Four Years Of Futility: How Did The Twins Get Here?
Twins 2014 Draft Highlights (1st pick 5th overall)
- Nick Gordon (50)
- Nick Burdi (46)
- Michael Cederoth (79)
- Sam Clay (110)
- Jake Reed (140)
Knowing the organization had glaring pitching issues, the Twins looked to fix that through quality picks. Eight of the Twins first 10 picks in 2014 were all pitchers, and many of them have a chance to contribute at a high level.
The brother of All-Star second basemen, Dee Gordon, Nick highlighted the field of the 2014 class. His father Tom Gordon also adds to a strong pedigree. A broken finger slowed the end of his season, but Gordon hit .294/.333/.366 in his first pro season. His glove is ahead of his bat, but Gordon still remains the odds on favorite to be the Twins shortstop of the future.
Burdi signed with the Twins in 2014, the second time they selected him. A fireballer from Lousiville, he quickly was accelerated to Fort Myers. His 2.66 ERA in his first pro season, along with an outstanding 16.8 K/9 ratio are impressive. He will need to cut down on the walks (4.4 BB/9) but should start the year in Double-A Chattanooga with an outside chance to debut in the back-end of the Twins bullpen in late 2015.
Although not to the same extent of the pitchers before him, Cederoth was a highly regarded talent out of San Diego State. His first professional season ended with him pitching in 11 games for Elizabethton and compiling a 3.55 ERA. He walked too many batters (3.5 BB/9) but struck out a good clip (8.3 K/9). Look for Cederoth to continue to build during his second year in professional baseball.
The start of Sam Clay’s professional career was not what he would have wanted. In 19 games for Elizabethton, Clay walked 5.3 batters per nine innings, while finishing with a 5.59 ERA. On the positive side, he gave up zero home runs and struck out an impressive 13.7 batters per nine innings. He will have to sharpen his outings in 2015 to build upon what was a shaky first season.
One of the strongest value picks of 2014 was Jake Reed. Out of Oregon, Reed pitched in 20 games and was bumped up to Cedar Rapids. He threw to an impressive 0.29 ERA across 31 innings while striking out over 11 batters and walking less than one per nine innings. Combine those numbers with a strong Arizona Fall League performance, and Target Field could be in the sights of Reed near the end of 2015.
Looking over recent drafts as a whole, it is more than apparent how the Twins found themselves in the position they have been in the past four years. Coming off of winning, and low draft selections, paired with misses all over the board, the Twins were forced to take fliers on free agency knowing the influx wasn’t coming from the farm.
Now on the verge of a solid turnaround, the losing has produced higher draft picks that have been much more successful, and Minnesota enters the 2015 season with a lot to be excited about. Having a few prospects from poor drafts to count on, and knowing that recent drafts have provided a strong crop of young talent, the Twins organization is in a good place.
Competitiveness should be expected in 2015, but the horizon looks even brighter.
Next: 2015 Twins: Winning On The Horizon
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