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  1. The San Diego Padres are nearly a lock to make the playoffs, but they need to add some pieces to compete for their first World Series title in their 53 season history, where they've otherwise been primarily bottom dwellers. Can they strike a deal with the Twins to take the next step? What's Their Situation? Coming into the season, everyone expected the Padres and Dodgers to be battling it out for the NL Central crown, which the Padres haven't won since they went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. To almost everyone's surprise, neither team is in first place, as the San Francisco Giants have been baseball's best team over the first 94 games of the season. And even though they find themselves 5.5 games behind the division leader and in third place, FanGraphs has their odds to make the postseason at 92.3-percent, making them the second Wild Card team and likely facing the Dodgers or Giants in the Wild Card round. Currently, the Padres are tied with the Mets with an 8.0-percent chance to win the World Series, which is 5th best in the league. What Do They Need? Like the Dodgers, but even more so, the Padres need starting and relief pitching. The Padres are 23rd in all of baseball in getting innings from their starters, leading them to use their relievers the most in baseball. Aside from Yu Darvish, who is currently on the IL and has struggled since the MLB cracked down on "sticky stuff," they don't have any top-end arms in their rotation or bullpen. That said, they have gotten good production from Joe Musgrove (SP), Emilio Pagan (RP), Pierce Johnson (RP), and Austin Adams (RP). They could also use a right-handed bat as they are a mediocre team against left-handed pitching. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? It remains to be seen if anyone will be willing to add any of the Twins expiring contracts who are at least partially responsible for the Twins being sellers in 2021. That said, I think the Twins could DFA Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, or Matt Shoemaker on August 1st if they aren't moved the day before. In short, they would likely take anything (PTBNL or cash) as their return on investment rather than just giving up the players for free. Of course, the headliners for the Twins are José Berríos, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey, but I think Michael Pineda and Caleb Thielbar could be intriguing trade candidates as well. Thielbar is one of the most under-appreciated Twins, and despite being 34-years-old, he still has three years of team control remaining. What Could the Twins Get Back? The Padres have been very active on the trade market in recent years yet boast one of the best farm systems in baseball. They feature four to five top-100 guys depending on the source and two guys in the top-10. Moreover, many of their top prospects are close to getting their crack at contributing in the Major Leagues. You'll notice that shortstop CJ Abrams, a headliner prospect, isn't on this list because he recently fractured his leg, and I don't see the Padres willing to "sell low" on a player with such a high ceiling. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 22yo - Gore is one the best prospects in all of baseball and would require a haul to acquire from the Padres if he's even available at all. That said, aside from 101 innings in 2019, he's struggled in the Minors, where he has a 5.85 ERA and is issuing 5.4 walks per nine innings. He fits the current Twins mold, high 90's fastball with a slider, and maybe his struggles have the Padres ready to move on. Robert Hassel, OF, 19yo - I'd be remiss if I didn't have Hassel on this list as he's a high-level prospect that would be hard to pass up if he's available, but he is another left-handed hitter of which the Twins are loaded (Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Matt Walner). That said, with his upside, it could provide a future replacement if they were unable to extend Byron Buxton, although his defense obviously would be a significant downgrade. Ryan Weathers, LHP, 21yo - despite having less than 130 innings in the minors, Weathers has been forced to the Majors, where he has fared pretty well thru 58.2 innings. His xERA (5.29) and FIP (4.54) aren't favorable, but to this point, he has posted a 2.91 ERA and a K/BB of 2.33, which is decent. Like Gore, Weathers has a high-velocity fastball and a slider, although his best secondary pitch is his change-up. He's a step down from the first three prospects mentioned and thus more available and cheaper. Reggie Lawson, RHP, 23yo Justin Lange, RHP, 19yo Anderson Espinoza, RHP, 23yo I grouped these guys because they are intriguing, a tier or two below weathers, and have flaws that would make them cheaper. All would be a risk to take on, especially Lawson and Espinoza, who have battled injuries in their time in the Minors. Lawson, who just recently returned to the mound, has a mid-90's fastball with plus offspeed. Espinoza, who hadn't pitched since 2016, has struggled this year to be expected after such a long layoff and was pumping high 90's in spring training. The risk in adding Lange is that he's only 19-years-old who can hit triple digits, making his health and development a bit of a wild card. View full article
