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  • 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 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      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.
      I would too, his write up may be similar to Gibson, but Gibson wouldn't have been a good value at #5 either. And that's aside from the fact that Nola's write up also sounds like Alex Wimmers. In fact the write up might actually have been recycled from Alex Wimmers.

      If the first positive listed for a pitcher is "good control" I'll pass. Saying a pitcher has good control is like saying "she has a good personality" instead of "she's hot" about your buddy's girlfriend.

      The first positive attribute about a pitcher I want at # 5 is "overpowering" "misses bats" or "devastating breaking ball."
    1. Lonestar's Avatar
      Lonestar -
      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.
      Tulo comes to mind. Sort of like how many aces come from Venezuela or the Dominican? Not many. but would you turn one down or stop looking there.

      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.
      His defense at SS is reportedly above average. His hitting stats compare well to Tulo and Evan Longoria and Chuck Knoblauch and they had the advantage of aluminum bats. Of course he might not hit, but there are no questions of his hit tool compared to Gatewood's.

      He's added 10 pounds of muscle. There is no question about his strength. There is some question of his power, but it's not like he is Ben Revere. How much power does a SS need? The median Iso P for a qualifying MLB SS was .115 last year. The median SLG was .381. Emphasizing SLG over OBP is [suboptimal].

      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.
      That paragraph is much below your usual standards, Jeremy.

      Anyone not named Rodon will have a ton of scrutiny.

      Let's see. An above average defensive SS with a hit tool proven in major college competition. 80 speed and the ability to use it. I will be surprised if he is available at #5. It could make for an agonizing decision.
    1. Uncle Jesse's Mullet's Avatar
      Uncle Jesse's Mullet -
      I would be very happy if we got Kolek. Nobody can have too much pitching, but given the state of the Twins big league rotation these last few years (and, more than likely, for the next two-ish years to come) I literally do not think it's possible for the Twins to acquire too many arms.
    1. Vervehound's Avatar
      Vervehound -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      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.
      nola bears watching this spring. he wouldn't be my favorite choice but I admit i'm curious about him. while he has the stuff of a number 3 (and it's solid stuff), his command/control and overall pitchability make it play up and he could be a number 2 if things fall right. that's a pretty good pick for number 5 in a draft - a guy that can rocket to the bigs with potential to be a number 2? he's at least on the list.

      I can't believe for a second that weaver would rate ahead of nola.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Given how much the Twins shelled-out for pitching this off-season (and the value obtained!), I'm hoping they can select a potential top-of-the-rotation pitcher too. A team can win in the playoffs with top starting pitchers and a bit of offense--but they often lose with mediocre pitching and solid offense.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vervehound View Post
      nola bears watching this spring. he wouldn't be my favorite choice but I admit i'm curious about him. while he has the stuff of a number 3 (and it's solid stuff), his command/control and overall pitchability make it play up and he could be a number 2 if things fall right. that's a pretty good pick for number 5 in a draft - a guy that can rocket to the bigs with potential to be a number 2? he's at least on the list.

      I can't believe for a second that weaver would rate ahead of nola.
      You are way more optimistic about his stuff than I. Unless his change up magically becomes a 70+ pitch I just don't see it. Also, I could careless how fast he can get to the bigs. Wimmers and Danny Hultzen were both guys pegged to be safe quick to the bigs arms. An injury and mechanical issues have wiped away any value that is given because of "quick to the majors" status.

