The 2011 MLB First-Year Player draft will take place between June 6th and June 8th. That may still be a month and a half away, but it’s never too early to start keeping tabs on where players are projected to go.
Last year, I was immersed in draft coverage from a general baseball perspective for Call to the Pen. This year, I’m very happy to be able to focus my attention on who the Twins may, or may not be, selecting without too much concern for the other teams. Of course I still care about the other teams, because I love baseball and I love the draft but the shift in focus is a welcome change.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be providing some thoughts on various mock drafts as they relate to the Twins and their pick (30th overall) this June. I’ll also provide some thoughts on the players I hope the Twins will have a shot at. There’s already a leader in the clubhouse as my personal favorite, but that is for another post on another day.
Before I get to far into the 2011 draft and the 2011 mocks that precede it, I wanted to look back at the two mock drafts I did last year with my Twins Territory glasses on to refresh my memory.
In the first one, published on April 18th, I had the Twins taking RHP Kevin Gausman out of Colorado’s Grandview High School. This was based more on ranking the talent as I saw it, than trying to accommodate for each organization’s drafting philosophies. In hindsight, this may seem like a massive overdraft but at the time Gausman was ranked as the 7th best high school prospect in the draft class by Baseball America.
He wound up sliding into the 6th round before the Los Angeles Dodgers called his name. Some of his fall down the draft board had to do with a slow start to his high school season which included slightly diminished velocity. But the primary reason he fell had to do with signability. Heading into the draft, Gausman had a strong commitment to LSU in place. LA was unable to sign him and reportedly didn’t even make him an offer at the deadline.
Now pitching in Louisiana State’s rotation, Gausman has a 4.73 ERA over 10 starts. In 59.2 IP he’s allowed 54 H and 18 BB while striking out 54. He’s also held opponents to a 0.249 BA. For a college freshman these are very good numbers and if he follows a normal progression very well could be selected in the first round in a couple of years.
My second mock draft, which did take into account organizational philosophy and historical trends, was published on May 21st. In it I had the Twins taking LSU RHP Anthony Ranaudo with the 21st pick. My thinking was that the organization might be inclined to follow the “Kyle Gibson model” and draft a top-10 talent that was sliding due to injury concern. The Twins, I believed at the time were one of the teams that could afford to take a chance on Ranaudo.
As it turns out Anthony slid into the supplemental round and went 39th overall to Boston and I’m sure no one in Red Sox Nation is upset about this selection. After the draft, Ranaudo proceeded to tear apart the Cape Cod League (29.2 IP with 10 H and 0 ER) while waiting to sign. He landed at #67 on Baseball America’s pre-season Top-100 prospects list despite the fact that he hadn’t thrown a single pitch in the minor leagues. So far he’s justifying his ranking. Through 4 starts in Greenville (Lo-A), he has a 0.46 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 10.5 SO/9 in 19.2 IP. For what it is worth, I had Gausman going to his hometown Colorado Rockies at #26 the second time around.
Of course, instead of Gausman or Ranaudo the Twins wound up selecting Ohio State University RHP Alex Wimmers with their pick. I felt it was an excellent choice at the time given my own personal rankings but I was a little surprised he was still on the board when Minnesota was on the clock. In my first mock I had Wimmers going 12th overall to the Cincinnati Reds and in my second I had him going 19th to the Houston Astros.
The Twins got good value by taking Wimmers and his alarming loss of control and subsequent visit to the disabled list notwithstanding, I’m still happy with the selection.