Thinking ahead to the 2011 Shadow Draft
Long-time readers are familiar with my Minnesota Twins Shadow Draft. Every year since 1996, I've done a Shadow Draft, picking wherever the real Twins pick. I have been doing this in real-time on draft day since the blog started in 2005. Sometimes I end up picking the same players, often I don't. It is a fun exercise, and it helps me focus on deep draft research. Many "sleeper prospects" are guys that I first noticed as amateurs while researching for the Shadow Draft. My current Shadow Twins farm system can be found here.
Here is the 2010 Shadow Draft list.
2009 hasn't turned out very well yet, with heavy injury attrition at the top..
On the other hand, I am very happy with the way the2008 class is turning out. Lawrie and Odorizzi at the top look great, and I also have Eric Thames and several other guys who look like they will reach the majors.
My thoughts for 2011:
Note that I assume realistic budgets, so if I pick someone who is going to be an expensive over-slot guy, I'll leaven that with some cheaper college seniors or signability picks. I'm not likely to take a player if I don't think the real Twins have the money.
Looking ahead for Monday, my plan is to go with Best Player Available (within monetary realism) at 30th overall. I would snag Brandon Nimmo if he is there. I know he wants $2.5 million, so if I picked him I'd go with some more signability guys later to make sure it was realistic money-wise. I won't pick Josh Bell given his expected bonus demands, as much as I would want him. Other players I am interested in who could be available at 30 include Kolten Wong, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Susac (I really need a catcher in my farm system, and he's not a stretch), Tyler Beede, Brian Goodwin, and Trevor Story. Story might be available at 50 or 55, and I really like him a lot.
With 50 and 55, I'd ideally like to pick up at least one infielder with a chance to stick at shortstop, and a pitcher. Jason Hager, Connor Barron, Joe Panik, and Brad Miller all interest me. On the pitching side, Sean Gilmartin looks very interesting for a college guy, and as you know I love Jorge Lopez on the high school side. I also like high school outfielder Dwight Smith and would consider him.
Other players I have a particular interest in, in no particular order: Aaron Westlake (1B, Vanderbilt), James McCann (C, Arkansas), Ryan Wright (INF Louisville), Garrett Buechele (3B, Oklahoma), Brandon Loy (SS, Texas), Dante Bichette Jr, (OF, Florida HS), Keenan Walker (OF, Central Arizona), Deshorn Lake (RHP, Virginia HS), C.J. McElroy (OF, Texas HS), Jo-El Bennett (OF, Alabama HS), Brian Dupra (RHP, Notre Dame), Tom Robson (RHP, Canada HS), Mark Pope (RHP, Georgia Tech), Manny Rodriguez (RHP, Barry), Nick Tropeano (RHP, Stony Brook), Bryce Dial (Chattahoochie Valley CC), Jason Krizan (OF, Dallas Baptist), Kylin Turnbull (Santa Barbara CC), and Corey Mazzoni (RHP, North Carolina State).
That's not a comprehensive list; I've got a list of over 200 guys, and I'm still doing research right up until the last minute.