If they keep playing like this the Twins will be firmly in the middle of the pack for the 2014 draft. This year, they're still near the top with the fourth overall selection. Who do the experts think is in the mix for Minnesota?
Mock drafts for baseball have gained traction over the last few years. There was a time when the only mock draft only mattered in the NFL. But no longer, my friends! In the great sport of baseball, we like to debate about potential free agent signings, potential trades...it only makes sense that the draft gets its own share of speculation. Here's a cross section of various draft pundits and who they have the Twins taking fourth overall in June's draft.
All the draft news out of Minnesota recently has been about the team's focus on pitching, and naturally Law has recognized that fact. He fits the profile of a high-upside hurler, which is something the Twins desperately need - but Stewart is a long-term project. He says Stewart is likely to be the best talent available at number four, predicting Minnesota will draft him over high school catching prospect Reese McGuire.
Scouting reports have his fastball sitting in the mid 90s, with a potential power slider in the mid 80s and a changeup that needs a lot of work. What intrigues me the most about Stewart is that he was also heavily recruited as a college quarterback, having actually committed to Texas A&M. I'm not sure if that's a stance from which he's backed out, or if it's just a risk the Twins are willing to take.
One scouting report I read called him a "thrower" rather than a "pitcher", which isn't too concerning considering he's in high school, but another said he looked like "a quarterback pitching more than a pitcher". To be fair, that assessment was also made last autumn.
For a full and fantastic scouting report, check out Baseball Prospect Nation.
Say what you want about the Twins needing to take a pitcher, but Meadows has a variety of gushing from scouts. Here's a sample.
It's easy to be seduced, seeing scouting report after scouting report like that. This guy wasn't too impressed
, but he seems to be in the minority. I don't think the Twins will go this route, but if they do - you can understand why. The risk here is that, like Stewart, Meadows has also committed to a university.
As referenced in one of the scouting reports for Meadows, Kris Bryant is considered by many to be the best collegiate bat available this year. The SB Nation Astros crew has the Rockies taking southpaw Sean Manaea third overall, which seems like a little bit of a stretch, but looking at this selection for the Twins I find it hard to blame an outsider for the choice. Their justification is that the Twins have a number of prospects that will be available to the Major League team in the next couple of years, and that Bryant might be far enough along that he'll be able to join that crew.
Of course, we're all still thinking that Miguel Sano could stick at third base and that Bryant's potential can't touch Sano's. Which is true. Also a problem: some scouts see Bryant moving to first base permanently in the near future. If the Twins want to select a player who could play third base instead of Sano, this probably isn't the guy. The guy is probably available later in the draft. Even if he won't have Bryant's offensive potential. Over at Minor League Ball, Matt Garrioch has an incredibly deep scouting report that I highly recommend
The biggest plus to Bryant is that he's pretty polished and could move quickly. Maybe the Twins could see him as the future of first base?
It actually feels like Manaea has lost traction in the draft a little bit, and I haven't seen his name attached to the Twins more than once or twice in the last couple of weeks - probably due to the fact that this season hasn't been as strong for him as last year was. And the hip injury
. And the funky mechanics. Most of the mocks I've seen have him going between #6 and #9, and I have to be honest - I think the Twins can get a better player at #4 than Manaea. He's very raw for a college pitcher.
Then again, this is Bleacher Report. It's probable they threw darts at rats with little names scribbled on masking tape and wrapped around their tails.
Dave Perkin makes a defendable choice for the Twins here, but his first sentence throws me off:
"The Twins are building an excellent core of young position players in Trevor Plouffe, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmalee and last year's number two overall pick, outfielder Byron Buxton."
How does Buxton, a high-ceiling guy who was just taken last year, get lumped in with three guys trying to earn long-term jobs with the Twins? How do you mentioned Trevor Plouffe, Aaron Hicks and Chris Parmelee, and then jump to Buxton, without bringing up Miguel Sano or Eddie Rosario? Or why not just use Oswaldo Arcia instead of Buxton? I feel like there were two wholly separate talking points there, and they were crammed into one nonsensical sentence.
I like that, no matter where you look, it's tough to get a true idea of who a favorite might be. How will the Twins draft? Going for need with a guy like Stewart or Manaea seems realistic, considering they're also high-upside pitchers who could help to change the face of this rotation in a few years. But then you look at glowing reports for Meadows, Bryant, and even Frazier, and suddenly going away from pitching...and even going back into the outfield...seems like a justifiable position.
Personally, I think the Twins will still go pitcher. But there are three weeks left before the draft, and a lot can still change. Who do you like, and how do you think the Twins will approach their number four pick?