two-way star "top three to five" in both categories). In contrasting the clear-cut top two collegiate talents in the nation, the choice seems fairly clear to me. But then there's Greene, who makes as strong a case to be taken first overall as any prep right-handed pitcher has in history. And he put it all on display during a Friday workout in Minneapolis late last week. Hunter Greene: RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA) As expected, and as usual, Greene wowed onlookers during a session at Target Field on Friday. He reportedly hit 101 MPH from the mound and put on show at the plate, launching four home runs. The 17-year-old oozes potential, and a level of upside that few draft prospects in recent history could match. It feels like, if the Twins pass on him, we will be doomed to a future of "what-ifs." We'll follow his progression closely, lamenting every fast promotion and extraordinary achievement. Of course, on the flip side, if they pass and Greene doesn't work out, the front office ultimately comes away looking really, really good. This kid has a set of skills and tools rarely seen on the diamond. He gave the Twins a final reminder of that on Friday. If they choose to go another direction, it's on them, for better or worse. OTHER POSSIBILITIES? There remains a distinct chance that Minnesota could pass on all three of the names above. If they're not enamored with McKay, Wright or Greene as a true No. 1 talent, then they could aim to strike a deal with someone slightly lower on the board to save pool money on one of their ensuing picks. Jeremy Nygaard explained how this might work in his latest edition of The Scouting Skinny, which went out to newsletter subscribers last week. Basically, we keep hearing that that the Twins have six players on their radar for the first pick, not just the three mentioned above. The idea is that by signing someone like MacKenzie Gore or Pavin Smith, who wouldn't normally be under consideration at the top, the Twins could sign that player below slot and then have more money available for bonuses at, say, No. 35 or No. 37. This was the approach Philadelphia took last year, signing No. 1 pick Mickey Moniak for about $3 million under slot and then luring their second pick, prep righty Kevin Gowdy, away from a UCLA commitment by offering almost double the slotted amount at No. 42. This turns our attention toward a subject we haven't yet broached in this primer: Minnesota has two more picks within the Top 40, and those also figure to be of enormous importance. It gets cumbersome to preview and break down those selections, because the number of realistic candidates goes from a handful to several dozen, but there is one name in particular that people around the Twins Cities will be following very closely. LOCAL ANGLE He is not in consideration to go first overall, but it sounds like the Twins would be more than happy to grab Burnsville's Sam Carlson if he makes it back to them at 35. This seems unlikely. The big right-hander ranks 15th on MLB.com's board and 21st on Baseball America's. He's in the conversation for best high school arm in the country, and reports suggest many teams are eyeing him in the first round. But Carlson has a scholarship from the University of Florida in his pocket, so money talks. For Minnesota to have a realistic shot at Carlson, it would require him slipping – probably due to signability concerns – and the Twins having extra cash in hand from cutting a deal at No. 1 to alleviate such concerns. Something to keep an eye on. LATEST PREDICTIONS Here's what the most recent mocks from major prospect publications are projecting for Monday: Baseball America Mock Draft 4.0 Twins #1 pick: Kyle Wright, RHP (Vanderbilt) Twins #35 pick: Brent Rooker, 1B (Mississippi State) Keith Law (ESPN) Mock Draft 3.0 Twins #1 pick: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B (Louisville) Bleacher Report Twins #1 pick: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B (Louisville) CBS Sports Twins #1 pick: Kyle Wright, RHP (Vanderbilt) Jeremy Nygaard/Twins Daily Twins #1 pick: Kyle Wright, RHP (Vanderbilt) Twins #35 pick: Blayne Enlow, RHP (LA prep) Twins #37 pick: Jacob Heatherly, LHP (AL prep) Twins #76 pick: Riley Adams, C (University of San DIego) Twins #106 pick: Michael Baumann, RHP (Jacksonville University) Twins #136 pick: Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP (University of Missouri) Twins #166 pick: Seth Lonsway, LHP (OH prep) Twins #196 pick: Griff McGarry, RHP (CA prep) Twins #226 pick: Dalton Guthrie, SS (University of Florida) Twins #256 pick: J.J. Schwarz, C (University of Florida) Twins #288 pick: Reed Rohlman, OF (Clemson University) MORE TWINS DAILY COVERAGE Check out Jeremy Nygaard's 10-round Twins mock draft to learn more about the players listed above. Previous Draft Profiles: Draft Profile: Hunter Greene, SP/SS by Nick Nelson Draft Profile: Kyle Wright, SP by Jeremy Nygaard Draft Profile: Brendan McKay, SP/1B by Cody Christie Draft Profile: MacKenzie Gore, LHP by Steve Lein Draft Profile: Royce Lewis, SS/OF by Nick Nelson Draft Profile: Pavin Smith, 1B by Tom Froemming
  13. On Monday evening, the Minnesota Twins will make the No. 1 selection in the MLB Draft for the first time since 2001. By all accounts, their choice comes down to three main names, with a few outside possibilities in play. This primer will get you completely up to speed on all the latest news, rumors and rumblings as we head toward a pivotal moment for the franchise. LAST CALL Saturday was monumental for Brendan McKay and Kyle Wright. Each collegiate hurler took the hill as starting pitcher for his team in a critical Super Regionals game. Both were televised on ESPN. And on top of all that, the draft prospects know they were making their closing arguments for the distinction (and signing bonus) of becoming the first player taken Monday. For their teams and for them personally, the stakes could not have been higher for McKay and Wright. McKay rose to the occasion in a big way, leading his Louisville Cardinals to a series-clinching victory over Kentucky with 6 2/3 scoreless innings. His impressive performance came on the heels of this report from MLB.com's Jim Callis: "Though the teams selecting behind the Twins think they're leaning toward Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright, I started hearing whispers Thursday night that Minnesota prefers Louisville two-way star Brendan McKay. That noise is getting louder Friday, and I now believe the Twins will take McKay No. 1, as a left-handed pitcher rather than a first baseman, unless California high school righty Hunter Greene overwhelms them in his visit to Target Field on Friday afternoon." Did Greene overwhelm them? Will McKay's final impression push him over the edge? And how did Wright's Saturday evening go in an elimination game against a daunting opponent? The latest on all three, below (click names for full in-depth profiles): Brendan McKay: