Guest Blogger: Jeremy Nygaard (2011 Twins Draft Thoughts)

31 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

If ever anyone would like to write something up for me to post on my site, Tonight, Long-time reader Jeremy Nygaard let me use an article that he wrote that he is not able to use. It’s tremendous information for those of you interested in draft coverage. So, thank you to Jeremy, and Enjoy!

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ManCenter.com’s 2011 Draft Preview – Minnesota Twins

(ManCenter.com – making its world-wide debut 8/1/11)

By Jeremy Nygaard

The Twins own draft pick #30 in the first round and picks #50 and #55 in the sandwich round.

This will be scouting director Deron Johnson’s 4th draft since taking it over in 2008.  Since that time there has been a definite pattern that the Twins have followed when making their early selections:  Most prominently, college pitchers who command their pitches and secondly, athletic hitters that project to have many tools.  Generally, the guys they’ve taken have been considered very “signable” and the team has often been quick to come to terms with their picks and get them into the minor league system. 

The one notable exception is SP Kyle Gibson, who was projected to be a top-10 pick before coming down with a forearm injury.  Gibson signed at the deadline for a bonus above slot… a rarity for Twins draft picks. 

A quick look at Johnson’s top 3 picks each year since taking over the draft:

2008: Aaron Hicks, OF, 14th overall pick who signed for $1.78m (slot: $1.78m).  Many teams liked Hicks as a pitcher, but the Twins were convinced his other tools (especially his power as a switch-hitter) would play.  Some consider him to be the Twins best prospect.

2008: Carlos Gutierrez, P, 27th overall pick who signed for $1.29m (slot: $1.29m).  A surprise selection who is best known for his sinking fastball.  He has moved between the rotation and bullpen, but projects best a power set-up man.

2008: Shooter Hunt, P, 31st overall pick who signed for $1.08m (slot: $1.08m).  An outlier to pattern.  The knock on Hunt in college was his lack of command.  It has shown while a pro as Hunt has had a hard time throwing it over the plate and, from all indications, has faded as a prospect.

2009: Kyle Gibson, P, 22nd overall pick who signed for $1.85m (slot: $1.287m).  Gibson signed for top-10 money in the last hour before the deadline and the Twins couldn’t be happier.  Easily considered the best pitching prospect in the system, Gibson is poised to join the starting rotation soon.

2009: Matt Bashore, LHP, 46th overall pick who signed for $751,500 (slot: $751,500).  Bashore drew comparisons to current Twin Glen Perkins after he was drafted out of Indiana.  Shortly after signing in 2009, Bashore was shut down to have his elbow cleaned up and then had Tommy John surgery causing him to miss all of 2010.

2009: Billy Bullock, P, 70th overall pick who signed for $522,000 (slot: $522,000).  Bullock was one of the few “power”

arms in the system before being traded in a questionable deal to the Braves to keep the rights to P Scott Diamond.  Since the trade though (and even before), Bullock has struggled with his control.

2010: Alex Wimmers, P, 21st overall pick who signed for $1.332m (slot: $1.332).  Wimmers was touted as a strike-throwing-middle-of-the-rotation-pitcher who would move quickly through the system and slide in nicely somewhere behind Kyle Gibson.  Wimmers, however, has yet to record an out this year and has turned from near-sure-thing into the biggest question-mark in the organization.

2010: Niko Goodrum, ATH, 71st overall pick who signed for $514,800 (slot: $514,800).  Goodrum profiles almost as a

rawer version of Aaron Hicks.  Although, it’s clear that Hicks’s future is in CF or RF, the jury is still out on Goodrum.  It is most likely that Goodrum will get much bigger and end up at 3B or possibly an OF corner.

2010: Pat Dean, LHP, 102nd overall pick who signed for $319,500 (slot: $319,500).  It should come as no surprise that the Twins popped a college pitcher whose comp is Glen Perkins.  He commands a four-pitch mix and has polish.

What does that mean for this year?

Well, the baseball draft is harder to project than any other major league draft, but given the Twins history, I’m going to give you ten names that I believe may end up drafted by the Twins.

