As dreadful as the 2016 campaign was for the Minnesota Twins and their fans they have numerous reasons to be optimistic going into the future, including the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft. With the 1st, 35th, 37th, and 76th picks in the draft, the Twins have a solid number of high picks that they can use to deepen their farm system for years to come.
To begin our draft coverage for the year, we will look at top prospect extraordinaire, RHP/SS Hunter Greene, of Notre Dame High School in California.
Greene has been at the top of draft boards for over a year as an exceptional two way player. As a shortstop, Greene is a first round draft pick with natural power and the arm and fielding skills to be able to stick at shortstop.
Greene’s future, however, is more than likely on the mound where he sports a legitimate 70-grade fastball that sits 95-98 mph and reportedly reached 100 mph while Twins top boss Derek Falvey was in attendance a few weeks ago. Greene currently throws two breaking balls, but will likely end up sticking with a slider that could potentially be a plus pitch once he begins focusing on it more. He does have a changeup that scouts feel could be anywhere from average (50) to plus (60) considering his athleticism and natural arm speed.
There are some who think Greene could climb through the minors quicker than most high school players because of his natural talent and baseball IQ. He also scores high with his intangibles, scoring a 31 on the ACT and having a well renowned work ethic as shown in recent national media.
The concerns about Greene come down to two primary issues. First, some scouts dislike his secondary pitches, since they are mostly projection right now. He throws his changeup rarely and his secondary pitches do not need to be that good at his current level. The lack of movement on his fastball means he would likely struggle as a one-pitch pitcher, so those secondary offerings need to develop once he gets drafted.
Secondly, there is always a concern about injuries for prep pitchers, especially ones who throw so hard so young. Even with a good frame, pitching motion, and Greene’s excellent attention to taking care of his arm, throwing 100 mph taxes the body and major injury is only ever one pitch away.
As of late April, Greene has stopped pitching for his high school team, a decision made by himself, his family, and his coach in order to limit injury chances before the draft. Some big league scouting directors applaud the move, while others have reacted negatively considering his team’s playoff bid. The pitching shutdown increased rumors that Greene wants to fall to the Padres at the third pick in the draft in order to stay close to his family in Southern California. More recent coverage has clarified that he prefers to go to the Twins at one or the Padres at three, but not the Reds at two. He has also reportedly built relationships within the Twins front office, including with LaTroy Hawkins and Torii Hunter.
With an amazing fastball and potentially above-average secondary pitches, Greene projects as a legitimate top of the rotation starter, something the Twins have been lacking for since they traded Johan Santana. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were part of regimes in Cleveland and Texas, respectively, that favored drafting high upside prep players. Greene fits that profile perfectly, but we do not know if the Twins top duo will continue this trend in their new roles.
Greene presents a great option to become the face of the Twins’ pitching depth. If the Twins trust the projections on his secondary offerings, he could very well end up as the first pick in the Draft. He forecasts as a future front line starting pitcher who would instantly become the Twins’ top prospect.
What would you think if the Twins took Hunter Greene?