Draft Preview: Twins may go pitching route
Minnesota eyeing hurlers who throw lefty or have velocity
One look at the Twins' current 25-man roster and it's easy to see the impact that the Draft has had on the ballclub. Many of its stars, including Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span were all scouted and brought into the organization through the Draft.And with this year's First-Year Player Draft looming, the club will once again try to find an impact player from the amateur ranks with the No. 21 pick overall.
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from Monday through Wednesday on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, beginning with the Draft preview show at 5 p.m. CT.
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.
Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at 11 a.m., and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at 11 a.m. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.
Here's a glance at what the Twins have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Twins have only one pick on Day 1 of the Draft. This year's Draft is considered to have some high-profile talent near the top of the first round, but it's unclear as to the strength once you drop past those early picks. Unlike previous years, Minnesota doesn't have any extra picks in the first few rounds so there won't be as many opportunities for the club to try to get some steals.
"You have to try to take the guys that you have the most confidence in, no matter where you are picking in the Draft or what the strengths or weaknesses of the Draft are. There are no teams that have too many guys at one position. I'm not sure we'd want to spend a whole lot of money on a catcher in the first round. We kind of did that already with Joe, and we've got a couple guys below him. So there are certain things that each of us will do just because of our situations. But you've got to try to bring in the organization the guys in which you have most conviction. So we won't stray too far from that." -- Twins vice president of players personnel Mike Radcliff
Radcliff said that there is no real consensus on the strength of this year's Draft. No one certain group seems to stand out, whether it's position players or pitchers, college kids or high school players. That's left the Twins to try and figure out the best player who will be remaining when they pick at the No. 21 position. Minnesota has been all over the board in the past -- selecting three high school outfielders and a college pitcher with its first pick over the past four Drafts. Various projections have the club taking a college pitcher such as right-hander Alex Wimmers from Ohio State University or righty Brandon Workman from the University of Texas. There has also been a few high school athletes mentioned who could interest the Twins, such as Reggie Golden, a raw but tooled outfielder from Alabama, or Josh Sale, a power-hitting outfielder from Seattle.
The Twins' farm system has seen its pitching staff depleted by injuries and some departures so far this season, and selecting plenty of arms in the Draft has been a trend for the club in the past. As Radcliff said, there can never be enough pitching for any organization. But adding depth throughout the organization is a goal. In the past, the team has tried to address other areas such as the middle infield as well as adding power bats. For Minnesota, the Draft is always about trying to add quality players at a number of positions.
The Twins aren't a team that can be pinned down in terms of tendencies. Minnesota has definitely lived by its motto of taking the best player available when it's made its selections in the Draft. That being said, the club has a history of drafting well when it comes to pitching talent. And the Twins could be looking once again to find starting pitchers, arms with velocity and some left-handers to bring into the organization.
Recent Draft History
Last year's first-round pick, Kyle Gibson, has certainly been turning a lot of heads in his first professional season. After sitting out the end of the 2009 season while letting a stress fracture in his forearm heal, the right-hander has already earned one promotion this season after starting the year 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA in seven starts at Class A Fort Myers. Gibson is now at Double-A New Britain -- a move made in part due to injuries within the system -- and he has been tagged as a pitcher who could move quickly through the system. Just don't expect to see him in the Majors this year as Gibson's innings count will be monitored.
Right-handed reliever Anthony Slama was a 39th-round pick of the Twins in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. And now, Slama is right on the doorstep of the Majors. Slama has been putting up solid numbers at Triple-A Rochester this season, posting a 2.03 ERA while recording 11 saves and striking out 36 in 31 innings. The Twins want Slama to work a bit on his control -- having issued 15 walks -- but with some deception to his delivery, the reliever certainly could find himself in Minnesota at some point in the future.
In The Show
None of the Twins' picks from the past three Drafts have made it yet to Minnesota.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.