For the latest rumors/news, check out the Official Day 1 Draft Thread.
Here it is: everything you need to look like you’ve been eating and breathing MLB Draft (which starts at 6:00 tonight) for the last month, all in one quick story.
The Bad News
The Twins are drafting fourth in what is widely considered to be a draft with three great players. If those three go to the first three teams, the Twins will likely go one of two ways:
Option 1 (seems most likely)
They’ll draft a Texas high school pitcher with big upside named Kohl Stewart. He could be the best pitcher in the draft
, but high school pitching can be risky and take several years to make it to the majors. OR….
They’ll take a high school catcher named Reese McGuire who is ready defensively but will require time in the minors to become a major league hitter. If the Twins did this, it would be so they could save some money on the pick and use that money to “overdraft” later picks. That’s sort of the MLB equivalent of trading down in the draft.
The Good News
There are a lot of rumors flying around that one of the three teams above the Twins will NOT take one of the three best players. They would do so for the same reason that the Twins would do Option 2 – to save money for “overdrafting.” So, let’s explain that.
There are three things you need to know about the MLB draft:
1) A lot of players who are eligible, but who don't get the bonus they think they should get, won't sign with a team, choosing to re-enter the draft in subsequent years.
2) Therefore, teams often don’t pick a lot of really good players if they don’t think they can sign them.
3) Teams can’t sign them because teams have a set amount they can pay players based on where they pick them. But that limit isn’t per player – it’s for their whole pool of players.
This means that if the Twins saved money with their first pick, they can use their second pick on a player who was talented enough to go in the first round
, but didn’t for whatever reason. Then they can offer him first-round money because they can offer the second-round money plus the money they saved.
The Big Three
The good news about overdrafting is that the explanation of it is now over. The really good news is that it means there is a decent chance that one of these three players could fall to the Twins. All project as difference-makers.
Ace #1 - Mark Appel
A college right-handed pitcher who has been on the radar for years – mostly because he was one of those guys last year who didn’t sign. He’s considered ace material and could be in the majors this year
, though the Twins might want to be cautious about that given all the innings he racked up for Stanford. The biggest question about him is whether he might want more money than the #4 overall team can offer. (His agent is Scott Boras.)
Ace #2 - Jonathan Gray
A college right-handed pitcher who exploded on the scene this year with triple digit heat and a vicious slider
. He’s also considered ace material though riskier than Appel because he has less of a track record. Also, it was revealed this week that he tested positive for Adderall, a stimulant. If things go well, he could be fronting a rotation by the end of next year.
Slugger #1 – Kris Bryant
A slugger who at one point this year had hit more home runs than 90% of Division 1 teams. Read those last words again. Bryant also didn’t have much of a track record before this year and scouts aren’t sure if his defense will be good enough to stay at 3rd
base. But with that kind of power, who cares where he plays?
He also could reach the majors soon, maybe arriving about the same time next year as Twins uber-prospect Miguel Sano, a slugger who might struggle to stay at 3rd
One way or the other, you’re going to have a reason to be excited Friday morning. Either the Twins are adding high-end pitching they desperately need, yet one more eye-popping bat - or a catcher plus more talent in later rounds. (OK, maybe you won't be excited no matter what they do.) But it should be an exciting day, so if you want to live and die with each pick, I’d recommend participating in the Official Day 1 Draft Thread