• Second in Line

    The last time the Twins owned the No. 2 pick in the MLB draft, they selected a college pitcher named Adam Johnson out of Cal State Fullerton. As most fans will recall, he cruised through the minors and made his major-league debut at the age of 21, but hit a wall and quickly fizzled out.

    That's a scary memory as the Twins eye a handful of collegiate hurlers with this year's second pick, but fortunately the history of the draft slot has been much brighter since the Johnson bust.

    Below, you'll see a list of the players taken with the No. 2 overall pick in the 11 years since 2000.

    Year
    Team
    Player
    2001 Cubs Mark Prior, RHP
    2002 Rays B.J. Upton, SS/CF
    2003 Brewers Rickie Weeks, 2B
    2004 Tigers Justin Verlander, SP
    2005 Royals Alex Gordon, 3B/OF
    2006 Rockies Greg Reynolds, RHP
    2007 Royals Mike Moustakas, 3B
    2008 Pirates Pedro Alvarez, 3B
    2009 Mariners Dustin Ackley, 2B
    2010 Pirates Jameson Taillon, RHP
    2011 Mariners Danny Hultzen, LHP

    That's got to be viewed as an encouraging group. Every player taken from 2001 to 2008 reached the majors and all have had success with the exception of Reynolds, who would qualify as the one clear bust on the list. Alvarez has been a disappointment since a strong rookie campaign but can crush the ball and he's still only 25. The rest rank mostly as solid regulars (Upton, Weeks, Gordon), some with star potential (Moustakas, Ackley). Then there's a pitcher who was arguably the best in the game before injuries ravaged his career (Prior) and one who is arguably the best in the game now (Verlander).

    Taillon and Hultzen, drafted No. 2 in the past two years, haven't had time yet to reach the majors but both are very much on the right track. Taillon was ranked by Baseball America as the game's No. 15 prospect prior to the season and he's currently pitching very well as a 20-year-old in High-A. Hultzen was ranked the No. 21 prospect by BA and he's been dominant after being placed in Double-A to start his pro career.

    Johnson and Reynolds are the only No. 2 picks since Y2K who have failed to crack Baseball America's Top 25, and – to the publication's credit – they are also the only two who have been abject failures in the major leagues. Coincidentally enough, both were college pitchers from California.

    This year, as the Twins decide between the likes of Mark Appel and Kyle Zimmer (two college pitchers from California) along with Louisiana State's Kevin Gausman, you can bet they'll bear in mind the lessons of the past. This organization is badly in need of high-end pitching, and to whiff on an arm the No. 2 pick would be catastrophic.

    College pitchers are generally considered "safe" draft picks, but when it comes to the No. 2 selection, in recent history they have been anything but. There will be plenty of opportunities to stock up on pitching with five picks in the top 75, so it's important that with their top pick, the Twins make sure they take the best player available. There's a good chance that won't be a pitcher.

    This article was originally published in blog: Second in Line started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      This place will explode when the Twins take Buxton.
    1. jlovren's Avatar
      jlovren -
      A toolsy outfielder that's a long ways from contributing? I think it's a lock that we take him. I also think it's a lock that we hear from the Twins that this is a deep draft even though every expert and fan alike thinks this draft is weak.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Every player taken from 2001 to 2008 reached the majors and all have had success with the exception of Reynolds, who would qualify as the one clear bust on the list.
      You could say every player from 2001 to 2009. Dustin Ackley may not live up to his top 5 prospect hype, but he's still been a solid contributor to the M's thus far with a great career ahead of him.
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      I'm hoping for Buxton. Appel and Zimmer are unlikely to be aces, while Buxton is more likely to be a future superstar. It's the baseball draft, so all three could be a bust.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Just draft the best pitcher available...we need an impact player in 1-2 yrs not a OF prospect in 4 or 5.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I am hoping for a college pitcher only cause they are closer to the show than a kid like Buxton who might be six years away.

      On the whole, I am not a big fan of draft watching in any sport. Most of the so-called experts like Mel Kiper Jr are wrong more than they are right. The true test of a draft is in 5 years when you see the results and the busts...but nobody calls the so-called experts on their picks 5 years later.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      I am beginning already to HATE on terms like - "toolsey outfielder", "pitch to contact", "high upside", "nibbles at the corners". Just once can't the Twins draft a player about whom they can say, "throws the ball through the catcher's mitt", "hits with stupendous power", "will be a super-star"?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by jlovren View Post
      A toolsy outfielder that's a long ways from contributing? I think it's a lock that we take him. I also think it's a lock that we hear from the Twins that this is a deep draft even though every expert and fan alike thinks this draft is weak.
      Actually, a Twin official was quoted in the Strib as calling this one of the worst drafts in a decade.
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      I want us to take a pitcher, but with Appel gone do we really want Zimmer? Buxton might be the safest bet. It's the draft though there are no true safe bets.
    1. luckylager's Avatar
      luckylager -
      My draft prediction: regardless of who the Twins pick, 75% of the comments regarding the pick will be negative.
    1. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
      TwinsGuy55422 -
      Quote Originally Posted by luckylager View Post
      My draft prediction: regardless of who the Twins pick, 75% of the comments regarding the pick will be negative.
      That's probably a safe bet. People comment with such certainty but the fact of the matter is that the pitcher they wanted the Twins to take may have his elbow explode or just be a bust and Buxton could be the MVP of the next Twins World Series team. Only time will tell. That what makes the process of player development so interesting.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.