For the second year in a row, the Twins chose to go with what looked to be a high-ceiling, relatively polished player. The front office and scouting department were sometimes criticized for drafting based on need, but the truth is that it wasn't a terrible pick. It was fine. When you're picking 30th overall, you're still guessing. Let's take a walk through some three-year old memories.
First Pick: Levi Michael (1st Round, #30 Overall)
Michael got off to a slow start, there's no denying that. It's almost like he knew where the strike zone was, but that didn't mean he could make solid contact. In his first two seasons, both in Fort Myers, he posted a .650 and .670 OPS, essentially epitomizing the first-round draft pick that blows out a tire and sits on the highway for two years. Wait, what? Sure, it's a thing. Let's mix all of the metaphors.
This season he's finally looking like a prospect. He's now in his age-23 season, and he's still in Fort Myers, but we're 30 games into the season and he's batting .322/.379/.432. His walk rates are down, but the strikeout rates have been nearly cut in half since last season, and when you're hitting .322 it's not a requirement to walk more than 9.8% of the time. Because that's still a pretty good number. Hopefully the additional swings mean he's seeing the ball better and is finally adjusting to pro ball, like that triple slash would suggest.
Best Pick: Travis Harrison (1st Round Supplemental, #50 Overall)
As Minnesota's compensation for losing Orlando Hudson as a free agent (thanks, San Diego!), Harrison was called one of the draft's best prep bats. He's shown bits of promise, but the power certainly hasn't manifested itself and that's an issue for a guy who might not be able to stick around at third base. The strikeouts are down this season, so far, and his walk rate remains strong, so he has the potential for getting on base. But he needs to start hitting. When we do this list again next year, there's a very real chance that the guy in this spot is someone else.
Best Name: Trent Higginbotham
Please, like he doesn't go to bed wearing a monocle. The Twins did re-draft David Hurlbut, but he already won this award for 2009.
A.J. (Adam) Pettersen was drafted by the 25th round, as the 778th player taken overall. Have you read his Twinkie Town Q&A?
Other Notable Players
Guys like Hudson Boyd, Madison Boer, Corey Williams, and Matthew Summers were all taken in the early rounds by the Twins, and hold some kind of prospect status. Boyd's has perhaps fallen sharply thanks to a disastrous 2013, but none of them are doing particularly well this year. Williams hasn't pitched. No, the best player not already mentioned may be 11th-round selection Tyler Jones. He just missed our Top 30 prospects for 2014, and probably should have made the list. We did include him, last autumn, on our list of ten un-ranked pitching prospects to watch. He's striking out most hitters again this season, but he's actually still in Fort Myers. Let's see him get a call-up to Double-A, to see how much damage this 24-year old can really do.
Junior College: 4
High School: 18
The breakdown is a bit closer to 2009's. Minnesota's second and third picks were prep guys, but through their first 13 picks only three were out of high school. They finished the draft by picking a rash of prep arms and second basemen, bringing in a string of six to finish it. Have a look at Minnesota's full 2011 draft here.