      I do agree though that it is hard to believe weaver above Nola.
    1. Lonestar's Avatar
      Lonestar -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      An injury and mechanical issues have wiped away any value that is given because of "quick to the majors" status.
      That applies to all pitchers. Hence the expression TINSTAAPP
    1. Butterfingers8's Avatar
      Butterfingers8 -
      Like most Twins fans I would like to see the Twins take one of the top four pitchers (Rodon, Hoffman, Kolek, Beede) in the draft, but if they are all taken come pick five, or even if they are not and Alex Jackson is still there, would you like to see the Twins take a chance on him rather than say Tyler Beede?
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lonestar View Post
      That applies to all pitchers. Hence the expression TINSTAAPP
      Wimmers wasn't looking like a fast track guy long before he got injured. The "quick to the majors" bit is much less predictable than draft wonks pretend. Still as cmb0252 said, I could care less about how quick they get to the majors, get the best upside. Nola will not have the most upside, not sure Turner will either.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I am not very enamored by Beede (in the top 5). Kolek yes, but Beede isn't very interesting (yet). Alex Jackson is a guy I want to know more about regardless if the Twins need him. Need is not even part of the equation in the first rd because if first rd'ers hit then you find places to play them.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I am not very enamored by Beede (in the top 5). Kolek yes, but Beede isn't very interesting (yet). Alex Jackson is a guy I want to know more about regardless if the Twins need him. Need is not even part of the equation in the first rd because if first rd'ers hit then you find places to play them.
      I'll get interested in Jackson once it's been widely disseminated that he will not be catching at the MLB level. Taking a HS catcher has been an awful choice for teams since Mauer and Brian McCann were selected in 2000-01. The best has been Jared Saltalimacchia with a whopping 6.2 WAR. The next best might be Hank Conger. Stay away, guys need to learn to catch in college, not in the minors.
    1. maxisagod's Avatar
      maxisagod -
      Quote Originally Posted by Butterfingers8 View Post
      Like most Twins fans I would like to see the Twins take one of the top four pitchers (Rodon, Hoffman, Kolek, Beede) in the draft, but if they are all taken come pick five, or even if they are not and Alex Jackson is still there, would you like to see the Twins take a chance on him rather than say Tyler Beede?
      At this point yes, I'll take Jackson over Beede. lack of control and great stuff could one day make him an ace or a shooter hunt. Jackson bat will bring him to the Majors, at catcher or right field.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      I like Turner as our SS of the future or Jackson as our C of the future and believe both will be available at 5. I view Kolek as an insurance ace, but can't see him getting past King Theo.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      I'll get interested in Jackson once it's been widely disseminated that he will not be catching at the MLB level. Taking a HS catcher has been an awful choice for teams since Mauer and Brian McCann were selected in 2000-01. The best has been Jared Saltalimacchia with a whopping 6.2 WAR. The next best might be Hank Conger. Stay away, guys need to learn to catch in college, not in the minors.
      Excellent point. That was my argument last year against taking McGuire. I'd put Jackson in a different category, though. I think Jackson could end up at 3B if the catching thing doesn't work out. The weird thing is the more advanced his bat shows, the less chance he catches... which would suggest that if he's going very high, he's probably not a catcher professionally.
    1. Butterfingers8's Avatar
      Butterfingers8 -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      I view Kolek as an insurance ace, but can't see him getting past King Theo.
      Stewart got past him last year. I realize that there is not a hitter of Kris Bryant's readiness and quality in this draft. However, I think theo is interested in finding college players in the draft that can make it to the majors quickly. I say this because he seems to be investing a lot of money in the International market for very young, raw players that can develop over time. I think the idea of a "sure thing" out of college appeals to him more in the draft. Just my observation.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Excellent point. That was my argument last year against taking McGuire. I'd put Jackson in a different category, though. I think Jackson could end up at 3B if the catching thing doesn't work out. The weird thing is the more advanced his bat shows, the less chance he catches... which would suggest that if he's going very high, he's probably not a catcher professionally.
      Agreed, the sooner it is assumed he won't catch, the more likely it is that his bat is for real. That's the point I'm interested in him. I wouldn't want him "working" on his defense in the minors at the expense of his offensive development.
    1. Ozziedavisfan's Avatar
      Ozziedavisfan -
      I just hope that since this is a deep draft, I would like Kolek, Jackson, or turner in that order. And hopeing that we get talent latter on somebody who thinks to much of themselves.
    1. Butterfingers8's Avatar
      Butterfingers8 -
      ^same except I'd slide Beede between Jackson and Turner
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Agreed, the sooner it is assumed he won't catch, the more likely it is that his bat is for real. That's the point I'm interested in him. I wouldn't want him "working" on his defense in the minors at the expense of his offensive development.
      Catcher isn't my first choice--but I can't see why a guy can't develop his defense simultaneously with his offense. It seems to me that all position players are required to develop both offense and defense.
    1. maxisagod's Avatar
      maxisagod -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Catcher isn't my first choice--but I can't see why a guy can't develop his defense simultaneously with his offense. It seems to me that all position players are required to develop both offense and defense.
      If the Twins were to draft him, I'm fine with him starting at Catcher like Will Myers did, if it's clear his catching skills can progress with him, keep him there; but if there is a time they'd think about not promoting him because of his defensive at catcher then move him off. Unless he never wants to be a catcher in the first place that is, I think he should have a say in his future as well.
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