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  • Draft Board v.2.0 (3/13)

    As we sit around three months from draft day there have been many risers and fallers around the draft world. Some larger than others. Obviously, there is still a lot of time for things to happen, but this is how I would stack the Twins Draft Board if it were up to me.
    The first installment of my draft board featured a top 4 as well as some other names to watch. The following list has stayed the same at the very top, but has seen many changes around it. It's also expanded to a top 8.

    (photo from WVLA NBC33 | Baton Rouge News, Weather and Sports | Baton Rouge News)

    As I mentioned last month: 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.

    (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.)

    1) Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

    WHY HE STILL MAKES SENSE: Appel has been nothing short of dominant so far this season.
    WHY THE TWINS COULD PASS: Scott Boras. Because of Appel's inclusion in the draft pool, it's going to be hard for anyone to project. He's a wild card.
    MY TWO CENTS: Appel has been good enough that, as the #1 guy on my board, I take him and cut money from Rounds 2-10 to give him as much as possible. The stickier part of this situation is that, as a college senior, the signing deadline wouldn't apply. So unless you give up on him before the deadline, you can't rely on "fallback options", that you took in the later rounds.
    PRICE TAG: We know it's going to be high. That's a given.

    2) Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State

    WHY HE STILL MAKES SENSE: Though he hasn't been as "lights-out" as he was this summer, he's still been good and projects to be a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher. And he's a lefty. The Twins would do good to add him, even though he'll need more minor league time to develop than Appel would.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: I think Manaea - even more so than Appel - has solidfied his spot in the top 5. If I had to bet, I'd say the Twins won't get the chance to draft (or pass on) Manaea.
    MY TWO CENTS: I'm hoping to make it to Friday night's game at the Metrodome to see Manaea in person. I would guess my suspicions will be verified.
    PRICE TAG: Manaea would be smart to take slot money and get signed as quickly as possible.

    3) Clint Frazier, OF, Georgia HS

    WHY HE'S ON THE BOARD: Frazier is the top-rated high school player in the nation. And then he goes and hits two home runs in the Frazier/Meadows showdown yesterday. He's going to be a top 5 pick. The Twins love prep outfielders.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: The Twins should pass because they need to pass. Baseball is about pitching, and even though Frazier has a cannon, he's not standing on a mound when he's showing it off.
    MY TWO CENTS: Frazier has some experience in the infield. As a prospect, though, he didn't take off until he moved to the outfield. If I was convinced Frazier can become a star, I'm using his versatility as my crutch. Would you feel differently if instead of drafting a prep OF, the Twins took a prep 3B? I'm not sure how the transition would go, but the Twins have tried to make the OF to INF switch with Rosario. It would be a very expensive gamble.
    PRICE TAG: Like Buxton, Frazier will probably sign for near-slot.

    4) Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma

    WHY HE'S ON THE BOARD: If you're a low-to-mid-90s guy, you're a prospect, as Gray was coming into the season. When you're a mid-to-high-90s guy, you're an very good prospect. When you touch 100 and have the feel to spin a ball, you're an elite part of the draft.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: Are you buying the hype? Gray is full of helium. His arm is fresh now but what happens as the season progresses? Is he still throwing 100? Is he more susceptible to injury? So far reports check out. But for as quickly as he's risen, he's got three months to stay on top.
    MY TWO CENTS: Twins fans, this is the guy to keep an eye on. He has really taken off. Viewed as a potential first-rounder before the season, he has climbed up draft boards with every start. If Manaea doesn't improve and Appel's demands remain a question mark, Gray may not stop climbing until he's #1.
    PRICE TAG: As another junior pitcher, he probably won't have any unreasonable demands (hopefully).