LHP/1B, Louisville While cruising through his outing against Kentucky, McKay didn't flash the kind of velocity that catches your eye, but showed immense polish. He struck out nine and walked none, looking much like a guy who could go out and get it done on a big-league mound right now. McKay peppered the zone with good breaking balls, and is putting the finishing touches on a two-way collegiate career for the ages. Though he went 0-for-5 at the plate, his abilities at the plate as a lefty-hitting first baseman are well established. That would be less useful in the American League but there's a real possibility he could be a pinch-hitting option between starts, a la Madison Bumgarner. McKay's jump to the head of the pack, if the Callis report is accurate, comes after weeks of speculation that Wright was the favorite. Kyle Wright: RHP, Vanderbilt Wright had his work cut out for him, guiding his unranked Commodores against the nation's No. 1 team, Oregon State. He battled 6 2/3 innings, and while the numbers don't impress – he was charged with seven earned runs, three coming on a big homer in the third inning – he threw pitches with a ton of life while showing smooth and consistent mechanics. It's hard to hold the way he finished against him; Wright loaded the bases and walked in a run before being pulled at 122 pitches (two more would score afterward, adding to his ledger). He was laboring but answering the call as the ace of a team on the brink of elimination. There was plenty to like about the righty's outing, in which he struck out eight and threw some truly filthy sliders. Mike Berardino's comparison to a young Kevin Brown seems apt in many ways. Wright has everything you look for in a prospective frontline starting pitcher, and he could speed through the minors. As I wrote last week, his potential for rapid ascent would be a nice timeline fit for a team that appears to be at the front end of its contention window. Despite the recent steam for McKay, I still see Wright as the most likely pick. It's this simple: the Twins need fast-tracked pitching and he is pretty clearly the best college arm in the country. Historically, those are fairly safe picks. McKay, by the admission of his own coach at Louisville, may not be the best pitcher or hitter in college baseball (he places the two-way star "top three to five" in both categories). In contrasting the clear-cut top two collegiate talents in the nation, the choice seems fairly clear to me. But then there's Greene, who makes as strong a case to be taken first overall as any prep right-handed pitcher has in history. And he put it all on display during a Friday workout in Minneapolis late last week. Hunter Greene: RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA) As expected, and as usual, Greene wowed onlookers during a session at Target Field on Friday. He reportedly hit 101 MPH from the mound and put on show at the plate, launching four home runs. The 17-year-old oozes potential, and a level of upside that few draft prospects in recent history could match. It feels like, if the Twins pass on him, we will be doomed to a future of "what-ifs." We'll follow his progression closely, lamenting every fast promotion and extraordinary achievement. Of course, on the flip side, if they pass and Greene doesn't work out, the front office ultimately comes away looking really, really good. This kid has a set of skills and tools rarely seen on the diamond. He gave the Twins a final reminder of that on Friday. If they choose to go another direction, it's on them, for better or worse. OTHER POSSIBILITIES? There remains a distinct chance that Minnesota could pass on all three of the names above. If they're not enamored with McKay, Wright or Greene as a true No. 1 talent, then they could aim to strike a deal with someone slightly lower on the board to save pool money on one of their ensuing picks. Jeremy Nygaard explained how this might work in his latest edition of The Scouting Skinny, which went out to newsletter subscribers last week. Basically, we keep hearing that that the Twins have six players on their radar for the first pick, not just the three mentioned above. The idea is that by signing someone like MacKenzie Gore or Pavin Smith, who wouldn't normally be under consideration at the top, the Twins could sign that player below slot and then have more money available for bonuses at, say, No. 35 or No. 37. This was the approach Philadelphia took last year, signing No. 1 pick Mickey Moniak for about $3 million under slot and then luring their second pick, prep righty Kevin Gowdy, away from a UCLA commitment by offering almost double the slotted amount at No. 42. This turns our attention toward a subject we haven't yet broached in this primer: Minnesota has two more picks within the Top 40, and those also figure to be of enormous importance. It gets cumbersome to preview and break down those selections, because the number of realistic candidates goes from a handful to several dozen, but there is one name in particular that people around the Twins Cities will be following very closely. LOCAL ANGLE He is not in consideration to go first overall, but it sounds like the Twins would be more than happy to grab Burnsville's Sam Carlson if he makes it back to them at 35. This seems unlikely. The big right-hander ranks 15th on MLB.com's board and 21st on Baseball America's. He's in the conversation for best high school arm in the country, and reports suggest many teams are eyeing him in the first round. But Carlson has a scholarship from the University of Florida in his pocket, so money talks. For Minnesota to have a realistic shot at Carlson, it would require him slipping – probably due to signability concerns – and the Twins having extra cash in hand from cutting a deal at No. 1 to alleviate such concerns. Something to keep an eye on. LATEST PREDICTIONS Here's what the most recent mocks from major prospect publications are projecting for Monday: Baseball America Mock Draft 4.0 Twins #1 pick: Kyle Wright, RHP (Vanderbilt) Twins #35 pick: Brent Rooker, 1B (Mississippi State) Keith Law (ESPN) Mock Draft 3.0 Twins #1 pick: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B (Louisville) Bleacher Report Twins #1 pick: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B (Louisville) CBS Sports Twins #1 pick: Kyle Wright, RHP (Vanderbilt) Jeremy Nygaard/Twins Daily Twins #1 pick: Kyle Wright, RHP (Vanderbilt) Twins #35 pick: Blayne Enlow, RHP (LA prep) Twins #37 pick: Jacob Heatherly, LHP (AL prep) Twins #76 pick: Riley Adams, C (University of San DIego) Twins #106 pick: Michael Baumann, RHP (Jacksonville University) Twins #136 pick: Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP (University of Missouri) Twins #166 pick: Seth Lonsway, LHP (OH prep) Twins #196 pick: Griff McGarry, RHP (CA prep) Twins #226 pick: Dalton Guthrie, SS (University of Florida) Twins #256 pick: J.J. Schwarz, C (University of Florida) Twins #288 pick: Reed Rohlman, OF (Clemson University) MORE TWINS DAILY COVERAGE Check out Jeremy Nygaard's 10-round Twins mock draft to learn more about the players listed above. Previous Draft Profiles: Draft Profile: Hunter Greene, SP/SS by Nick Nelson Draft Profile: Kyle Wright, SP by Jeremy Nygaard Draft Profile: Brendan McKay, SP/1B by Cody Christie Draft Profile: MacKenzie Gore, LHP by Steve Lein Draft Profile: Royce Lewis, SS/OF by Nick Nelson Draft Profile: Pavin Smith, 1B by Tom Froemming Click here to view the article
