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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.

    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.)

    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.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS:
    When you're drafting at #4, you should be shooting for the stars. Not taking a guy because he's close to his ceiling.
    MY TWO CENTS:
    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.
    PRICE TAG:
    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. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      If, today, we're comparing Buxton and one of Appel/Manaea/Gray/Stanek to Gausman and Frazier, I'm taking the pair with Buxton in it. I like Gausman a lot (and I'd put him right in that other mix), but Buxton is a much better prospect than Frazier. Different, but better.

      I think it will work out for the Twins because I believe there will be a really good college pitcher that hears his name called when the Twins are on the clock.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Not sure anyone is saying pass on top pitching prospects. Some are saying take best player available, which as Klaw noted today, would almost certainly be a pitcher. They lineup well. I think the concern might be if Appel, Manea and Stanek go 1-2-3, if there would be a 4th pitcher good enough to go #4. But we have months to go before we have to worry about that.
    1. AmateurScoutGuy's Avatar
      AmateurScoutGuy -
      Regarding Gausman: I was just saying that he started slow and finished strong last year at LSU. Stanek has had a slow start so far as well at Arkansas.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      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.
      I like Denney a lot too. I think he might sneak into the top 5, like Mike Zunino last season (although Zunino was a college catcher).

      It seems a lot of people want a college arm. I'm fine with that, so long as it's the best available player. Too much can change, even with college arms that look like sure things, to pass up someone with huge upside. Danny Hultzen would be an example. He could still iron things out, but he could end up a bust just as much as Bubba Starling, taken 3 picks later. If it's down to a college arm that you sort of like, or an outfielder that you love, I'd take the better player and deal with positional issues when/if it becomes an issue.

      Just my opinion. All that being said, I like Manaea and Appel, but I'm not so sure I would take Stanek or Gray over Frazier or even Meadows.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      What is BPA, though? How big a difference does there need to be to take another toolsy OFer, that is 5 years away, between that OFer and the best pitcher? How do you propose getting a pitcher, if you don't ever draft them at the top of the draft? And yes, there are now two people in the thread saying they'd pass on college arms for HS hitters.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Yes, I absolutely would pass on a college arm for a HS hitter, if I felt the HS hitter was better.

      I just always prefer taking the best player. Although, I will admit that deciding on the "best player" is a huge challenge and not as simple as I am making it out to be.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      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.
      This is where Gray gets more interesting to me. If the Twins knew he would sign under slot (for whatever reason), I'd have no problem with the Twins drafting him 4th, then using extra money later in the draft. I'd love to see them get Chris Okey or Jeremy Martinez with their next pick, pay them extra and get them in the system.

      Of course, if Gray is really hitting 100 consistently, he probably won't have to sign under slot. But I still like that strategy.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Re: Denney. Text from Twins scout: 1st rounder, Top 10 might be high, seeing him Monday in Phoenix.

      Hopefully I'll be able to get more then...
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brad Swanson View Post
      Yes, I absolutely would pass on a college arm for a HS hitter, if I felt the HS hitter was better.

      I just always prefer taking the best player. Although, I will admit that deciding on the "best player" is a huge challenge and not as simple as I am making it out to be.
      how do you get great pitching if you would literally always pass on it if there is a better hitter available? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I really want to know....how would you get great pitching if you would pass on it for a hitter every time, if you felt there was a slightly better hitter available?
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      how do you get great pitching if you would literally always pass on it if there is a better hitter available? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I really want to know....how would you get great pitching if you would pass on it for a hitter every time, if you felt there was a slightly better hitter available?

      International draft. Find a guy in a later round that is still going to be a great pitcher. Trade for a premier player.

      I'm a little surprised how many posts I'm seeing here that suggest people will be really dissappointed if the Twins don't come out of this draft with a college arm.

      Based on nothing more than Jeremy's writeups, it looks like there are four pretty good options in this draft: 3 college pitchers (Appel, Manea, Gray) and one high school outfielder (Frazier). If Frazier is the one of those guys that is left by pick #4, and my only other choice is a second tier college pitcher, I'd rather they take Frazier, in theory.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Draft a good pitcher in later rounds and develop them? Obviously this has been a weakness for our system but hopefully that will change with JO. Its not every 1/2 pitcher is from top 5 picks.

      From what I can tell there are currently only 4 elite guys right now (Appel, Manaea, fraizer, and Bryant), which currently works out for us. There is still a long way to go but if the draft was held today and both Appel/Manaea were gone give my Bryant. Dude is going to be a beast
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      how do you get great pitching if you would literally always pass on it if there is a better hitter available? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I really want to know....how would you get great pitching if you would pass on it for a hitter every time, if you felt there was a slightly better hitter available?
      I don't think anyone is really arguing the theory with you - we all hope the Twins grab a pitcher. But last year, Buxton was the nearly consensus top guy. BA has him as a top 10 prospect in baseball right now. Neither Gausman, Zimmer or Appel were on his level. And keep in mind, all had questions - Appel wanted a lot of money, Zimmer's arm had some issues as the draft approached (and he got some offseason surgery), Gausman might have been the safest of the three but there were/are questions if he could develop a third pitch. The Twins did load up on pitchers in the supplemental draft and later so I think they are aiming for pitchers but Buxton was too good to pass on. I don't think they thought he was "slightly" better, I think they thought he was a lot better. I doubt that, on their draft board, there was any real difference between Berrios and Gallo but they took the arm instead of the bat.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Gausman and Zimmer are right next to Buxton in many of the prospect ranking lists, literally on one list right after him I believe. Buxtion also has questions, though. It's not like we are looking at a guy people thought of as harper or longoria.....he would not have even been a top 5-10 pick the previous year, from what I've read.

      that's may question, though....how much better does the hitter have to be, if you already are "loaded" at the OF spot, and have no number 1 (or probably 2) pitchers in your entire system.

      And if it doesn't matter if you take a guy in the top five, because you can find pitchers later in the draft or internationally, isn't that true of hitters too? I mean, is it realy peoples' argument that draft position does not matter? Aren't most great players (not all, most) higher draft picks?

      I probably sound mad, or something. I'm not, I'm genuinely curious if people really think they can find 1 or 2 type pitchers outside of round 1, and if so, shouldn't the Twins be embarrassed by their pitching if it is so easy to find? And, what happened to "their minor suck because they had late picks" argument? If you can find pitchers later, why haven't they?

      Oh, and Gausman will be starting, successfully, in the majors while Mauer is still really good. Buxton might not even get here before Mauer declines.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      yeah, I was pretty miffed when they took Buxton over Gausman or Zimmer, to be honest...especially Gausman
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Ultimately, the only draft board that matters is the Twins'. If they have Buxton over Gausman or Frazier over Appel, that's how the draft will go.

      My point would be, do you take the guaranteed 3rd starter at #4 or a potential superstar outfielder? I don't think it is safe to assume that any of the possible starters are certain to be better than that. Your own choice probably comes down to the level of risk you prefer.
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      I know it seems like a foreign concept to most of us Twins fans, but these prospects can be turned into 'great' starting pitchers, and it can be even faster than drafting them.

      Buxton is already a top-10 prospect and if he has a fairly good year in low-A, don't you think he would be a great centerpiece for next years crop of 'soon to be too expensive' arbitration eligible pitchers (e.g. David Price/Gio Gonzalez/Zack Greinke/Matt Latos/CC Sabathia/?Matt Garza?).

      Last offseason, Terry Ryan was said to be making a run at Johnny Cueto of the Reds, so we know he is capable of that type of thinking. And I think we have plenty of payroll room to accommodate these Arbitration Eligible guys, and can even afford to buy out their first year of FA eligibility.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Stanek not only dropped on my board, but has also dropped to the #3 spot in Arkansas's rotation. It is early, but still not what you'd want.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brad Swanson View Post
      Ultimately, the only draft board that matters is the Twins'. If they have Buxton over Gausman or Frazier over Appel, that's how the draft will go.

      My point would be, do you take the guaranteed 3rd starter at #4 or a potential superstar outfielder? I don't think it is safe to assume that any of the possible starters are certain to be better than that. Your own choice probably comes down to the level of risk you prefer.
      Add in the fact that there is no "guaranteed" 3rd starter there - even with a college arm a pick could still go bust, or be lost to injury.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Gausman and Zimmer are right next to Buxton in many of the prospect ranking lists, literally on one list right after him I believe. Buxtion also has questions, though. It's not like we are looking at a guy people thought of as harper or longoria.....he would not have even been a top 5-10 pick the previous year, from what I've read.

      that's may question, though....how much better does the hitter have to be, if you already are "loaded" at the OF spot, and have no number 1 (or probably 2) pitchers in your entire system.
      I think people have tried to answer that question. I didn't look at all lists again but I don't remember any list that had Gausman/Zimmer close to Buxton. So I guess, specifically, Buxton's upside was that of an all-star type (think Sizemore or Upton) center fielder. Gausman/Zimmer's upside was that of a #2 type pitcher. So that's how much better the hitter had to be.

      I think the Twins have done a decent job of getting amateur talent in both the draft an international market in recent years. Finding a Verlander type pitcher is easier if you pick in the top 5 but there isn't a Verlander in this years group - or last years. Taking the best player - a guy BA thinks is the 10th best prospect in the game - is a good thing. Drafting for need is a horrible strategy for a baseball team.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      This doesn't prove or disprove anything (and I compile this for a Fantasy Baseball league, not just because...) but here's an idea of what the "experts" think.

      BA Top 100 - Buxton (10), Zimmer (24), Gausman (26)
      Callis Top 50 - Buxton (8), Gausman (23), Zimmer (24)
      Cooper Top 50 - Zimmer (14), Gausman (15), Buxton (21)
      Lingo Top 50 - Buxton (9), Gausman (30), Zimmer (31)
      Manuel Top 50 - Buxton (10), Zimmer (27), Gausman (28)
      Baseball Prospectus - Buxton (8), Gausman (13), Zimmer (41)
      Keith Law - Buxton (22), Gausman (26), Zimmer (27)
      MLB.com - Buxton (19), Zimmer (34), Gausman (37)
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