Originally published by me at my blog, TwinsFix.com.
The 2009 June Draft is just around the corner and I'm sure quite a few of you weren't aware of it. Unless your name happens to be Buster Olney I'll bet you couldn't list the top ten prospects.
Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing the last 15 years' worth of Minnesota Twins' drafts. Up first: 1994.
The 1994 MLB Draft
Pick No. 8: Todd Walker, 2B, Louisiana State University
Walker was drafted out of college as a 21-year old. Having had the extra years to mature his play, the Twins shipped him directly to the Fort Myers Miracle. He proved very capable in 46 games there, posting a batting line of .304/.406/.532.
The next year he advanced to the Double-A affiliate of the Twins at the time; Hardware City. He spent an entire season there but sported a pedestrian .290/.365/.478 batting clip.
In 1996 and 1997 Walker experienced his first taste of major-league baseball. The Twins, quite similar to a problem they recently experienced, had a gaping hole at third base left when Scott Leiuswas granted free agency.
Walker played a combined 77 games with the Twins in '96-'97 and hit at a .244/.286/.345 clip. In 1998 Walker moved permanently to second base while Ron Coomer took over the duties at third. (Corey Koskie would become the third baseman in 1999.
Playing two more years for the Twins, Walker hit a combined .297/.357/.435 with a poor 99/148 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Walker was just 27 years old when he began the 2000 season with the Twins when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies (along with Butch Huskey) for minor-league project Todd Sears. Sears had been tearing up Double-A ball but never enjoyed a successful major-league career.
Walker would be traded by the Rockies to the Reds before starting a long free agency cycle. His career was spent with seven teams; in 2007 the Oakland Athletics signed Walker in March only to release him in May.
While Walker provided a great transitional third-baseman to help bridge the gap between Scott Leius and Corey Koskie, he didn't enjoy the All-Star career that many expected him to.
Pick No. 42: Cleatus Davidson, SS-2B, Lake Whales HS
Drafted out of high school, the 17-year old was sent to the Gulf Coast League. He spent two years with the GCL Twins before advancing to the Appy League, where he found his groove at the plate. Davidson hit .296/.355/.421 in 1995 as an 18-year old. As he got older, however, Davidson began slipping into minor-league obscurity.
It wasn't until 1999 when Davidson breached the major leagues and even then he only played in twelve games. While his .136/.136/.136 batting line reeks of small sample size, Davidson returned to his trek through the minor league world where he played with a total of four teams' minor league affiliates before joining independent minor-league teams.
In 2008 Davidson played with the Long Beach Armada, where he played second base and shortstop while batting .258/.336/.392.
Pick No. 71: AJ Pierzynski, C, Dr. Phillips HS
Pierzynski tore up the minor league system of the Twins right from the start. As a 17-year old in the Gulf Coast League, Pierzynski batted .289/.337/.375 with 44 hits in 43 games. He advanced rather quickly, entering AAA in 1998 as a 21-year old.
Pierzynski spent the next two years hopping between Double-A and Triple-A before being called up on a full-time basis in 2001.
The Twins had enjoyed the services of four catches since the end of Brian Harper's career in Minnesota in 1993. Matt Walbeck, Greg Myers, Terry Steinbach, and Matt LeCroy all took pitches for the Twins before AJ Pierzynski arrived on the scene.
Besides being an amazing defensive catcher, Pierzynski batted .301/.341/.447 for the six years through 2003.
Pierzynski was one of the best young catchers in the league and his trade value was sky-high. Hours worth of trade negotiations later, and Twins fans can collectively sing, "Thank You Brian Sabean," the general manager of the San Francisco Giants. He gave up Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan... and we all know how that trade worked out.
Pierzynski was signed as a free agent by the rival White Sox in 2005. His career has been a successful one, even though he alienated the entire Twins' fanbase during his stint in Minnesota.
Pick No. 715: Corey Koskie, 3B, Kwantlen College
I referenced Koskie earlier when I discussed Todd Walker. The carousel that Scott Leuis left at third base was eventually filled by Koskie in 1999.
Five years spent in the minor-league system of the Twins resulted in his becoming a top prospect in the organization. While fans eagerly awaited his arrival with the Twins, Koskie developed some power in his swing during his stay with the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
Koskie was quite a fixture in Minnesota for the seven years he was a Twin, and quickly became a fan favorite. His career batting line for the Twins was .280/.373/.463 with as many as 26 home runs in 2001. He also topped 100 RBI in 2001, where he was 25th in MVP voting; the closest he ever was to achieving the award.
Koskie has never won a Gold Glove award, nor a Silver Slugger, nor an All-Star appearance. Many felt that he deserved that honor at least once. Koskie's OPS+ was consistently over 100, and he is known as one of the best third-baseman in Minnesota Twins' history.
Check back soon for the 1995 Draft Review and feel free to leave your comments about the above review.
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