The 2014 MLB draft is now well underway. With the first two days of the draft in the books, the weekend portion of the picks begins today. The Twins made a splash early going after high school short stop, Nick Gordon. Following the Gordon pick, the Twins turned to the college ranks and took potential closer, Nick Burdi out of Louisville. Although the top rounds of the draft are stuffed full of talent, teams clamor for the late round gems.
In the Major League Baseball draft, the opportunity to find a diamond in the rough is unparalleled. With 40 rounds of selections, having a scouting department that kind find your teams sure thing in the middle and late rounds is an asset than can’t go unnoticed. The Twins look to continue to set up their farm system for future success with their weekend selections as well. Let’s look at players most recently being welcomed into the Twins organization.
Round three saw the Twins target another college pitcher, Michael Cederoth, out of San Diego State. Following in the footsteps of the guy taken five years earlier, Cederoth, like Strasburg, is a fireballer. Consistently throwing in the mid to upper 90′s he can also touch triple digits. At 6’6″ he is still working on mechanics with his frame, and this year saw him make a move to the bullpen. He will initially be tried as a starter, but may project as a back-end of the bullpen guy at the Major League level.
Sam Clay was the Minnesota Twins fourth round selection at 110 overall. A left-handed pitcher out of Georgia Tech, he has just two years of consistent baseball focus underneath him. With a plus slider and fastball, he may project more as strictly a bullpen arm in the big leagues. He would have two years of eligibility left should he return to the Yellow Jackets.
The Twins took right-handed relief pitcher Jake Reed, out of Oregon, with their fifth round selection. Reed too is a closer in college and has a repetoire of a plus fastball that can hit up to 98mph with a slurve that he has solid command of. A junior at Oregon, Reed projects as a guy that could be in the big leagues in no time and rise through the system quickly.
John Curtiss, a right-handed pitcher out of Texas was the Twins sixth round selection. He was selected in the third round out of high school and decided to become a Longhorn anyways. Curtiss underwent Tommy John surgery his freshman year and didn’t pitch in 2013. He throws in the mid 90s and while he worked in relief this year for the Longhorns, he projects as a 2 or 3 starter should he develop a third pitch and nail down the command of his slider.
In the seventh round, the Minnesota Twins went with Andro Cutura, a 6’0″ 195lbs right-handed Junior out of Southeastern Louisiana University. He is the first of the Twins pitching selections to be solely used as a starter. Although he throws in the lower 90s, compiling a 17-7 record with a 3.01 ERA and 159 strikeouts over 215 college innings, he has a shot to be a solid middle to back of the rotation guy.
The Minnesota Twins went on a pitching binge and in the eight round, selected their seventh straight pitcher, Keaton Steele out of Missouri. Steele is a Senior and has already graduated from Missouri so he is expected to sign with the Twins. A fastball sitting in the high 80s at its worst and low 90s at its best, is also backed be a strong slider. To start in the majors, he’ll need to develop his changeup a little further.
Max Murphy, a Junior center fielder out of Bradley University was the Minnesota Twins ninth round selection. He has consistent experience translating his swing to a wood bat having played in the Northwoods League and excelling there. With average speed, he projects as a corner outfielder at the next level, but you’d be hard pressed to find a guy with a better work ethic.
Rounding out the top ten picks for the Twins is Randy LeBlanc, a right-handed pitcher out of Tulane. While an early stud for the Green Wave, Tommy John surgery got him in 2011. His fastball sits in the mid 90s and does so late into game, and he commands it well. Unfortunately, LeBlanc doesn’t have any great number two pitch and most likely profiles as a big league reliever.
With the first ten rounds of the 2014 MLB Draft in the books, the Minnesota Twins got arguably the best player available at the top, and then went pitcher heavy throughout the rest of the top ten. Whether relief help or rotational arms is what some of these picks turn into, the Twins are looking to continue to bolster what is already one of the best farm systems in all of baseball.
As the weekend wears on, continue to check in and see what names are hoping to be announced at Target Field in the near future.