Breaking Down The Minnesota Twins 2017 Draft Possibilities
The Minnesota Twins enter the 2017 draft with three of the top 40 picks. Their farm system is Possibilities flush with talent thanks in part to multiple last-place finishes in the AL Central. While that system has started to bear fruit thanks to the young hitting talent they have drafted and signed in the late aughts, their pitching is arguably the bigger draw. Although these pitchers have yet to reach Triple-A, it’s clear that the Twins have a special staff waiting in the wings. Draft picks Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Jay and Nick Burdi have a chance to follow 2012 first rounder Jose Berrios and strengthen what was arguably the Twins’ biggest weakness.
Picks on Day 1: 1, 35, 37
With that being said, the Twins still stand to be in a “have your cake and eat it” position, thanks in part to a horrific 2016 and a lower payroll. The Twins own the first overall pick, a competitive balance pick, and the first pick in Round 2. With those three picks, the Twins stand a solid chance of bolstering their farm system with a trio of high-level prospects.
The General Manager: Thad Levine
While this is Levine’s first job as a General Manager, it isn’t his first time in a front office. Before joining the Twins, Levine served as the Assistant General Manager of the Texas Rangers. It was during his time in the Rangers organization that the team departed from a philosophy of exclusively buying expensive free agents and instead opted to develop a hybrid team of free agents and homegrown products. While the Rangers have a better track record with international products including Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor, and Yu Darvish, their domestic products have value as they have been highly coveted in trades. In their 2016 push for the postseason, they traded top prospect Lewis Brinson and 2014 first rounder Luis Ortiz to the Brewers in a package for Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy. They also traded their first round pick in 2015, Dillon Tate to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran.
Levine comes from an organization that values upside and is willing to take risks, as However, one has to wonder if that culture followed him to Minnesota. One would think that he would be instrumental in implementing a philosophy he learned in Texas, especially since ownership does not appear to be very “hands on” when it comes to personnel. Still, if we’ve learned anything from watching first-time general managers, its that anything is possible.