MLB's annual draft of American and Canadian amateur talent begins this evening, and the Twins have the second pick (Houston picks first).
I regard Baseball America as the best and most plugged-in guide to the scouting consensus, and its ranking of the draft field has Byron Buxton, high school outfielder from Georgia, as the best available talent, followed by Mike Zunino, a catcher from the University of Florida. They are followed by three college RHP (Mark Appel of Stanford, Kevin Glausman of LSU and Kyle Zimmer of San Francisco), then Carlos Correa, a high school shortstop out of Puerto Rico.
On Sunday morning I heard Deron Johnson, the Twins scouting director, interviewed on the radio pre-game show, and Johnson said there were three names the team has in mind for that No. 2 pick. My assumption is that the three are Buxton, Appel and Correa, and I suspect (and, to the limited extent that I will allow myself to have an option on players I've never seen and whose statistical record is limited) hope that Correa is ahead of Appel.
Baseball America's Jim Callis has put out three mock drafts so far; each has had Houston selecting Appel, with the Twins selecting Buxton. (Callis has in the past posted a final mock draft on draft day.)
A mock draft is inherently meaningless; they're also fun. A recap of some others:
- MinorLeagueBall.com offers two versions: John Sickels and Matt Garrioch, and they agree on the first two picks -- Appel to Houston, Buxton to the Twins; it also held a "community" draft, in which the particpants had Houston taking Buxton and the Twins Correa.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com: Houston takes Appel, Minnesota Buxton.
- MyMLBdraft.com turns it around: the Astros take Buxton, the Twins Appel.
- Bleacher Report: Houston takes Appel, Minnesota Buxton.
There's a bit of consensus there, right? Pretty much everybody expects Houston to take a college pitcher, and pretty much everybody expects the Twins to take the consensus "top talent".
Whether Buxton really is the top talent is another matter. Sickels, for one, puts Correa at the top of his list. It's entirely possible that the Twins see it the same way.