Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 Draft Notes

I don't have a ton to say about the MLB draft tonight; other than that I'm quite excited. But I'll throw out a few observations and thoughts before the action takes place.

-The Twins will pick 4th overall and don't have their next selection until #43. My understanding is that the first two rounds will be tonight, with the draft resuming Friday afternoon.

-Second rounders will become more valuable under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which greatly reduces the number of compensation picks for free agents. Last season, the second round started with pick #61. This year it begins at #40.

-As far as the Twins go, I feel like they're in a good position. Worst case scenario, in which Appel, Gray and Bryant are taken, they will be able to grab Kohl Stewart. Stewart has the highest upside of any pitcher in this draft and has been compared to former High School Texas righties Jameson Taillon and Josh Beckett. Stewart has a mid-90's fastball that can reach 98 to go along with a good arsenal of secondary pitches. Those secondary pitches, especially showing he can spin a breaking ball and control a changeup, are huge for a young pitcher. However, there's a decent chance that Houston goes off the board and picks Colin Moran with the #1 pick, likely leaving Minnesota with Jonathan Gray (more likely) or Mark Appel (less likely). Either pitcher would be a great addition to the minor league system and fit in perfectly with the Twins aim to compete in 2015. However, both have certain issues that could limit their ceiling to big league #2 starters.

-For the record, my Twins' wish list looks like this:

  1. Mark Appel: Very mature product. He could be contributing by this time next year.
  2. Kris Bryant: He's certainly riskier, but if things click he could be another masher to pair with Sano in a couple years.
  3. Jon Gray: Deadly fastball/slider combo but that won't be enough. A few stresses have me and Andy concerned for his future, but he's a true top talent.
  4. Kohl Stewart: I've said enough. Super high upside, but comes with all the risks of a high school pitcher; which is to say ALL OF THE RISK.
  5. Braden Shipley: College righty with limited upside but a good fastball and some feel for pitching. This basically just shows the huge drop-off of talent after #4.
So I do think the Twins are in a great position to pick a future star. In my opinion, the only other two players I could see realistically having star potential are Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier. Both are Georgia HS outfielders (ahem, Buxton, ahem) and are extremely talented. In fact, if the Twins system wasn't so stacked in outfielders with Hicks, Arcia, Buxton and potentially Sano and Rosario, I would be excited about drafting either of these guys. That said, I hate drafting for need and not best player available; so if the Twins feel they're worth it, then go for it. However, tie goes to the desperate need for pitching.

-On that note, the Twins front office has come out and said that they'll be aggressively targeting pitchers with their top ten picks.

-At #43, it will be interesting to see if the Twins select MN HS outfielder Ryan Boldt or U of MN LHP Tom Windle. Both are projected to go in that range and obviously have Minnesota ties. Boldt should be signable at that position, but is certainly riskier.

-Just talking to Andy last night, I compared  Colin Moran to a third base version of Dustin Ackley. Both were great hitters and UNC, but neither showed much of any secondary skills in the way of power, speed or defense. Putting that much pressure on a bat can be dangerous. The other comp I made  was between Ryne Stanek and Twins' prospect Alex Meyer. Both are lanky, two-pitch monsters with questions for their future role. Andy pointed out that Stanek has a better track record in college, which is true.

-Here's my caveat for today and the rest of the weekend: I have no clue what I'm talking about. I haven't seen any of these players (maybe a few on TV) and even if I had I'm not a scout. Everything you read here is an amalgamation of the great information provided by Baseball America, Keith Law, Baseball Prospectus, Perfect Game and other online resources. I'll weigh different sources differently, usually giving the most to Jim Callis and Keith Law in this arena.

Have a great MLB Draft Day and I'll be back with 24 hours to write about tonight's picks.