Monday, June 8, 2015

Twins 2014 Draft - A Year Out

Hey folks, the Twins are drafting again tonight, believe it or not.

That means that one year ago, they also drafted some guys. In 2014, Minnesota popped a high school shortstop with their first pick and then pick a ton of college pitchers. Let's see how those picks look after a year in the minors. Disclaimer: I'm wrong about everything and this will all probably be wrong just a year from now, maybe sooner.

Round 1 -- Nick Gordon -- Cedar Rapids (A)
Gordon did well in the second half of 2014 hitting .294/.333/.366 in 57 games at Elizabethton with defense that earned high marks. So far in full season ball, he hasn't found same the success. In 50 games so far, he's hit .242/.318/.293. Despite that unfortunate batting line, he's stolen 14 bases and walked 19 times, both acceptable.

What we've learned so far is that he's going to take some time, but he has continued to show that he's a legit shortstop, with solid approach at the plate and speed. If he can develop as a hitter there's no reason he can't be a major league shortstop. Look at Trevor Plouffe, he hit .223/.300/.345 in his first year of pro ball. If Gordon can make adjustments, this still looks like a solid pick.

Round 2 -- Nick Burdi -- Chattanooga (AA)
Just by the fact that he's spent all year in AA, this pick has been fine. That said, he's been plagued by poor control, walking 16 batters in 24 innings.  But you can see the potential in his 25 strikeouts. All reports I've seen say he's still hitting 100mph with his fastball. All in all, he's not quite the instant impact player we hoped for last year, but he's still the Twins' top relief prospect (not counting Alex Meyer). As soon as he can start to locate his fastball he'll be setting up Glen Perkins.

Round 3 -- Michael Cederoth -- Cedar Rapids (A)
The first of the relievers-converted-to-starter projects, Cederoth has been similarly inconsistent to Burdi. However, he's been that at a lower level. As a college pitcher, I think it's fair to say he should have had more success at Low-A ball. Over the past three weeks or so, it looks like he has been transitioned back to a reliever. I wonder if the Twins are hoping to fast track him to the upper minors. This one isn't looking so hot yet.

Round 4 -- Sam Clay -- Cedar Rapids (A)
This lefty was also supposed to transition to the rotation, but never got a start. His main asset seems to be his handedness, as he's walked 18 batters in 18 innings in Low-A. Similarly to those above, he needs to get his command in order before we even think about him making any sort of impact in the upper levels. Also a college guy, it's hard to be optimistic.

Round 5 -- Jake Reed -- Chattanooga (AA)
Finally someone who has been relatively successful. Reed killed it last year in Low-A ball as a reliever - with 31/3 K/BB ratio. He then went into the Arizona Fall League where he allowed just one run in 12.2 IP. This year however, he's gotten off to a slow start in AA, allowing 14 ER in 22.1 IP. Although, most reports say that he has the stuff to perform in the big leagues and is striking batters out. So, I think he has a pretty good chance of making an impact, possibly as soon as this September.

Others of note:
John Curtiss (round 6) is a starter for Cedar Rapids and has a legit fastball, but is a long way away, Max Murphy (rd 9 and Andy's college teammate) has hit well for Cedar Rapids, looking like a solid org outfielder. Randy LeBlanc (rd 10), Zach Tillery (13), Matt Batts (17) and Trevor Hildenberger (rd 22) have all pitched very well in the lower minors, but don't have the pedigree or scouting reports that lead you to believe they will be major leaguers.

Overall Draft Grade -- D
Still too early to say for sure, but it's not looking good so far. The best case scenario is if Burdi and Reed can become solid bullpen pieces and Nick Gordon can develop into an everyday shortstop. If that happens, the draft was actually very successful. But that might be a long shot.