• Draft Board v.1.0 (2/17)

    Though we are nearly four months away from the draft – and there is still much baseball to be played – it’s an event that is very significant and may stay very much on some of our minds as we progress through the spring and into summer.

    I don’t know how often I’ll make changes to this – but this is my first installment of “Jeremy’s Small Board.” “Small” because only 1-4 matter, though I would anticipate having something more like a “Top 10” as the season progresses.
    In the last 20 years, the Twins have had 24 1st round draft picks (not counting supplemental picks). Of those 24 picks, 11 have been prep position players and eight have been college pitchers. The other two groups: college position players (4) and prep pitchers (1) have been much less represented.

    The Twins first pick (fourth overall) will come with an approximate $4.5m price tag.

    JEREMY’S SMALL BOARD
    (Keep in mind, please, that this is not a “mock draft”. This is not a reflection of my top players. This is my attempt at stacking a “Twins Draft Board”, based on a number of things.)

    1a) Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

    WHY HE MAKES SENSE: On talent alone, he was #1 on a lot of boards last year (and probably #2 on the Twins board). In what’s predicted to be a similarly weak draft, Appel has held the top spot since deciding not to sign with the Pirates last July.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: Scott Boras. Even though Appel might be a guy you can plug into the top of the rotation almost immediately, is that worth the price of dealing with Scott Boras, who will suck every last penny out of an organization who has opened up their wallet once… ever? (Note: Mike Pelfrey is a Boras-client. Chris Parmelee may be too.)
    MY TWO CENTS: If Appel is available at #4 and there is enough confidence in the draft room that Appel will come at a reasonable enough price as to not cripple the rest of the draft, I say go for it.
    PRICE TAG: Boras thought Appel was worth $7.2m last year and not a dollar less. This year’s #1 will be worth 6-8% more, so we’re talking $7.6-7.8m. The Twins entire draft pool will be around $8.2m.


    Appel (right) with Colts QB Andrew Luck (photo from ESPN.com)

    1b) Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State

    WHY HE MAKES SENSE: Manaea tore up the Cape Cod League last summer and the Twins have had a history of selecting guys who have had successful runs in that league. And it’s not like he was just successful either. He struck out 85 in 51.2 innings… in a year that was considered abnormally “offensive”.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: Manaea has been good - not dominant - in two college season and started off his junior year getting beat by Indiana University/Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IFPW). I don’t know if that’s enough reason to pass, but enough to not call him a “slam-dunk”… yet.
    MY TWO CENTS: The Twins will be very much in on Manaea and will be heavily-attending his March 15th tilt at the Metrodome.
    PRICE TAG: Last year’s 4th overall pick, Kevin Gausman, was able to squeeze an extra $120,000 out of the Orioles as a draft-eligible sophomore. The 5th pick, Kyle Zimmer, took half-a-million less than slot from the Royals.

    3) Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas

    WHY HE MAKES SENSE: If the other two pitchers are off the board, Stanek is the next best pitcher. He’s considered to be a step below Manaea and Appel stuff-wise, but he’s been very good all the while competing against the nation’s best in the SEC.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: If either Appel or Manaea are still on the board, or if Stanek’s demands are unreasonable. Otherwise, he’s a solid #3 option.
    MY TWO CENTS: Stanek provides a nice fall-back option and can be considered "best available" as well as fill a need.
    PRICE TAG: He just missed being a draft-eligible sophomore last year and is considered similar to Kevin Gausman. If Gausman got $4.32m last year, I’d start there with Stanek this year.

    4) Dominic Smith, 1B/OF, California HS

    WHY HE MAKES SENSE: Smith may not be the most well-known prep at this moment, but he’s got a great bat, a great arm and a great feel to play first. He could play either corner OF position, but is said to have a very high defensive-ceiling if he ends up at 1B. Though 1B is considered a landing-place for many prospects with defensive inefficiencies – for those inside the organization presently, as well – Smith would offer legitimate versatility.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: They need pitching. But like it will always come back to: Should the Twins take “Best Available” or “Best Available Pitcher”? Oh, the Twins are also light on catching prospects and middle infield prospects.
    MY TWO CENTS: The Twins could do worse, obviously. Is Smith’s D at 1B good enough to overcome for Sano’s shortcomings at 3B? And potentially Rosario’s D at 2B? He’s not a magician (that I’m aware of), but if Smith’s defensive prowess can make up for lesser defenders at 2B and 3B, sign me up.
    PRICE TAG: It’s hard to peg prep guys, but maybe you could bank a couple hundred thousand dollars taking a guy whose perceived value is a little bit lower, sort of like what the Astros did last year with the 1st overall pick and Carlos Correa.


