With the Twins having so many top drafty picks I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at who should be available at each spot we draft in the top 100. Today I want to look at the top options for the #2 pick in the draft.
Mark Appel- SP - RHP School: Stanford Ht: 6'5" Wt: 190
Appel has a prototypical aces frame which allows him to get good leverage on his plus fastball and helps generate ground balls. His fastball typically sits 93-95 in games but has been clocked as high as 98 mph. He also features a potentially plus slider In the mid 80's. He has been developing a circle change that showed potential during his time with team USA in the summer. Despite his power repertoire he still tended to pitch to contact at Stanford only striking out 86 in 110 innings. His command of his pitches need to improve and as it does the strike outs should improve as he currently leaves to many pitches up in the zone. Appel has the potential to grow into a Justin Verlander type of Ace for the Twins if his command approves and he continues to improve his secondary pitches. If the change up doesn't improve and the command doesn't as well he may be pushed to the bullpen as a two pitch reliever and would probably be successful in that role but at the price tag of a #2 draft pick it would be considered a disappointing result.
Availability at #2: 50% I think it is going to tough for Houston to pass up on a fairly polished college arm who could move through the system quickly as they rebuild. If they do I would bet that the Twins would be happy to take their preferred college arm at #2.
Video clip: Click Here
Video analysis: He has a pretty clean delivery but I do think he tends to rush through it towards the end which results in some slight arm drag. If the Twins can smooth that out and get him a little more upright it could help him improve his command.
Lucas Giolito- SP - RHP School: Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif. Ht: 6'6" Wt: 230
A similar pitcher in terms of profile to Appel, Giolito has the big workhorse pitchers frame and the power pitchess to go with it. He also sits in the 93-95 range with his fastball and can run it into the upper 90's. He differs from Appel with his preferred breaking ball being a hard 11-5 curve that already looks like a plus offering in the low 80's. He offers a show me change up in the low to mid 80's but hasn't had the need for it against high school competition. He also has good, smooth mechanics which causes his fastball to jump on hitters and create the appearance that he is throwing even harder. He is signed to attend UCLA but the prospects of a 7 figure pay day plus the fact that he probably would not be able to improve his draft stock at all lead me to believe that he will sign.
Availability at #2: 50% No high school right hander has ever been selected #1 in the draft but the Astros are far enough from contending that drafting the younger right hander may be more appealing to them as they can let him develop with out the need to rush him. If he is available at #2 the Twins would have to break their mold of drafting more polished college pitchers and I don't know how the risk averse front office would feel about committing 6+ million dollars to a high schooler but I would hope their mantra of adding more power arms would over rule any doubts because Giolito has the ceiling of a dominant #1 or #2 starter in the Josh Beckett mold
Video Clip: Click here
Video Analysis: The first thing that jumped out to me is the smooth delivery and arm action Giolito has. He repeats the delivery really well in the video and that bodes well for future command and control. I noticed the video that he was able to throw his curve ball for a strike to either side of the plate which is a plus as well. The one change up I thought I saw looked a little rough out of his hand and hopefully with experience the release will be smoother. He does get good arm side run on his fast ball as well.
Byron Buxton- OF B/T: R/R - School: Appling County HS, Baxley, Ga. Ht: 6'2 Wt: 170
Buxton is the type of player the Twins love to take in their draft, a toolsy, athletic high schooler with excellent speed. He profiles as a CF with 70 grade speed and has thrown in the low 90's as a pitcher so his arm should profile as plus as well. He sounds alot like Aaron Hicks but may be a bit more advanced with the bat then Hicks was at the same age which gives a pretty good picture of how talented Buxton may be. Baseball America offers a comparison of a hybrid between the Upton Brothers which again shows just how much potential scouts see in him. He is committed to Georgia but again with the large bonus and the unlikely chance he would improve his draft position he should be fairly signable.
Availability at #2: 70% I think Houston is going to grab one of the pitchers above but if they decide to grab what is most likely the top bat in the draft I wouldn't be surprised. If the Astros grab Appel though, I think the chances are high that the Twins would grab Buxton at #2 given their affinity for his type of player. I think Buxton is more talented then the other players he follows in the organization and once he fills out could become a star RF with Juston Upton as a hopeful ceiling.
Video Clip: Click Here
Video Analysis: Buxton starts with an open stance and after seeing his swing I can definitely see the B.J. Upton comps as their set up and swings are similar. He loads with a slight bat wrap but makes up for it with explosive hands, he gets good torque keeping his hips and shoulder closed, and finishes with good extension on his swing which should help him drive balls as he gets older and fills out.
Deven Marrero SS B/T: R/R School: Arizona State Ht: 6'1" Wt: 180
Marrero is the top college bat in the draft and is said to be one of the most complete players in the draft profiling average or above tools in all 5 categories. He is known as one of the better defensive short stops in college and his reads and reactions lead most to believe that he will stick at short in pro ball. He also features a plus arm which allows him to make the throw from the deep hole. His bat profiles as a solid average hitter with good doubles power that could grow into average power as he continues to fill out. He hits well to all fields and shows a simple compact swing. He is not the fastest player but uses his speed extremely well on the basepaths and displays a high baseball IQ. He is known as a grinder and plays the game hard which the Twins obviously love in their middle infielders.
Availability at #2: 100% I dont think he has the ceiling to be a #1 draft pick and in most drafts would probably be in the back of the top 10 but with this being a top 5 heavy first round he could slid up to #2 in the draft if the Twins want to grab another high probability middle infielder to pair with Levi Michaels from last year.
Video Clip: Click here
Video Analysis: He has a pretty pronounced bat wrap (wrapping the bat around the head of the barrel is almost pointing at the Short Stop) and I would hope the Twins instructors would work with him to lesson that as it makes his swing longer then it needs to be. He does a good job in the video of keeping his hands inside the ball and does have a fairly compact swing despite the bat wrap. He could profile as a above average everday shortstop in the big leagues with a J.J. Hardy type of player with a little less power.
Mike Zunino- C - B/T: R/R School: Florida ht: 6'2" Wt: 215
He has proven himself as the top catching prospect in the draft by winning the SEC Conference player of the year and posting an impressive .371/.442./674 in his soph season. His prototypical catchers size and power bat would be a welcome addition to any lineup and has shown to be a solid defender but has needs to improve on catching more base stealers as he has only thrown out about 33% so far a number likely to go down as he faces better competition in pro ball. His coach praises his receiving ability and his leadership qualities which are both good things in a catcher. Baseball America compared him a slightly better version of top prospect Yasmini Grandal.
Availibility at #2: 100% I again dont think he has the ceiling the Astros new front office is looking for in their first draft so if the Twins wanted to grab Zunino in preparation for the eventual Mauer move from catcher I could hardly blame them.
Video Clip: Click Here
A video of a late game home run off an all American closer certainly leads to a biased scouting report but in the at bat he shows good patients laying off a couple of pitches before hammering a pitch. After watching older videos it seems that he used hit with a slight arm bar which can make it harder for hitters to get around on quality fastballs. Hes got a short swing and showed good power even after the transition to the new bats last year.
So those are the 5 players I think the Twins are/will be targeting on when the pick 2nd in this years draft. If I were there GM and had everything unfold perfectly for me I think I would hope for Appel to slide to #2 and allow me to grab a potential frontline starter/power arm my origination sorely needs. If Appel is gone I think I would prefer to grab either Giolito or Buxton due to their high ceilings over the higher predictability of Marrero or Zunino.