In an order based on both probability and personal preference:

Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon; The Twins liked Anderson coming out of HS in 2008 and drafted him in the 50th round.  It would be hard to believe that they aren’t interested again.  Anderson fits the Twins mold as a pitcher with great command and a great feel for pitching.  (Could be a Twin if… he’s still on the board and the Twins want to continue their run of college pitchers in Round 1.)

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Wyoming HS; Nimmo’s high school doesn’t have baseball, so the fact that he’s getting first round mentions is quite an achievement.  He’s committed to Arkansas, and he’s been dealing with nagging injuries, so there is some belief he might be a tough-sign. (Could be a Twin if… they are looking to add an athlete – think taller version of Joe Benson – to the stable.  The lack of willingness to go over-slot could prevent this from happening.)

Trevor Story, SS, Texas HS; Everybody is aware how the middle-infield cupboard is brutally empty.  Story projects as a HS SS that can stick and is considered signable if he goes in the first round.  (Could be a Twin if… they deviate from what they’ve done in the past and draft for need. The last HS SS the Twins drafted in the first round – Trevor Plouffe – hasn’t worked out as well as hoped.)

Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii; Another player with a Twins connection. Wong was drafted by them in the 16th round in 2008.  Ultimately, Wong went the college route and has improved his status as a prospect.  Wong plays solid defense at 2B and is an above-average hitter despite his (lack of) size.  He’s been compared to players from Dustin Pedroia to Chone Figgins.  (Could be a Twin if… he’s still on the board and the Twins don’t want to continue their run of college pitchers in Round 1.  I’ve heard the Rays like Wong and they have all sorts of picks.)

Jackie Bradley, OF, South Carolina; Bradley was considered one of the top college hitters coming into this year but a wrist injury has him dropping quickly down draft boards.  Bradley has all the tools and fits the profile the Twins seek in a hitter. (Could be a Twin if… he falls out of the first round and into the sandwich round.  I don’t believe the Twins take him at #30, but he would be a steal – even though they’d have to pay overslot – at #50.)

Brian Goodwin, OF, Miami-Dade JC; Goodwin is draft-eligible a year earlier than expected after being kicked off the UNC baseball team.  That should be enough to turn some teams off, but he has the raw tools the Twins look for and is a possibility because of it. (Could be a Twin if… he takes a drop into the #50s.  He has leverage in that he could go through the draft process two more times if he elects to not sign.)

Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State; A guy that knows how to pitch and is considered a safe pick and easy sign.  (Of course, Wimmers was a “safe” pick and how did that turn out?) . (Could be a Twin if… they want him.  He makes sense at any of their top three choices, especially the sandwich round.)

Johnny Eierman, OF, Missouri HS; Another guy who profiles like someone the Twins would like.  Speed may be his only tool that really stands out, but he’s a good athlete with a high-ceiling.  (Could be a Twin if… they feel like they can go over slot in the sandwich round and sign a guy that is very projectable.)

Gabriel Rosa, OF, Puerto Rico HS; The Twins have drafted the top-rated hitter out of Puerto Rico in the last three drafts (Angel Morales, Danny Ortiz and Eddie Rosario), so there is no reason to believe it won’t happen again. Rosa doesn’t project to have the tools or ceiling of the other three, but could be a fit in LF. (Could be a Twin if… They feel like continuing their trend in Round 4.)

Blake Swihart, C, New Mexico HS; Swihart is the highest-profile prospect on this list and compares similarly to Royals prospect Wil Myers, who was moved from C to the OF this year, and was a tough sign in 2009.  Myers slid to the 3rd round and got a $2m signing bonus. (Could be a Twin if… he drops and the talent-starved organization wants to pony up for a very talented prospect.)

 

The Ideal Draft:

The Twins need to fill holes in the middle of the infield, add quality arms and high-ceiling athletes.  If the Twins could get Story or Wong at #30 and pay them slot, that would be a great way to start the draft.  It would get even better if they were able to add Gilmartin in the sandwich round along with an athlete like Eierman or Goodwin.  If Swihart were still on the board at #50 (which he shouldn’t be), the Twins need to nab him and add their athletic OF (Rosa) in Round 4.  Expect the Twins to add a defensive catcher somewhere in the top 10 rounds and don’t be surprised if the Twins re-draft unsigned 2008 11th rounder Ronnie Richardson, an OF from Central Florida, who they felt could play SS.  Richardson could be a Ben Revere-type catalyst.  As always, the Twins will protect their backyard with a handful of local guys (U of MN P T.J. Oakes and Kansas OF Jason Brunansky, son of former Twin and AA hitting coach Tom Brunansky, are a couple of possibilities.)