  2. What's Their Situation? Coming into the season, everyone expected the Padres and Dodgers to be battling it out for the NL Central crown, which the Padres haven't won since they went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. To almost everyone's surprise, neither team is in first place, as the San Francisco Giants have been baseball's best team over the first 94 games of the season. And even though they find themselves 5.5 games behind the division leader and in third place, FanGraphs has their odds to make the postseason at 92.3-percent, making them the second Wild Card team and likely facing the Dodgers or Giants in the Wild Card round. Currently, the Padres are tied with the Mets with an 8.0-percent chance to win the World Series, which is 5th best in the league. What Do They Need? Like the Dodgers, but even more so, the Padres need starting and relief pitching. The Padres are 23rd in all of baseball in getting innings from their starters, leading them to use their relievers the most in baseball. Aside from Yu Darvish, who is currently on the IL and has struggled since the MLB cracked down on "sticky stuff," they don't have any top-end arms in their rotation or bullpen. That said, they have gotten good production from Joe Musgrove (SP), Emilio Pagan (RP), Pierce Johnson (RP), and Austin Adams (RP). They could also use a right-handed bat as they are a mediocre team against left-handed pitching. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? It remains to be seen if anyone will be willing to add any of the Twins expiring contracts who are at least partially responsible for the Twins being sellers in 2021. That said, I think the Twins could DFA Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, or Matt Shoemaker on August 1st if they aren't moved the day before. In short, they would likely take anything (PTBNL or cash) as their return on investment rather than just giving up the players for free. Of course, the headliners for the Twins are José Berríos, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey, but I think Michael Pineda and Caleb Thielbar could be intriguing trade candidates as well. Thielbar is one of the most under-appreciated Twins, and despite being 34-years-old, he still has three years of team control remaining. What Could the Twins Get Back? The Padres have been very active on the trade market in recent years yet boast one of the best farm systems in baseball. They feature four to five top-100 guys depending on the source and two guys in the top-10. Moreover, many of their top prospects are close to getting their crack at contributing in the Major Leagues. You'll notice that shortstop CJ Abrams, a headliner prospect, isn't on this list because he recently fractured his leg, and I don't see the Padres willing to "sell low" on a player with such a high ceiling. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 22yo - Gore is one the best prospects in all of baseball and would require a haul to acquire from the Padres if he's even available at all. That said, aside from 101 innings in 2019, he's struggled in the Minors, where he has a 5.85 ERA and is issuing 5.4 walks per nine innings. He fits the current Twins mold, high 90's fastball with a slider, and maybe his struggles have the Padres ready to move on. Robert Hassel, OF, 19yo - I'd be remiss if I didn't have Hassel on this list as he's a high-level prospect that would be hard to pass up if he's available, but he is another left-handed hitter of which the Twins are loaded (Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Matt Walner). That said, with his upside, it could provide a future replacement if they were unable to extend Byron Buxton, although his defense obviously would be a significant downgrade. Ryan Weathers, LHP, 21yo - despite having less than 130 innings in the minors, Weathers has been forced to the Majors, where he has fared pretty well thru 58.2 innings. His xERA (5.29) and FIP (4.54) aren't favorable, but to this point, he has posted a 2.91 ERA and a K/BB of 2.33, which is decent. Like Gore, Weathers has a high-velocity fastball and a slider, although his best secondary pitch is his change-up. He's a step down from the first three prospects mentioned and thus more available and cheaper. Reggie Lawson, RHP, 23yo Justin Lange, RHP, 19yo Anderson Espinoza, RHP, 23yo I grouped these guys because they are intriguing, a tier or two below weathers, and have flaws that would make them cheaper. All would be a risk to take on, especially Lawson and Espinoza, who have battled injuries in their time in the Minors. Lawson, who just recently returned to the mound, has a mid-90's fastball with plus offspeed. Espinoza, who hadn't pitched since 2016, has struggled this year to be expected after such a long layoff and was pumping high 90's in spring training. The risk in adding Lange is that he's only 19-years-old who can hit triple digits, making his health and development a bit of a wild card.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. His name is MacKenzie Gore out of the state of North Carolina, and he is arguably the more advanced of the two. So why isn’t he being talked about as much? Who Is He? Gore enters the draft out of Whiteville High School in his home state as the top prep lefty in the nation. It also has been quite a week for him before even considering his draft prospects on June 12th. First, he was named the Gatorade North Carolina and National Player of the Year. Then, a few days later he helped his team to the class 1A State Championship, pitching the first game of the three-game championship series. However, it wasn’t just his six shut-out innings that contributed to that 10-0 victory before they took home the trophy the next day. Listed around 6’2” and 180 pounds, Gore has been a steady climber on draft boards throughout the spring as he tacked on some velocity in his senior season. MLB.com lists him at number four on their top 50 along with some eye-popping numbers from his junior season. Matt Eddy from Baseball America compared him to some of the best left-handed prepsters ever drafted in the first round, demonstrating how he fits the mold due to his physical maturity and measurements. He is being considered in the top five of picks, so even though he’s committed to play at East Carolina University there’s no reason to doubt that he’ll sign a contract. Why The Twins Will Pick Him Gore rests on the advanced part of the spectrum for a high school pitcher, as he brings both fastball velocity and multiple secondary offerings that already provide plus potential. John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com cites his deep arsenal of advanced pitches for his age in a glowing scouting report. Though his mechanics are atypical as he employs a high leg kick in his motion (like, really high), there are no major concerns about working through any of the normal kinks due to his athleticism. Take a look for yourself in the video below (in case you don’t notice, the first hitter he strikes out is Hunter Greene). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLkZukR_QSI As far as his stuff goes, he employs a full arsenal of pitches with a fastball, slider, curve, and changeup. He uses all of them liberally and each grades out as at least above average. Depending on the report, his curveball or changeup will get plus marks along with his mid-90’s fastball. Sickels even mentions that due to his maturity and pitching acumen, he won’t need as much time in the minors as most high schoolers. He is also left-handed, so the fear of picking the first ever such player at number one isn’t a consideration Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have to worry about. I don’t think anyone in their positions would, but in their first crack at leading a draft room it would be a story played up in the media and remembered. There is also a final consideration, as discussed by Twins Daily’s Jeremy Nygaard earlier in the week. The Twins likely could save a good amount of money going with Gore at number one, opening numerous possibilities for deal-making at picks 35 and 37 if and when other top players fall. Why The Twins Will Not Pick Him There is always the injury risk with prep hurlers who throw 90+ MPH pitches as their bodies are still developing. While there are not glaring flaws with Gore’s mechanics and his athleticism projects a lower injury risk, it is still a significant hurdle to overcome. The last four high school left-handers to be taken first in the draft include Braxton Garrett, Kolby Allard, Brady Aiken, and Trey Ball. Allard and Aiken have both already undergone Tommy John surgeries, and now it appears Garrett will too. Trey Ball has avoided the knife, but has also only reached AA and has a career 4.61 ERA and 4.3 BB/G walk rate in the minors. It’s scary company to be in. There is also the issue of his advisor. While most of the perceptions brought up when the name Scott Boras is invoked are tied to the former regime led by Terry Ryan, many Twins fans do revile his mere presence. With the new front office this shouldn’t really be a concern (it wasn’t really one with Ryan, either) as Levine knows him quite well from his time in Texas and Boras praised the duos hiring last November—but he is an agent with a reputation. Any attempt at below-slot money at number one to make deals later may not go as well as they hope. Perhaps the most important reason why Gore would not be the choice at number one is that he isn’t number one on any pre-draft lists you might scour. The Twins have the choice of anyone they want, and it is hard to argue with the “best player available” strategy in such a position. This being their first year at the helm, the new front office may not want to take that risk with their first ever draft selection. One thing we do know about Derek Falvey is that he has a well-respected reputation in pitcher development. With the number one overall pick in his first draft as chief baseball officer, he has a great opportunity to make a good first impression for his legacy. It could just be that Gore’s combination of youth, stuff, projection, and maturity is the picture Falvey want to be on the canvas of his first draft choice. Maybe it even helps him leverage another top talent later in the draft (like pick 13 in Law’s latest mock). We will find out on Monday if that is indeed the case. Would you like Gore at the number one overall pick? Follow MacKenzie on Twitter, if you want. Previous Draft Profiles: Hunter Greene, SP/SS by Nick Nelson Brendan McKay, SP/1B by Cody Christie Royce Lewis, SS/OF by Nick Nelson Pavin Smith, 1B by Tom Froemming Kyle Wright, SP by Jeremy Nygaard My 10-round Mock Draft
