This post was inspired by a conversation in a thread on Wednesday, where a few of us were talking about the 2009 draft. The top four picks that season for the Twins were Kyle Gibson, Matt Bashore, Billy Bullock and Ben Tootle, three of which are no longer with the organization. I alluded to the point that the success of that draft may be written in stone, in a bad light, but Roger pointed out that three Major League players from each draft constitutes a solid year.
It's hard to argue. Three decent MLB-caliber players per draft makes it very easy to keep the roster cheap with fresh talent constantly flowing in. How successful have the Twins been in the last ten years in the draft (excluding 2011, since it was only last year), based on this standard? We'll see after the jump.
Joe Mauer (40.3 WAR, Round 1, 1st Overall)
Nick Blackburn (4.1 WAR, Round 29, 857th Overall)
Jose Mijares (0.6 WAR, Round 3, 77th Overall)
Total MLB Players: 5
One superstar who has Hall of Fame potential, a starting pitcher who has solid value while under team control, and a reliever who had a very short impact. It's hard to argue with any draft that nets you a single player like Mauer, although beyond Blackburn there really hasn't been any real value from any of Minnesota's picks.
Denard Span (11.1 WAR, Round 1, 20th Overall)
Jesse Crain (7.1 WAR, Round 2, 61st Overall)
Evan Meek (2.9 WAR, Round 11, 332nd Overall)
Total MLB Players: 4
This was actually a fantastic draft for the Twins, even if they released Meek in '05. Pat Neshek came out of this draft, but the team also had a number of players re-enter the draft who would emerge with another team later: Adam Lind, Clete Thomas, Jeff Clement. A late-blooming center fielder and leadoff man, plus a couple of solid relief pitchers is a good draft.
Scott Baker (14.3 WAR, Round 2, 58th Overall)
Levale Speigner (-1.9 WAR, Round 14, 418th Overall)
Total MLB Players: 2
This draft was a massive whiff. Speigner obviously didn't make the Majors with the Twins, but every other player who made it to The Show did it after being re-drafted by another team in later years. They were all late-round picks with no impact. Matt Moses was a bust, but none of the other top ten picks were even close.
Glen Perkins (3.0 WAR, Round 1, 22nd Overall)
Anthony Swarzak (0.5 WAR, Round 2, 61st Overall)
Matt Fox (0.1 WAR, Round 1, 35th Overall)
Total MLB Players: 6
Plouffe (currently -2.0 WAR) will eventually make an impact here, but this is another exceptionally weak draft. Especially when you consider that the Twins had seven picks in the top 100. Kyle Waldrop is one of those, but he too has a chance to make up some ground. Matt Tolbert (-0.3) came out of this draft, and Rene Tosoni (-0.4) was re-drafted by the Twins in '05.
Matt Garza (12.1 WAR, Round 1, 25th Overall)
Brian Duensing (4.5 WAR, Round 3, 84th Ovearll)
Kevin Slowey (3.7 WAR, Round 2, 73rd Overall)
Total MLB Players: 6
Henry Sanchez, Paul Kelly, Erik Lis, David Bromberg; this draft is littered with guys who we all thought, at some point, might make some kind of an impact. Instead the Twins traded their best draftee and sold low on another. Alex Burnett (-0.4 WAR) is the only other player drafted who may still change the final results of his career. A good draft at the top end in terms of talent, but questionable decisions afterward.
Chris Parmelee (1.2 WAR, Round 1, 20th Overall)
Danny Valencia (0.8 WAR, Round 19, 576th Overall)
Anthony Slama (0.1 WAR, Round 39, 1176th Overall)
Total MLB Players: 6
This draft has potential to turn out as a very good one. Parmelee and Valencia could both be around for a few years, but Joe Benson, Brian Dinkelman and Jeff Manship were also part of this class. In terms of potential contributors, the '06 draft may have the best talent pool since the '02 draft.
Ben Revere (0.2 WAR, Round 1, 28th Overall)
Total MLB Players: 1
Minnesota's top five picks this season were high school selections, which makes up (for part of) the reason why the Twins have had next to no contributions from a class nearly five years in the rear view mirror. Danny Rams and Angel Morales may help off-set this draft a bit, but right now it's not looking too good.
Aaron Hicks, Carlos Gutierrez, Shooter Hunt, Tyler Ladendorf and Bobby Lanigan were all top 10 picks in '08, but only Hicks and Gutierrez might be able to make an impact in Minnesota. There are a few other intriguing prospects from this season's draft lurking in the system, but nobody you can identify as a future cornerstone outside of maybe Hicks. A guy like Bruce Pugh might shock someone down the line.
It's still far too early to guarantee, but Brian Dozer could combine with Gibson to make this a very solid draft. Once again there are a few intriguing names, but nobody is concrete.
Alex Wimmers, Niko Goodrum and Eddie Rosario could all make an impact down the road. Like the '09 draft it's too early to really judge, but going on projections alone this draft could top most on this list - but a lot of that will depend on whether Rosario can make good on the potential that others see in him.
The Twins haven't been strong enough in their draft over the last ten years in terms of position players, by any stretch of the imagination. Apart from Mauer and Span, there have been no other impact bats produced. Valencia and Parmelee and a couple others may just be starting their careers, but even if you cut the decade in half - producing two productive bats is unacceptable.
On the other side, the Twins have done well at producing serviceable pitchers. Both starters and relievers have been produced, even if subsequent decisions weren't always the best.
How would you rate the Twins drafts in the last ten years? Is it possible to be objective and rate the '08 to '10 drafts, comparing them to how we felt about recent drafts in the mid 2000s?