A Look at Where the Minnesota Twins' Top Draft Picks from 2011 Are Now

Tom SchreierCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2013

A Look at Where the Minnesota Twins' Top Draft Picks from 2011 Are Now

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    The Minnesota Twins focused on college arms in the 2011 draft, using four of their top 10 picks on pitchers that had just completed their junior year. They also chose three high school players, including Pudge Rodriguez’s son Dereck.

    The top pick, though, was Levi Michael, a hard-hitting shortstop who was considered MLB-ready out of the University of North Carolina. However, Michael has been plagued by injury and is in jeopardy of not making it to The Show at this point.

    In this slideshow, Bleacher Report looks at where the top 10 prospects from 2011 are and which ones are likely to make it to the major leagues.

Jason Wheeler, Left-Handed Pitcher

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    Drafted: No. 268 overall

    Current level: High-A

    Drafted out of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif., Jason Wheeler is a 6’8”, 255-pound lefty who comes from a family of athletes.

    His mother and father both played basketball in college and his brother, Ryan, was a fifth-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009. He currently plays in the Colorado Rockies organization and made the major leagues at age 23.

    But even with his size and all the athleticism in his family, Wheeler does not have an overpowering fastball and relies on a plus sinker.

    Currently in the low minors, he projects to be a lefty out of the bullpen who can make spot starts.

Steven Gruver, Left-Handed Pitcher

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    Drafted: No. 238 overall

    Current level: Single-A

    Steven Gruver comes from the University of Tennessee via Canfield, Ohio. At 6’2” and 205 pounds, he is smaller than Wheeler and is incredibly erratic. Well, his fastball is erratic. He can hit 92-93 mph, but he also throws an 86 mph meatball across the plate every now and then.

    His fastball location is sound, and he is having a good year in Cedar Rapids. But without solid off-speed stuff, his major league prospects look dim.

    “He's a fine A-ball pitcher and he throws strikes,” writes SB Nation’s John Sickels, “but his chances at higher levels are an open question.”

Dereck Rodriguez, Outfielder

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    Drafted: No. 208 overall

    Current level: Rookie

    Son of Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, a hard-hitting catcher known for his ability to throw out baserunners who won a World Series with the then-Florida Marlins in 2003, Dereck shares the same first name as his father.

    In an excellent feature by B/R's very own Zachary D. Rymer, he let the baseball world know that he wants to be his own man. He plays a different position, outfield, and models his game after Jeff Francoeur of the Kansas City Royals.

    “I don’t really like telling people who my dad is," he told Rymer, "because then I don’t know if they’re going to like me for me or because of who my dad is."

    Rodriguez has seen significant improvement in the last three years. He hit .156/.216/.200 as a 19-year-old in 2011, but his numbers improved to .328/.370/.493 this year. He has plenty of raw tools—speed, arm strength and athleticism—and could make the major leagues in three or four years.

Tyler Grimes, Shortstop

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    Drafted: No. 178 overall

    Current level: Single-A

    Tyler Grimes is the power-hitting shortstop that the Twins covet, but concern about his all-or-nothing swing manifested itself in minor league ball.

    A .300 hitter who struck out 61 times in his junior season with Wichita State, Grimes has struck out 214 times in 205 minor league games over the last three years, which is a concern.

    As a .267 hitter with only six doubles and six homers in 58 games this year, it looks unlikely that he will reach the majors unless his power numbers improve.

    His defense is not helping his case either, as Grimes, who committed a lot of errors in college, has been moved to second base for a quarter of his games in Beloit.

Matthew Summers, Right-Handed Pitcher

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    Drafted: No. 148 overall

    Current level: High-A

    Like George Michael Bluth in Arrested Development, Matthew Summers attended UC Irvine. But that’s about as far as the comparisons go.

    He may not have created a smartphone application and may not have roomed with his father while in college, but he was known for his 2.02 ERA, a solid 93-to-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio and for allowing only one home run during his junior season.

    Summers has pitched well in Rookie and A-ball so far. He got a call-up to Double-A this year and made two starts, but he got lit up and currently is in High-A.

    His long-term role is in question. Summers works in the low-90s as a starter, but he can crank it up to 95-96 mph as a reliever. Currently a starter, his future with the Twins may be in the bullpen.

Corey Williams, Left-Handed Pitcher

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    Drafted: No. 117 overall

    Current level: High-A

    The Twins wanted Corey Williams, a hard-throwing reliever who eats up lefties, so badly that they gave him double the recommended slot bonus to sign him.

    The former Vanderbilt standout, who threw 54 strikeouts in 55 innings as a junior, was immediately placed in the bullpen upon going pro. He has thrown 107 strikeouts in 105.1 innings pitched in three minor league seasons, but he can also pitch to contact.

    Williams could be playing in Minneapolis in the next few years, but he needs to work on his control and be more accurate throwing to first base if he is going to make it to The Show.

Madison Boer, Right-Handed Pitcher

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    Drafted: No. 87 overall

    Current level: Single-A

    A local guy from Eden Prairie, Minn., Madison Boer played his college baseball at the University of Oregon, where he had a crazy 43-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2011.

    His success in college has yet to translate to professional ball, however, as the 6’4”, 215-pound righty has been hit around in A-ball and is not striking out opponents—even at baseball’s lowest levels.

    Currently a starter, a move to the bullpen might be in the cards for Boer.

    “[If] he continues to struggle as a starter it'll be interesting to see how long the Twins wait to shift him to the bullpen,” writes Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports. “That's certainly not a guaranteed fix, but it would allow him to focus on the fastball-slider combo that drew pre-draft praise and would likely provide a much quicker path to the majors.”

Hudson Boyd, Right-Handed Pitcher

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    Drafted: No. 55 overall

    Current level: Single-A

    Drafted out of Bishop Verot High School in Florida, the Twins used a supplemental draft pick on Hudson Boyd, a 6’2”, 235-pound hard-throwing righty they felt would eventually dominate big league hitters.

    So far, he has struggled with his control, throwing 62 walks in 133 innings pitched in Rookie and A-ball. He is not striking out hitters like he was projected to either, throwing only 6.3 strikes per nine innings in his two minor league years.

    There was some pre-draft speculation that he may be moved to the bullpen, but at age 20, Boyd still has time to prove himself in the minor leagues.

Travis Harrison, Third Baseman

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    Drafted: No. 50 overall

    Current level: Single-A

    The Twins lured Travis Harrison, one of the best high school hitting prospects, away from USC with a $1.05 million signing bonus.

    The California native out of Tustin High School lit up Rookie ball, hitting .301/.383/.461 in Elizabethton last year, but he has cooled off a bit in Cedar Rapids (.263/.374/.484).

    Harrison’s plate discipline was a red flag coming out of high school, and his 86-to-46 strikeout-to-walk ratio is not helping his cause. His 15 home runs this season may allow the team to look the other way, though.

Levi Michael, Shortstop

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    Drafted: No. 30 overall

    Current level: High-A

    Levi Michael was considered one of the more MLB-ready prospects out of the University of North Carolina, but he's suffered from an ankle injury, as well as a sore throwing shoulder and a neck strain after a collision, since turning pro.

    Considered a gap-to-gap hitter with plus speed out of college, injuries and questions about this ability to play short may keep Michael out of the major leagues.

    He is only 22, having skipped his senior year in high school to play at UNC, and he fits a need for the Twins, but things have not gone his way so far.

    “He hasn’t had much luck,” assistant general manager Rob Antony told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

     

    Tom Schreier covers Minnesota sports for Bleacher Report and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports.