Over the last month we have profiled 49 (I couldn’t make it an even 50... really?) prospects for this years 2019 MLB Draft: The top tier players, the mid tier guys, the tweeners, and the sleepers. Starting with the first round on Monday, June 3rd, these 49 players will have their lives changed by the outcome of the draft. Many of these players will be chosen within the 34-pick first round, while others will see their names called on the second day of the draft, and a few will end up honoring college comittments even if they do get drafted.
With a general understanding of many of the big names, lets take a look at who the professional writers and evaluators think will be going to the Twins in the first round with the 13th pick.
Jim Callis and Jonathon Mayo, MLBPipeline.com
On Thursday Jim Callis turned some heads, including mine, by mocking Keoni Cavaco to the Twins with the 13th pick. In our Sleepers post we mentioned that no prospect has as much helium as Cavaco, a prep thirdbaseman from California. He is a very toolsy player with a strong arm (hits 93 off the mound), great speed, and legitimate power but he tends to strike out and the hit tool is a question mark. Cavaco has been linked to the Twins by a few sources, and has played well enough this spring where he probably won’t be available with their 39th pick. He would likely sign for under the slot value of $4,197,300 so that the Twins could use that money with later picks.
In previous mock drafts the Pipeline duo followed a simple trend: taking the best bat available. Many in the industry think the Twins will take a college bat, and Callis and Mayo have had the Twins taking Baylor C Shea Langeliers and UNLV SS Bryson Stott to fit this mold. They have also had the Twins select Corbin Carroll, a prep outfielder out of Washington State.
Pipeline has also mentioned Texas Tech 3B Josh Jung as an option at 13, and that prep SS Kyren Paris has been scouted heavily by the Twins as well—more likely for their 39th pick.
Keith Law, ESPN (paywall)
In his most recent mock draft, Law has mirrored the industry line for the Twins, going with a college bat and having them take Bryson Stott. Stott is a player with a lot of above average tools but nothing plus (except maybe his hit tool) who may or may not stick at short, depending on the evaluator you ask. In his previous mock, he had the Twins taking RHP Jackson Rutledge of San Jacinto Community College, a big (6’8” 250lbs) right hander with great stuff but so-so control and an interesting delivery.
Law has been very adament that the Twins are heavily interested in Puerto Rican SS Matthew Lugo, who has a chance to have multiple above-average tools and has drawn interest from a number of teams. The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of those teams and they have four (4!!!) picks between the time the Twins pick at 13 and again at 39. The Dbacks also have the largest Slot Bonus Pool at over $16 million, so they have plenty of money to throw around to prep players like Lugo.
Carlos Collazo, et al., Baseball America (paywall)
Bet you weren’t expecting the usage of et al. in a baseball blog, were you? The mock drafts at Baseball America have shown two primary trends for the Twins. The first is the common idea that the Twins will take the best bat available. In their most recent mock draft, with Bryson Stott being taken by the Blue Jays at pick 11, the Twins end up taking Shea Langeliers, which is a common pick among these mock drafts. Langeliers is an excellent defensive catcher but has a questionable bat.
In previous iterations of the their mocks, the Twins have selected the best available college pitcher, primarily Kentucky LHP Zach Thompson, who has great breaking pitches but spotty command and injury concerns.
Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel, Fangraphs
If you don’t already, you should check out all of Fangraphs prospect pages. Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel do a great job all year, and they really ramp it up for the draft. In their mocks, the duo have stayed within common themes for the Twins but have selected different players from those tiers.
In their first full mock draft of the year, the Twins selected West Virginia RHP Alek Manoah, a beast of a man (6’6” 260lbs) with an exceptional fastball and wipeout slider who may end up being a high-leverage reliever. Manoah is within the same tier of college arms as Zach Thompson and Jackson Rutledge, who have both been mocked to the Twins as well.
In their most recent mock they have the Twins taking Texas Tech 3B Josh Jung, who has a great hit tool and solid power potential, even if he doens’t tap into it at the college level. Jung has been playing SS this year in college, but lacks the athleticism to play there in pro ball and will have to work to stay at the hot corner.
In both of these mock drafts, Fangraphs goes into the 1st round supplemental picks and have the twins taking Texas A&M SS Braden Shewmake, a contact-orientated infielder who will likely move to 2B, or maybe 3B if he develops more power than his current line drive swing.
In their most recent mock, Fangraphs even went into the second round, noting the Twins had shown heavy interest in prep catcher Ethan Hearn out of Alabama. If you look at his tool grades at MLBPipeline.com, they are almost identical to Ryan Jeffers (who has a bit more power than the high schooler). Hearn has a seemingly strong commitment to Mississippi State, a very strong SEC baseball program, but money talks.
Of the different tiers we have covered, the Twins seem to be prioritizing on two: The Mid-Tier first rounders, and the Sleepers. While the Twins seem to be on college bats from the mid-tier, they could also take one of the college arms from that same tier if they fall. Some mocks have many of those pitchers being selected before the Twins’ first selection, while in others they either take one or pass in order to take a bat. Bryson Stott would add to solid depth the Twins have in the middle infield along with Royce Lewis, Nick Gordon, and Wander Javier, while Shea Langeliers would provide depth behind two solid catching prospects in Ryan Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt. Josh Jung would almost instantly be our best prospect at 3B if he can stay there.
Due to their interest in the Sleepers (Keoni Cavaco, Matthew Lugo, Kyren Paris) I think the Twins want some balance between high-floor prospects (college hitters) and high-ceiling guys like Cavaco, Lugo, or Paris within their first two picks. A draft of Stott/Langeliers/Jung into Lugo/Paris gives you the better floor, while going Cavaco into Shewmake—or the best college bat still available—would give a higher ceiling. The Cavaco—(best college bat available) line is especially interesting not only because it is the hottest and newest rumor on the block, but it is also likely the most economical. This would allow the Twins to save a good chunk of money for the rest of the draft, giving the Twins sharper darts to throw at the dartboard for Ethan Hearns and others.
Now you are going to ask “But Kile wut abOUTz the Pitching?!” Well, there is certainly still a chance the Twins take a pitcher with any of these picks. There have been mocks of us taking pitchers and there are a few solid tiers of pitchers who will be available with our first three picks we have mentioned here. But at the same time, our hitter-heavy farm system would actually benefit from taking more high-end hitting prospects. Why? Because if we stock up even more on hitters it will mean we still have really solid depth after we trade a few for Marcus Stroman or other big name pitchers.
After all, I have a simple motto: There is no such thing as a pitching prospect. Or the TL;DR version: Draft bats, buy arms. Now watch, we will take 10 straight pitchers even though we were hardly mocked any. Such is life.
We will continue our coverage over the weekend and through the Draft on Wednesday, so stay tuned!