If you're at all looking forward to the June Rule IV baseball draft as a Twins fans, there is no doubt that you're already familiar with a handful of names: Appel, Giolito, Buxton, Zunino, and most recently, Zimmer.
If you're a fan of following the Twins draft at all, there are some terms you're probably familiar with: "strike-thrower", "long and lean", "wiry/athletic" or (my personal favorite Gardyism) "a grinder".
You're always going to find draft picks that are breaks from the normal "that's-what-I'd-expect-from-the-Twins"-type draft picks. But there is always going to be a lot of draft picks where you read a scouting report and think, "Wow, he sounds like someone the Twins would draft."
Or the one I think the most, "Isn't there enough 'toolsy outfielders' in the system?" The Twins are also bound to draft that guy that "profiles similar to Glen Perkins." Why? Because these are "Twins-type guys".
Let's get started with a quick run through the Northeast part of the United States. I'm starting here because in 2009 I became enamored with a "toolsy outfielder" from a little town in New Jersey who had his senior season basically wiped out because of rain. He was a guy I liked more and more every time I read anything about him, yet someone that wasn't gaining a lot of helium because he wasn't playing as much as your typical prospect. The Twins passed on him at 22 to take Kyle Gibson (which I was thrilled about) and the Angels ended up taking him at 25. Him being Mike Trout. And the Angels being more thrilled than anyone.
I believed at the time - and still do - that the Northeast, while not a hotbed for talent, is a great place for the Twins to look for it, simply because there is no "how he's going to adjust to playing in the cold?" projection.
The other thing that stands out to me is that the scouting for this area is handled by John Wilson. With 2011 serving as an exception, the last handful of years have been heavy with picks from this region - high picks, late signs - which shows how much Wilson's opinion is valued.
Five college names to watch:
Pat Light, P, Monmouth
. Light was discussed more at length a couple of weeks ago
. We know the Twins like him because they drafted him out of high school.
“The Stony Brook Guys”
If you’re asking, “Why Stony Brook?” you must not know its Joe Nathan’s alma mater. And although they didn’t draft him, the fact that he was so good for the Twins doesn’t hurt.
Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook
: I was extremely high on Brandon Nimmo last June. Jankowski is this year’s college version of Nimmo. “Long and lean”, “athletic”, “football background” are all “Twins ways” to describe this true center fielder. Jankowski has four solid tools (only missing power), but all the tools the Twins typically look for. Another thing the Twins would love – he led the wood-bat Cape Cod League in triples last summer. He’d be a perfect fit in the sandwich round for a team looking for a “toolsy outfielder.”
Pat Cantwell, C, Stony Brook:
Look at this picture
and tell me he doesn’t look like somebody the Twins would like. Cantwell was drafted by the Orioles in the 39th
round last year, but elected to return for his senior season. So the Twins could get a “grinder” on the cheap. Sign this guy up. Seeing the one picture was enough for me.
Other names to remember
Mike LeBel, SS/P, Rhode Island
: Another senior, but this one went undrafted last year. LeBel, who’s been a really good shortstop at URI, is coming off a solid showing in the Cape where he was clocked at 93mph off the mound. He’s yet to pitch in a game – where he’s expected to close – but he has been swinging a hot bat and blogging
, of course. Pavano could help him with the ‘stache too.
Kyle Hansen, P, St. John's
: A big righty (6’ 8”) who has that “workhorse” body. Although he currently struggles with command, he could still fill out, add velocity and become a innings-eater. If not, he could prove to be a valuable bullpen asset with a mid-90mph fastball.
Next up on the tour will be the Midwest.
Jeremy Nygaard is the co-founder of ManCenter.com.