• 2014 Draft Board v.1.0

    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?
    This article was originally published in blog: 2014 Draft Board v.1.0 started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 66 Comments
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Kolek and Gatewood are the two that strike me as having the highest ceilings at this point and that's what I prefer. Still, like the last two years, being the first team to pick a US HS kid has it's drawbacks, specifically being much less able to go after the tough sign HS kids in round two.

      My heart says high upside HS kid right now, but my brain is hoping for the BPA to be an easy sign college guy.

      Also, while Hoffman has the profile similar to Jonathan Gray, I think his path appears more like Sean Manaea. Gray didn't move up the rankings until later in the spring, it was Manaea who got the huge boost from the Cape Cod League. I'd think this year's Gray is a lower ranked guy right now. My preseason pick was Michael Cederoth though he didn't fare too well in his first start.
    1. chuchadoro's Avatar
      chuchadoro -
      The Turner-Michael comp is unfair but I'm not terribly impressed with what I've read about Turner so far. "He's really fast and will likely stick at SS" is just about all I've heard on him. Having wheels is great but it's often the tool that first abandons a player. There is also a big difference between sticking at SS and being a plus defender at the position. I'm not saying Trea won't be good defensively. I would imagine he has good range and enough arm to get the "likely to stick at SS" label but I'd rather hear "projects as a plus defender". I also haven't heard much about his hit tool. If Turner projects as an above-average defender with a decent shot at .270/.350/.375, I'd gladly take it. My uninformed opinion has me in the Kolek camp right now, though.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      Quote Originally Posted by chuchadoro View Post
      I would imagine he has good range and enough arm to get the "likely to stick at SS" label but I'd rather hear "projects as a plus defender".
      It seems like every draft candidate or prospect in the minors gets overrated defensively (some more than others), and their defensive ability (if they do have it) can deteriorate quickly. As just one example, are some of the defensive quote about Arcia from Baseball Prospectus over the past few years:

      2011:
      He's a good athlete for his size and has good outfield instincts.

      2012:
      He's not special in the outfield, but hardly a liability

      2013:
      arm is at least solid-average; will play in right field. Good athlete for his size, but lacks average run; limited to a corner spot

      Based on my observations (and backed by some of the defensive metrics), it turns out that Arcia was one of the worst defensive outfielders in all of baseball last season. Also, consider the players that the Twins selected to play shortstop over the past few years - Dozier, Plouffe, Nishioka. It became very apparent very quickly that they were unable to handle the position.

      Long story short, I drop every prospect at least a step from the scouting reports. Shortstop projected to be average? Then I think he is probably terrible and not really a shortstop. Plus centerfielder? Hopefully will be average in the majors. For me, the kiss of death for a prospect defensively is "he should be able to handle/stick at the position."

      Regarding Turner defensively, I'm starting to think of Billy Hamilton. Hamilton also started off as a shortstop, but despite world-class speed, has had to move to the outfield. If there are any doubts about Turner staying at shortstop, that is a huge red flag for me.
    1. 2wins87's Avatar
      2wins87 -
      Turner is new to being a SS (he was at 3B his Freshman year) so I think a lot of the reports will be a bit conservative, but I've read a few that say he should be at least an above average defender.
      He's one of the most all-around athletic players in the draft.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by chuchadoro View Post
      The Turner-Michael comp is unfair but I'm not terribly impressed with what I've read about Turner so far. "He's really fast and will likely stick at SS" is just about all I've heard on him. Having wheels is great but it's often the tool that first abandons a player. There is also a big difference between sticking at SS and being a plus defender at the position. I'm not saying Trea won't be good defensively. I would imagine he has good range and enough arm to get the "likely to stick at SS" label but I'd rather hear "projects as a plus defender". I also haven't heard much about his hit tool. If Turner projects as an above-average defender with a decent shot at .270/.350/.375, I'd gladly take it. My uninformed opinion has me in the Kolek camp right now, though.
      I agree that if Turner is just average defensively or is not a lock to stick at SS, you want to take a SP with 98+ gas.
    1. drock2190's Avatar
      drock2190 -
      No to Turner. Not a fan of players who's best tool is speed.

      I'm hoping Kolek will be there as he seems like the high upside arm that the Twins could use.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by drock2190 View Post
      No to Turner. Not a fan of players who's best tool is speed.

      I'm hoping Kolek will be there as he seems like the high upside arm that the Twins could use.
      His best tool being speed doesn't bother me, after all most would say that's Buxton's best tool.