    5) Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas

    WHY HE'S DROPPED: Despite coming into the season being mentioned in the same sentence as Manaea and Appel, Stanek has had a disappointing first month of the season. He isn't lasting late into games and he isn't missing many bats.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD STILL CONSIDER HIM: Stanek still has the conference schedule to impress the scouts; if he can get it done against the best conference in baseball, his stock will rise.
    MY TWO CENTS: At the very least, Stanek is one of four (or more) college pitchers that are viable options for the Twins at #4.
    PRICE TAG: You have to worry a little bit about guys that come into the season hyped as a potential #1 pick and begin to drop.

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

    WHY HE'S DROPPED: Smith was in the news for the wrong reasons earlier this month. Long story short: Smith was ejected from a game and subsequently suspended for the following game. In an effort to not hurt his draft stock, scouts were told that he wasn't at the game because he was sick. Well, the truth came out and now Smith and his school look bad.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD STILL CONSIDER HIM: Despite what could be considered a make-up/character issue, Smith is still a premium prospect and offers standout defense (albeit at first base) to a team that emphasizes defense.
    MY TWO CENTS: Someone to keep on the radar, but probably not someone that will make the top 4 at any point.
    PRICE TAG: It should be mentioned that the Astros banked a lot of their pool by taking a prep player and paying him less than slot.

    7) Bobby Wahl, RHP, Mississippi

    WHY HE'S ON THE BOARD: Wahl is appearing on the list as a pitcher that doesn't have a tremendous ceiling, but is already nearly a finished product. He offers a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a low-80s slider that misses bats. His changeup is also coming around. By the time June rolls around Wahl may possess three pitches that are currently in the 55-60 range. Not likely to be an ace, he could still be a very serviceable #3. And soon.
    When you're drafting at #4, you should be shooting for the stars. Not taking a guy because he's close to his ceiling.
    The Twins could do "safe". Wahl would be safe. If Wahl continues to impress and moves up the board, I'd be okay with safe. If he's a borderline top-10 prospect... I'd rather take a shot on someone with more upside.
    I would guess Wahl will sign for slot (or if drafted higher, cut a deal) and sign quickly.

    8) Austin Meadows, OF, Georgia HS

    WHY HE'S #8:
    I won't rule out anything at this point and Meadows is highly-regarded. I'm interested to see what Meadows does after Frazier so obviously stole the show yesterday. Your move, Austin.

    Others to watch:

    Chris Anderson, Jacksonville, has probably taken a bigger leap than any other college pitcher. Once viewed as a 3rd-5th round pick, he's moved up in the first round conversation. He's still moving up. I don't see him entering the top 10, much less the top 5, but he's got time on his side. Scouts love him and as a Minnesota prep, so do the locals. (Some have suggested taking him #4 and paying him like a late 1st rounder. That isn't necessarily my style, but I can assure you that the Twins brass will leave no stone unturned.)

    Jonathan Crawford
    , Florida, is throwing it in the high-90s, but he's lacking success. Like Stanek, he'll have plenty of time to build his status back up. It's not helping that Florida can't catch a break.

    I'll leave Minnesota LHP Tom Windle and prep OF Ryan Boldt grouped together again. I would guess the Twins would love for Windle to fall to the 2nd round, but I don't see it happening. Boldt has probably solidified himself as a mid-1st rounder strictly on his play last summer.

    Though the Twins rarely go to the "college position players well", there are two 3B that should be mentioned: Kris Bryant, San Diego and Colin Moran, North Carolina. I prefer Bryant's right-handed power (even though he will probably end up in the OF or at 1B), but I don't see the Twins going this route.

    As long as I'm mentioning avenues that aren't taken, I'll name a prep pitcher who enamors me: Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tennessee HS. Sheffield is a hard-thrower, but also very intelligent. There is a strong belief already that he'll be a tough sign, so if the Twins do something to save money early, maybe Sheffield - a first-round talent - could be one of those options later.

    Feel free to discuss.
    This article was originally published in blog: Draft Board v.2.0 (3/13) started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 83 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      You've got me sold on Gray for the moment - it's gotta be a pitcher. But with so much time until the draft, and at #4, the Twins will be favored to pick a lot of different guys between now and then.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Agreed. But a pitcher flying up the board like he has, really benefits the Twins.