  14. Since 2010, the Twins have selected three college players in the first round, right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers, shortstop Levi Michael and left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay. Wimmers and Michael have failed to transform into MLB regulars. Jay was drafted with the hopes of being a top tier starter. This spring the Twins announced he will be used as a relief pitcher moving forward. Today's profile looks at one of the players expect to come off the board with a top-three pick. His college experience and skills on both side of the ball make him an intriguing prospect. Will he be the Twins' choice at number one?WHO IS HE? McKay is a left-handed pitcher and first baseman from the University of Louisville. He was originally drafted in the 34th round of the 2014 draft by the San Diego Padres. His commitment to Louisville was strong and that decision seems to have paid off. McKay is 6-2, 220 pounds and was born on December 18, 1995. WHY THE TWINS WILL DRAFT HIM McKay has been a legitimate two-way threat during his collegiate career. As a freshman, he hit .308/.418/.431. He followed that up by hitting .333/.415/.513 as a sophomore. On the mound, he was even more impressive. Over 97 innings during his first year, he posted a 1.77 ERA with a 117 to 34 strikeout to walk ratio. He avoided a sophomore slump with a 2.30 ERA and a 128 to 42 strikeout to walk ratio over 110 innings. During his junior campaign, McKay has made huge strides at the plate. He's combined for a 1.159 OPS and 17 home runs which is more homers than his first two seasons combined. On the mound, he ranks in the NCAA's top-10 for strikeouts despite having pitched fewer innings than all but one the other pitchers in the top-10. MLB.com columnist Jim Callis told USA Today that he doesn't believe there has been a prospect who was equally highly regarded as both a pitcher and a hitter as McKay since Dave Winfield out of the University of Minnesota in 1973. Winfield, a Minnesota native, went on to a Hall of Fame career as a hitter and that comparison could make the Twins want to pull the trigger on McKay. WHY THE TWINS WON'T DRAFT HIM As the season has stretched on, McKay has seen some wear and tear from playing on both sides of the ball. His fastball has dropped to 88-91 mph but he has also been working on adding a cut fastball. He hasn't been able to refine pitching or hitting since he has been spending time doing both. His velocity isn't overwhelming and it's not hard for big league teams to find a first baseman/DH who can hit for power. McKay's stock has definitely dropped as the spring has progressed. He doesn't have the athletic ability of some other top college picks from recent years like Kris Bryant or Dansby Swanson. If McKay's future is on the mound, there are better pitchers the Twins will look at before taking McKay. Baseball America also thinks McKay would be better suited to be part of a National League organization. This would allow him to continue to pitch and hit on a regular basis. Even with a slow end to his spring, McKay is still one of the first names Commissioner Manfred will announce on June 12. Will he be trading in a Cardinals jersey for new Twins digs? Other draft-related articles: Twins Daily Draft Preview Royce Lewis Pavin Smith 10-Round Mock Draft Click here to view the article
  15. WHO IS HE? McKay is a left-handed pitcher and first baseman from the University of Louisville. He was originally drafted in the 34th round of the 2014 draft by the San Diego Padres. His commitment to Louisville was strong and that decision seems to have paid off. McKay is 6-2, 220 pounds and was born on December 18, 1995. WHY THE TWINS WILL DRAFT HIM McKay has been a legitimate two-way threat during his collegiate career. As a freshman, he hit .308/.418/.431. He followed that up by hitting .333/.415/.513 as a sophomore. On the mound, he was even more impressive. Over 97 innings during his first year, he posted a 1.77 ERA with a 117 to 34 strikeout to walk ratio. He avoided a sophomore slump with a 2.30 ERA and a 128 to 42 strikeout to walk ratio over 110 innings. During his junior campaign, McKay has made huge strides at the plate. He's combined for a 1.159 OPS and 17 home runs which is more homers than his first two seasons combined. On the mound, he ranks in the NCAA's top-10 for strikeouts despite having pitched fewer innings than all but one the other pitchers in the top-10. MLB.com columnist Jim Callis told USA Today that he doesn't believe there has been a prospect who was equally highly regarded as both a pitcher and a hitter as McKay since Dave Winfield out of the University of Minnesota in 1973. Winfield, a Minnesota native, went on to a Hall of Fame career as a hitter and that comparison could make the Twins want to pull the trigger on McKay. WHY THE TWINS WON'T DRAFT HIM As the season has stretched on, McKay has seen some wear and tear from playing on both sides of the ball. His fastball has dropped to 88-91 mph but he has also been working on adding a cut fastball. He hasn't been able to refine pitching or hitting since he has been spending time doing both. His velocity isn't overwhelming and it's not hard for big league teams to find a first baseman/DH who can hit for power. McKay's stock has definitely dropped as the spring has progressed. He doesn't have the athletic ability of some other top college picks from recent years like Kris Bryant or Dansby Swanson. If McKay's future is on the mound, there are better pitchers the Twins will look at before taking McKay. Baseball America also thinks McKay would be better suited to be part of a National League organization. This would allow him to continue to pitch and hit on a regular basis. Even with a slow end to his spring, McKay is still one of the first names Commissioner Manfred will announce on June 12. Will he be trading in a Cardinals jersey for new Twins digs? Other draft-related articles: Twins Daily Draft Preview Royce Lewis Pavin Smith 10-Round Mock Draft
