Pitching, it has been said, is a war of attrition.
The acronym, TINSTAPP, was invented and has been thrown around a lot in reference to this phenomenon. It means, “There Is No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect”. Think your club has just landed the next big arm in the draft? Nope, there goes his elbow. Or shoulder. Look no further than the Twins organization and pitcher’s draft in recent years.
Alex Wimmers (2010, 21st overall), Kyle Gibson (2009, 22nd overall) and Matt Bashore (2009, 46th overall) have all had their routes to the majors delayed by one injury or another. In the case of Bashore, his constant medical attention got him released from the Twins. While Gibson and Wimmers could have healthy careers ahead of them, the misses in the past few years have left the farm system lacking top tiered talent ready to feed the majors.
Surely after selecting five-tooled high school athlete Byron Buxton with the number two overall pick, the Twins’ War Room shifted its focus to re-arming the system.
At the end of the first round, the Twins nabbed right-handers Jose Orlando Berrios (Papa Juan XXIII H.S., PR) and Luke Bard (Georgia Tech)
, two pitchers whom they said they had on their board ranked between 25 and 50. If you believe the collective wisdom gathered at Baseball America, you will find that the Twins placed higher value on both pitchers than the minds and sources at Baseball America did. According to Baseball America’s pre-draft rankings
, Berrios came in at 49th overall (the Twins grabbed him at 32) while Bard was ranked 93rd overall (Twins selected him at 42).
Of course, this does not necessarily mean they reached too far. If the Twins were targeting right-handed pitchers, not many remained on the board when their time was on the clock. At the same time, you could argue that, given the state of the entire system, the team should have gone with the best available player regardless of position.
Nevertheless, pitching is one of the more significant needs and integral part of the team’s success. Minnesota’s VP of Player Personnel, Mike Radcliff, told FSN viewers that the attention in Day Two would revolve around uncovering more pitching. “Pitching is obviously a need in our organization; we believe it’s a need in every organization,” Radcliff told FSN studio hosts Anthony LaPanta and Roy Smalley.
Starting at noon on Tuesday, the Twins will be on the clock with the third pick in the second round (#63 overall) and if the neither the Astros or the A’s are so inclined, Minnesota could wind up drafting one of its own: Mitch Brown (Baseball America’s 44th overall), a right-handed pitcher out of Rochester Century. Following that, the Twins have selections at 72 and 97, which could mean if they stick to addressing the pitching needs, they could wind up with one or two more of 25 remaining pitching prospects rated in the Top 100 by Baseball America.
Needless to say, Tuesday will be a busy day as the organization attempts to combat attrition among the pitching ranks.