MLB's Draft Day Thoughts

Josh JohnsonCorrespondent IJune 9, 2009

Every year, there's a ton of draft day banter that really proves to be worthless as the MLB draft is easily the hardest to predict.

Every team has a different agenda and with a player never ready to step in and play at the highest level out of the draft, unlike in the NBA or NFL, the smallest thing such as a few extra dollars or college scholarship can sway a team to go a different direction when drafting a player.

With that said, a little speculation never hurt anybody (although I'm sure a few readers have wanted to smack their heads into a door with my nonsensical speculation since the start of this this site).

So here are a few players that I'm currently intrigued by:


Matt Davidson - 3B - Yucaipa High School (California)

Davidson for some odd reason stands out to me the most over any other hitting prospect in the draft. At least, realistic as relative to the Twins' 22nd pick. Davidson has a great body frame as he's listed at 6'4'' and 225 pounds. Having seen video on him, I came away impressed with his power and overall approach at the plate.

He won the Home Run Derby at the 2008 Aflac All-American game, using a wood bat. Davidson has been said to have struggled with his conditioning, as he jumped a reported 20 pounds between Sophomore and Senior year, but he's also been said to have a great work ethic, so I'm confident he'll be able to get to a comfortable weight.

His bat does the talking, but he's no slouch defensively either. If he is able to maintain his weight, he should be able to stay at third base throughout his career. Although he doesn't project as a Gold Glover, scouts feel he'll be able to fill third base adequately.

The most impressive thing I've noticed from reading up on Davidson is that he comes away very humble. He not only excels on the field, but also in the classroom and in the community as well. I think he'd be a great first round pick for the Twins, but I'm sure he catches my eye more than he catches the Twins'.


Jared Mitchell - OF - Louisiana State University

The Twins drafted Mitchell back in the 10th round of the 2007 draft. He was a first round talent, but scouts were weary of drafting him due to his commitment to play football in the fall with SEC powerhouse LSU. After a lackluster football career, it looks like baseball may be the way to go for Mitchell.

Mitchell is in the mold of Denard Span, which is great, but probably not what the Twins are looking for with their first round pick. The Twins have also taken an outfield with their first round pick since 2006, and have drafted seven outfielders in the first five rounds since '06, signing six of them.

Mitchell has outstanding speed, and draws a lot of walks. He also generates quite a bit of power despite a 5'11'' 190 lbs. frame. The negatives on Mitchell is that he also has struck out an average of about 33% of the time this season.

I personally don't see the Twins drafting an outfielder with their 22nd pick and I really doubt Mitchell will be available when they pick again with the 46th pick. Drafting Mitchell would also break the mold of drafting a college hitter instead of a high school pitcher in the first round.

They haven't drafted a hitter in the first round since Travis Lee with the second overall pick in the 1996 draft. In fact, since that year, the Twins have drafted either a high school hitter or college pitcher with each of their first round picks.


Kyle Gibson - RHP - University of Missouri

Gibson is known as one of the best college arms in the draft. He has a great body frame and has excellent command on all the pitches in his repertoire. His 6'6'' 225 lbs. frame makes him very projectable.

Although he doesn't have the high velocity that former teammate Aaron Crow has, Gibson comes over as more of a "Twins guy" as he works everything off of his fastball. He compliments his fastball with a good slider and improving change-up.

There is one big red flag with Gibson right now. He currently is injured with a stress fracture in his forearm and will be out until at least the middle of July. With that said, the Twins could benefit by drafting Gibson and paying him a lower signing bonus.

But with that said, the Twins may be well advised to stay away from Gibson as he's one of the 'workhorses' at the college level, averaging 14.8 pitches per inning.

Gibson's stock has plummeted and I don't know if the Twins will take the risk of drafting him.


Tanner Scheppers - RHP - St. Paul Saints

Scheppers if you can recall, Scheppers was drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thought to be a sure-fire first round pick, Scheppers saw his draft stock fall due to a stress fracture in his shoulder.

In turn, he fell to the second round where the Pirates thought they were getting great value. Unfortunately, Scheppers priced himself out of the Pirates plans and instead turned to pitch in the Independent League with the St. Paul Saints instead of returning to Fresno State.

It was the second time Scheppers turned down a contract, as he was originally drafted in the 29th round of the 2005 draft by the Orioles.

Scheppers is 22-years-old and has handled the conversion from shortstop to pitcher well over the past few years and now features a mid to high 90's fastball as well as a slider, change-up and curveball.

Both curveball has been said to be average while his fastball and slider are considered 'plus' pitches. His change-up has improved a lot and is considered to be above average as well.

Although Scheppers has been thought to be a top-10 pick again this season, but some recent mock drafts have projected him to slide over teams still being concerned over his shoulder. I doubt Scheppers is still on the board when the Twins draft, but if he is, I really hope the Twins take him.

