With the 4th pick of the 2013 MLB Draft the Twins select...

I feel that an introductory paragraph is in order here.  This is the fourth season I have been covering the Minnesota Twins' drafts (started about 2 years into the existence of this blog).  Since day one (you can see the humble 2009 beginnings here) I have been presenting potential target players' names and profiles and have been live-blogging each pick as they were happening providing mini-profiles.   This will happen this season as well, but a lot of things have changed and evolved in the internet and the Twins' blogosphere the last 4 years.  I remember that I did the 2009 live-blogging only with a radio feed of the draft.  Now mlb.com has taken over the show with clear and concise coverage so the need for live blogging those is not as much.

What is new here for this year?  The first (and hopefully) annual Twins mock draft:  I will present my mock draft results for the Twins selections in the first 12 rounds.  Yes.  Twelve.  We all have opinions and there are a lot of ideas about who the Twins might select with their first overall pick, but not many people are thinking about the later rounds, so I thought that I will give it a shot, just for fun.  Of course, like all other mock drafts out there, unless someone can see all the draft boards from all teams, this is a purely recreational endeavor.

Back to the story:  With the 4th pick of the 2013 MLB draft, the Twins select...

... Sean Manaea (pronounced mahn-EYE-ah)

Why?  Because a. he is the player with the highest upside in the draft, b. because of velocity and injury concerns will fall in their lap and c. because he represents something they are missing in their organization.

A little bit of a background:  Sean is a junior at Indiana State University.  He is a big (6'5", 240 lbs) LHP who has been starting with the Sycamores the last couple years and really made a name for himself at the Cape Code league last summer.

Here is a 10 minute video from his warmup to his pitching in one game there last summer

Sean dominated the Cape Cod league hitters, with Fastballs that were hitting 97-98 mph late in the games, sharp sliders and masterful change ups; he went 5-1 in 8 GS,  had a 1.22 ERA and broke the Cape Cod League record with  85 strikeouts in 57.1  IP.   He gave up only 7 walks and allowed 22 hits.

This sounds like a top overall pick, why would he fall down to the fourth pick?

He has not been the same as far as velocity goes this season as he has been at the Cape, he has a hip injury and scouts have been souring on him as a top pick.

Would that make him a risk for the Twins?

Every pick is a risk but there are a lot of things in Manae's favor that scouts overlook and will make him the perfect pick for the Twins:

  • Cape Cod summer league aside, his 2013 performance (even though he has hip issues) is better than his 2012 performance.
  • A pitcher cannot just lose "stuff".  He might lose control, but Manaea still has his control and stuff (see this, for an excellent recent scouting report that compares his performance now to his performance last summer)
  • His velocity is down, but his has been the coldest spring in recent history and he is battling a hip issue (and has not lost control.)
  • He has the best natural talent in the draft and the scary thing is that he has not really have much instruction (which is something that scouts avoid to say).   His mechanics are awful (as you can see in the video) and with proper instruction, the sky is the limit.
  • Why he did not have much instruction?  Here is his story:  He is not a privileged kid.  He did not live in the suburbs and played in the best teams with the best coaches.   His dad, Faaloloi, immigrated to Indiana after he fought in the Vietnam war.  Both he and his mom are factory workers, settled at Wanatah, and could not afford special baseball instruction for their kid.  Sean went to a small High School, South Central Junior-Senior High School in Union Mills, where he showed his talent but was way under the spotlight to get a College scholarship.  To achieve this, he transferred to the bigger Andrean High School in Merrillville, where he flashed his excellent but raw offerings.   The only school that offered him a scholarship was Indiana State, which is not a baseball powerhouse playing in a powerhouse conference.  
  • So, Manaea has incredible good stuff, despite horrible mechanics, despite his hip issue and he has never really received expert instruction.  As far as I am concerned, this makes sky proverbially the limit.
  • The Twins have 4-5 RHPs who have flashed top of the rotation talent in the minors (Alex Gibson, Alex Meyer, DJ Baxendale, Trevor May, Jose Berrios) but not a lefty.  He would be the perfect top of the rotation lefty to complement some of those righties.
So you have it:  Sean Manaea, should be the Twins' 2013 first round draft pick and I think that they will pull the trigger.

Who the Twins select in the later rounds?  Check in this week to find out.

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