Friday, June 6, 2014

Feeling a draft: Recapping Day 1

Nick Gordon shakes hands with Commissioner Bud Selig
during the draft Thursday.
No drama for the Twins in the first round of the draft Thursday. As predicted in virtually every mock draft for a month, they took shortstop Nick Gordon. Despite my frets that Houston would gum up the works, the three big arms went 1-2-3 and the Cubs went with a cheaper college bat. Which left the Twins with the guy everybody figured they wanted.

If you read this blog regularly, you know what I know about Gordon: High school kid, expected to stick at shortstop, son of long-time big league pitcher Tom Gordon, brother of Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. He's not as fast as his older brother, but he's stronger and is expected to be a better hitter.

Nick Burdi is the closer for the Louisville
Cardinals, who will play in an NCAA
super regional this weekend
So Twins landed the consensus best shortstop in the draft field. They have not developed a quality shortstop on their own in a long time. The best shortstops in team history, at least since Zoilo Versalles (who came with the Twins from Washington) came from other organizations: Leo Cardenas from Cincinnati, Roy Smalley from Texas, Greg Gagne and Cristian Guzman from the Yankees, Jason Bartlett from San Diego, J.J. Hardy from Milwaukee.

The Twins spent their second round pick on another Nick: Nick Burdi, a right-handed reliever from the University of Louisville. Burdi fits a relatively recent trend for the Twins in the draft: a collegiate power arm who has been used primarily in relief. Burdi is said to have hit triple digits on the radar guns on occasion.

The Twins drafted a number of guys in this mold in 2012 with the intent of trying some of them as starters (which is, apparently, not the plan with Burdi). The returns have been mixed at best. A couple of those power arms (Luke Bard and J.T. Chargois) have been injured more often than not. Nobody has pushed their way to the majors, or to the brink of the majors.

And that's it for the Twins on the first night of the draft. Today will be rounds 3-10, and it's fairly significant. The remaining 20 rounds are on Saturday, and that's largely organization filler.

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