Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 Twins MLB Draft Primer

A little after 6 p.m. CT on Monday night, the Minnesota Twins will be making a franchise altering pick when the scouting staff and the front office will decide on the number two pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. On the heels of a disappointing 2011 season, the Twins earned the second pick in the first round based on the fact that the team finished with the second worse record last year. The Houston Astros were the only team to finish with less wins than the Twins and this allows the Astros to take the first pick.

The last time the Twins drafted this high in the first round was back in the 2001 when the team selected Joe Mauer with the first pick. Mauer has gone on to win an MVP and multiple batting titles since his selection and now he is being paid to be the face of the franchise. The other option for the top pick that year was Mark Prior and he has battled with injuries for most of his career. It looks like the team made the right decision in 2001 but that is not always the case.

In the year before Mauer was picked, the team took Adam Johnson with the number two pick in the first round and he only made nine appearances at the MLB level. This is a mistake the Twins can ill-afford to make again in a draft class that, much like 2000, is considered to be weak. The team needs to hit a home run with their selection and find a player that can be a highly effective at the MLB level for multiple seasons.

There will also be two compensation round picks made by the Twins on Monday night for to make-up for the loss of free agents Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel. The first pick in the compensation round (No. 32) belongs to the Twins for the Rockies signing Cuddyer. Ten picks later (No. 42), the Twins will select another player since Kubel was signed away by the Diamondbacks. These picks are also very important in the grand scheme of things.

There are plenty of aspects for a franchise to consider as they prepare for the draft. Previous draft picks, the organization's top prospects, and the scouting reports of the top available players will all be used to decide the fate of the franchise. Below you will find a few of the things that could impact the team's decision when they make the second pick on Monday night.

2007-2011 Twins Draft Capsules
The Twins have followed some similar patterns in recent drafts with college pitchers and young high school outfielders often being taken in the first round. This trend could continue on Monday night with the Twins looking at a variety of college arms or a high school outfielder that is considered by many to be the best available player. There have been some hits and some misses along the way but the core of a franchise is formed from previous drafts.

Full posts can be found by clicking on the links below:
  • 2011 MLB Draft Capsule: The team took college middle infielder Levi Michael with their first round pick to help solidify a position of weakness in the organization. Both of their compensation round picks are young but could offer some of the biggest upside of any players in the farm system.
  • 2010 MLB Draft Capsule: For the second year in a row, the Twins took a collegiate arm in the first round of the draft. Alex Wimmers has hit some bumps along the way and he is currently rehabbing his elbow. Eddie Rosario, one of the top prospects in the organization, was a steal in this draft for the Twins.
  • 2009 MLB Draft Capsule: It seemed the Twins got lucky when one of the top pitching prospects in the draft fell to the team because of some forearm injury concerns. Kyle Gibson quickly showed there was nothing to worry about as he flew through the minor leagues. A dreaded Tommy John surgery took away most of this season for Gibson but he should be pitching in games later this summer.
  • 2008 MLB Draft Capsule: The last time the Twins had a pick in the top 15 was when they took Aaron Hicks with the 14th pick in 2009. The switch-hitting outfielder has been tremendous on the defensive side of the ball while still working on his offensive approach. Carlos Guitierrez is another player who could make an impact from this draft.
  • 2007 MLB Draft Capsule: Ben Revere is the only first round pick out of the last five years to make a mark on the team at the big league level. His speed and defensive skills have been highly touted as he moved through the minor leagues and he has shown some positives signs with the Twins. Angel Morales was also taken in this draft and the Twins hope he can avoid injury concerns in 2012.
 Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects
Before entering the draft, it is important to know where a club's strengths and weaknesses are in regards to the prospects in the organization. The Twins hope their first round selection will jump to the top of this list in the not so distant future and that he will make a major impact in the minor leagues along the way. There are only a couple first round picks who made this list so the Twins need to make sure they find a top notch player with the number two selection.

Miguel Sano is widely considered to be the best prospect in the Twins system and he could see himself near the top of the top prospect lists for all of baseball by the time this season is done. His powerful swing has been something to marvel at for the last couple of seasons and the Twins have their fingers crossed that he will be a superstar in the future. There has been some movement in the top prospects in the Twins organization but there are some very talented players trying to work their way toward Target Field.

Who follows Sano in the top 10 list? You will have to read the full post to find out.

2012 MLB Draft Player Profiles
With no clear-cut favorites near the top of the draft this year, there is a wide-pool of players the Twins could be considering for the number two pick. According to sources, the Twins have narrowed down their focus to three or four players but their true choice won't be known until some time on Monday. 

It seems that Mark Appel is likely to go to the Astros with the first pick so one of the other names listed below will most likely be in a Twins jersey whenever he signs on the dotted line. There are college pitchers, high school position players, and one college catcher and only one player can call the Twins organization his home.

Full posts can be found by clicking on the links below:

1. Byron Buxton- a high school outfielder that is ranked by many scouts as the best player available in the draft. He has the potential to be a five-tool player but it would take he multiple years to reach the MLB level.

2. Mark Appel- a collegiate right-handed pitcher who most likely will be off the board with the first pick by the Houston Astros. With the roots of his childhood based in Houston, it seems like a perfect storyline for the franchise.

3. Mike Zunino- a catcher that is considered to be the top collegiate position player in the draft. His poor play in SEC play this year might have hurt his draft stock but he will still be one of the first seven players selected on Monday.

4. Kevin Gausman- a right-handed pitcher that might be the best college arm on the board and he could end up being even better than Appel. He needs to refine some of his offspeed pitches and his body could use some more weight but his 94 mph fastball holds plenty of potential.

5. Carlos Correa- a shortstop that should become the highest player selected from the island of Puerto Rico. The Twins have held multiple private workouts for this young middle infielder in the last couple weeks and he has apparently been very impressive.

6. Kyle Zimmer- the third college pitcher on this list and he might be the most polished arm besides Appel. His strikeout to walk rate is something the Twins front office has to love and this is only helped by his heater that reaches 97 mph. 

*Bonus Profile*
Mitch Brown- a right-handed high school pitcher that is from Rochester, Minnesota and a top 50 prospect for the draft. The Twins have the No. 32 and No. 42 selections in the compensation round and this is right where Brown's name is expected to be called.

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