For more on Scheppers, make sure to read Brian Pietrzak from the Minnesota Twins Examiner. Pietrzak has given a few updates on Scheppers in the last month or so.

With all of that said, I'll do my best to predict how the Twins will draft through the first three rounds today:


First Round - 22nd overall pick: Chad James, LHP, Yukon High School (Oklahoma)/Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco High School (California)

Note: Like I mentioned above, the Twins haven't selected a high school pitcher in the first round in a while. In fact, the last high school pitcher drafted by the Twins in the first round was Dan Serafini back in 1992.

James has a great fastball with a developing curveball and change-up. He's definitely a work in progress and will take time to develop, but the lack of left-handed pitching throughout the Twins' system could give the Twins motivation to take a southpaw early.

I don't see Tyler Matzek or Zach Minor on the board at 22, that leaves Rex Brothers and Andrew Oliver as the only other left-handed college pitchers worth taking in the first round. That means the Twins may have to go to the prep ranks to take the best southpaw available.

Hobgood has been a very common pick throughout Mock Drafts for the Twins. I also like him, but as I mentioned, the Twins have a lack of left-handed pitching throughout the system and I'd prefer to go this route.

But honestly, it all comes down to who the Twins believe has the better future. I have heard some compare Hobgood to last year's 6th round pick B.J. Hermsen. Both Hobgood and James project to be top-of-the-order starters but Hobgood seems a bit more polished.

Although most say "take the best player available" which I'm also an advocate of, the Twins may still rank James a bit higher based on need. Most believe James will be taken between the Twins' first round pick and supplemental-round pick, while Hobgood is projected to be gone at some point in the first round.

Other option: Drew Storen, Right-Handed Relief Pitcher, Stanford


Supplemental Round - 46th overall pick: Jacob Marisnick, OF, Riverside Poly High School (California)

Note: I would have listed Marisnick above in my "players that intrigue me" section, but I figured it'd be best just to write about him one time. Despite taking outfielders at a high-rate over the past few years, the shallow depth of hitters in this draft could make the Twins reach high for a hitter.

Marisnick is all about projection, as his 6'4'' 200 lbs. frame gives people hope he'll one day mature into an above-average hitter. There have been comparisons to Torii Hunter, but some of that has to do with his adviser being Larry Reynolds, Hunter's agent.

However, the same mixed scouting report came up when Hunter was being drafted: questionable hitting. While Marisnick prides himself on playing good defense, like Hunter does, his bat has raised question marks due to inconsistency and overall approach.

I don't see what all the fuss is about as I've seen video of him having a good all-around bat. But again, I'm no scout and watching highlight videos doesn't show the whole story. Still, Marisnick has great potential in his bat and could be a steal if he falls to the Twins with the 46th pick.

He's a personal favorite and I'd love to see the Twins draft him. And even better, I think it makes sense.

Other option: Aaron Miller, OF, Baylor


Second Round - 70th overall pick: Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville

Note: This is probably the biggest stretch, but Dominguez's big questions on defense will have scouts' opinions on him a little up in the air. He has the body-type of Miguel Cabrera but also carries the bat potential as well.

Ok, maybe I'm a little too generous with a Cabrera comparison, but he does have a great bat. Dominguez has hit 46 home runs combined from 2008-2009 compared to just 15 in his freshman and sophomore years (although keep in mind, he only played in three games in his freshman year and didn't record a home run).

If the Twins are given the gift of Dominguez falling into their laps, they'd be silly not to take him. He projects to be a fast riser based on offensive potential, even though he'll probably be held back a bit due to his defense.

Other option: Alex Wilson, RHP, Texas A&M


Third Round - 100th overall pick: Derek McCallum, 2B, University of Minnesota

Note: I know, I know. McCallum's name has been all over the place in the last couple weeks, primarily linking him to the Twins as an early draft consideration. McCallum is one of the biggest draft risers after a great junior year in the Big Ten.

He hit .406/.484/.741 with 38 extra-base hits including 18 home runs this season. He also did so while playing OK defense. The biggest concerns are whether or not McCallum will be able to stay at second base or if he'll have to move to left field or right field.

He has fielded second base well in the past, but usually shortstops are drafted and later moved to second base. Hopefully McCallum's 2009 season wasn't just a mirage as his Freshman and Sophomore years weren't very impressive. Still, the Twins love drafting homegrown talent and McCallum will be high on their draft board.

Other option: A.J. Griffin, RHP, San Diego State


Who do you have the Twins drafting? Am I completely clueless? Too optimistic? Time will tell. I do hope that the Twins end up with at least one good pitcher but also continue to draft highly-touted hitters.

Despite the top 10 prospects in the Twins system slowly becoming populated by hitters, there is still a good amount of quality pitchers throughout the system.

What are your thoughts?


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