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6/1/12

Covering the Twins 2012 MLB Draft

It has been pretty much a tradition at The Tenth Inning Stretch to live blog the MLB rule 4 Draft from the Twins' perspective.   I will cover every single pick all 3 days of the draft

I will follow what I did in 2010, which is:

Live draft coverage on each day of the draft, both with live blogging and on twitter. I will tweet each pick as happens, then I will blog details about the player including scouting reports, projections, videos etc, in this space. You can follow me on twitter @thrylos98, or you can come here and refresh the page often. My tweets will appear on the left hand side of the page, as always. I will do a single post with the details of each draftee.

At the end of the draft, I will have the reactions of the players drafted, about being drafted by the Twins and also have more detailed profiles of the new Twins, as they sign.  These profiles would be very similar to my top 22 pitcher profiles I did before the draft.

To see the individual profiles in 2010 (and the reactions piece on top) so you have an idea of what the coverage will be like, they are all at this link.

All the 2012 MLB Draft picks, profiles and related posts (including this one) will be at this link .  Not that I will be blogging much else during the draft, but that link is 2012 Draft exclusive content.

A reminder about what this draft includes: 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.

With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each pick in the draft has a bonus ceiling.  The sum of those bonus ceilings is the maximum a team can spend in the draft (bonus allotment).  There are severe penalties for surpassing their bonus allotment, including fines and losses of future 1st round draft picks.  So most teams will stay tight within their allotment.  However, a team like the Twins can sign their first round pick to a $5.7 million bonus instead of the allotted $6.2 and have an extra $500K to spend in another pick.  Because of all the supplemental picks and the fact that are picking second in every round (but the second where they are picking third because of the Willingham signing), the Twins have the highest bonus allotment in the draft with $12,368,200.

 Another housekeeping item:  I have been re-posting a lot of the content here at the Twins Daily site also, a great site, btw, make sure you join and participate.  A can't miss for every Twins' fan.  Because of the time urgency (and because I do not want to clutter their site with 25 posts a day), I will be live blogging the Twins 2012 MLB Draft only at The Tenth Inning Stretch.  Might post some summary posts there after all is settled later next week.





Profiles of the Top 22 Pitchers for the 2012 MLB Draft (Bonus) : Mitch Brown


With the Twins having a severe need for pitching in the organization as well as six picks among the top 100, it is certain that more than one of those picks (and probably the second overall pick) will be used to draft a pitcher. To this respect, I am presenting profiles of the top 22 pitching prospects for the 2012 MLB draft.

I have been presenting these alphabetically, and at the end I will rank them.  I will be doing about one a day and I will finish before the June 4th draft day. You can find all the profiles (in reverse alphabetical order) as they are presented here.  I will start with RJ Alvarez and end with Kyle Zimmer.  Each profile with contain a bit of background information and statistics, a mini scouting report and videos and photos. Because Mitch Brown is local, and the Twins have been linked with him, and there is a good possibility that they might select him in the supplementary or second round, I am presenting his profile, in addition to the other 22.

Profile 23: Mitch Brown

Profile/Stats:

Mitchell Brown is a senior at Century High School in Rochester, MN. He committed to play for the University of San Diego. He is listed at 6'2" and 210 lbs. He was born on April 13, 1994 . He throws right-handed. Mitch is also playing the infield, but will be drafted as a pitcher. His father is a former Korean power lifter. You can find a web page with a lot of information on Mitch here. In 2012 he is 7-1 with 0.91 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 58 innings. Here is a recent 'CCO story and a video by Mark Rosen on Mitch Brown. He was recently named Minnesota Gatorade player of the year and this is a great story on him, by Tyler Mason.

Mini Scouting Report:

Mitch Brown throws an above average Fastball that sits in the low nineties and reportedly jumps to 95. He has excellent command and control of that pitch. He also throws a plus cut fastball in the low 90s that has good movement and deception. His breaking ball and changeup are works in progress. His delivery is nice and easy and his mechanics are good. Very coachable. Good strikeout to ball ratio at the high school level, but his breaking ball and change up need to improve to make the leap and they will improve with professional coaching.

Videos/Photos:

Here is an 11 minute video of Mitch Brown pitching:







Here is a scouting video from last summer:







Here is a video of Mitch Brown pitching this season:







His Perfect Game profile page has links to 5 additional videos, and his homepage links to 7 additional videos.

