With the college season getting underway (where weather allowed), it's a good time to kick off the first of what will become a series of Draft Boards. These are not my
draft boards. I've tried to gather as much information as possible from people involved in the actual decision-making process. Of course, at the end, I still have to try to slot them in an order.
At this point, there is so much that can happen. The Twins draft 5th overall. The most recent info suggests there are around 20 guys on the radar and there are already a few that the Twins don't think will be available when they are on the clock.
There are a couple of threads already on TwinsDaily about the draft, so feel free to chime in there
as well as in the comments below.
1) Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC St
Rodon has been considered the crown jewel of this class since dominating during his freshman season. On a number of occasions, John Manuel of Baseball America
has said that, as a prospect, Rodon would ranked #2 or #3 already. Of course, Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel has pointed out that the gap between Rodon and the field isn't insurmountable.
My take: It would be an upset for Rodon to fall from #1. Short of injury, he isn't falling much further. And even in the event of injury, chances are he would role the dice and come back to go #1 next year. With that being said, if he blew his arm out and dropped to #5, I'd take him without hesitation.
2) Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
Hoffman used an impressive showing in the Cape Cod League to catapult up draft boards. One might draw the parallel between Hoffman and Jonathan Gray from last year. While Rodon (and Appel) are better prospects right now, there is a ceiling that Hoffman has (and Gray had last year) that might make him more attractive to teams than Rodon. Some have thrown out Justin Verlander comps. That's high praise.
My take: While it could be argued that drafting Hoffman may not be the Marlins style, I would be hard pressed to argue against him falling past the White Sox at #3.
3) Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Ah, a wildcard. Beede was drafted out of high school in 2011 by the Blue Jays and went unsigned. While he's had success at Vanderbilt, he's also had control issues. At his best, he deserves to be mentioned with both of Rodon and Hoffman, but there's been too many times when he's not at his best.
My take: personally - and I've been a fan of Beede for a long time - I wouldn't have him so high, but he's a name that's come up in regards to the Twins thinking he "won't be around". The caveat - because there needs to be one - is that if he drops to five, he'll drop further, because the control is an issue and the Twins wouldn't "risk that type of money".
4) Alex Jackson, C, California HS
I have a feeling we're going to see Jackson all over the board. He got early comps to Bryce Harper and Wil Myers - prep catchers with bats that couldn't be held back long enough to fully learn how to catch. Now there are rumblings that his bat isn't as advanced and that teams could be patient with his glove. Either way, he's got a ton of value.
My take: I haven't checked in lately, but I didn't get any impression that the Twins believe he would fail to hit or catch at the highest level. He should find himself squarely in the mix very early in the draft.
5) Trae Turner, SS, NC St
The old college shortstop, eh? Do yourself a favor and check how many of the 30 starting shortstops came the major college route. I'll help you out: not many. While Turner should stick at shortstop at the professional level, he has a lot of value in his legs. With plus-plus speed, Turner could fit nicely at the top of the Twins order. There are questions about his bat (and strength), but he's shown well early this college season.
My take: let's bring that college shortstop conversation even closer to home then let's bring it straight to Tobacco Road. Would you be gun-shy about making the same mistake that was made when Levi Michael was drafted? Would you trust that same signing scout? Interesting questions to consider, obviously, and while I think they are two completely different players, the microscope will be fixed closer on Trae Turner.
6) Luke Weaver, RHP, FSU
Weaver is an interesting name to show up this high as he's not been rated as highly on national lists. I watched an FSU game late last season and was impressed with Weaver. To be honest, he reminded me a lot of Kevin Slowey. Not that I want to burn such a high pick on Kevin Slowey, but his command was superb. When I mentioned that to a Twins scout, I was told that it's a fair comp, but sells Weaver far short. Weaver's fastball is way better and that a better comp would be Zack Greinke. Hook. Line. Sinker.
My take: if I was a betting man, I would put my money on Weaver and enjoy the payout. While he may not be the sexiest name, he has the potential to be a very, very good major league pitcher.
7) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Texas HS
Why not go back to the same well as last year? Kolek spits fire. And his upside may be unmatched in this draft class.
My take: as a high school pitcher, we could see so much happen to his draft stock. Right now, he possesses a plus-fastball. If he can turn one of his other offerings into a plus-pitch, he'll challenge for the #2 pick. But at this point, there is too much left unseen. One thing that needs to not go unnoticed is that area scout Greg Runser has had a hand in landing what seems like all of the most recent pitching draft picks. Runser also keeps his cards close to his chest.
8) Jacob Gatewood, 3B, California HS
Gatewood snuck onto the list when I decided to expand it to eight players. Gatewood got on the map with an impressive home run display at Citi Field. There are still many questions about his game. He could stand to drive his stock through the roof or watch it drop.
My take: some team will fall in love with Gatewood's power and take him early. I don't think it will be the Twins... at least, not yet.
TWO OTHER NAMES TO KNOW:
Dylan Cease, RHP, Georgia HS and Mac Marshall, LHP, Georgia HS
While Georgia has been a hotbed for amateur talent, there hasn't been a ton of pitching to come from that state. The one name that sticks out in recent memory is Tampa Bay's Matt Moore. You know who signed Matt Moore? Jack Powell. You know who scouts Georgia for the Twins now? That's right - Jack Powell.
While it remains to be seen how these guys perform in their senior seasons - Marshall doesn't pitch until next Friday - they both have a fan in the organization. Oh, did I mention that Powell is the guy responsible for making Buxton a Twin? Yeah, he's got the juice now.
Obviously there are many names that can come and go when it comes to discussion about the #5 pick. These are just a few to remember as the season kicks off.
So, what do you think?