Deron Johnson is here: "We loaded up on bats yesterday. Jax is very interesting kid. Really good makeup. Reminds me of Radke. Up to 95."— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) June 10, 2016
Deron Johnson is the Twins scouting director, which means he's the guy making the call in the rapid-fire rounds of the draft's second and third days.
Obviously the Twins like Jax, who apparently draws the Brad Radke comp mentioned above by having a good change up. I have no basis to judge the talent, but I don't particularly care for pursing somebody from a service academy.
My thinking is related to a hoary Branch Rickey rule. He refused to sign a player who was in medical or divinity school on the basis that the world needs physicians and ministers more than it needs ballplayers. My take on the service academies is: The nation has a deal with these students. We the people provide a no-charge, high-level college education, and we get well-trained military officers. I object to the notion that they can/should be encouraged/allowed to walk away from that bargain three years in, with a heavy public investment in that bargain.
Berandino reports that Jax "will petition for a deferment of his five-year active military commitment, and the Twins are hopeful that he will be able to convert that to the reserves at least."
Maybe so. That doesn't make it right.
I predicted in Friday's post that Trevor May would go on the disabled list. He did. So, too, did Phil Hughes, who took a wicked liner off his leg.
Kyle Gibson was reactivated off the disabled list; he's to start today's game against the Red Sox. And J.T. Chargois was called up.
I've mentioned Chargois a few times this year as somebody I thought should be here. The reports on his callup gave a good reason for the Twins to have gone slow: He has only once pitched on consecutive days this year. That's by design as his continues to return from Tommy John surgery.
Still, I'm glad to see him in the majors. He is a absolute power arm. It's time to start seeing some of them in Minnesota.
ESPN's Keith Law, in a chat Friday about the first day of the draft, said he hasn't seen Twins second-round pick Ben Rortvedt himself, but that the word he has from scouts is that he won't stick behind the plate.
The Twins suggested otherwise on Thursday, and time will tell. He'll catch until he convinces the Twins he shouldn't catch.
The Twins did take another potential backstop in the ninth round Friday, Mitchell Kranson of California Berkeley. Apparently he played mostly third base for Cal (and hit third), but the Twins intend to put him behind the dish. That parallels the career path of Terry Steinbach, who played third base for the Gophers and converted to catcher after signing with the A's.
May it work that well with Kranson.