5/31/12

Profiles of the Top 22 Pitchers for the 2012 MLB Draft: Kyle Zimmer


With the Twins having a severe need for pitching in the organization as well as six picks among the top 100, it is certain that more than one of those picks (and probably the second overall pick) will be used to draft a pitcher. To this respect, I am presenting profiles of the top 22 pitching prospects for the 2012 MLB draft.

I will be presenting these alphabetically, and at the end I will rank them.  I will be doing about one a day and I will finish before the June 4th draft day. You can find all the profiles (in reverse alphabetical order) as they are presented here. I will start with RJ Alvarez and end with Kyle Zimmer.  Each profile with contain a bit of background information and statistics, a mini scouting report and videos and photos.

This profile completes the top 22 profiles.  However, due to recent developments with the Twins, I will present have a bonus profile  of another pitcher (number 23) this weekend.

Profile 22: Kyle Zimmer

Profile/Stats:

Kyle Zimmer is a Junior at the University of San Francisco. He throws right handed. He was born on . He grew up in La Jolla, CA and went to La Jolla High Schoool. He is listed at 6'4" and 220 lbs. He was not previously drafted. He pitched 5 games (all in relief) in his freshman year and was turned into a starter his sophomore year. He was also a position player (mainly third baseman) and has been making the transition to pitcher. This season he started 12 games (83.1 IP) walked 15 and struck out 96. His record is 5-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Was a honor roll student and Cum Laude Society member in High School.

Mini Scouting Report:

Kyle Zimmer has three pitches: a fastball, a slider and a change up. His fastball averages 92-94 and gets up to 96-98. It is a plus pitch with good movement and life. His curve ball is a plus 12-6 curve ball that he throws at high 70s with excellent movement. His changeup is a low 80s pitch and is an average pitch with not much movement. This pitch needs work at the next level. Very good consistent delivery with the ball jumping off his hand. Excellent control of both his fastball and curveball, can improve the command of both pitches. In addition to the main 3 pitches he has been experimenting with a slider that he still has to master.

Videos/Photos:





Here is part 1 (5:37 minutes) of a scouting video taken this March:







And here is the continuation (6:26 minutes) of the same video







Here is an almost 9 minute vido of Zimmer pitching this April:







Here is a video blog of Kyle Zimmer during his time at Cape Cod League







5/30/12

List of Players Invited to Attend the 2012 MLB Draft Live


The following five players have been invited to attend the 2012 MLB Amateur (Rule 4) Draft in person in New York City next Monday night at 7 PM EDT:
  • Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe High School, Louisiana
  • Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
  • Clint Coulter, C, Union High, Washington state
  • Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll High, Texas
  • Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State University

Profiles of the Top 22 Pitchers for the 2012 MLB Draft: Walker Weickel


With the Twins having a severe need for pitching in the organization as well as six picks among the top 100, it is certain that more than one of those picks (and probably the second overall pick) will be used to draft a pitcher. To this respect, I am presenting profiles of the top 22 pitching prospects for the 2012 MLB draft.

I will be presenting these alphabetically, and at the end I will rank them.  I will be doing about one a day and I will finish before the June 4th draft day. You can find all the profiles (in reverse alphabetical order) as they are presented here. I will start with RJ Alvarez and end with Kyle Zimmer.  Each profile with contain a bit of background information and statistics, a mini scouting report and videos and photos.

Profile 21: Walker Weickel

Profile/Stats:

Walker Weickel is a senior at Olympia High School in Orlando, FL. He committed to play for Miami University. He is listed at 6'6" and 200 lbs. He was born on November 14, 1993 . He throws righthanded. This season he went 10-0 with a 1.47 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 55 innings.


Mini Scouting Report:

Weikel has 3 pitches: a Fastball, a curve and a change. His fastball is an above average pitch that averages in the low 90s and jumps up to 94. His 12-6 curve is above average and potential plus pitch. Throws it at low 70s. His low 80s changeup is an average pitch that needs work. He has a long frame and a 3/4 to over the top tall delivery that is inconsistent at times and affects his command and control. A lot of potential and a big frame, but will be a work in progress for a team for a while.