  16. Twins Daily Draft Preview: Jeremy, the Twins Daily Draft Guru, kicked off the coverage by looking at the Twins's draft pool, which players were under consideration for the top pick, and some potential draft strategies. There are lots of factors impacting an organization as the draft gets closer. Draft Player Profiles Royce Lewis, SS/OF: While a lot of the draft focus has been on the big three (Wright, McKay, and Greene), the Twins are considering other players for the top spot. Lewis might be the best hitter in this draft class. Baseball America calls him "arguably the best position player prospect in this year's class." With that type of praise, the Twins certainly have to consider him. Pavin Smith, 1B: Smith might be one of college's most polished players. His advanced approach at the plate has helped him to have more home runs (12) than strikeouts (9). For a player with power hitting ability, that is quite a shift away from the norm. Baseball America thinks he is the best college hitter in the draft. He might not have the upside of other potential picks but his floor could be higher. Brendan McKay, SP/1B: If the draft was happening earlier this spring, McKay might have been the Twins' most likely first pick. He has crushed the ball at the plate and shown some strong ability on the mound. Unfortunately, his stock has slipped a little as his fastball velocity dropped. MLB.com columnist Jim Callis said McKay might be the best two-way player since Dave Winfield. He's one of the big three at the top of the draft but it would be a little surprising for the Twins to take him. Hunter Greene, SP/SS: Greene has been at the front of the national draft coverage for most of the spring. Sports Illustrated featured him on their cover and called him "the star baseball needs." He hasn't pitched in some time and there is talk of him wanting to end up with San Diego at the number three pick. Greene could end up being the best player in the draft but he could also fail to develop and end up as a bust. The Twins can't afford for that to happen but they also have to hope Greene won't haunt them. Kyle Wright, SP: Fans have heard Wright be called the "right pick". While McKay and Greene might have lost some steam as the spring progressed, Wright has only solidified his place at the top of the draft. McKay and Greene have been two-way players while Wright has been focusing solely on his pitching. He is more polished and could move quickly through the Twins system. Most national writers expect Wright to be the Twins' choice with the first overall pick. MacKenzie Gore, SP: Gore has been gaining a ton of steam as draft day approaches. He's left-handed and has advanced command for his age. He can mix in four different pitches and he might be the most complete high school pitcher in the draft. Would the Twins surprise the baseball world and select the lesser known of the top-two high school arms? Other MLB Draft Coverage Twins 10-round mock draft: Jeremy does his best every year to try to select the players Minnesota will be focusing on through the first 10-rounds. Sometimes this can be an exercise in futility but he has gotten multiple players correct when doing this for previous drafts. The Multi-Pick Gambit: As mentioned before, the Twins have the biggest pool in the draft. Will they be able to cut a deal with the number one pick so they have other money to spend on later selections? It's tougher than one might think. Will Hunter Greene Haunt The Twins?: He could be a once in a generation player. What happens if the Twins decide to go in a different direction? Keith Law On The Twins And The 2017 Draft: Law, ESPN's prospect writer, did an interview with Seth where he look ahead to the draft and speculated on the names Minnesota is considering at the top. The Wright Fit?: Kyle Wright could end up in Minnesota. Why is he the right pick for this organization? The Scouting Skinny: Kyle Wright: He probably has the best chance to go first overall. What do scouts have to say about Wright and his ascension to the top? Sam Carlson Q&A: Part 1 Sam Carlson Q&A: Part 2: Carlson, a Burnsville High School player, has a good chance of being taken in the mid-to-late first round. While he might not be in play for the Twins, it's interesting to hear about the draft process for a player in the midst of a life-changing event. Even after the Twins make their selection on Monday, check back at Twins Daily for all of your MLB draft related coverage.
  17. Minnesota has been on the clock since late last season. They knew this day was coming. A parting gift from the 2016 team for accumulating the worst record in franchise history. The 2017 MLB draft could be a franchise altering event. For better or for worse, the Twins new front office could be defined by the choices they make in the coming days. As fans already know, the Twins will make the first overall selection on Monday. The organization also has two other picks in the top-40. Because of these high picks, Minnesota will have the draft's highest bonus pool which is almost half a million more than the next closest team. This gives the organization a financial advantage but this advantage is less than it has been in previous years. Hopefully, Twins Daily has been your first stop for all of your MLB Draft related coverage but you might have missed something along the way.Twins Daily Draft Preview: Jeremy, the Twins Daily Draft Guru, kicked off the coverage by looking at the Twins's draft pool, which players were under consideration for the top pick, and some potential draft strategies. There are lots of factors impacting an organization as the draft gets closer. Draft Player Profiles Royce Lewis, SS/OF: While a lot of the draft focus has been on the big three (Wright, McKay, and Greene), the Twins are considering other players for the top spot. Lewis might be the best hitter in this draft class. Baseball America calls him "arguably the best position player prospect in this year's class." With that type of praise, the Twins certainly have to consider him. Pavin Smith, 1B: Smith might be one of college's most polished players. His advanced approach at the plate has helped him to have more home runs (12) than strikeouts (9). For a player with power hitting ability, that is quite a shift away from the norm. Baseball America thinks he is the best college hitter in the draft. He might not have the upside of other potential picks but his floor could be higher. Brendan McKay, SP/1B: If the draft was happening earlier this spring, McKay might have been the Twins' most likely first pick. He has crushed the ball at the plate and shown some strong ability on the mound. Unfortunately, his stock has slipped a little as his fastball velocity dropped. MLB.com columnist Jim Callis said McKay might be the best two-way player since Dave Winfield. He's one of the big three at the top of the draft but it would be a little surprising for the Twins to take him. Hunter Greene, SP/SS: Greene has been at the front of the national draft coverage for most of the spring. Sports Illustrated featured him on their cover and called him "the star baseball needs." He hasn't pitched in some time and there is talk of him wanting to end up with San Diego at the number three pick. Greene could end up being the best player in the draft but he could also fail to develop and end up as a bust. The Twins can't afford for that to happen but they also