This morning I discussed some players the Twins should consider taking in the Rule 5 draft tomorrow. I concentrated on outfielders, pitchers, and catchers, because I think those might be the Twins’ best positions to fill through the Rule 5 draft.
In response to my last post, TwinsGeek commented that the Twins might be interested in middle infielders as well. The more I thought about it, the more that idea made sense. Minnesota is so thin at the middle infield position that a Rule 5 shortstop or second baseman might make sense. When I looked at who was available, I found quite a few prospects who have hit well in the upper minors. Would it be worthwhile to let one of these guys compete for a roster spot? Maybe.
By the way, it is entirely possible (in fact, it’s almost guaranteed) that I missed some gems on my lists, so if you want to see a complete list of the players available in the draft, you can look here. Let me know if you find any other good ones!
Here are my suggestions. Note: I do not have any firsthand knowledge of the defensive abilities of these players, so the rankings might be skewed by offensive stats.
1. Tyler Kuhn, 2B/SS/3B/LF, White Sox, 23 years old on Opening Day
Kuhn hit .341/.401/.464 at AA in 2011. He moved up to AAA and proceded to hit .293/.323/.359. He’s proved himself as a hitter in the upper minors, so he would seem a good fit to play in the Majors for a year. He seems to have played more in the outfield recently, which means his defense might be suspect. But hey, that just means he’s more versatile, right? Only other downside: Kuhn is a lefty hitter, and the Twins already have a ton of those.
2. Greg Miclat, 2B/SS, Orioles, 24
Miclat played at AA in 2011 and he went .280/.371/.347. He has no power, but he did swipe 50 bases. If the Twins are serious about going for speed and on-base skills, Miclat would be a great choice. He is also a switch hitter. Apparently, there are some concerns about his arm at short.
3. Ryan Flaherty, 2B, Cubs, 25
Another lefty, Flaherty has some power. His line in 83 games at AA last year: .305/.384/523. His stat line dropped off significantly at AAA (.235/.277/.399) in 49 games, but the mere fact he had experience at that level makes him a more attractive candidate. And between the two levels, he socked 19 homers.
4. Mark Hallberg, 2B/SS, Diamondbacks, 26
The site I linked above said that Hallberg might have the best plate discipline of anyone in the Rule V draft, and the numbers back it up. He walked 36 times and struck out only 22 for the D-Backs’ AAA squad last year. His slash line was .279/.343/.399.
5. Brandon Douglas, 2B/SS, Tigers, 26
Douglas had a slash line of .281/.320/.377 at AA, and he stole 22 bases. He looks like a poor man’s version of Miclat, at least on paper.
Other names on the list (that the Twins should not pick):
Tyler Ladendorf, 2B/SS, Athletics, 24
Remember this guy? The Twins traded him for Orlando Hudson back in 2009. It’s looking like a great move for the Twins, as Ladendorf stumbled to a .225/.308/.319 at AAA last year.
Stephen King, 3B/SS, Nationals
The only reason this guy makes the list is that he has a cool name. But he hit .191 at AA last year, so I’m sure the Twins don’t need me to tell them not to pick this guy.
Cody Puckett, 2B, Reds, 25
Puckett makes the list for the same reason as King. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have another Puckett on the team? No, it would not, because this Puckett had a wimpy .248/.313/.466 line at AA last year.