The Minnesota Twins had the first overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. While stars can be picked early, the Twins have had stars come in later rounds too.
Coming into the MLB Draft, the Minnesota Twins were the talk of the baseball world. People wanted to know who they would choose to be their next superstar. While the first pick in the draft has helped them before (Joe Mauer in 2001), the MLB Draft produces gems from top to bottom. The Twins have had their share of unexpected stars come in the later rounds.
Late-rounders have made their mark in Minnesota
Some of the best Minnesota Twins have been late round picks, including Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Kent Hrbek. Hrbek was drafted in the 17th round of the 1978 draft out of Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota. He was a local kid who would become a Twins legend, racking up 38.4 wins above replacement, 293 home runs and 1,086 runs batted in.
The division winning teams of more than a decade ago had some hidden gems from the late rounds, as well. Brad Radke (8th round, 1991), Eddie Guardado (21st round, 1990) and Corey Koskie (26th round, 1994) were all drafted in later rounds and were all part of the 2002 and 2003 teams, with Radke and Koskie helping the team win the division in 2004 after Guardado departed.
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Radke would go on to post the sixth-best WAR total in team history with 45.6 in his career. He would also become one of the best overall pitchers in club history. Koskie would go on to have two seasons of 25 or more home runs and receive MVP votes in 2001, a year in which statistics were sky high all across baseball. Koskie would, also, rank in the top 20 in career WAR in a Twins uniform with 22.2.
Guardado would go on to be one of the best closers in franchise history. He ranks fourth in club history with 116 saves as a Twin. He would save 45 games in 2002 and 41 in 2003, making the All-Star team both of those years. “Everyday Eddie” would make the Twins Hall of Fame along with Radke and Krbek.
One of today’s Twins stars was a late-rounder, as well.
Late round success didn’t stop with the division winners from over a decade ago. Twins All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier was also a late round pick, getting selected in the eighth round of the 2009 draft. Dozier has been outstanding for the Twins, making the All-Star team, garnering MVP votes and ranking in the top 25 in franchise history in career WAR.
Dozier is also a veteran presence on a young, exciting team. The team has been built to win and Dozier, along with Mauer, have helped steer them in the right direction. A combination of high picks and late-rounders have helped the club get to where they are now.
The Twins have had some success in the later rounds of the MLB Draft. If they can find some more gems to go along with the top picks, the Twins will be building on the success they are having now. Franchise Hall of Famers have been picked in the late rounds. It is just a matter of time before it happens again.
The Twins will have plenty more picks in this year’s draft, as it runs until June 14th. There are plenty more opportunities to find those late round gems. This list could be longer in a few years if that’s the case. We will just have to wait to see when the next Brian Dozier is picked.