Friday, June 10, 2016

Minnesota Welcomes Four To Twins Territory

On Thursday night, Major League Baseball began making dreams come true for prospects all around the nation. With the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft taking place, years of hard work would begin to pay off for a handful of deserving athletes. With four picks in the first two rounds, the Twins were determined to bolster their already impressive farm system.

Coming off of an 83 win season, the 2016 draft was not like the past few years for the Twins. Their first pick wasn't until 15th overall, and this draft was one of very few sure things. National writers had Minnesota pegged all over the place with arms and bats being considered, as well as both prep and collegiate prospects. When the dust settle, Minnesota went with four high school kids in the first two rounds, and all of them will hope to contribute offensively.

Here's a brief breakdown on each of the Twins first four picks:

Alex Kirilloff- High School Outfielder (PA)
Kirilloff went 15th overall to the Twins, and was pegged as their pick by's Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo. The prospect from Pennsylvania is a home schooler that has had ample time to spend honoring in on his talents on the diamond. He's currently finishing up his senior season which could end in a state title. Capable of playing all three outfielder spots as well as first base, he projects to play on the corners in the big leagues. Destined likely for right field or first base, it'll be his bat that carries him to the big leagues.

When considering his bat, it's already advanced for his age. Twins scouting director Deron Johnson told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Kirilloff could start at Elizabethton rather than the GCL. His bat is that advanced." On the year, Kirilloff is crushing the ball to the tune of a .545/.645/1.000 slash line. He's drawn comps to a slower Christian Yelich, and Max Kepler with a little more power. Minnesota went bat first in the draft, and it appears they may have gotten a good one.

Ben Rortvedt- High School Catcher (WI)
In general, drafting for need is something the Major League Baseball draft doesn't present itself for. When trying to project a young athlete to how they factor into big league plans three of four (at least) years down the road is a tricky ask. Looking at the Twins farm system though, catching depth is next to non-existent. Minnesota addressed that by grabbing Rortvedt with the 56th overall pick.

The Wisconsin native should stick behind the plate. Johnson told Berardino, "Rortvedt can throw, hit, really good makeup. He is a catcher. Kid born to catch." A left-handed hitter, Rortvedt is more than just a defensive asset. While he will throw runners out, and has above average receiving skills, he should be looked at as a potential complete player behind the dish. He's going to take time to rise through the system, but the Twins have a catcher that they can begin to cling to if things break right.

Jose Miranda- High School Shortstop (PR)

The Twins have now taken shortstops within the first three rounds of the draft three times since 2010. Miranda joins the group of Nick Gordon and Levi Michael. As things stand, the Twins have a handful of shortstop options all at High-A or below when considering Gordon, Wander Javier, Engelb Vielma, and now Miranda. Of the group, it's probably Miranda that projects most likely to move off of the position. He may be destined for third base in the not so distant future.

When looking at Miranda, Johnson told Berardino he's "not the greatest athlete." However, he does have an above average arm, and his bat should provide plenty of pop. Time will tell how long he sticks at short, but if the power plays and the arm strength continues to be the greatest defensive asset, he should stick at the hot corner. Like most high school prospects, Miranda is going to have a significant developmental curve, but with some patience, the Twins could turn him into a regular.

Akil Baddoo- High School Outfielder (GA)
The second outfielder of the Twins draft, Baddoo immediately jumps to the top of the board with one of the coolest names in the draft. He's got plenty of speed and has a realistic shot to stick in centerfield. His hit tool should be considered a strength, and he has hands that get to and through the hitting zone. Easily the most glowing endorsement of the Baddoo pick was a comp from Dan O'Dowd calling him a "young Carl Crawford."

Another left-handed bat, Baddoo could display more power in time. Right now, despite the quick hands, he does have a lot of movement in his swing. Minnesota will likely try and calm some of that down while prepping him to drive the ball more consistently. A great all around athlete, Baddoo should have plenty of things working in his favor over the course of his development.

As the Twins continue on to make picks throughout all 40 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, the organization will see an influx of talent. Looking to continue to stockpile youth that can lead back to sustained major league success, Terry Ryan and company will be searching for at least a few more diamonds in the rough. Stay tuned over on Twitter @tlschwerz for pick updates and some immediate thoughts.

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