Videos/Photos:

Here is a video of Walker Weickel pitching at the All-American Classic in 2011:







Here is a slow motion video of Weickel's delivery:







His Perfect Game profile page has links to 5 additional videos.

5/29/12

Great Careers for People Who Love Baseball


The Following is by Alicia Walker, a Featured Writer:

Great Careers for People Who Love Baseball

Baseball offers the best of all spectator sports. Baseball has the fast-paced, explosive action, speed and power of football, the tangible momentum swings and tension build up of soccer, the etiquette and heritage of golf, and the technique and individual flair of the NBA. It’s not hard to agree that all of the above factors are pretty awesome. In the same way, it’s not hard to understand that your job as an office clerk offers none of the above.
There are many people who love baseball, but there are not many people who have a career in which to manifest that love. This unfortunate fact about many people's careers can be remedied. The following careers are perfect for those who love baseball.

Sports Business Management

Developing a career in business management does not mean you have to become the next Theo Epstein. What it does mean, however, is that you are probably going to earn the accompanying college degree. This degree is a four-year degree, and it will open the door to jobs in baseball on all levels. For example, you could get a position within your city's co-ed recreational baseball league, your neighborhood's little league front office, or land a marketing and sales position for a minor league baseball team.

In the Media

Many baseball fans have a play-by-play voice, television analyst, or talk-show radio host that is readily associated with their home team. These are not the only media jobs, however. A lot of behind the scenes work goes into every game: camera operators, lighting technicians, wardrobe coordinators, writers, producers – the list goes on.
A college degree, such as an associate degree in sports media technology, is helpful for those interested in this kind of job, but applicants can always help their cause – especially for media positions – by having extensive statistical or historical knowledge about the subject, as well as an outgoing and amicable personality.

Freelance Writer

The beauty of baseball is that everyone has a different take on an issue. As such, the world could always use another opinion. There are hundreds of sports-blogs that could be interested in your opinion or analysis, and you do not necessarily need any specific training (although English-proficiency is probably a pre-requisite!).

Umpire

This job is not for everyone, but when it comes to a way for non-athlete's to get a baseball-oriented career, there are not many careers that offer a better chance. Like Major League Baseball (MLB) players, an umpire must work his way through the minor leagues. However, it usually takes an umpire about seven to 10 years of minor league experience before they get the major league call up. Keep in mind that this is much longer than a major league player.
There is also extensive schooling involved in becoming an MLB umpire, and only top students make the cut to be considered for work in the minor leagues – the top 15 percent to be exact. There are between 60 and 70 umpires in the big leagues and, due to the low turnover rate of major league umpires, it is a long shot to become an MLB umpire. You can learn more about what it takes to become a baseball umpire here.

Agent

Agents negotiate player contracts. You can learn more about what it takes to be a sports agent here, but basically, an agent needs to have a four-year undergraduate degree as well as a law degree. Law degrees are professional graduate-level degrees and take three years to complete. Admissions into law school are competitive, and the best schools require top scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) – as well as high undergraduate GPA results.
These certainly are not the only careers that have to do with baseball. I did not even touch on the different medical fields that you could consider, such as athletic trainers and physical therapists.


Profiles of the Top 22 Pitchers for the 2012 MLB Draft: Michael Wacha


With the Twins having a severe need for pitching in the organization as well as six picks among the top 100, it is certain that more than one of those picks (and probably the second overall pick) will be used to draft a pitcher. To this respect, I am presenting profiles of the top 22 pitching prospects for the 2012 MLB draft.

I will be presenting these alphabetically, and at the end I will rank them.  I will be doing about one a day and I will finish before the June 4th draft day. You can find all the profiles (in reverse alphabetical order) as they are presented here. I will start with RJ Alvarez and end with Kyle Zimmer.  Each profile with contain a bit of background information and statistics, a mini scouting report and videos and photos.

Profile 20: Michael Wacha

Profile/Stats:

Michael Joseph Wacha is a Junior at Texas A&M University. He throws right handed. He was born on July 1st, 1991 in Iowa City, IA. He grew up in Texarkana, TX and went to Pleasant Grove High School. He is listed at 6'6" and 200 lbs. He was not previously drafted. He has been a starter for 3 season. This season he is 8-0 in 14 Games Started (99 innings) allowing 16 Bases on Balls and accumulating 99 strike outs. He pitched 2 complete game shutouts, has a 2.09 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. Was a member of the National Honor Society in High School.

Mini Scouting Report:

Michael Wacha has three pitches: a fastball, a slider and a change up. Regarded by some the most polished pitcher in the draft and a typical Twins'-type selection because he's close to being ready and throwing strikes. His fastball is a two-seamer with good movement sitting at 90-92 and up to 93-94. His changeup is a plus pitch with good deception and late movement. Good command and control of both his sinker and change. His slider is a work in progress that has shown some promise, but he has not been using it much. Tall and lanky with lots of arms and legs and deception in his delivery. Good mechanics and good angle to the plate.


Videos/Photos:


Here is a 10 minute video of Wacha pitching for Team USA summer of 2011:







Here is a recent video of Wacha pitching with Texas A&M:







Here is a long interview after his 2-hit shutout earlier this season, talking about his pitching repertoire:







Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits


Here is this week's installment; and it is heavily influenced by the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft:
  • This is great evidence to reinforce my position to a. not believe in "mock drafts" and b. not attempt one. That mock draft had the Twins not taking a P until their 6th pick (3rd round) and taking 3 catchers with their first 4 picks. The chance of this happening is smaller than me winning the lottery (and I do not play the lottery.)
  • This year, like I did in 2010 and 2009, I will live-blog the Twins' draft.  More details about the coverage of the Twins' 2012 Draft at The Tenth Inning Stretch will be coming later this week, but it will be a lot like the 2010 coverage.
  • Speaking of the Twins' draft, unless they feel strongly about a particular pitcher (Appel?, Gausman? Zimmer? Wacha? - yes, Wacha, he is a "Twins' kind of a pitcher") for the number 2 spot and Houston does not pick him before them, I think that they might go with highest upside healthy guy (and I mean healthy, because I think that Lucas Giolito has the highest upside of everyone in the draft) for his position, and this would probably be Carlos Correa, the 17 year old High School Senior SS from Puerto Rico. Since they have plenty of picks in the supplemental round, they could use those to pick good arms who might fall there like Matt Smoral (because of injury) or Chris Stratton or Pat Light or Rochester's Mitch Brown. A future infield of Sano, Rosario and Correa sounds pretty interesting; but let's not put the carriage in front of the horse... Lots of possible things the Twins can do with that second pick and I can see them take any of seven players.
  • Speaking of him, he did not make my top 22 pitchers of the MLB draft list, but this is a great story on Rochester's (MN) Mitch Brown, by Tyler Mason. And his father is a former Korean power-lifter. Good blood lines.
  • It appears that the player who the Twins will pick at #2, will be a Boras client. No word about who that might be yet.  Appel is a Boras client.
  • And if someone does not realize why the Twins should promote the best people from the minors and should be fair about it, here is a reminder
  • Speaking off promoting the best players and being fair, sad to read about the miss-trust that Ron Gardenhire and this organization shows to Anthony Slama. And when the Twins promoted another pitcher for their pen last Sunday, it was Jeff Manship who has been OK, but not exactly as good as Slama.
  • The online voting for the 2012 AAA All-Star Game is open. Maybe voting early and often for Anthony Slama might open the Twins' eyes.
  • I was not surprised with the practical release of Erik Komatsu. He was overmatched in the majors and the presense of Ben Revere lessened the need for another lighter hitting and slower lefty outfielder. Mastroianni bats right-handed. And I do not foresee the Twins making a deal with Washington to keep him (if he passes waivers.) They just have too many outfielders in the minors at this point.
  • Also, to fill Manship's spot in the Rochester rotation, David Bromberg has been promoted from New Britain to Rochester. I suspect Aaron Thomspon who is to be able to return from his suspension today or tomorrow, will take Bromberg's spot for the Rock Cats.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if Levi Michael, the Twins' 2011 1st round draft pick, gets demoted to Beloit one of these days. Unfortunately, I think that the Twins pushed him too high for his first pro season by assigning him to Fort Myers. The problem was that Tyler Grimes (who is not playing at Beloit-level also) was assigned to Beloit and they both need playing time.
  • The Twins' product of the week is one of the best books about the Twins and fairly appropriate these dark times: We're Gonna Win, Twins!
The parting shot today is of Jeff Manship, the latest player to join the Twins from AAA Rochester:





5/28/12

Coco got something Crispy on his neck


This is from today's Twins-Athletics game. Not sure what it is, but looks like something made in jail, a 5 year old's handiwork or a bad mosquito bite or something.