    Others to watch:
    Bobby Wahl, Mississippi, is a pitcher that could really improve his draft stock with a solid college season. He started off his college season with a dominating performance against TCU and is considered to be close to a “finished product”.

    Jonathan Crawford, Florida, is a flamethrower that fits the mold the Twins were into last year. A rocky opener and a belief he’s best-suited to close, not start, games keeps him out of the top tier.

    Are you into “toolsy outfielders”? The Twins are and Clint Frazier (Loganville, GA) is one of the highest-rated players in his class, as is Austin Meadows (also from Loganville, different high schools). Frazier has been called a “redheaded Mike Trout” (to a lesser extent, obviously) and Meadows has been compared to Jay Bruce. Both figure to come off the board in the Top 10 picks, but neither, today, are the “toolshed” that Byron Buxton was at this point last year.

    Minnesota RHP Tom Windle and prep OF Ryan Boldt both figure to go off the board sometime between the Twins first and second picks. At this point in time, it’s difficult to picture either being drafted by the Twins, simply because of their draft position.

    Bonus watch:
    While the Twins scouted Jacksonville U. last year before drafting both Adam Walker and Jonathan Murphy, they no doubt were also aware of RHP Chris Anderson, now a junior, who hails from Centennial (MN) HS. If the draft were today, it’s unlikely you’d hear his named called in the first few rounds. But if he continues to pitch like he did in his season debut – 7 IP, H, 13 K, BB, while throwing in the mid-90s and featuring four pitches– it’s hard to say how high he could rise before June.

    Feel free to discuss.
    This article was originally published in blog: Draft Board v.1.0 (2/17) started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 46 Comments
    1. Rick Niedermann's Avatar
      Rick Niedermann -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Look up two very different results of Boras having players hold out... 1.) JD Drew, 2.) Matt Harrington.
      Glad you pointed out Matt Harrington Seth. He was offered 4 million once after being the number one overall pick, didn't sign. Changed to Boras as an agent and again refused a 1.2 million dollar offer from the Padres. His arm went bad. All those millions down the drain. I hope Mark Appel reads this story and the comments.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Consider that if Appel is the guy, the Twins will be largely pinning their hopes for future rotation stabbility on Appel and Alex Meyer, two Boras clients. If they succeed, it's likely 6 years and out unless they are traded earlier. They're not going to be getting any pre-arbitration contract extensions with either of them, Boras doesn't do that.
      Actually Boras does sign pre-arb extensions, especially for pitchers. Money has to be market price, he won't give a discount.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I don't know... Knowing the Twins, if Clint Frazier is still available at number 4, I just cannot see them pass...
      (of course it is still way too early to even think about draft. Give it a good 2-3 months for the High School and College seasons to start and for injuries to happen etc...)
    1. halfchest's Avatar
      halfchest -
      Gotta like Appel if he's available. I can't imagine the guy holding out and ending up playing Independent Ball for a year. If he does it a second time I can't see any team wasting a high pick on him the following year. That said he'll go for slot at least, I just can't see him being unreasonable like he was this past year.

      The best thing about him is that he'll likely move fast through the system to join the other guys that should be ready by 2014. We could easily be looking at a 2014 rotation made up of some combo Meyer, May, Gibson, Appel(at some point), Diamond, Hendriks, Worley. That's not including guys like BJ Hermsen and Alex Wimmers who have a shot to be right there with a good year. That's a nice group to have fighting for rotations spots come 2014 and 2015.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Consider that if Appel is the guy, the Twins will be largely pinning their hopes for future rotation stabbility on Appel and Alex Meyer, two Boras clients. If they succeed, it's likely 6 years and out unless they are traded earlier. They're not going to be getting any pre-arbitration contract extensions with either of them, Boras doesn't do that.
      I think it's okay to worry about this issue in 2020 or 2021... The pitching is abysmal now and I don't think you pass on a guy with his skills unless an equally good prospect also drops to #4.