  10. Derek Falvey said on Wednesday that the Twins are still considering five or six guys at #1 overall. The list likely includes Kyle Wright, Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay and Royce Lewis, who seem to be the favored candidates to go in the top four. That means options “5” and “6” are guys that are not only unlikely to go first overall, but also unlikely to be taken in the top three, if not top four. The difference between going fifth and going first is over $2 million. This story was sent out last week on our Twins Daily newsletter. Sign up below or in the upper right-hand corner to get insights like this first. So let’s say that the Twins cut a deal with player “5.” They’ll draft him first overall, but sign him for “only” $6.25 million, which is between the slots of the third and fourth overall picks. As a result, they bank $1.52 million that can be spent on later picks. Then, when their #35 pick is on the clock, the Twins will essentially have $5.3 million to spend on their next two picks, #35 and #37. They could also cut a deal with a lesser-viewed - think eighth-round - talent and sign him for $300,000 at pick #37. Or maybe they use more at #37 and find ways to skim from their third day picks and the $2.6 million tied to them. At any rate, they could have $5 million, or nearly the equivalent of the seventh-overall pick, for the 35th pick. The problem is finding the right matches. While it might not be apparent that the new regime is higher on pitching, I think we’ll notice - maybe not this year, but eventually - a greater attraction to prep pitchers.So while we’ve heard college first baseman Pavin Smith’s name mentioned as someone with whom the Twins could cut a deal, I’m going to lean more towards prep lefty MacKenzie Gore. Gore profiles similar to Braxton Garrett, who the Twins really liked last year but was picked seventh overall, well before the Twins’ #15 pick. Gore possesses a mid-90s fastball, a very good curveball and a slider and changeup that could both develop into plus pitches. He won’t tumble far - and could certainly leapfrog any of the top pitchers - but a guarantee to secure Top three money - and maybe the Twins could even pay him more - and forever be the #1 pick might be attractive to him and his reps. Gore is committed to East Carolina and is widely considered the best left-handed prep pitcher in the draft. One potential hang-up in this plan is that Gore is represented by Scott Boras. As far as projecting which players will come out with super high asking prices (like many prep pitchers did last year in the weeks leading up to the draft… and they all signed), it’s still tough. But there was one nugget in Keith Law’s last mock draft that was worth some attention. “There’s a sense that (Shane) Baz is either heading to school (TCU) or has a deal with someone in the sandwich/second round.” Well, look at that. But before we get too excited, let’s be warned that the Twins (#1, #35, #37) aren’t the only team with the ammunition to pull this off. The Reds (#2, #32, #38), Rays (#4, #31, #40) and A’s (#6, #33, #43) all have three picks in the Top 43 selections. But none has the Twins arsenal. So who is Shane Baz? He’s someone the Twins have scouted in Texas and was once reported as someone who interested them at #1 (and he still could!). Baz is arguably the most-advanced prep right-hander in the draft, beating out Hunter Greene because of his secondary pitches. Baz also brings a mid-90s fastball to the table, a heater that has touched 98 and reportedly has the highest spin-rate of any prep pitcher. (Something the new regime would know!) His repertoire also includes a cutter, slider, curveball and changeup. The changeup isn’t very good yet, but the cutter is really good and the breaking balls aren’t far behind. Of course, this is just one scenario that involves MacKenzie Gore and Shane Baz. Maybe Shane Baz could go first and the Twins could strike a deal with local boy Sam Carlson (though the Reds seem to really like Carlson too). Maybe Kyle Wright can be convinced he could drop to #4 if the Twins don’t pick him and lower his demands. These are all scenarios that the Twins will likely explore. And right now, the actual plan has yet to be hashed out. But when it’s time to make that pick, it’s safe to say that this year’s draft preparation will have left no stone unturned.
