Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Dust Settles On The Twins Draft

Three days and 41 selections later, the Minnesota Twins have concluded their 2017 Major League Baseball draft. Owning the first pick, and being the first team to do so while leading their division since they were in the same spot in 2001, the Twins found themselves in a good spot. Now with the war room disassembled and the picks made, it's hard not to be excited about what Derek Falvey and Thad Levine did in their first crack from the director's chair.

Starting off with the first overall pick, the front office had a clear plan, and it appears they executed it. I opined multiple times on Twitter that the Twins wouldn't spend over $7m regardless of who they took at 1/1. With Royce Lewis, they get an elite athlete that could stick at short, and his the upside of a big league All Star for years to come. In taking him above projection, Minnesota banked slot value to disperse to a few other picks.

Although the Twins would never suggest that it was McKay, Greene, or Wright they preferred over Lewis, there's plenty of reason to believe the prep shortstop was their plan all along. His bat has plus-plus potential, and he offers versatility in being able to play up the middle of the diamond, regardless of it being in center or at short. The makeup is incredible, and while he may not have drawn the nod from many mocks, the tools are indicative of a guy with an arrow pointing straight up.

Following up Lewis with another slam dunk pick, I'm a huge fan of what the Twins did in taking Brent Rooker. After having the privilege to get to know him a bit better, the mentality matches the output. He not only puts up incredible numbers with his bat, but he puts in the work and understanding to have the know-how to keep it going.

Sure, Rooker is going to have to settle into a position (most likely LF or 1B), and he's a bit older at 23. Neither of those things should deter Twins fans though when the guy does what he does at the plate. I'd imagine he'll be assigned to Cedar Rapids from the get go, and we could see him at Target Field sometime in late-2018. Rooker should immediately slot into the Twins top 5 or 6 prospects, and his bat alone makes him a high value pick just outside of the first round.

I won't pretend to know a ton about Canadian right-hander Landon Leach, but I think he has the potential to be a nice arm for the Twins. He drew steam late in the draft process, and sounds like his stuff has the ability to tick upwards while already being relatively strong with command. Touching 95 now as a prep arm, that's a number that should only increase as he continues to grow into his frame.

Thanks to the plan working out in regards to Lewis and positioning, Minnesota found themselves able to select Blayne Enlow and pay him over slot to turn away from a commitment to LSU. He's arguably one of the top arms in the draft, and even higher among those only in the prep ranks. Yes, it'll take time for him to rise through the system, but he gives the Twins another potential top-of-the-rotation type to add to the organization. MLB.com called Enlow's curveball the best in the draft, and he has a fastball that can get big league hitters out.

Looking at the rest of the draft from a more top down view, I really like the Andrew Bechtold pick in Round 5. He's a strong third basemen that can absolutely hit, and he comes from a Chipola program that is top notch. More value was found in the 6th Round when Minnesota grabbed Ricardo De La Torre. He didn't have a good year, and fell, but getting a one-time first round potential pick this late is great.

The group as a whole did have some surprises. I'm not too terribly shocked that the Twins went college heavy, and where they did go with prep players, the ceiling remains very high. Just three left handed pitchers was a bit low for my liking, but the organization may not have had too many on their radar. I also thought waiting until the 17th round to grab the first catcher was somewhat of a shock, but this draft didn't have a ton of great options there either.

All in all, the Twins should walk away from this class feeling accomplished. Of their first seven or so selections, three or four should slot in among their top 10 prospects in the organization. I'd imagine all will have a place in the top 20, and Royce Lewis immediately becomes the Twins second best prospect for me. I plan on revisiting the top 15 prospect list in the coming weeks, but this club added value back into an organization that needed it.

Right now, it doesn't matter how many young shortstops the Twins have. It doesn't matter how few pitchers they can turn to. Honestly, the biggest thing that needed to happen in the draft, was Minnesota rejuvenate the farm, and they did that. Adding young, high ceiling, talent always has to be the goal. Figuring out how to utilize it, whether that being through trades or otherwise, can always come later. In their first go round, both Falvey and Levine should feel good about what took place.

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