The Minnesota Twins added to their system’s depth at catcher by drafting Ryan Jeffers out of UNC-Wilmington with the 59th overall selection.
The Minnesota Twins went with an outfielder with their 20th overall selection in the first round Monday night. The hope is maybe the Twins will have found someone with similar impact as Torii Hunter or Denard Span who also went 20th overall. In the second round and 59th overall, the Twins went with catcher Ryan Jeffers out UNC-Wilmington.
The Twins clearly need to add catching depth to their minor league system. That is something they do here with the selection of Jeffers. It does seem to be a bit of a surprising pick at 59 as was obvious during the MLB Network coverage of the draft. The guys on the set basically took a double take and were not ready at all to talk about Jeffers.
Jeffers was not ranked by MLB.com who has their ranking only extend to 200. On Baseball America’s top 500 he landed 295th. Regardless of his ranking, Jeffers has done well in the time he has spent with UNC-Wilmington. This season he has hit .315/.460/.635 with 22 doubles and 16 home runs.
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The 6’2″ and 220-pound catcher has gotten some time with the Upper Valley Nighthawks of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. A league where college players have the opportunity to play with wooden bats against a high level of competition. In 2017, Jeffers hit .248 with seven doubles and two home runs. That showing combined with question marks surrounding his ability to stick at catcher had to lead to his low ranking going into the draft.
Did the Twins luck into a player that is much better than what the draft “experts” think? Well, that is always a possibility. What is more likely is the Twins front office sees an opportunity here to sign Jeffers and maybe even first round selection Taylor Larnach for under slot. That will give the Twins the ability to spend over slot money on a player later in the draft like they did with Blayne Enlow in 2017.
Even with a poor showing in summer leagues, Jeffers is still regarded as someone who should become a good right-handed bat in professional baseball. It will be interesting to see what the Twins front office has in store with the saved pool money once they pick again in the 4th round.