  11. If I had a dollar for every time someone suggested the Twins should manipulate their bonus pool to draft two top five talents, I’d have roughly $7,770,700, or the equivalent of what the first pick is worth. The rules have changed and, honestly, the Twins just aren’t in a position to do what the Astros have successfully done on multiple occasions. But I’m going to lay out a scenario that could result in two top 15 (or better) talents - a scenario which one scout tells me could be “realistic.” First, let’s connect some dots.Derek Falvey said on Wednesday that the Twins are still considering five or six guys at #1 overall. The list likely includes Kyle Wright, Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay and Royce Lewis, who seem to be the favored candidates to go in the top four. That means options “5” and “6” are guys that are not only unlikely to go first overall, but also unlikely to be taken in the top three, if not top four. The difference between going fifth and going first is over $2 million. This story was sent out last week on our Twins Daily newsletter. Sign up below or in the upper right-hand corner to get insights like this first. So let’s say that the Twins cut a deal with player “5.” They’ll draft him first overall, but sign him for “only” $6.25 million, which is between the slots of the third and fourth overall picks. As a result, they bank $1.52 million that can be spent on later picks. Then, when their #35 pick is on the clock, the Twins will essentially have $5.3 million to spend on their next two picks, #35 and #37. They could also cut a deal with a lesser-viewed - think eighth-round - talent and sign him for $300,000 at pick #37. Or maybe they use more at #37 and find ways to skim from their third day picks and the $2.6 million tied to them. At any rate, they could have $5 million, or nearly the equivalent of the seventh-overall pick, for the 35th pick. The problem is finding the right matches. While it might not be apparent that the new regime is higher on pitching, I think we’ll notice - maybe not this year, but eventually - a greater attraction to prep pitchers.So while we’ve heard college first baseman Pavin Smith’s name mentioned as someone with whom the Twins could cut a deal, I’m going to lean more towards prep lefty MacKenzie Gore. Gore profiles similar to Braxton Garrett, who the Twins really liked last year but was picked seventh overall, well before the Twins’ #15 pick. Gore possesses a mid-90s fastball, a very good curveball and a slider and changeup that could both develop into plus pitches. He won’t tumble far - and could certainly leapfrog any of the top pitchers - but a guarantee to secure Top three money - and maybe the Twins could even pay him more - and forever be the #1 pick might be attractive to him and his reps. Gore is committed to East Carolina and is widely considered the best left-handed prep pitcher in the draft. One potential hang-up in this plan is that Gore is represented by Scott Boras. As far as projecting which players will come out with super high asking prices (like many prep pitchers did last year in the weeks leading up to the draft… and they all signed), it’s still tough. But there was one nugget in Keith Law’s last mock draft that was worth some attention. “There’s a sense that (Shane) Baz is either heading to school (TCU) or has a deal with someone in the sandwich/second round.” Well, look at that. But before we get too excited, let’s be warned that the Twins (#1, #35, #37) aren’t the only team with the ammunition to pull this off. The Reds (#2, #32, #38), Rays (#4, #31, #40) and A’s (#6, #33, #43) all have three picks in the Top 43 selections. But none has the Twins arsenal. So who is Shane Baz? He’s someone the Twins have scouted in Texas and was once reported as someone who interested them at #1 (and he still could!). Baz is arguably the most-advanced prep right-hander in the draft, beating out Hunter Greene because of his secondary pitches. Baz also brings a mid-90s fastball to the table, a heater that has touched 98 and reportedly has the highest spin-rate of any prep pitcher. (Something the new regime would know!) His repertoire also includes a cutter, slider, curveball and changeup. The changeup isn’t very good yet, but the cutter is really good and the breaking balls aren’t far behind. Of course, this is just one scenario that involves MacKenzie Gore and Shane Baz. Maybe Shane Baz could go first and the Twins could strike a deal with local boy Sam Carlson (though the Reds seem to really like Carlson too). Maybe Kyle Wright can be convinced he could drop to #4 if the Twins don’t pick him and lower his demands. These are all scenarios that the Twins will likely explore. And right now, the actual plan has yet to be hashed out. But when it’s time to make that pick, it’s safe to say that this year’s draft preparation will have left no stone unturned. Click here to view the article
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