June 9, 2010

Twins’ draft is heavy on college arms and high school bats

After selecting Ohio State right-hander Alex Wimmers with the 21st overall pick Monday night, the Twins' draft continued yesterday with their now-standard mix of college pitchers and high school hitters. Second-round pick Cartier Goodrum was listed as a shortstop, but the Georgia high schooler is considered a near-lock to move to the outfield and also goes by the nickname Niko, which is a shame because "Cartier Goodrum" is an absolutely amazing name.

Raw and toolsy at a lanky 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Goodrum is a switch-hitter with what both Baseball America and MLB.com describe as "raw power" and trouble making consistent contact. I noted yesterday that Wimmers fit the Twins' preferred mold for pitchers as a college guy with better control and off-speed stuff than velocity, and as an athletic high schooler with far more tools than polish Goodrum fits their preferred mold for hitters equally well.

Going into the draft BA compared Boston College left-hander Pat Dean to Glen Perkins, so the Twins picking him in the third round may seem odd given how Perkins has fallen out of favor. Of course, Perkins was once a good college lefty and first rounder, so the comparison is meant as a compliment. Dean struggled with injuries this year, but is said to be healthy and works at 88-92 miles per hour with a good changeup and what BA calls "an excellent feel for pitching."

In the fourth round the Twins selected another high school outfielder in Eddie Rosario from Puerto Rico, who BA tabbed "the best pure hitter on the island" while comparing him to Bobby Abreu for his "sound approach at the plate" and solid left-handed bat. Hopefully he can follow in the footsteps of Angel Morales, who's emerged as a good prospect after the Twins picked him out of Puerto Rico in the third round back in 2007.

Breaking from the college pitcher/high school hitter approach, the Twins took college outfielder Nate Roberts in the fifth round. Roberts won Big South conference player of the year honors after hitting .416 with 19 homers and 36 steals in 56 games for High Point, leading the country in on-base percentage and runs scored, yet BA's very limited scouting report on him concluded with "lacks a standout tool."

Diving back into the college pitcher pool, the Twins took Kentucky left-hander Logan Darnell in the sixth round and San Diego right-hander Matt Hauser in the seventh round. Darnell moved from the bullpen to the rotation this year, but struggled and missed some time with shoulder problems. Darnell is a fastball-slider guy and BA suggests that he "profiles better as a reliever because ... his arm action and the effort in his delivery are better suited for shorter stints."

Hauser is another reliever, saving eight games with a 37-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 3.67 ERA in 42 innings as a senior. BA notes that he throws 88-92 mph with his fastball and "adds a nice slider and an excellent spilt-fingered fastball which acts as his change." Eighth-round pick Lance Ray is a first baseman who led Kentucky in batting average (.356), on-base percentage (.458), and slugging percentage (.720) while walking as many times as he struck out.

Maple Grove native and Gophers star Kyle Knudson was the Twins' ninth rounder as an all-Big Ten catcher who ranked among the conference's hitting leaders and threw out 40 percent of steal attempts. Some other picks with intriguing scouting reports and histories are high school bats J.D. Williams and Tyler Kuresa, college arms Steven Maxwell, Ryan O'Rourke, Thomas Girdwood, David Gutierrez, and Dallas Galant, and their first prep pitcher DeAndre Smelter.

All in all a pretty typical draft for the Twins, who as usual went heavy on college control artists and toolsy high school athletes. Every year I hope for a college middle infielder mixed in since that has long been an organizational weakness, but not surprisingly none fit that description. In terms of where this year's picks would rank among the Twins' top prospects it's really tough to say this early, but Wimmers would perhaps slot either before or after Ben Revere at No. 5.

  • Kurt

    Have the Twins forgotten that other positions aside from SP and OF exist on a baseball diamond? Their first 8 rounds of the draft the past like 5 years may suggest they don’t….

  • John P.

    // Have the Twins forgotten that other positions aside from SP and OF exist on a baseball diamond?

    I am unsure of all the rules involved here, but why would you draft for certain positions? If you have someone ready in the minors at a position you don’t need at the major league level, can’t you just trade for something you need? Why wouldn’t you just draft the most value you can get regardless of position?

  • Drom John

    Deandre Smelter was projected to go anywhere between 20-75 the week before the draft (after starting the season projected 15-60). Smelter was by far the best pitcher on East Cobb summer team. Bedrosian was on that team. Smelter will be a very tough sign, as he turned down 7 ACC/SEC linebacker offers to take the Georgia Tech baseball offer. Smelter can academically handle Tech engineering. Aaron, what can you dig up about his plummet to the 14th round immediately after the Braves skipped him again? Signability after not making the first two rounds? A newly learned Kevin Brown splitter giving Smelter a shaky elbow? Do you think the Twins are willing to give Smelter 2nd/3rd round money? BTW, Smelter is a Boras “client.”

  • Andy4Twins

    McCallum was a college middle infielder.

  • mike wants wins

    Trades make sense, but name the last time the Twins traded surplus prospects in one area for surplus prospects in another area. You’d think it would happen throughout MLB, but you rarely hear about it from any team.

  • Algonad

    “Trades make sense, but name the last time the Twins traded surplus prospects in one area for surplus prospects in another area.”

    A few years ago they traded a pitcher for a right-handed power hitter. It didn’t work out too well, though.

  • mike wants wins

    Those weren’t prospects though. Those were already MLB players….the post I was referring to was about prospects (or I read it that way). That part surprises me.

  • Kurt

    John, this isn’t fantasy baseball, this is real baseball. If you have no prospects that play SS, 2nd or 3rd that you are real confident in, (which the Twins should not be confident in anyone other than Sano) then by all means you target those players. There needs to be balance, but the Twins just love highschool outfielders for some reason. Cox, who had a good college career as a 3rd baseman was said to be one of the better college hitters available… why pass on him and take a toolsy highschool outfielder who won’t see the bigs for 5 years?

  • Jeff Lewis

    The reason that only MLB ready players get traded is because teams have little idea if a low-level prospect will either stay at that position or even make the majors. Also, the rate at which prospects reach the majors is already super low, which makes drafting for need an even poorer percentage play. If a team really believes two prospects are equal, then position can be a tie-breaker, but otherwise you really have to go by best available.

  • Kurt

    Jeff Lewis – you have a point but not in the first few rounds. Even if the percent of getting to the majors is poor, the front office still feels these players will make it or they wouldn’t have picked them. I just don’t think it’s right to say well we’ll pick 7 highschool OF and hope that 3 make it, what if 5 make it then we have an issue.