It's safe to say things in the present are going exactly great for the Minnesota Twins. That's what made looking toward the future this weekend at the MLB Draft feel like a breath of fresh air.
Of course, there's a gentle hum of anxiety whenever talking about the Twins and looking to the future. The franchise has existed in a weird limbo for years where each move that gets made is done so with an eye on how it sets up something down the road. At a certain point the sign post needs to be somewhere other than off on the horizon.
Drafting Walker Jenkins with the No. 5 overall pick doesn't really do much to change that sentiment. While he was arguably the best player in the draft, he's a high schooler who won't be making any meaningful contributions to the Twins for many years.
That being said, the hype around Jenkins is on its way to being on the level we're seeing with Royce Lewis and Brooks Lee. Everything about Jenkins seems like he's going to be a star for the Twins when he develops into a pro, and more than a few folks are making sure to say now that it'll be worth the wait.
Twins draft pick Walker Jenkins reminds Doug Mientkiewicz of a Hall of Famer
Former Minnesota Twins star and Team USA coach Doug Mientkiewicz chatted with Brandon Warne over at Locked On Twins and dove into what he's seen from Jenkins so far in his career. Dougie coached Jenkins on the Team USA U-18 squad and told Warne he's seen glimpses of a Hall of Fame slugger in the young outfielder.
"He's going to be a generational type player for the Minnesota Twins," Mientkiewicz said. "He reminds me of Larry Walker."
Mientkiewicz was careful to preface that with saying player comps are never a fair thing since it suggests a player not living up to one is interpreted as them being a failure. Even with that said, Dougie had no problem comparing Walker to a Hall of Fame slugger -- and fellow Walker.
"He's just big and athletic," Mientkiewicz said. "There's not an arrogant bone in his body, but he has a ton of confidence that just oozes out of him ... He can blend in with the old school guys, he can blend in with the new school guys."
Even if Mientkiewicz is being cautious, his praise is still massive. Walker is a Hall of Famer and was among the best hitters in the league at the peak of his powers. It was a sustained greatness that Walker brought, and if Jenkins can be that sort of big bat for the Twins then the future is indeed as bright as everyone seems to think it is.
While it's tough to yet again be in a position where we're looking toward the future, imagining a core of Brooke Lee, Royce Lewis, Joe Ryan, Edouard Julien, and Walker Jenkins is hard to not get excited about. Add to that all of the other young players the Twins have high hopes for like Matt Wallner, Trevor Larnach, Austin Martin, Simeon Woods Richardson, in addition to vets like Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa, and all of a sudden the Twins look like the team we've been expecting them to be.
Then again, unlike years past the present isn't as grim as it seems. Sure the Twins are massively underperforming at the All-Star Break, but there's enough talent in the clubhouse to turn the corner the way fans have seen flashes of the team being able to do.
So not only is there a chance the team can get it together in the second half and be dominant, the future is as bright as it's ever been in Twins Territory.