Saturday, June 8, 2013

Feeling a draft: Day two

Casey Stengel said it in explaining why the Mets took a catcher with their first pick of the expansion draft more than 50 years ago: If you don't have a catcher, you have a lot of passed balls.

In the first 10 rounds of the draft, the Twins selected six pitchers, three catchers and a third baseman. A lot of pitchers was expected. A lot of catchers, not so much.

That the Twins plucked a catcher every third round (third round, Stuart Turner of Ole Miss; sixth round, Brian Navarreto of Arlington County Day School (Fla); ninth round, Mitchell Garver of New Mexico) is striking. Presumably the Twins deliberately sought catchers, probably because of a perceived organizational need.

Which is an interesting idea, since the Twins have five catchers on their 40-man major league roster (Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera, Chris Herrmann and Josmil Pinto), which is a lot. Of course, by the time any of Friday's three draftees are ready for the majors, Doumit will have been eligible for free agency and I suspect at least one of the Butera/Herrmann duo will have been moved along to another organization.

When we talk the future of Twins catching, the question of Mauer's future always arises. Will he remain primarily a catcher all his career? If not, when (and to where) will he be moved? And do the Twins have a potential replacement on hand? The only possible regular catcher I see in the Twins farm system right now is Pinto, who appears to have the bat but perhaps not the defensive chops for regular play.

If nothing else, drafting a handful of catchers on the second day of the draft gives the Twins a chance to, as Branch Rickey phrased it, find quality out of quantity.

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