A Statistical Look Inside the Minnesota Twins' Drafts
As a devout NFL Draft nerd and self-loathing New York Jets fan, I want to shine the spotlight on an often over-looked draft in that of Major League Baseball. Who needs Mel Kiper and belligerent, booing fans when you can have 40 rounds of guys you’ll probably never hear of again?
Today, we’ll take a look back at the first round picks of the Minnesota Twins over the last five years. Take out your bedazzled Alex Wimmers jerseys. Let’s do this dance.
2008 – 14th Pick – Aaron Hicks – OF
Hicks is the lone member of this squad to have seen time in the majors, but hopefully his .086 batting average makes the others feel a bit better about themselves. That said, Hicks has shown huge improvement as of late. He has gotten on base in each of his last seven games and has a .478 OBP over that stretch with only two strikeouts. This puppy worked out.
2008 – 27th Pick – Carlos Gutierrez – RHP
Okay, I’m not going to say he’s gone full-blown JaMarcus Russell, sippin’ on dat purp and pushing 300 pounds, but Gutierrez qualifies as a first round bust. The Cubs signed him off of waivers last October, but he has yet to take the mound this year after shoulder surgery in July. While in the Twins’ system, he got as high as AAA Rochester, but never made it to the majors. His career 4.11 ERA and 1.409 WHIP are both underwhelming and help you understand why the Twins let him go.
2009 – 22nd Pick – Kyle Gibson – RHP
Rated the No. 49 prospect by MLB.com heading into the season, Gibson is a curious case. He underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2011, and was given a chance to win a starting job in the rotation this spring. He didn’t get the spot and was promptly sent down to Rochester, where he still awaits his shot. His career 3.4:1 K/BB ratio and 8.4 K/9 make Gibson look legit, but his 4.63 ERA and 1.384 WHIP in 27 starts at AAA make you hesitate for a second. Then you look at Mike Pelfrey’s 7.94 ERA and realize it can’t hurt to try.
2010 – 21st Pick – Alex Wimmers – RHP
GHOST OF TOMMY JOHN, WHY MUST YOU SCORN ME SO??? Yeah, I know Tommy John isn’t dead, but potato, potahto. Wimmers blew out his elbow in his first start of the 2012 season. Logically, the Twins decided to try to avoid reconstructive surgery, just postponing the inevitable until August. As a result, Wimmers will probably miss all of this year. He is now 24 years old and has only pitched in one game above high-A ball. He gets a rating of four sad faces out of five.
2011 – 30th Pick – Levi Michael – SS
I’m going to go the rational route and base my assessment of Michael on his stats this year: dude is hitting .500 with a 1.500 slugging percentage and is the second coming of Cristian Guzman. (Note: Those numbers are definitely NOT because he only has four at bats due to a shoulder injury – nope. Not a chance.)
Michael struggled in his first year of pro ball with a triple slash of .246/.339/.311. The Twins stuck him at high-A ball right away after he came out of UNC, so the adjustment period seems normal. The other concern is that Michael played mostly 2B his first year with Fort Myers as opposed to shortstop. Michael could still turn out to be very good and a piece of the puzzle for the future of the Twins.
2012 – 2nd Pick – Byron Buxton – OF
You know, if 99 losses gets you Byron Buxton, I think I can live with it. This year at low-A Cedar Rapids, Buxton is hitting .404/.514/.614 with six extra base hits, 10 RBI’s and seven stolen bases. Buxton brings plenty of speed to the order and the field that you might not have gotten elsewhere. Buxton was rated the 10th best prospect according to Baseball America heading into the season. I’ll be sure to help him celebrate his 20th birthday in December with plenty of orange pop and lemonade. We go hard in the paint.
Clearly, the Twins aren’t perfect when it comes to first round picks. However, they have put together several pieces that should be able to help their squad far into the future. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go mentally prepare myself for when the Jets take a punter in the second round.