have to hope Greene won't haunt them. Kyle Wright, SP: Fans have heard Wright be called the "right pick". While McKay and Greene might have lost some steam as the spring progressed, Wright has only solidified his place at the top of the draft. McKay and Greene have been two-way players while Wright has been focusing solely on his pitching. He is more polished and could move quickly through the Twins system. Most national writers expect Wright to be the Twins' choice with the first overall pick. MacKenzie Gore, SP: Gore has been gaining a ton of steam as draft day approaches. He's left-handed and has advanced command for his age. He can mix in four different pitches and he might be the most complete high school pitcher in the draft. Would the Twins surprise the baseball world and select the lesser known of the top-two high school arms? Other MLB Draft Coverage Twins 10-round mock draft: Jeremy does his best every year to try to select the players Minnesota will be focusing on through the first 10-rounds. Sometimes this can be an exercise in futility but he has gotten multiple players correct when doing this for previous drafts. The Multi-Pick Gambit:As mentioned before, the Twins have the biggest pool in the draft. Will they be able to cut a deal with the number one pick so they have other money to spend on later selections? It's tougher than one might think. Will Hunter Greene Haunt The Twins?: He could be a once in a generation player. What happens if the Twins decide to go in a different direction? Keith Law On The Twins And The 2017 Draft: Law, ESPN's prospect writer, did an interview with Seth where he look ahead to the draft and speculated on the names Minnesota is considering at the top. The Wright Fit?:Kyle Wright could end up in Minnesota. Why is he the right pick for this organization? The Scouting Skinny: Kyle Wright: He probably has the best chance to go first overall. What do scouts have to say about Wright and his ascension to the top? Sam Carlson Q&A: Part 1 Sam Carlson Q&A: Part 2: Carlson, a Burnsville High School player, has a good chance of being taken in the mid-to-late first round. While he might not be in play for the Twins, it's interesting to hear about the draft process for a player in the midst of a life-changing event. Even after the Twins make their selection on Monday, check back at Twins Daily for all of your MLB draft related coverage. Click here to view the article
  18. In the fourth and final installment of a conversation with Keith Law, we discussed what goes into the thinking when a team has the #1 overall pick in the draft. What factors would he use if he was the scouting director for the team with the top selection? I think his response speaks very well to the fact that it is not an easy decision this year. Law’s comments about the options remind us that there are choices at number one, that it’s not a slam dunk choice. One more reminder, tonight at 6:30, Keith Law will appear with fellow baseball authors Peter Schilling, Jr., and Michael Fallon for a book reading, discussion and signing. Head to Moon Palace Books in southeast Minneapolis to be a part of this event. Get your copy of Smart Baseball signed by Keith Law. We all know the catch phrase that teams like to use when talking about early draft picks. “Best Player Available” is the popular, and correct, thing to do. Who will be the best player in the minds of your scouting department? That is the player you want. However, there are many factors that a scouting department will consider in determining who they will select and invest millions of dollars.I asked Keith Law for his general thoughts on what a team should consider when making the #1 overall pick. “My personal philosophy… The history of the #1 pick, you are more likely to get a generational talent or an all-world sort of player than any other spot. It’s a rare opportunity. Of course, you never want to pick there again.” The top player on Law’s board is the top player on most people’s board right now, though even now that is subject to change. “If you look at Hunter Greene, the 17-year-old high school right-handed pitcher/shortstop from Southern California, he’s first on my rankings, and I believe he’s first on MLB.com’s too. I think he has a chance to be an absolute superstar. I would take him recognizing the risk, but you want to roll the dice on a chance to get a franchise-defining sort of player. However, that is simply my philosophy, and it isn’t my money so it’s pretty easy for me to say that.” Money is a factor. While the draft slots have changed a bit this year, teams at the top - those with the most slotted money available to use - can still be creative. The best example in recent years was the Astros selecting Carlos Correa first overall in 2012 and signing him for well under slot value. They then used the extra slot money to select Lance McCullers and Rio Ruiz later. Could the Twins consider that strategy? Should they? “And money is always a factor. If Hunter Greene wants $8 million and Kyle Wright of Vanderbilt says he’ll sign for $5 million, you might be able to do great things with that $3 million in savings.” Law continued, “Taking Wright, even if you don’t believe he’s the best player, may be the better choice because of the value. They have one extra pick and another at the top of the second round, you can overpay guys later and get more talent in total.” With the Twins farm system lacking the high-end talent (as we discussed in Part 3), adding three high-quality prospects in the draft certainly sounds appealing. We don’t know what Greene or Wright or McKay or others would ask. Those discussions will start occurring in the coming weeks. But the strategy is sound.” With the #1 overall pick, you simply cannot take a guy who busts completely. Ceiling is great, but floor likely comes into play as well. Law explains, “There is another philosophy that says if you pick first, you don't want to zero out on that. Hunter Greene is a high school right-hander. No high school right-hander has ever gone first overall. It’s risky. Maybe you take Wright, who’s at Vanderbilt, who’s the best college pitcher in the class for me. He’s been pitching out of his mind the last month. He’s got size. He’s got stuff. He’s got command. I mean, Vanderbilt is as good of pedigree as you can get for a pitcher. So maybe you say, we know that guy’s a big league starter. He’s at least a three, probably a two, and he might be a one. That’s good. You would take that. Especially the Twins. They’ve struggled to develop good young starting pitcher. You would take that.” In summary, Law agrees that Greene presents the highest ceiling. However, he comes with a lot of risk. Wright has a high ceiling, though not as high as Greene, but his floor is most likely significantly higher too. “Would you take that if I told you that in passing on Hunter Greene, there’s a 30% chance you’re passing on Bob Gibson. Maybe Hall of Famer is a bit much, but a multiple-time