Profiles of the Top 22 Pitchers for the 2012 MLB Draft: Hunter Virant


With the Twins having a severe need for pitching in the organization as well as six picks among the top 100, it is certain that more than one of those picks (and probably the second overall pick) will be used to draft a pitcher. To this respect, I am presenting profiles of the top 22 pitching prospects for the 2012 MLB draft.

I will be presenting these alphabetically, and at the end I will rank them.  I will be doing about one a day and I will finish before the June 4th draft day. You can find all the profiles (in reverse alphabetical order) as they are presented here. I will start with RJ Alvarez and end with Kyle Zimmer.  Each profile with contain a bit of background information and statistics, a mini scouting report and videos and photos.

Profile 19: Hunter Virant

Profile/Stats:

Hunter Virant is a senior at Camarillo High School in Camarillo, CA, and has committed to play for the same college, UCLA, as other pitching prospects, Max Fried and Lucas Giolito. He is listed at 6'3" and 175 lbs. He was born on January 24, 1994. He throws left-handed. Virant is athletic and also plays as a Center Fielder. He threw a no-hitter in April over Oxnard.

Mini Scouting Report:

Virant has a fastball, a curve and a changeup. His fastball is an above average pitch with good movement. It averages 92-93 and occasionally gets to 95-96. His curve is a plus pitch with a good bite, thrown at the upper 70s. His changeup at low 80s is an average pitch. Very polished and athletic player. Good mechanics and smooth Delivery. Size might be an issue but he will bulk up.

Videos/Photos:



Here is a video of Virant pitching at the All America Classic in 2011







Here is a scouting video from this February:







5/27/12

Profiles of the Top 22 Pitchers for the 2012 MLB Draft: Marcus Stromen


With the Twins having a severe need for pitching in the organization as well as six picks among the top 100, it is certain that more than one of those picks (and probably the second overall pick) will be used to draft a pitcher. To this respect, I am presenting profiles of the top 22 pitching prospects for the 2012 MLB draft.

I will be presenting these alphabetically, and at the end I will rank them.  I will be doing about one a day and I will finish before the June 4th draft day. You can find all the profiles (in reverse alphabetical order) as they are presented here. I will start with RJ Alvarez and end with Kyle Zimmer.  Each profile with contain a bit of background information and statistics, a mini scouting report and videos and photos.

Profile 18: Marcus Stromen

Profile/Stats:

Marcus Stromen is a Junior at Duke University. He throws right handed. He was born on May 1st, 1991. He is from Medford, NY and went to the Patchogue-Medford High School. He is listed at 5'9" and 180 lbs. In his previous 2 seasons he was a swing man, and even served as the closer for Team USA in 2011 converting all 4 save opportunities, but this season he has been exclusively a starter. In 14 games started (98 innings) he is 6-5 with a 2.39 ERA, walking 26 and striking out 136, allowing a .231 opponents batting average. Also plays at the outfield and second base between starts but he has no future in the pros as a position player (.252/.324/.362 career slash line in 336 Plate Appearances) He was drafted in the 18th round of the 2009 draft by the Washington Nationals but did not sign.

Mini Scouting Report:

Marcus Stromen has three pitches: a fastball, a slider and a change up and occasionally throws a cutter. The fastball is a plus pitch, It sits in the mid 90s with bursts up to 96-97 and has excellent command and control of it. His slider is better than an average pitch sitting at the mid 80s. His changeup and cutter are works in progress. Given his statute and the fact that right now he has only 2 pitches, he is projected by some teams as a dominating reliever instead of a mid-rotation starter. There are a lot of comparisons with Tom (Flash) Gordon.

Videos/Photos:

Here is an 8:30 scouting video of Stroman while with Team USA in 2011:







Here is a 15 minute video of Stromen's start vs Boston College earlier this month (May 2012) :






Here is an interview with Stromen from his Cape Cod League days: