2009 MLB draft and a couple of notes

The 2009 Amateur MLB draft is fast approaching. The Rule 4 Draft, or the First-Year Player Draft (all those 3 things are synonyms), includes players who are residents of the U.S., Canada and U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Minor Outlying Islands. Residents of other countries are not subject to the Rule 4 Draft, but are signed as free agents either when they are young (the majority of Latin American, European, African and Australian players) or when are established (the majority of Japanese players.) Free agents have the ability to negotiate with each team and actually, depending on the perceived value of a player, induce a bidding war for their services. Thus, a lot of Cuban refugees do not take residence in the U.S. or a territory, so they will not be subjected to the amateur draft, but take residence in a Latin American country like Bolivia or Mexico. The minor league draft is a way for organizations to restock their systems.

The NFL Draft is widely publicized and followed, but this is not true for the MLB Draft. Regardless, there are mock 1st round MLB drafts out there from various sources. Here are the calls for the Twins 1st pick this weekend from various places:

  • mlb outsider: Bobby Borchering, HS (3B) (pick made by Seth Stohs)
  • Sports2debate: Bobby Borchering, HS (3B)
  • Flagrant Fouls Kentrail Davis, Tennessee (OF)
  • Project Prospect: Tyler Skaggs, HS (LHP)
  • Huffington Post: James Paxton, Kentucky (LHP)
  • Prospect Insider: Chad James, Kentucky (LHP)
  • MyMLBdraft.com: Joivanni Mier, HS, SS
  • Sporting News (M Huang): Jared Mitchell, LSU (OF)
  • Minor League Ball: Bobby Borchering, HS (3B)
  • Baseball Draft Report: Jared Mitchell, LSU (OF)
  • Morisato's Blog: Max Stassi, HS (C)
  • USCTrojans31: Jacob Turner, HS (RHP)

    The Twins usually pick the best talent available, but I find it difficult for them to pick a catcher or an outfielder or a RHP, due to large organization depths in this area. There is some depth in corner infield (esp. on first base) and I think it might be unlikely to pick Bobby Borchering who projects more as a first baseman in the bigs. The needs of the Twins' system are in middle infield and Left hand starting pitching (there are only 9-10 LHS in the whole organization and all of them in all levels, excluding those in extending spring training, are struggling more or less this season). So I believe that their biggest need is a Left Handed Starting Pitcher. From the 94 total pitchers in the Twins' system (including all minor leagues, DSL and EST), there are only 19 LHP, counting both starters and relievers There are a couple of them listed in the above mock drafts, but here is a list of the top LHP in the draft according to Baseball Beginnings. The links on their names go to scouting reports about those pitchers and their overall potential grade from the same report is in parenthesis next to their names.
  • Tyler Matzek (54)
  • Andrew Oliver (53)
  • Tyler Skaggs (53)
  • Tyler Lyons (50)

    You can find another report on Tyler Marzak as well as on Matt Purke (another LHP) here at Cyberscouting. They are both within their top 5 high school talent list. Another LHP who made their top 30 high school talent list is Beau Wright.

    Other LHP of note include:
  • Mike Minor, a scouting report is here
  • Bryan Morgado, who looks like he is pitching well, a year after Tommy John surgery,
  • his teammate at Tennessee, Nick Hernandez (here is a video interview),
  • Brandon Belt who was selected in the 11th round of both 2007 (Boston) and 2008 (Atlanta) drafts, but elected to return to college here is a scouting report,
  • James Paxton, a Scott Boras' client,
  • Rex Brothers, a High School Senior from Ft. Myers, FL; scouting report here
  • Chad James; you can find an interview here
  • Matt Purke; you can find a scouting report here and another one here

    Here is a breakdown of the four high school lefties (Tyler Matzek, Matt Purke, Chad James and Tyler Skaggs) by mlb.com with nice videos.

    Additional LHP that probably belong to the later rounds and I assume that at least a couple will be wearing a Twins' unifrom include:

    Paul Applebee
    Buddy Baumann
    Mike Belfore
    Gavin Brooks
    Jordan Cooper
    Neal Davis
    Jeff Dennis
    Robbie Erlin
    Lance Hoge
    David Holmberg
    Garrett Hughes
    Jordan John
    Brian Johnson
    Donnie Joseph
    Tyler Kehrer
    Dallas Keuchel
    Nick Kirk
    Ian Krol
    Justin Marks
    Wes Musick
    Matt Packer
    John Pokomy
    Miers Quigley (drafted in the 36th round of the 2008 draft by the Twins)
    Brooks Raley
    Steven Rodriquez
    Chris Rusin
    Patrick Schuster
    Sam Selman
    Joe Serafin
    Kraig Sitton
    Travis Smink
    Josh Spence
    Matt Way
    Austin Woods
    Mikey Walkusky

    Will the Twins select one of the aforementioned with their first round pick? It is probable, and if not with their first pick, I expect one of these pitchers to become a Twin either with the supplemental pick or their 2nd round pick.

    One another note and completely different subject, Cy Morong, of Cybermetrics, posted a great article yesterday suggesting that the Twins' M&M boys' May of 2009 was statistically better than the Mantle & Maris' July of 1961. A must read for any Twins' fan

    On yet another note, Seth Stohs invited me to participate last night in his weekly podcast. You can listen online or download it here. Seth interviewed Twins' prospects Evan Bigley and Johnathan Walterbury and at the end, Seth and I talked Twins baseball, including the minors, Liriano, Twins' infield and outfield and such.

    Marv said...

    Nice article on Mauer & Morneau vs. Mantle & Maris.
    Also really enjoyed the podcast. It was fun to hear Seth talk about all the folks who have been siting your stats regarding the Twins pitchers and their woes.

    Does everyone go into the draft hoping to find an excellent fielding & hitting SS? I suppose about as much as a 'sure thing' Johan Santana.

    I see nothing in our future (other than stats, which Gardy doesn't seem to care about) that suggest we will see Harris replace Punto at SS. I like Punto. I like him as a super sub. I like him running the bases for Redmond or (insert slow runner name here) at the end of a tight game.
    At SS he is not producing as well as Harris and at the plate the difference is more dramatic.

    And as fans we just sit back and wonder...

    Oh, well. Indians tonight.
    Go Twins!

    Real Baseball Intelligence said...

    Real Baseball Intelligence (RBI), a leading resource in the evaluation of amateur baseball talent and draft coverage, offers its 2009 Baseball Draft Guide. The Guide includes RBI's Top 400 draft prospects, scouting reports of the top ten players at each position, a mock draft and more. It is available at withthefirstpick.net/guide

    thrylos98 said...

    Hey Marv,

    great game tonight :) Too bad Casilla's/Morneau's error was not recorded as such.

    Yeap, Punto can be the most expensive MLB utility infielder, a role in which he really excels.

    Not sure about the middle infielders in the draft (will post the 40-50 best of them tomorrow) but there are a few choices already in the Twins' organization

    SethSpeaks said...

    I have read that it is likely that my choice in the mock draft, Bobby Borchering, would likely be gone several picks before the Twins would even have a shot at him.

    thrylos98 said...


    I suspect that this might be the case. Some places I saw his going as high as Baltimore... We'll see who the Twins will pick in the first round. They will probably surprise us, as they usually do :)