All-Star, a Cy Young contender in Greene. He might be that.” Law recently had the opportunity to see Greene and talk with him for an upcoming story. He came away incredibly impressed. “He might get to the big leagues by 20. He’s 17, and I got to interview him a couple of weeks ago. This is an impressive person. It’s an impressive body. You don’t see kids like that. I see kids all the time for the job. I don’t see many kids build like that, athletic like that, loose like that, still projectable and already throwing in the upper-90s.” With the Twins having so many young players in their pre-arbitration and pre-free agency years, maybe there is a goal to get someone who can help more quickly. “At the same time, do you want to wait 3-5 years for a high school pitcher, or do you want to take the college pitcher who could be in your rotation in 12 months?” These are all factors and considerations that Twins first-year Scouting Director Sean Johnson has likely thrown around in his head, and thrown off of all of the area scouts, and thrown off of Derek Falvey, Thad Levine and others. Simply, there isn’t an easy #1 overall choice in the 2017. There isn’t a Stephen Strasburg, there there isn’t a Bryce Harper. Making it even more difficult, Law acknowledges there are likely more than just the two players (Greene and Wright). “I could go back and forth, and I could make a good case for either side. Those are just two of them. You will hear Brendan McKay’s name though he’s falling off at this point. But he may still be a strong consideration at one. There are other names in this group because there’s not a hitter. There’s not a Bryce Harper where you look and say that’s a sure thing. The bat plays and he’s got power. I can check off a bunch of things that are virtual guarantees. We’re talking about pitchers, and pitchers are scary. I’ve been in draft rooms with Toronto where we took pitchers and we were sure of what we were getting, and we didn’t get that.” I mentioned to Law that I had just done a radio spot and when asked who I would take with the #1 pick, I surprised the show’s hosts by saying Kyle Wright. Law made me feel better about my (admittedly hypothetical) selection. “You’re not wrong. I guess there are wrong answers, but Kyle Wright is not a wrong answer. I don’t know if there’s really one right answer this year.” McKay’s name has surfaced with the Twin and the top overall pick. Those voices have seemingly quieted of late. And it’s because of the things scouts (and fans) have seen the last couple of weekends. “When I saw him in February, he was 90-95. We’ve had reports from the last two weekends where he’s been upper-80s and topping out at (91 or 92). That’s a little concerning. He was never overpowering. He’s going to live by command, by mixing his pitches. Now you’re telling me it’s an average fastball? It’s not a high school kid's where you’ve projecting it to get better. It’s a college arm thinking this is probably what it is. That would worry me. He’s still a good pitcher, but at this point, if I were in Falvey’s shoes, I’d say we’re not doing that at one. So what do you think? There are a lot of ways to think about who the Twins should draft with the first overall pick. All of them make sense. Things to consider include: CeilingFloorLikelihood of reaching ceilingFinancial creativity (can you get two of three high-level talents by signing someone for less at one?)TimelinesI would really like to thank Keith Law for spending some time talking to me the other day about a variety of topics. It was a nice conversation that felt like it could have gone much longer. One more time, you’ve got the opportunity tonight to rub elbows with Keith Law, hear a reading of his new book Smart Baseball, listen to some baseball discussion and get autographs. 6:30 tonight at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis. If you missed any of the previous article, here they are: Part 1 - Keith Law On Smart Baseball Part 2 - Keith Law On Derek Falvey And The 2017 Twins Part 3 - Keith Law On The Twins Minor Leagues Click here to view the article
  19. I asked Keith Law for his general thoughts on what a team should consider when making the #1 overall pick. “My personal philosophy… The history of the #1 pick, you are more likely to get a generational talent or an all-world sort of player than any other spot. It’s a rare opportunity. Of course, you never want to pick there again.” The top player on Law’s board is the top player on most people’s board right now, though even now that is subject to change. “If you look at Hunter Greene, the 17-year-old high school right-handed pitcher/shortstop from Southern California, he’s first on my rankings, and I believe he’s first on MLB.com’s too. I think he has a chance to be an absolute superstar. I would take him recognizing the risk, but you want to roll the dice on a chance to get a franchise-defining sort of player. However, that is simply my philosophy, and it isn’t my money so it’s pretty easy for me to say that.” Money is a factor. While the draft slots have changed a bit this year, teams at the top - those with the most slotted money available to use - can still be creative. The best example in recent years was the Astros selecting Carlos Correa first overall in 2012 and signing him for well under slot value. They then used the extra slot money to select Lance McCullers and Rio Ruiz later. Could the Twins consider that strategy? Should they? “And money is always a factor. If Hunter Greene wants $8 million and Kyle Wright of Vanderbilt says he’ll sign for $5 million, you might be able to do great things with that $3 million in savings.” Law continued, “Taking Wright, even if you don’t believe he’s the best player, may be the better choice because of the value. They have one extra pick and another at the top of the second round, you can overpay guys later and get more talent in total.” With the Twins farm system lacking the high-end talent (as we discussed in Part 3), adding three high-quality prospects in the draft certainly sounds appealing. We don’t know what Greene or Wright or McKay or others would ask. Those discussions will start occurring in the coming weeks. But the strategy is sound.” With the #1 overall pick, you simply cannot take a guy who busts completely. Ceiling is great, but floor likely comes into play as well. Law explains, “There is another philosophy that says if you pick first, you don't want to zero out on that. Hunter Greene is a high school right-hander. No high school right-hander has ever gone first overall. It’s risky. Maybe you take Wright, who’s at Vanderbilt, who’s the best college pitcher in the class for me. He’s been pitching out of his mind the last month. He’s got size. He’s got stuff. He’s got command. I mean, Vanderbilt is as good of pedigree as you can get for a pitcher. So maybe you say, we know that guy’s a big league starter. He’s at least a three, probably a two, and he might be a one. That’s good. You would take that. Especially the Twins. They’ve struggled to develop good young starting pitcher. You would take that.” In summary, Law agrees that Greene presents the highest ceiling. However, he comes with a lot of risk. Wright has a high ceiling, though not as high as Greene, but his floor is most likely significantly higher too. “Would you take that if I told you that in passing on Hunter Greene, there’s a 30% chance you’re passing on Bob Gibson. Maybe Hall of Famer is a bit much, but a multiple-time All-Star, a Cy Young contender in Greene. He might be that.” Law recently had the opportunity to see Greene and talk with him for an upcoming story. He came away incredibly impressed. “He might get to the big leagues by 20. He’s 17, and I got to interview him a couple of weeks ago. This is an impressive person. It’s an impressive body. You don’t see kids like that. I see kids all the time for the job. I don’t see many kids build like that, athletic like that, loose like that, still projectable and already throwing in the upper-90s.” With the Twins having so many young players in their pre-arbitration and pre-free agency years, maybe there is a goal to get someone who can help more quickly. “At the same time, do you want to wait 3-5 years for a high school pitcher, or do you want to take the college pitcher who could be in your rotation in 12 months?” These are all factors and considerations that Twins first-year Scouting Director Sean Johnson has likely thrown around in his head, and thrown off of all of the area scouts, and thrown off of Derek Falvey, Thad Levine and others. Simply, there isn’t an easy #1 overall choice in the 2017. There isn’t a Stephen Strasburg, there there isn’t a Bryce Harper. Making it even more difficult, Law acknowledges there are likely more than just the two players (Greene and Wright). “I could go back and forth, and I could make a good case for either side. Those are just two of them. You will hear Brendan McKay’s name though he’s falling off at this point. But he may still be a strong consideration at one. There are other names in this group because there’s not a hitter. There’s not a Bryce Harper where you look and say that’s a sure thing. The bat plays and he’s got power. I can check off a bunch of things that are virtual guarantees. We’re talking about pitchers, and pitchers are scary. I’ve been in draft rooms with Toronto where we took pitchers and we were sure of what we were getting, and we didn’t get that.” I mentioned to Law that I had just done a radio spot and when asked who I would take with the #1 pick, I surprised the show’s hosts by saying Kyle Wright. Law made me feel better about my (admittedly hypothetical) selection. “You’re not wrong. I guess there are wrong answers, but Kyle Wright is not a wrong answer. I don’t know if there’s really one right answer this year.” McKay’s name has surfaced with the Twin and the top overall pick. Those voices have seemingly quieted of late. And it’s because of the things scouts (and fans) have seen the last couple of weekends. “When I saw him in February, he was 90-95. We’ve had reports from the last two weekends where he’s been upper-80s and topping out at (91 or 92). That’s a little concerning. He was never overpowering. He’s going to live by command, by mixing his pitches. Now you’re telling me it’s an average fastball? It’s not a high school kid's where you’ve projecting it to get better. It’s a college arm thinking this is probably what it is. That would worry me. He’s still a good pitcher, but at this point, if I were in Falvey’s shoes, I’d say we’re not doing that at one. So what do you think? There are a lot of ways to think about who the Twins should draft with the first overall pick. All of them make sense. Things to consider include: Ceiling Floor Likelihood of reaching ceiling Financial creativity (can you get two of three high-level talents by signing someone for less at one?) Timelines I would really like to thank Keith Law for spending some time talking to me the other day about a variety of topics. It was a nice conversation that felt like it could have gone much longer. One more time, you’ve got the opportunity tonight to rub elbows with Keith Law, hear a reading of his new book Smart Baseball, listen to some baseball discussion and get autographs. 6:30 tonight at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis. If you missed any of the previous article, here they are: Part 1 - Keith Law On Smart Baseball Part 2 - Keith Law On Derek Falvey And The 2017 Twins Part 3 - Keith Law On The Twins Minor Leagues
  20. McKay is an interesting case. At the beginning of the season, the preference for McKay was as a left-handed pitcher. A “bigger Ted Lilly” one scout called him, saying he’d be, at worst, a “solid #3” for a long time. McKay, who should win his third straight John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, has done nothing but raise expectations this season. As a pitcher, he’s thrown 67.0 innings and struck out 95. Opponents have hit only .172 and his WHIP is 0.84. While other top college throwers came out of the gates slowly, McKay had performed at a very high level all season until giving up nine earned runs over his last two starts. How much should be made of those two starts? McKay has still struck out more than a batter an inning and given up less than a hit and walk per inning pitched. If it’s me - and nothing alarming has happened with his velocity or delivery, and by all accounts, it hasn’t - I’m putting very little stock into two less-than-ideal starts. The thing that makes McKay so intriguing is that along with being arguably the best pitcher in college baseball, he is also arguably the best hitter in college baseball. Everyone knew he could hit - he hit .326 for the Collegiate National Team last summer and hit over .300 in both seasons at Louisville - but he took it to another level this spring. Currently slashing .390/.511/.747 (1.258), McKay has evaluators reconsidering what his long-term positional home should be. Sorry guys, it won’t be as a two-way player. But you’re not getting this exclusive newsletter in your email to tell you that. You’ve read national media that says they’d take McKay as a first baseman. Others say pitcher. It’s conceivable that the Twins select Brendan McKay next month as a “pitcher/first baseman” and truly mean it. You can bump McKay up as a pitcher because if that doesn’t work, he can be a big-league hitter. You can bump McKay up as a hitter because if that doesn’t work, he can be a big-league pitcher. Or as one Twins source told me, it’s “kind of like having a chip on red and black.” The Twins have long had a philosophy of trying to take the best player regardless of position. This is a case where Brendan McKay might just be the best player in the draft regardless of his position. If that’s what the organization truly decides, they will take Brendan McKay, best player available, and figure out the rest later.