      Now what if I told you Jonathan Gray was Jeff Gray's second cousin, once-removed? (I'm totally kidding, by the way.)
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I wish the Appel would fall again.....but why would he, really?
    1. 3rd Inning Stretch's Avatar
      3rd Inning Stretch -
      If Frazier is there, I don't think you can pass, OF or not. Deal with it four years from now when he's ready.
    1. Jeff P's Avatar
      Jeff P -
      I want Appel but if it means taking a bunch cheap options in later rounds then I would pass. There are too many good prospects to effectively put so many eggs in one basket. I would rather play it straight up and take a chance that he won't sign for near slot. Worst case is we get #5 next year in what is supposed to be a deeper draft.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      And you keep passing on ace potential pitchers, where do you get them? Not in trade....not in free agency....if the twins do not draft them, how do they get them?
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Agreed. But a pitcher flying up the board like he has, really benefits the Twins.

      Now what if I told you Jonathan Gray was Jeff Gray's second cousin, once-removed? (I'm totally kidding, by the way.)
      That was my first thought that came to mind. Hmmm J. Gray..... Where have I seen that before?
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I really think we have no chance at getting Manaea with #4. I would say there are only 3 viable options for the Twins. That would be Appel, Stanek, and Gray. It should get easier from there if any of those guys are drafted in the top 3 along with Manaea as well. I liked the Buxton pick at the time last year, but there is absolutely no reason not to grab a pitcher this year with the first pick. Appel is definitely the first choice and the Twins would be nuts to pass on him. I still favor Stanek over Gray, but if those are the only 2 left (of the three I mentioned) it becomes a very interesting situation.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      I have not heard of any SS or C named as potential "top 5" talent--therefore, it's clear--Best Available Pitcher. True, we have all read about the high prospect rankings for some Twins minor leaguers. Sadly, many prospects don't pan out--so a franchise had better be loaded with them to ensure a steady flow of quality pitching advancing to the parent team. The Twins need to overstock on pitching.
    1. 2wins87's Avatar
      2wins87 -
      How about Reese McGuire or Jonathan Denney? Might not end up being top 5 guys, but from what I've read they could go top ten, and have bats that might play at a corner outfield spot, but could definitely stick at catcher if a team doesn't want to rush them (sounds like the Twins).

      I'd at least have them on my prospects to watch.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Right now, Frazier should be the #1 pick but lot can happen between now and then. I'm thinking Appel will be gone by the time the Twins pick. But I think if Manaea is available, they take him
      If the Twins don't draft a pitcher, hope they take this guy:
      2013 MLB Draft Profile: Jonathan Denney, C, Oklahoma HS - Minor League Ball

      I am surprised he didn't make your board. In the few sites I read, he is getting a lot of steam and if he has a good year, he'll be a top 10 pick.
      This team could use a good catcher and right now, he looks to be the best of the bunch.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I both love Appel and am terrified of him. And Scott Boras has very little to do with it, although that is a bit of a problem is it means the Twins can't make quality signings because they have to go so far over slot to sign him. But if you draft him with the #4 pick, you really have to sign him, right? My real concern is that he's Mark Prior, vol. II. He's put up some ridiculous pitch counts in college and it has me concerned that he's going to break down quickly. You'd like the #4 overall pick to have a MLB career that's more than 3 solid seasons, 1 great season, and then no more seasons.

      Fortunately the draft is a ways off. The Twins have 2 major needs in the system: high-end starting pitching (because you always need it) and middle infield. But it doesn't look like there's a killer SS prospect right now.
    1. 2wins87's Avatar
      2wins87 -
      I'm not so sure Frazier isn't a guy who can be passed up for some of the other players in the draft. This may be me just rationalizing why the Twins shouldn't pick another toolsy CF if he's available at #4, but he's only 5'11" with a fairly solid frame already, so there's not that much room for projection. He'll also be almost 19 at draft time, this isn't something you consider if he's the best player available, but guys that are younger for their level do tend to have more future success.