Feel free to add your thoughts or Comments here.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @jeremynygaard

Questions or comments, email jeremynygaard@mancenter.com

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Tuesday Minor League Scoreboard –

Beloit 11, Dayton 10 – With two outs in the top of the 9th, Lance Ray was called upon to pinch hit for Andy Leer with the Snappers trailing 10-7. The bases were loaded and Ray drilled a grand slam that gave the Snappers the 11-10 lead that they would hang on to. Pat Dean started and gave up five runs on 11 hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out six. Blayne Weller then gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in 1.1 innings. Ben Tootle went the next two innings and gave up two runs on one hit and two walks. Clinton Dempster came in with the lead and threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th for his third save. Daniel Santana went 3-4 with a walk and his fourth home run. Danny Ortiz hit his 17th and 18th doubles in five at bats. Michael Gonzales went 2-5 with his fifth doubles and drove in five runs. Wang-Wei Lin went 1-2 with two walks.

Ft. Myers lost to Lakeland 13-2. Matt Schuld started and gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks in three innings. Brad Tippett gave up four runs (3 earned) on six hits and two walk in two innings. Shooter Hunt got one out, but he gave up three runs on one hit and five walks. Matt Tone struck out two over the next 1.2 innings. Dakota Watts returned from the Disabled List and pitched a scoreless eighth. Anderson Hidalgo and Danny Rams were each 2-4 with a double. Jhonatan Goncalves went 1-2 with two walks and his fourth stolen base.

New Britain swept a double-header against Portland. In the first game, they won 2-0. Steve Singleton went 2-2. Michael Holliman went 2-3 with an RBI. Evan Bigley was 1-3 with his 12th double and an RBI. Brett Jacobson started and threw five shutout innings. He gave up two hits and walked three. Santos Arias got two outs and issued a walk and a hit, but Tyler Robertson got the final four outs to record his sixth save.

In the second game, the Rock Cats won 5-3. Blake Martin, just promoted from Ft. Myers, made the start. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on five hits and three walks in 2.1 innings. Tony Davis went the next 3.2 innings and gave up just one hit for the win. Mike Tarsi gave up a run on a hit and two walks but got through the seventh for the save. Joe Benson was 3-4 with his 15th and 16th double. Deibinson Romero was 2-3. Michael Holliman hit his fifth home run.

Rochester lost to Toledo 5-0. Andy Baldwin went seven innings and gave up five runs (3 earned). He gave up four hits, walked none and struck out three. Three of the hits were home runs. Kyle Waldrop and Jake Stevens each threw a scoreless inning. Aaron Bates went 3-3. Toby Gardenhire went 2-3 and is now hitting .284.

Recent Promotions (I mention these on Twitter on Tuesday morning): Cole DeVries to Rochester. Bruce Pugh and Blake Martin to New Britain. Derek McCallum and Matt Hauser to New Britain. Hyeong-rok Choi and Nelvin Fuentes promoted to Beloit. Jair Fernandez taken off the DL and playing for New Britain.

Any thoughts? Please comment here.

14 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Jeremy Nygaard (2011 Twins Draft Thoughts)”

  1. mike wants wins June 1, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Great preview. Frankly, the jury is still out on our current lead scout and the draft the last few years. Sure would be nice to really hit on this draft.

    • Jon June 1, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Outstanding piece. Obviously you have some access into the Twins scouting leadership and minor league player development staff. I question your comments though on infield talent in the organization in general, middle infield specifically. The Twins are notoriously slow in pushing players to upper levels of the minor leagues. In fact, they slowly move them in the lower levels. The Twins possess really good infield talent in: James Beeresford, Danny Santana, Nick Lockwood, Miguel Sano and Niko Goodrum. The latter three have barely 250 at bats in the GCL with Lockwood struggling late last season after a late season promotion to ETown. I think that you will see a few of these players have breakout years this year in fact, Beersford is once again having a solid year in Ft.Myers. The Twins need to develop this group and concentrate on bringing in solid college pitching in the upper rounds of this draft not infield depth or toolsy outfielders which we have a plenty!

