Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Twins' top draft picks pushed to the deadline

Yesterday was a busy day for the Twins organization. The team started the afternoon by trading away one of their corner outfielders to a division rivial. The game that evening would feature an early home run from former Twin Delmon Young and two much more magical home runs later in the game by Jim Thome. The night would end with some important moves for the future of the Twins franchise.

Shortly before the deadline to sign draft picks, the Twins came to terms with their first round pick and both of their supplemental round picks. These must have been tough negotiations for the club and each player pushed the team's checkbook to the limit as the deadline approached on Monday. 

Levi Michael: First round, 30th pick
I reported almost a month ago that the Twins were very close to signing Levi Michael to a deal. Various media outlets had reported that Michael had already been to the Twin Cities to take a physical. It seemed like it would be only a matter of days before he would be signed and playing in the minor league system for the Twins. 

That did not happen as planned and it took the Twins until the final hour on Monday night to work a deal with their first round middle infielder from the University of North Carolina. The puzzling thing for Twins fans could be the bonus that Michael was given before the deadline. If a player is holding out, it is only natural to assume he wants to sign for over the slotted amount for his position in the draft. Michael's place as the 30th pick should garner a $1.089 million signing bonus. He ended up signing for an amount that was minimally higher than his place in the draft, $1.175 million. With a number that close to the slotted amount, it seems as if the Twins should have been able to strike this deal much earlier in negotiations.

Travis Harrison: Supplemental round, 50th pick
One of the most intriguing picks for the Twins in the June draft was that of Travis Harrison. A big high school player that can mash the ball all over the field. Out of the Twins first round picks, he has the most raw ability to develop into a player that could be a large part of the future of the franchise. His commitment to the University of Southern California was strong so the Twins were going to have to overwhelm him with an offer to join their organization. 

The league's recommended signing bonus for the position Harrison was taken in the draft is $705,600. The Twins did their best to overwhelm Harrison by offering him $1.05 million to become a member of their franchise. That offer was too much for Harrison to ignore and he passed on his collegiate career to become a professional baseball player. Most believe this would be the toughest player for the Twins to sign and it makes sense because of his raw talent at the plate. 

Hudson Boyd: Supplemental round, 55th pick
Boyd became the first player out of this trio to sign his name on the dotted line. Boyd is a strong right handed pitcher that is listed at 6'3" and 235 pounds. He also grew up close to the Twins Spring Training facilities in Fort Myers, Florida. Pitchers seem to have the upper-hand when it comes to negotiating deals in the draft. Combine this fact with his commitment to Florida, a college baseball powerhouse, he was going to be a challenge to sign. 

As with the other picks listed above, the Twins had to sign Boyd for more than his slotted value in the draft. According to the recommendations of MLB, the 55th pick in the draft should be signing for a bonus of around $653,000. The Twins made sure that Boyd would not attend the University of Florida by offering him a signing bonus of $1 million, a hard figure to ignore for a high school senior. 

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