Monday, June 7, 2010

Countdown to the draft

Monday's print column examined how hit-and-miss the baseball draft can be.

Ne'er the less, the draft is a major focus of any organization, and particularly for the Twins, who are systematically inclined to try to solve their problems through their farm system as opposed to importing veterans from the outside.

We're less than three hours away from the start of the draft, and the Twins have the 21st pick of the first round.

This is apparently seen as a thin draft. Bryce Harper is probably the most hyped amateur player ever, and there is no way the Washington Nationals will pass him up. There's a clear consensus on who the next two players will be, if not on the order. And after that, who knows? Baseball America, which does a bang-up job monitoring the conventional wisdom on scouting and prospects, recently suggested that there are really just 15 true "first round talents"available this year.

Such circumstances make a greater mockery of mock drafts than usual, not that it keeps people from trying.

Baseball America's Jim Callis had consistently had the Twins landing Alex Wimmers, a right-handed pitcher from Ohio State, with that pick in his first three mock drafts, but this morning had Wimmers going much earlier, to the Cincinnati Reds.

Wimmers (pictured) appears to be a prototypical Twins pitcher — good command, fastball in the low 90s, good change up. Callis is certain that Wimmers is Minnesota's target, and if he's gone, that another college pitcher will be the pick. (UPDATE: Callis' final mock draft has Wimmers again going to the Twins)

Callis is plugged in, and I'm not, but it seems to me that if the Twins are among those who see a shortage of players who deserve first-round money, that's a situation that lends itself to another Ben Revere-type pick. Back in 2007 the Twins picked 29th, and they took a "second round" talent they really liked (Revere) and signed him cheaply.

With the Twins now making a splash in international signings, they could do that again and use the money they save in the Dominican.

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