  21. Twins Daily is very happy to announce that Jeremy Nygaard will be providing occasional insider news/rumors on the Twins deliberations in the upcoming MLB Draft. The first was last Friday which we're copying below. But that won't often be the case; to be sure to get them sign up for the Twins Daily email list at the bottom of this story or in the upper-right hand corner of this page. As most national media publications have started to release their mock drafts, there’s been a lot of momentum in the direction of Brendan McKay from Louisville. That’s probably a fair place to be five weeks from the draft, but I’ve been told that the organization has “cast a wide net” in their search for the top overall selection. College first baseman Pavin Smith of Virginia and prep right-handed hurler Shane Baz of Texas remain in consideration as well as other prominent names such as Hunter Greene, Royce Lewis and Kyle Wright.McKay is an interesting case. At the beginning of the season, the preference for McKay was as a left-handed pitcher. A “bigger Ted Lilly” one scout called him, saying he’d be, at worst, a “solid #3” for a long time. McKay, who should win his third straight John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, has done nothing but raise expectations this season. As a pitcher, he’s thrown 67.0 innings and struck out 95. Opponents have hit only .172 and his WHIP is 0.84. While other top college throwers came out of the gates slowly, McKay had performed at a very high level all season until giving up nine earned runs over his last two starts. How much should be made of those two starts? McKay has still struck out more than a batter an inning and given up less than a hit and walk per inning pitched. If it’s me - and nothing alarming has happened with his velocity or delivery, and by all accounts, it hasn’t - I’m putting very little stock into two less-than-ideal starts. The thing that makes McKay so intriguing is that along with being arguably the best pitcher in college baseball, he is also arguably the best hitter in college baseball. Everyone knew he could hit - he hit .326 for the Collegiate National Team last summer and hit over .300 in both seasons at Louisville - but he took it to another level this spring. Currently slashing .390/.511/.747 (1.258), McKay has evaluators reconsidering what his long-term positional home should be. Sorry guys, it won’t be as a two-way player. But you’re not getting this exclusive newsletter in your email to tell you that. You’ve read national media that says they’d take McKay as a first baseman. Others say pitcher. It’s conceivable that the Twins select Brendan McKay next month as a “pitcher/first baseman” and truly mean it. You can bump McKay up as a pitcher because if that doesn’t work, he can be a big-league hitter. You can bump McKay up as a hitter because if that doesn’t work, he can be a big-league pitcher. Or as one Twins source told me, it’s “kind of like having a chip on red and black.” The Twins have long had a philosophy of trying to take the best player regardless of position. This is a case where Brendan McKay might just be the best player in the draft regardless of his position. If that’s what the organization truly decides, they will take Brendan McKay, best player available, and figure out the rest later. Click here to view the article
  22. HUNTER GREENE Let's talk about everyone's favorite prospect first. On Wednesday the newest edition of Sports Illustrated will hit the shelves. On the cover... you guessed it. Greene. Next to his picture are phrases like: "Baseball's LeBron or the New Babe?" and proclaiming Greene as the star "baseball needs." Read the article but be warned, you're going to like Greene even more. Greene has also been the focus of rumors that he's trying to force his way down the draft to his hometown Padres at #3. Those rumors have been floating around in the Twitter-sphere for a bit. In a recent conversation with Greene, he addressed the internet issues, simply saying they're "not true." And to be honest. I don't care if they are or if they aren't. We all have jobs and those jobs are - more than likely - in places that we choose to work. He's grown up on the west coast, worked his tail off on the west coast, and if his preference is to be baseball's next star on the west coast, would you blame him? With all that being said, as of today, I think these internet rumors have been way overblown. On another note, Greene's next start hasn't been scheduled. And no one knows if it will happen again this season or not. I'm still leaning that it will. BRENDAN MCKAY So if Greene isn't the guy, it's gotta be the best pitcher in college baseball right? Or will it be the best power hitter in college baseball? It could be both. On Tuesday, McKay, who one scout told me might be the greatest college baseball player of all time, hit four home runs. The feeling for quite some time is that McKay is a pitcher who could debut in the major leagues in 2018 and fit in the top half of the rotation for years to come. But how do you ignore the bat? With a bat as good as his is, do you dare to get creative and continue to let him hit? You can't completely dismiss that possibility. But how realistic that is remains to be seen. I think the temptation then would be to think that either of Greene or McKay could be two-way guys. But McKay has the leg up there because it would be easier to DH his bat (or play it at first base) than to have Greene play shortstop in between starts. The likely reality, though, is that you can't do that. With either. When you draft either of these guys, you're drafting a pitcher. I was asked today what I would do. If things are equal, I'd take Greene. But what if, through negotiations, you realize you could draft McKay and sign him for $500k less than what Greene wants? What if that number is $750k? What if there is a third player that you like almost as much that will sign for $1.5 million less? This is the question the Twins will have to ask themselves. And answer.
  23. The draft is quickly approaching (but still seems like a lifetime away). Twins Daily's draft coverage is being mapped out. But as of today, there are two major players as candidates for the first overall pick in June's draft and both of those players have made headlines.HUNTER GREENE Let's talk about everyone's favorite prospect first. On Wednesday the newest edition of Sports Illustrated will hit the shelves. On the cover... you guessed it. Greene. Next to his picture are phrases like: "Baseball's LeBron or the New Babe?" and proclaiming Greene as the star "baseball needs." Read the article but be warned, you're going to like Greene even more. Greene has also been the focus of rumors that he's trying to force his way down the draft to his hometown Padres at #3. Those rumors have been floating around in the Twitter-sphere for a bit. In a recent conversation with Greene, he addressed the internet issues, simply saying they're "not true." And to be honest. I don't care if they are or if they aren't. We all have jobs and those jobs are - more than likely - in places that we choose to work. He's grown up on the west coast, worked his tail off on the west coast, and if his preference is to be baseball's next star on the west coast, would you blame him? With all that being said, as of today, I think these internet rumors have been way overblown. On another note, Greene's next start hasn't been scheduled. And no one knows if it will happen again this season or not. I'm still leaning that it will. BRENDAN MCKAY So if Greene isn't the guy, it's gotta be the best pitcher in college baseball right? Or will it be the best power hitter in college baseball? It could be both. On Tuesday, McKay, who one scout told me might be the greatest college baseball player of all time, hit four home runs. The feeling for quite some time is that McKay is a pitcher who could debut in the major leagues in 2018 and fit in the top half of the rotation for years to come. But how do you ignore the bat? With a bat as good as his is, do you dare to get creative and continue to let him hit? You can't completely dismiss that possibility. But how realistic that is remains to be seen. I think the temptation then would be to think that either of Greene or McKay could be two-way guys. But McKay has the leg up there because it would be easier to DH his bat (or play it at first base) than to have Greene play shortstop in between starts. The likely reality, though, is that you can't do that. With either. When you draft either of these guys, you're drafting a pitcher. I was asked today what I would do. If things are equal, I'd take Greene. But what if, through negotiations, you realize you could draft McKay and sign him for $500k less than what Greene wants? What if that number is $750k? What if there is a third player that you like almost as much that will sign for $1.5 million less? This is the question the Twins will have to ask themselves. And answer. Click here to view the article
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