      It will be interesting to see how the next couple of months shake out. Right now the draft is about 3 very good college pitchers and a few toolsy OF'ers. At this point the pitchers have to be at the very top of the list but the Twins pick #4.

      It would be interesting to know if the new CBA did away with inserting a first season MLB call up similar to Chris Sale a few years ago. As far as I know it didn't. I know they got rid of MLB contracts stretching the bonus over a number of seasons but I'm unsure if a mandatory call up was also eliminated. It's one area that agents can still game the system or at least even the field against GMs gaming service time.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Don't forget that the Twins can then trade guys like that in their 4th or 5th seasons for a big haul, as the A's have shown in some of their deals.
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      Anyone who drafts for needs and doesn't take the best player on the board in any sport is making a mistake most of the time. In baseball, where so many draft picks are traded, take years to surface at the mlb level and are far from sure things no matter who you draft, is making a mistake every time! You would be stupid not to take the player you believe has the best odds of being an impact MLB player regardless of the position the pro level needs. Putting more emphasis on the position they play is OK. In other words a SS, LHP starter, CF, or C would be OK to consider over a corner outfielder, corner infielder or a RH relief pitcher for example if they are equal odds to be an impact player but what the team needs in 4 or 5 years will likely change and that player could always be traded for a King's ransom if it turns out that the unlikely result is that you have two superstars at the same position. Just land the superstar. You never know what your team will look like when this player is ready. Just take the best player when everything is considered except for your MLB needs.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Thanks to those leaving compliments.

      I am under the impression that Whitson will redshirt (still would be eligible for the draft) and return for his junior year next year. Considering it's a shoulder deal and the likelihood is that he won't be able to throw before the draft, I would bet that Whitson doesn't go in the Top 10 rounds (those tied to money), but goes later so that teams could a) spend money the saved on him and b) hopefully see him throw before July 15. Smart money says the Twins won't even kick those tires.
      You're probably right. But the Twins picked Bard at #42 who didn't pitch after March with a torn lat muscle (I believe). His slot signing was 1.22 which is what he took. Whitson wants more $ but he had a bad sophomore season and now has had a big injury. Maybe he'd sign. I think the Twins draft strategy is to, more or less, play it level so they probably wouldn't be able to draft someone in round 11 and offer him a huge signing bonus. I thought there was a thread on this but I couldn't find it.
    1. Big City's Avatar
      Big City -
      Great write-up, thanks for the pre-draft info.

      First Buxton, then possibly Appel??? I've no clue who's in the 2014 draft but the Twins are raking in amazing prospects. Appel just fits so perfectly with our group of top prospects a year or two away from Minnesota. This is exactly what we need is to graduate a group of prospects to play together in Minnesota for the next 6 years. I really don't care that our rotation will be almost completely RHPs and I think it actually plays better to Target Field since RF's more difficult to hit HR's than LF. If the Twins have to go a bit over slot to sign Appel, I'd say do it, we'll kick ourselves later if we don't.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Gunn: The Twins will have a few different strategies they could choose from. One would be saving money like the Astros did last year. I don't think it would be their top choice, but something they considered (it's alluded to in my interview with Sean Johnson).

      Big City: The 2014 top prospects right now are LHP Carlos Rodon, NC State and C Alex Jackson, CA HS. There are also two other highly-regarded college pitchers - Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt and Nick Burdi, Louisville. The Twins took Burdi out of high school.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Mark Appel may be a Scott Boras client, but he'd also be the best starting pitcher in the Twins organization the moment he set foot on the Target Field grass. His mechanics remind me of Mariano Rivera, with an incredibly direct transfer of power from body to baseball. He looks like he could dominate the league for a decade. Draft him and pay him, like Mauer. He's not just a horse, he's a derby winner.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      The whole boras/appel thing is way over blown. If the twins rank him as the best talent at 4 and he is there, take him. Just like last year with Buxton the twins need to take the best player available regardless of position/agent.

