The Runner Sports

Beyond Royce Lewis, Twins Draft Looks Good

After the Minnesota Twins selected Royce Lewis number one overall in the Major League Baseball Draft on Monday, excitement dwindled. After having the first pick, things are not nearly excited. There is no exciting difference between the 34th and 35th pick. But that does not mean that those picks do not matter. Plenty of players go on to wildly successful big league careers after being taken in the late rounds. So, here is a look at the players the Twins have taken since Royce Lewis.

Brent Rooker

With their second pick, the 35th overall, the Twins selected Brent Rooker. Rooker is an outfielder out of Mississippi State University who had himself a phenomenal season in 2017. The SEC is a venerable baseball conference, and Rooker led the league in almost all offensive categories. He led in batting average (.387), RBIs (82), doubles (30), and homers (23). All told, his 201 total bases were 39 more than the second place finisher. To top it all off, he finished just two steals behind the league lead with 18 while only getting caught five times.

Obviously, the competition in college is thinner than in the professional ranks, but Rooker showed he has all the tools necessary to be an offensive powerhouse. As an outfielder, Rooker should have a relatively clear path to the high minors, and assuming he produces at a level even close to how he did in college, he should be ready for the majors before too long.

Landon Leach

Leach is a right-handed pitcher out of the great province of Ontario. He is said to throw his fastball in the mid-nineties and also features a curveball and changeup. His secondary pitches are not close to major league ready at this point, but he is still only seventeen years old. If he chooses to sign he will likely have a long road to Target Field, but that is fine when he is that young. It is also possible that his major league potential will be delayed if he chooses to go to college instead. He is currently committed to the University of Texas, which may be more enticing.

Blayne Enlow

Known for his big curveball, this right-handed pitcher is rumored to be attending Louisiana State University instead of signing with the Twins. Still, if he sticks around, he looks to have some strikeout potential.

Charlie Barnes

This left-handed pitcher, who has the best name of all players drafted by the Twins, looks very promising. He only tops out around 91 MPH with his fastball, but he mixes speeds down to a low end of 70 MPH. That range of speeds is always tough on hitters, and his breaking pitchers supplement his fastball well.

Andrew Bechtold

Bechtold was a part of a team that won the Junior College World Series this year, but his path to the pros could be affected by his spot at third base. Miguel Sanó figures to stick at third base for a long time, so even though Bechtold looks like a good prospect, he will need to learn a new position, or at least play good enough defense so that when he is ready for the show he can force Sanó to first base or DH.

Ricardo De La Torre

De La Torre is a shortstop from Puerto Rico who will have stiff competition in Nick Gordon and Royce Lewis. But competition is good, as whichever player emerges will have shown they are worthy.

Ryley Widell

Another left-handed pitcher who features pitches similar to other lefty Charlie Barnes. It is hard not to get excited about either Widell or Barnes making it to the team, as we all remember how well Johan Santana pitched when he threw a nasty changeup off his fastball.

Bryan Sammons

Sammons was picked because the Twins felt they needed at least one more “B” name and one more “Y” in a player’s first name. He is also a high strikeout pitcher fresh out of college who could be a dependable arm some day down the road.

Mark Contreras

A high average and on-base hitter, Contreras did not really catch on until his junior year of college. But if he shows he can keep improving, he could make his way up the minor league ladder.  Contreras hit for so little power in college that any power at the professional level seems unlikely. That could hinder his progress.

Calvin Faucher

Faucher is a right-handed relief pitcher also recently out of college. He threw well above a strikeout per inning, and figures to keep firing past hitters. Injury is always a risk with pitchers, but innings out of the bullpen in college means his arm should be fresher. This could easily improve his chances of making it to the big league club some day.

 

It is clear from all these picks that the Twins want high contact hitters and high strikeout pitchers. The mixture of young studs and dependable college players means the Twins are investing in both future stars and more short-term reliable players. If even half of these players pan out, this should be a good draft for the Twins.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer

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