      Anyway, before the season started I didn't see anyone saying that if he and Buxton were in the same class, Frazier would go ahead of Buxton. I'm not sure the HS season will change that, Buxton just has a lot more projectability. But it's hard to ignore a guy who's done nothing but hit bombs since the season started, so I don't know. I'm sort of hoping that he keeps it up so one of the teams ahead of the Twins feels that they can't pass and the Twins get a shot at their favorite pitcher.
    1. Forever34's Avatar
      Forever34 -
      Isn't Appel a senior this year? If Bor******* can't threaten to make him sit out again what leverage does he have? What's he going to do? Play in the Northern League until someone gives him the money he wants? This is the perfect year to take him.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Both the prep catchers are on the radar. As of about a week ago, McGuire's season hadn't started, so he hadn't been scouted by the regional supervisor. I'll have to dig more on Denney. My gut says they don't go in the top 10. But my gut's been wrong before.

      Frazier probably profiles better in the corner of the outfield. From a scout who has seen him (and Meadows and Buxton) a number of times, "Frazier has power, not the same hitter as Meadows, but a power threat each time he steps in the box. Frazier can run, throw & has power but is not the hitter or fielder Byron was." Frazier would be a perfect right-fielder, right-handed power hitter at Target Field. (I'd even take him at 3B.)
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Forever34 View Post
      Isn't Appel a senior this year? If Bor******* can't threaten to make him sit out again what leverage does he have? What's he going to do? Play in the Northern League until someone gives him the money he wants? This is the perfect year to take him.
      He's not subject to the signing deadline, so that gives them a little leverage. If he doesn't get the money, he'll sit out and probably play Indy Ball. Regardless, I'd take him and get it worked out. At the end of the day, he just needs to sign for more that Pittsburgh offered him... and Boras looks like he made the right decision.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I wouldn't be surprised to see Houston do what they did last year and grab a top 10 guy #1 and use some of the money later. It worked out well for them and, even more than the Twins, they need lots of talent. My guess is that Appel and Boras won't slip past the Cubs. They'll have a ton of money to throw at him and they can easily double what the Pirates offered last year so Appel's gamble pays off. Boras and Theo might even have some "understanding" about service time going in. I just don't see Appel being there at #4. If he is, grab him. Rockies and Twins are both probably dreaming of an elite pitcher.

      I'm really hoping a few of these other pitchers turn it around and be there at 4.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I agree with you completely, gunnarthor. I am really curious to see how many teams look at the Astros and Blue Jays approach and try to do the same thing. There were a handful of teams that took similar, though more subtle approaches last year, and I know that scouts within organizations were not pleased with how rounds 3-10 went, some calling it a "complete joke". There were a handful of players that got $1,000 signing bonuses.
    1. AmateurScoutGuy's Avatar
      AmateurScoutGuy -
      The Twins absolutely have to take the best college arm available. They cannot take a projectable, toolsy prep position player. They don't have that option because of their talent in their system right now. They need an arm that can be in the rotation by late 2013/early 2014 and can be a top 2 starter. In my opinion, right now the 2 most polished ready to go college arms are Appel and Manaea in that order. If both are gone, then the Twins take whichever college arm is next on their depth chart. Gray's ceiling is high, but he has a lot of risk. Stanek has tons of potential too and finishing the season strong like Gausman did last year will help his cause.

      The Twins need a college arm.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Just think, they could have taken Gausman last year, and now be free to take a HS toolsy OFer, or a SP.....but now, really, with no clear AWESOME hitter, they pretty much have to take a SP. You can't get an ace or even a number 2 w/o picking high in the draft, generally. Heck, for months people have been saying on this very board taht the Twins problem is that they were too good in the 2000s, and had late first round picks. Now people are trying to say they should have top 5 picks in back to back years, be flush in OF prospects, and should pass on great pitching prospects two years in a row?
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