      At this point I'm really not that high on any of the top three pitchers. I prefer gausman last year to any of them but wouldn't be disappointed if the twins took one at 4. If Bryant can prove he is a 3b and not a 1b he gets my vote. I love his power.
    1. FrodaddyG's Avatar
      FrodaddyG -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      The whole boras/appel thing is way over blown. If the twins rank him as the best talent at 4 and he is there, take him. Just like last year with Buxton the twins need to take the best player available regardless of position/agent.
      Until you factor in the draft pool limitations. If Boras/Appel are asking for the moon again, you're risking either killing your flexibility for the rest of your signings, or punting the pick until the following year.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      This is about taking the best player available. Do not compromise or mess this up.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      If boras/appel are asking for an irrational number he can go to the independent league. Just like he went back to college this year. It is Boras' job to get Appel the money he is asking for and it is the job of our scouts to figure out if they can sign him or not. As fans we hate the business side of baseball but it is part of the game.

      I don't feel bad for the pirates organization at all. They didn't think Appel would be there and never talked to boras beforehand about his demands before taking him. That's on their front office. Do I feel bad for the fan base? Definitely. Tallion/Cole/appel would be a nasty 1-2-3 punch.
    1. FrodaddyG's Avatar
      FrodaddyG -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      If boras/appel are asking for an irrational number he can go to the independent league. Just like he went back to college this year. It is Boras' job to get Appel the money he is asking for and it is the job of our scouts to figure out if they can sign him or not. As fans we hate the business side of baseball but it is part of the game.
      So which is it, "the Boras thing is overblown", or "take him and if he doesn't like it, he can go to the Indy league"?
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by FrodaddyG View Post
      So which is it, "the Boras thing is overblown", or "take him and if he doesn't like it, he can go to the Indy league"?
      Both? Scouting isn't just grading tools but gagging signability. Especially in this new CBA. If Appel is there at 4, is the highest player on their board, and feel there is a good chance to sign him you take him. If the scouts gagged his signability wrong and he goes to the Indy leagues that's on us. At this point we don't know what it will take to sign Appel, much less if the Twins will even have him rated that high, so I don't see the point of saying not to draft Appel because Boras is his agent.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      I don't feel bad for the pirates organization at all. They didn't think Appel would be there and never talked to boras beforehand about his demands before taking him. That's on their front office. Do I feel bad for the fan base? Definitely. Tallion/Cole/appel would be a nasty 1-2-3 punch.
      Shame on Pittsburgh for not acquiesing to the almighty Scott Boras.

      Boras obviously did talk to some teams about what kind of salary he wanted, that's why everyone knew Appel was going to try to eat up nearly all of a teams draft allowence. Pittsburgh took a chance that Appel would tell his agent to go die and accept the best offer they could make instead of going back to school and risk it. Pittsburgh knew what Boras was asking for, they thought they'd take a gamble, it didn't work.

      Boras is bad for baseball, advising young men like Appel to make obscene demands and then if they don't get it, go back to school or play independant ball. It's a huge risk for the player but hardly any sweat for Boras. Betting $6 million dollars is nothing for a filthy rich dirtball like Boras, but he's talked a guy who has nothing into taking the gamble.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      If boras/appel are asking for an irrational number
      "My client wants Pi million dollars a year, or there's no deal."

      / sorry, I had to
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      "My client wants Pi million dollars a year, or there's no deal."

      / sorry, I had to
      Haha, I'm glad you did. Cracked me up.

      Pit did take a chance on Appel and it didn't work out. It is the front offices job to gage signability. Just like it is Scott Boras' job to advise his client. No one forced Appel to hire Boras. Also, a huge risk for the player? Most players maybe but not Appel. Quoting John Sickles today; "With a Stanford education and his family background, Appel could walk away from baseball and it wouldn’t impact his quality of life. He’s never going to have to work at McDonald’s or wonder how he’s going to pay the rent."

      While I'm not a huge Boras fan lets not act like the Billionaire, with a B, owners weren't the ones who pushed for a amateur spending cap into the CBA. Poor billionaire owners who tried to limit the amount of money 17-22 year old kids could make comes back to bite them in the butts. I feel so bad for them I might cry.
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