      • mike wants wins June 1, 2011 at 9:43 am #

        You can never have too many pitching or OF prospects. you need three/four everday OFers in the AL every day.

    • Seth June 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      Impossible to judge the drafts ‘the last few years’ at this point…

      • mike wants wins June 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

        Hence “jury still out”, as in, we can’t draw conclusions yet.

  2. Han Joelo June 1, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Where IS Eddie Rosario? Any word on Angel Morales?

    • Seth June 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

      Rosario will play in Elizabethton. he’s a good one. He had a cycle in EST this year.

      I heard that Angel Morales is 2-3 weeks out, hopefully.

  3. Jeremy June 1, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    @Jon Sano and Goodrum look like they’ll outgrow the MINF. Beresford, Santana, Polanco, Lockwood are all a long ways away. I do like Brian Dozier and we all know how Seth feels about Steve Singleton. I’ll give you that there are guys, but Polanco might be the only one that has the glove/arm to play SS.

    @Han Joelo Rosario is down in EST. He’ll more than likely play in Elizabethton all year. There really isn’t room in the Beloit OF (especially if Arcia comes back healthy). I’ve heard Morales is close to coming back, but not sure on a return date.

  4. Twinsoholic June 1, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    I enjoyed reading the draft coverage, but I think that the Twins will use one of the sandwich picks on a hard throwing college reliever. My guess is that the Twins draft will look something like this through the first 10 rounds:
    1: College starter (lefty)
    Sandwich 1: Hard-throwing College reliever
    Sandwich 2: College Starter
    2nd round: high school catcher
    3rd round: College Starter (lefty)
    4th round: high school outfielder
    5th round: College Pitcher (lefty)
    6th round: College pitcher
    7th round: College position player
    8th round: College position player
    9th round: College Catcher
    10th round: College Catcher

    This guess emphasizes pitching and catching. The draft is supposed to be deep in pitching. Adding a high school catcher in the second round and then a couple of college catchers around rounds 9 and/or 10 would help with depth at that position.

  5. BB-STC June 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Any clear cut #1 (aka: Harper Strausberg) in the 2012 draft? Looks like we might be picking #1.

    • Jeremy June 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      Clear cut? Not at this point. I joked earlier that I was going to order a Lance McCullers Jr Twins jersey, the #1 prospect, right now, in the 2012 draft. High school pitchers don’t go first overall, so who knows what would happen in the event the Twins have the top pick.

  6. JA June 2, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Great write-up! I really like the idea of Kolton Wong, looks like a good one. But with all that pitching out there, it may be hard for the Twins to pass up a first round talent.

    • Jon June 3, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      I think Wong is the W(R)ONG guy. 3rd team College All American going in the 1st round….hardly. People have to remember that college position guys transitioning to wood bats are a dime a dozen. I’m startled and puzzled as to why we don’t almost solely draft strong high school position guys and college arms. I see us taking 2 college pitchers and one high profile catcher with our 1st 3 picks.

      • Jeremy June 4, 2011 at 9:47 am #

        Jon, people also need to remember that Wong was the MVP of the Cape Cod (wood bat league) last summer (341/426/452).

        Here’s some quotes from his performance:
        “He can really hit and he disrupts baseball games when he gets on base,” Orleans field manager Kelly Nicholson said. “He’s going to steal a base, he can hit a home run, he can drive the ball the other way, he can push and he can drag.”

        “I thought he was the best player in the league,” Y-D field manager Scott Pickler said. “The numbers he put up, the way he played second base and the way he went about his business. He’s a baseball player.”

        Sounds like the type of guy the Twins like. While at Hawaii, he’s played OF and C as well. Obviously, there are lots of guys in this draft that are easy to like. But Wong is a 1st rounder- and this is a deep draft- so if the Twins get him at 30, that would be good for this organization.

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