      My problem is that it's questionable he has other tools. Even if his defense was superb it's not enough for me. They need to have 4-5 tools at the #5 pick because too often one or two of the tools just aren't as great as advertised. If you only have two tools (OK three, but arm strength really goes with defense, no one is considered a great defensive player if their arm stinks) you have to hit on both tools. Elvis Andrus is a speedy defensive guy, but he's not a great hitter and has no power. Had his defense or speed not developed, he'd be a bust, there's just no margin of error with guys with only one or two strong tools and nothing else.
    1. maxisagod's Avatar
      maxisagod -
      Cease and Marshall seem like inbetweeners to me. Guys who will never break the top five of any board, but very unlikely to fall to the 2nd round. Kind of like Resse McGuire last year, A guy the Twins would have grabbed if they were a little lower in the draft. If there was trading picks in the draft, I'd give them both a better look, otherwise I don't like hoping for a kid's stock and future to skydive down during the season, just so the Twins can grab one of them later (Like Eades and Gonsalves last year).
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I never compared Michael and Turner - in fact I called them very different players - but I did draw parallels, fair or not.
    1. chuchadoro's Avatar
      chuchadoro -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      I never compared Michael and Turner - in fact I called them very different players - but I did draw parallels, fair or not.
      I can't speak for everyone but would assume most understood what you meant in the article. I was just agreeing with you that the inevitable comparison of the two is unfair. I'm definitely not high on him right now, though.
    1. twinsin17's Avatar
      twinsin17 -
      Tyler Beede dominated again today and now has and ERA of .82, 14.73 K/9, 9 K/BB and a .45 WHIP in his two starts (both wins). Stat lovers are salivating everywhere. Its just two games but he has been the top college arm thus far, Rodon included. The knock on him going in to this year was his control and if he continues to show it is improved come draft time he will surpass Hoffman and may make a run at Rodon for top pick. He already has a plus FB and curve and scouts say his change up flashes plus. If he can continue to hone the change and maintain his new found control we are talking about a true #1 starter/ace.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      I don't know how you do this draft coverage. last you you were spot on with pics going 2nd round and beyond. Impressive skills grasshopper. Mix in your strong ability to bro-hug while intoxicated, we've got a winning combination. Strong.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsin17 View Post
      Tyler Beede dominated again today and now has and ERA of .82, 14.73 K/9, 9 K/BB and a .45 WHIP in his two starts (both wins). Stat lovers are salivating everywhere. Its just two games but he has been the top college arm thus far, Rodon included. The knock on him going in to this year was his control and if he continues to show it is improved come draft time he will surpass Hoffman and may make a run at Rodon for top pick. He already has a plus FB and curve and scouts say his change up flashes plus. If he can continue to hone the change and maintain his new found control we are talking about a true #1 starter/ace.
      This is just great news for us even if he doesn't fall to us. Anything to make this draft deeper helps. And I really, really hope Miami goes the cheap route at #2.
    1. Butterfingers8's Avatar
      Butterfingers8 -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      And I really, really hope Miami goes the cheap route at #2.
      Out of curiosity, who would you consider the cheap route at #2?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Butterfingers8 View Post
      Out of curiosity, who would you consider the cheap route at #2?
      Two reasons - first, their owner is a pretty cheap guy who is always looking to save a buck. Second, they have three picks between 32 and 42 as well so it might make some sense to take a guy at #2 who might be a top 10 talent but would save them a few million to use on those three picks. (For example, Miami brass might really like local HS arm Toussaint, who has some potential but probably is a reach at 2. Take him and save 3million there and then nab some falling talent in the supplemental draft).

      And, after I wrote that, I realized you said "who" not "why". Oh well.
    1. Butterfingers8's Avatar
      Butterfingers8 -
      I meant which player(s). I fully understand that Miami has historically taken the cheap route and the reasons a team would take such a route. I am just curious who these players might be.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Butterfingers8 View Post
      I meant which player(s). I fully understand that Miami has historically taken the cheap route and the reasons a team would take such a route. I am just curious who these players might be.
      I would say anyone who is 11-20 on this list would be a good candidate. There's a lot that goes into it. Houston essentially did that with Correa the year we took Buxton. Their scouts were convinced that he was going to be a stud and turned around and got him for below slot. They then turned around and grabbed some guys with their other picks and signed them overslot. Thus far, it has worked out for them.
    1. twinsin17's Avatar
      twinsin17 -
      I have to believe Aaron Nola will be given strong consideration at #5, especially if the first 4 picks are Rodon/Beede/Hoffman/Kolek. He was a (more successful) teammate to Ryan Eades last year so its safe to say we have an extensive history scouting him and Nola is widely regarded to have excellent command of a strong 3 pitch FB/slide/change up mix. He may not have the highest ceiling at 5 but he may be the best bet to reach his ceiling of the remaining starters. He could be viewed as someone who would move through the system quickly a la Wacha/Gausman/Gray/Stephenson and be ready to help in just a couple years. Nola would be especially valuable if we think he could be signed below slot value.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsin17 View Post
      I have to believe Aaron Nola will be given strong consideration at #5, especially if the first 4 picks are Rodon/Beede/Hoffman/Kolek. He was a (more successful) teammate to Ryan Eades last year so its safe to say we have an extensive history scouting him and Nola is widely regarded to have excellent command of a strong 3 pitch FB/slide/change up mix. He may not have the highest ceiling at 5 but he may be the best bet to reach his ceiling of the remaining starters. He could be viewed as someone who would move through the system quickly a la Wacha/Gausman/Gray/Stephenson and be ready to help in just a couple years. Nola would be especially valuable if we think he could be signed below slot value.
      His write up at mlb.com reads a lot like Kyle Gibson. Not a bad thing even though TJ has slowed Gibson down. I wouldn't be against it but I think the Twins are pretty reliable BPA and I don't think Nola will be that. He could be this years Shipley - sorta wanted him but a bit of a reach and then someone else takes him and I'm like "dang, nice pick."
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsin17 View Post
      I have to believe Aaron Nola will be given strong consideration at #5, especially if the first 4 picks are Rodon/Beede/Hoffman/Kolek. He was a (more successful) teammate to Ryan Eades last year so its safe to say we have an extensive history scouting him and Nola is widely regarded to have excellent command of a strong 3 pitch FB/slide/change up mix. He may not have the highest ceiling at 5 but he may be the best bet to reach his ceiling of the remaining starters. He could be viewed as someone who would move through the system quickly a la Wacha/Gausman/Gray/Stephenson and be ready to help in just a couple years. Nola would be especially valuable if we think he could be signed below slot value.
      If the Twins took Nola at #5 I would be pretty upset. While he is a fine pitcher, a player selected in the top 5 needs at least one premium tool. Nola has #3 pitcher written all over him.
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