Monday, May 15, 2017

Twins Can Make Wright Choice In Draft

The Minnesota Twins hold the number one overall pick in the upcoming Major League Baseball amateur draft. That much has been true since the conclusion of the 2016 season. What remains up in the air, is exactly who will hear their name called first on June 12. While we've heard about high school phenom Hunter Greene, and Louisville star Brendan McKay, it could be Vandy pitcher Kyle Wright that was the correct choice all along.

Much has been made about both Hunter Greene and Brendan McKay in the months leading up to the draft. Greene has a fastball that has topped out at triple digits, and he can play a solid shortstop as well. McKay may be the best college pitcher, as well as hitter, and a team has to decide what way to develop him. Both have some serious concerns though.

The flame out rate for high school arms is incredible, and while Greene has the velocity, the development arc for his body, let alone his repertoire, is an immense uphill battle. For McKay, the dominance on the mound comes more in the form of pitchability, as he doesn't have lightning stuff. He's also great at the plate, but suggesting either player with the notion that they have two-way abilities is a fool's errand. Reality says that both will be selected as pitchers, and banking on what they can do at that plate is a fall back option you shouldn't even be considering with a pick that high.

If Greene has a ceiling that's at the top of this class, he has a floor that is somewhere below the basement. McKay is a nice choice and could be a very solid pro, but he's probably never going to justify being tabbed at one overall. If you want to grab someone that splits things down the middle, Vanderbilt's Kyle Wright may absolutely be the Twins best bet.

Wright, a Junior at Vanderbilt from Huntsville, Alabama, had a tough start to his 2017 season. He's since been on a tear, giving up just 12 hits, five earned runs, and a 51/7 K/BB ratio over his last five starts (39.2 IP). On the season, Wright owns a 3.06 ERA across 13 starts (82.1 IP) and owns a 93/26 K/BB ratio. Opposing hitters are batting just .206 off of him, and he's been the premier arm for one of the best baseball programs in the country.

Where McKay throws low 90s on the mound, Wright can sit 95-97 mph with good secondary pitches as well. He has a strong breaking ball and does compliment his fastball with a serviceable changeup. At this point, scouts seem to agree that Wright would have no less than three capable pitches at the next level, a must if he's going to continue as a starter.

Regardless of what decision any team makes during the MLB draft, a lot of expectations are based upon projections becoming reality. If you have to live with that notion, finding a good mix of ceiling, floor, and belief is a must. Whereas Hunter Greene has a very high probability of flaming out, and Brendan McKay has a low probability of being something extraordinary, Wright could give the Twins the option they would most covet.

Never in baseball do teams draft for need. The developmental arc for amateur players is too significant to make decisions looking for immediate impact. There's never going to be a time that pitching isn't at a premium though, and Minnesota adding a potential top tier arm to the organization is hardly a bad step. The decision will remain fluid right up until the day of the draft (which is now less than a month away), but if I'm the Twins, Kyle Wright is who I want.