Minnesota Twins Prospect Octopus: Post-Draft Edition
By Brad Swanson
Jun 8, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher RyanEades (37) pitches in the first inning against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Baton Rouge super regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Alex Box Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Now that Taylor, the Prospect Octopus and I have had some time to decompress after the 2013 draft, we are ready to present some thoughts about some of the more notable players drafted by the Twins about ten days ago. I also took a lighter look at this draft last week, and you can find that recap here. We have decided to highlight some players who might make a big impact in the future.
The High School Kids
I wrote about first-round pick Kohl Stewart within my top ten prospects last week. If you missed it, here you go. However, Stewart was not the only high school kid with big upside taken by the Twins.
Fourth-round pick Stephen Gonsalves is a left-handed starter out of high school in California. Gonsalves was considered a top 100 draft prospect in the eyes of Baseball America. Drafted with the 110th overall pick, Gonsalves could provide the Twins with a better than fourth round return, if all things go according to plan. Gonsalves can run his fastball into the low-90s and has shown a good changeup that he doesn’t really need to use much in high school. He’s tall and skinny, but has a projectable frame. His windup is unconventional, but his delivery is pretty smooth. If his secondary stuff develops, he could be a steal. He’ll certainly be a pitcher to keep a close eye on as he starts his pro career.
In round eleven, the Twins finally made a middle infield move, drafting shortstop Nelson Molina out of a high school in Puerto Rico. Molina is also tall and skinny. Tall and skinny isn’t a bad combo when discussing a teenager. Molina can handle short, but it seems his arm isn’t a cannon. Everything I have read says that he can’t hit. That doesn’t mean he can’t be taught to hit, or that he doesn’t have the instincts to hit. While he has obvious holes, I love a player like this with an 11th-round pick.
Before you freak out, just get the Drew Butera image out of your mind right now. Third-round pick Stuart Turner is a defense-first catcher with low offensive upside. Stop it. No Butera. Turner can hit. In fact, he posted a .374/.444/.518 triple slash at Mississippi. While college stats mean next to nothing, he clearly is able to hit a baseball. Perhaps Turner is a backup catcher at his peak. Perhaps he will never hit all that well. However, converting a third-round pick into a backup catcher is still excellent value.
Sixth-round pick Brian Navarretto has a chance to become more than a backup, but that chance hinges on his ability to remain a catcher. Navarretto is a high school kid from Florida and has good defensive skills, but also looks to have some offensive upside. He’s strong and there is some violence in his swing. Unfortunately, there is some violence in his past, as he was suspended for his actions during an on-field brawl. Putting that incident aside, Navarretto is a big catcher with power potential and a strong arm. If he can stay behind the plate he’ll be a steal.
Ryan Eades looked like a potential top 15 pick early in the draft process. Mixed results and questions about his stuff made him drop to the second round. Eades has marginal stuff, but mixes three decent pitches and has had little durability concern despite having labrum surgery in high school. His ceiling may be a number 3 or 4 starter. While a number 4 starter is not sexy, they are necessary and often useful.
Fifth-round pick Aaron Slegers is a tall drink of water at 6′ 10″ and 250 lb. You’d expect a big man like Slegers to be a power pitcher and his fastball sits in the low 90s, touching mid-90s. He has a slider and a change as well. Slegers might be more of a project than most college pitchers, as he really didn’t throw a lot of innings until this season due to injuries. Obviously the history of injuries is a concern, but it could also be the opening the Twins needed to nab a guy with his upside in the 5th round.
The Guys Who Probably Won’t Sign
27th-round selection Taylor Blatch is a high school kid out of Florida. He can run his fastball into the mid-90s and has shown a couple of secondary pitches as well. His delivery is clean and he has good command. He’s small at 6′ 0″ and 170 lb. Twins fans might want to compare him to Jose Berrios, although that may be premature. Regardless, he appears to be destined for Florida State.
29th-round pick Logan Shore is a more familiar name, but has a similar profile. Shore went to Coon Rapids High School in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Shore has a more desirable pitcher frame and has great command of his pitches. He also has an easy delivery. However, he is committed to the University of Florida, and Florida guys go play for Florida.
If the Twins can sign either of these two guys, their draft goes from good to great or great to excellent or ok to good, depending on how you see things right now. If they can’t sign them, these could be two names to keep a very close eye on when the 2016 draft rolls around.
Personally, I think the Twins had a great draft. They aimed high but also picked up some guys who look to be sure bets to contribute at some point. If any of the upside late-round picks develop, this could be a legendary draft. Legendary might be too strong, but it’s fun to use words like that; two weeks after the draft is usually the only time when you can.