With the 1st, 35th, and 37th picks in this year’s MLB Draft, the Twins have a great opportunity to restock their farm system with top talent. We have already covered a bevy of options the Twins could choose from for their first overall pick, but now it is time to look at prospects that could potentially be available at the 35th and 37th picks.
Some of these players have falling stock due to poor performance or injury, while others just fall in this range based on skill. Of course, these are only a small number of prospects that will be available at these picks, and no one knows just who will be available until the actual draft.
Seth Romero, LHP, Formerly of Houston
Seth Romero would likely be a top-15 talent if he had no red flags. During his sophomore season at Houston he was suspended in part due to conditioning concerns. This year he was both suspended and then later kicked off the team for undisclosed reasons. While these issues hurt Romero’s stock in the draft, they may prove beneficial to the Twins if Romero falls to the 35th pick.
Romero has a 60 grade (plus) fastball that sits 92-95 mph and can hit 97 mph. A legitimate 60 grade slider and an above average changeup round out his arsenal and give him legitimate strike-out ability as a starting pitcher. He has a big frame—6’3” 240 lbs—that should help him stay durable so long as the conditioning issues of his past do not resurface. Since he has not pitched much this spring, he could pitch more innings in the minors than most college pitchers do the year they are drafted, helping him move up the system faster.
I would assume whoever trusts him enough to draft him either does not care about his suspensions or will give him some sort of a life coach, at least until he proves he can be trusted. A team may take a flier on him at the tail end of the first round or early in the competitive balance round, but it is possible he could fall to the Twins.
Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina
Clarke Schmidt was having an amazing spring—1.34 ERA and a 70/18 K/BB ratio in 60 innings—before Tommy John surgery ended his year. Before his injury he threw a legitimate plus fastball that sat 92-94 mph and hit 96 mph with plus sink. He throws two breaking balls that are inconsistent but potentially plus pitches, as well as an average changeup. Teams did not like his delivery before his injury and whoever takes him will have to trust his ability to throw after they tinker with his form.
Schmidt’s injury was early enough in the season that he may be able to make his professional debut towards the tail end of 2018, with a mostly full season coming in 2019 when Schmidt is 23 years of age. If he can maintain his velocity and movement post-surgury, Schmidt holds a profile similar to that of a good version of Kyle Gibson, which most teams would love to have as a second or third pick.
Hagen Danner, RHP/C, Huntington Beach (Calif.) High School
Hagen Danner has potential as both a right handed pitcher and a catcher. Most believe his future is on the mound, where he sports a plus fastball that can touch 95 mph with good control. His average curveball and changeup have potential to be above average if he focuses on pitching at the next level.
Behind the plate Danner has a strong arm and solid receiving skills that some scouts really love. He has a decent bat with a quick swing and use-able power and could be an average hitting catcher to back up his defensive ability.
Danner will only improve once he begins to focus on one side of the ball, and if he falls to the Twins he gives them a legitimate prospect with upside wherever they choose to play him.
Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Amant (La.) High School
Blayne Enlow has a perfect project-able frame standing 6’4” 180lbs as an 18 year old. Last summer he was sitting in the low 90s and could hit 94 mph but as a senior he has been sitting 88-92 mph. That dip in velocity could be fruitful for the Twins if other teams are afraid of picking the Louisiana State commit. A legitimate plus curveball and average changeup give him a useful mix combined with above average command for a high school pitcher.
If the Twins trust his frame, delivery, and projection, Enlow could be a steal as a potential front end starter if he can add 20-30 lbs to his frame and a few ticks to his fastball. If the Twins make a deal with the first overall pick, it would not surprise me if Enlow is one of their targets for the 35th or 37th picks.
The players outlined here have upside that is easy to see: If Seth Romero fell that far he could give the Twins another top-15 talent in this years draft class, which is hard to pass up. Schmidt gives the team a project with upside. Danner gives the Twins some flexibility with upside as well. Enlow has legitimate upside and may very well be the target of any team trying to make a deal with their first pick.
But there are so many prospects that will be available with the 35th and 37th pick that it is impossible to make an accurate prediction. There are a number of toolsy prep outfielders who should be available at that point in the draft like Heliot Ramos of Puerto Rico, Quentin Holmes of New York, or Drew Waters of Georgia. There are also plenty of college or even JUCO pitchers like Daniel Tillo of Iowa Western Community College, who was drafted by the old Twins regime in 2015.
Luckily for the Twins, there will be legitimate talent available with their second and third pick, adding to the depth of the farm system for years to come.