After drafting shortstop Royce Lewis first overall, outfielder Brent Rooker 35th overall, and Canadian RHP Logan Leach 37th overall, the Minnesota Twins were back at it again today, picking first in rounds 3 through 10 of the 2017 MLB Draft.
Below are the Twins’ selections during day two of the draft.
Round 3, Pick 1: Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Amant HS (Louisiana)
Considered to have one of the best curveballs in the draft, Blayne Enlow has legitimate frontline potential thanks to his 6’4” frame, and two plus pitches. Here are his grades from MLB.com:
Fastball 60/ Curveball 60/ Changeup 50/ Control 55/ Overall 50
Enlow sat 92-94 mph last summer, but started the spring sitting 88-92 mph. By the end of the spring he was sitting 91-93 mph, so there shouldn’t be much of a worry regarding his velocity. Once he adds weight to his frame (he is only listed at 180lbs), he could have top level velocity to go along with his legitimately plus curveball. He has great command for a high school pitcher, which helps his plus pitches even better.
Why did the Twins make deals on day one? Because Enlow has legitimate front line potential, and the money they saved in the first round will allow them to sign Enlow away from his commitment to LSU.
Round 4, Pick 1: Charlie Barnes, LHP, Clemson
Barnes is a crafty lefty with good control but not much velocity. Here are his grades from MLB.com:
Fastball 45/ Curveball 50/ Cutter 50/ Changeup 60/ Control 55/ Overall 45
A 45 grade fastball might scare some people. That means his heater is coming in between 86-88 mph and touching 91 mph. But consider this: Barnes put up a 3.20 ERA and 113/22 K/BB ratio in the ACC, the same conference that highly touted prospects Brendan McKay and J.B. Bukauskas pitched in.
He has a nasty changeup and decent breaking pitches that play up because he knows how to pitch and can control his pitches. At 6’1” 170lbs he is not large, but could potentially add some weight and velocity with it.
He will be given every chance to start and could be a good back of the rotation type.
Round 5, Pick 1: Andrew Bechtold, 3B, Chipola JC (Florida)
As a third base prospect who can legitimately field the position, Andrew Bechtold is an intriguing prospect from the junior college ranks. Here are his grades from MLB.com:
Hitting 50/ Power 45/ Running 50/ Arm 55/ Fielding 55/ Overall 45
Bechtold clearly has the arm and fielding motions to stick at third, but he also has a bat that can produce. He hit .419/.532/.676 leading his team to the Junior College World Series Championship. He hit 16 doubles and 13 home runs to go along with a 49/44 BB/K ratio and 24 steals in 28 tries.
Bechtold is committed to attend LSU next year but the Twins will sign him over slot and add a quality player to their minor league depth at 3B.
Round 6, Pick 1: Ricardo De La Torre, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
A fast, strong armed shortstop, Ricardo De La Torre had a so-so spring that hurt his draft stock, but he is still an intriguing prospect with a chance to stick as shortstop. Here are his grades from MLB.com
Hit 45/ Power 40/ Running 60/ Arm 55/ Field 55/ overall 45
Many believe he will be able to stick at shortstop, but he could also slide over to second base and be a good fielder there. His bat will be the main project but he has power potential to go along with his defensive tools and natural athleticism.
More of a project than Royce Lewis, De La Torre will combine with Lewis, Wander Javier and Jelfry Marte (who is rumored to be signing with the Twins during this year’s international prospect phase) to give the Twins incredible middle infield depth in the lower minors.
If De La Torre can get his bat up to par he will be an intriguing prospect going forward.
Round 7, Pick 1: Ryley Widell, LHP, Central Arizona Junior College
Ryley Widell is an interesting pitcher who profiles differently now than he might in a few years. Here are his grades from MLB.com
Fastball 50/ Curveball 45/ Changeup 60/ Control 50/ Overall 45
Right now, Widell is seen as a crafty southpaw with a fastball that clocks in between 87-92 mph and usually sits around 88-90 mph. He has a plus changeup that he trusts to get outs as well as two breaking balls. His curveball may become league average once he gets to the pros and starts focusing on it, but he does not have an average breaking ball as of yet.
Widell used this arsenal to put up good numbers at Central Arizona, with a 1.98 ERA and 115/39 K/BB ratio in 95 and 2⁄3 innings this year.
But as a true sophomore, Widell is only 20 years old and does not turn 21 until next June. His age, combined with his 6’4” 205lb frame leaves some potential. If he fills out his frame, adds a tick or two of velocity, and works on his curve he could profile as more of a number 3 starter (at least for his ceiling) than the back of the rotation guy he profiles as now.
Round 8, Pick 1: Bryan Sammons, LHP, Western Carolina University
As a senior likely to sign, Bryan Sammons is a gamer who led the rotation at WCU. He pitched to a tune of a 3.02 ERA with a 108/41 K/BB ratio in 103 and 1⁄3 innings, and had a good year after finishing with an ERA over 5 his sophomore and junior seasons. He is a big boy at 6’4” 230 lbs and should be durable enough to help eat innings throughout the minors.
As a 22 year old senior with no bargaining leverage, Sammons will likely sign for a very low amount of money—even as low as a few thousand dollars, saving funds for the like of Enlow, Bechtold, De La Torres, and Widell.
Round 9, Pick 1: Mark Contreras, OF, UC Riverside
Mark Contraras is another senior sign that does provide legitimate athleticism. He hit .366/.427/.588 with a 30/17 K/BB ratio this season for UC Riverside. He is said to have plus raw power, but with only two home runs this season he still has to convert that to game power. Eight triples and Seven stolen bases points to some natural speed as well.
Like Sammons before him, Contreras will be a cheap player to sign that provides depth in the minors for the next few years while having the potential to work his way up if he finds a way to put it all together.
Round 10, Pick 1: Calvin Faucher, RHP, UC Irvine
Wait for it—another senior sign! Calvin Faucher was Irvine’s closer and struck out 58 in 39 and 2⁄3 innings while walking 30. He pairs an average fastball with a legitimate breaking ball, and if he figures out his control and command he could work his way up the minors as a two-pitch reliever.
Minor league teams need relievers the same way the big league team does, and Faucher provides that while also having some upside thanks to his breaking ball.
Day one of the draft made a lot of fans question the Twins’ strategy, but day two provided significant payoff. Blayne Enlow is a legitimate first round pick that the team was able to take in the third round thanks to their moves on day one. He has the ace potential that the team needs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets listed as one of the Twins top ten prospects soon. They also got legitimate infield prospects in Andrew Bechtold and Ricardo De La Torres, and more solid pitching prospects in Charlie Barnes and Ryley Widell.
The senior signs will provide minor league depth and extra money to use on Enlow, Bechtold, De La Torress and Widell. But each of the three seniors drafted by the Twins are real players, with one or two skills each that gives them a bit of potential, although they are unlikely to reach it.
The MLB Draft continues tomorrow with rounds 11 through 40—but the Twins are said to be out of money so don’t expect any major splashes. They will draft some prep and college catchers, college pitchers, and the occasional high school player that likely won’t sign.