Opening Day is right around the corner, but so is the MLB Draft.
The Minnesota Twins hold the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, which will be the highest the team has picked since taking Royce Lewis with the first pick back in 2017. Minnesota had the No. 8 pick in last year’s draft, which it spent on Brooks Lee, so there’s a fair amount of excitement about how the team plans on using a second-consecutive Top 10 pick to add to an already bustling farm system.
Baseball America has already made a prediction for the Minnesota Twins, but it wasn’t an official mock draft. Rather the crew over there connected Brayden Taylor to the team based on what they’d do in the situation rather than what they think the Twins might do.
Semantics aside, it kicked off Mock Draft SZN.
It’s finally time for an actual mock draft, though, as Baseball America has released its first mock of the year. In their first draft Baseball America has the Twins drafting Max Clark, an outfielder who plays at Indiana Community High School and has committed to Vanderbilt.
MLB Mock Draft 2023: Baseball America makes prediction for Twins
Here’s what they said about the Twins pick:
"This is the highest the Twins have picked since 2017 when they took Royce Lewis with the first overall pick in the draft. Clark was the first name I considered here, but I also thought about Walker Jenkins and college infielders Jacob Gonzalez and Brayden Taylor. I think Clark has the best combination of defensive profile, track record of hitting, and all-around tools so he is the pick for me. I’ve heard some good things about his swing over the offseason so that’s maybe another small factor in the pick."- Baseball America
Clark is ranked at the No. 6 prospect in this year’s MLB Draft class, and certainly provides some interesting upside that feels like classic Twins tangibles.
Minnesota loves its hitters, and MLB.com notes that some evaluators have graded Clark as a plus-plus hitter. It doesn’t sound like he’s a power hitter, but an outfielder who is a solid contact hitter who puts the ball in play between the gaps feels like something the Twins are already getting excited about adding to the farm system.
Of course, it all depends on how the draft board falls before the Twins go on the clock at No. 5 overall. TCU’s Brayden Taylor has already been connected to Minnesota and is also a contact hitter but ranks outside of the Top 10.
The dream scenario for the Twins would be Paul Skenes or Wyatt Langford falling to them, but that seems unlikley given their sustained rise to the top of draft boards. Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander would also be a steal at No. 5, but he’s similarly unlikley to make it that far in the draft.
With those three guys gone — as well as LSU outfielder Dylan Crews expected to be off the board as well — Clark enters the conversation as an intriguing option. He’s extremely young, and will play college baseball at Vanderbilt if all goes well, which should give him more time to develop before trying to make his mark in the Twins farm system.
He just feels like a classic Twins pick, though, and begins to fill out future outfield depth rather than having Minnesota continue to stockpile infielders to either cycle through or trade in a future deal.