Happy Leap Day, Twins Fans! I hope you wore blue and yellow and Leap Day William turned your children’s tears into candy.
If not, allow me to console you by suggesting some interesting reading courtesy of Seedlings to Stars, Fansided’s minor league and prospect website. With the Twins slated to pick second in the June draft, mock drafts will soon be a major pastime in Twins Territory. S2S came out with their first earlier this week, and I have to say it is one of the most detailed mock drafts I’ve ever seen; there are several paragraphs written about each team.
S2S has Stanford right-hander Mark Appel going to the Twins with the second pick, and I’m an unabashed supporter of that move. I like Appel not merely because the Twins need an ace pitcher. In baseball, as opposed to football or basketball, it’s not always a great idea to go for team needs over talent, since it takes several years for the player to get to the Majors, and your needs can change by then. I believe that Appel is the most talented and projectable player in the draft. The fact that he’s a college player means that he’ll get to the Majors a couple years quicker than a high school player, which is also a plus.
If you read the blurb about the Astros’ pick, there’s more about Appel (S2S has high school pitcher Lucas Giolito going to Houston). They say that Appel’s secondary pitches are not nearly as polished as his blazing fastball, which is probably true. But I have to disagree with one observation about Appel: the article states that if he doesn’t improve the secondary pitches, he could end up as a back of the rotation starter. I disagree with that sentiment. I think if Appel can’t make it as an ace, his upper 90s fastball means that he would be a better fit as a late-inning reliever than a number four or five starter. A great fastball can always keep hitters off balance for an inning at a time.
On a completely unrelated note, is it just me, or have a far above average number of Twins pitchers had to undergo Tommy John Surgery? Joel Zumaya is still deciding whether or not to go under the knife. If he does, he’ll join Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, Kyle Gibson, and Pat Neshek, among others, as Twins who have undergone the procedure in the past several seasons. And that doesn’t even count the guys in the lower minors who have had the surgery. As far as I know, nobody keeps any stats on this, so I cannot say for sure if the Twins have a higher than average number of TJ surgery pitchers, but it sure seems like they do.
I’m starting to think that maybe the team should just send all their pitchers to the hospital the day they sign to have preemptive TJ Surgery. Hey, you can never be too careful, right? They could build a state-of-the-art surgical facility into the clubhouse at Target Field. And if they shop around, I bet they could get a volume discount on new ligaments and surgical supplies.
That’s the kind of Out of the Box thinking I bring to the table every day at Puckett’s Pond