Thinking Ahead to the 2012 Shadow Draft
As long-time readers know, every year since 1996, I've done a Shadow Draft, making my own amateur draft picks wherever the real Twins pick in the draft. 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 as the Twins do, 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.
Sometimes, I have bad drafts. 2007 doesn't look too good right now:
1) Nevin Griffith, RHP, Middleton HS, Tampa, Florida
2) Brian Friday, SS, Rice University
3) David Newmann, LHP, Texas A&M University
4) Tim Smith, OF, Arizona State University
5) Marcus Davis, OF, Alcorn State University
6) Damon Sublett, 2B, Wichita State University
7) Wynn Pelzer, RHP, University of South Carolina
8) Chris Kissock, RHP, Lewis Clark State College
9) Austin Krum, OF, Dallas Baptist University
10) Eamon Portice, RHP, High Point College
11) Andrew Schmiesing, OF, St. Olaf College
12) Josh Oslin, RHP, University of Minnesota
13) Keith Conlon, OF, Texas Christian
15) Daniel Latham, RHP, Tulane
18) Dusty Napoleon, C, University of Iowa
19) Kenny Smith, 2B, Western Carolina University
20) Aaron Jenkins, LHP, University of Northern Iowa
21) Tyler Rhoden, RHP, Vanderbilt
25) Spencer Steedley, LHP, UNC Charlotte
27) Nick Derba, C, Manhattan College
28) Roydrick Merritt, LHP, Southern University
On the other hand, 2008 looks excellent.
1) *Brett Lawrie, OF, Brookswood SS, Langley BC
1) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Highland (Illinois) HS
1S)*Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Wichita State University
2) Tyler Ladendorf, SS, Howard CC (Texas)
3) *Eric Thames, OF, Pepperdine University
4) Scott Barnes, LHP, St. John's University
5) Ben Petralli, C, Oral Roberts University
6) *Josh Satin, 2B, University of California
7) Dan Osterbrock, LHP, University of Cincinnati
8) Brett Moorhouse, RHP, Indian River CC (Fl)
9) Jay Jackson, RHP, Furman University
10)*J.J. Hoover, RHP, Calhoun CC (Al)
11) Dominic De la Osa, OF, Vanderbilt University
12) Kyle Carr, LHP, University of Minnesota
13) Erik Davis, RHP, Stanford University
14) Rob Musgrave, LHP, Wichita State University
17) Dwayne Bailey, 2B, University of Central Florida
18) Brian Van Kirk, OF, Oral Roberts University
19) Pat Venditte, RHP-LHP, Creighton University
21) Erich Diedrich, C, Youngstown State University
23) Zach Pitts, RHP, University of Louisville
26) Jake Stewart, OF, University of Houston
27) Blake Murphy, C, Western Carolina
28) Nathan Hanson, 3B, University of Minnesota
30) Tyler Cox, LHP, Illinois State University
31) Sam Freeman, LHP, University of Kansas
It was during research for the Shadow Draft that I first became aware of "out of nowhere" prospects like Eric Thames and J.J. Hoover. It is a good focus to make you research deeply, and it is fun too.
Here is a link to my current Shadow Twins farm system reviewed back in January.
So, looking ahead, here is how I'm approaching the Shadow Draft for 2012.
My farm system could use a high-quality catching prospect, and I'm leaning towards Mike Zunino at second overall, assuming the Astros don't take him. If the Astros do take him, I would then look at a power pitcher. I like Kevin Gausman and Kyle Zimmer, but I shy away from Mark Appel for sabermetric and historical reasons. Any interest in Lucas Giolito will wait until health reports come out before the draft. I love shortstop Carlos Correa and would consider him, but while I respect Byron Buxton's tools, I'm not confident enough in his bat to pick him second overall.
In the supplemental round and with the extra second round pick, I will be looking closely at pitching, particularly at the high school ranks as I could use some high-upside arms. Candidates will include high school pitchers Shane Watson, Ty Hensley, Luke Sims, Duane Underwood, Nick Travieso, and Minnesota prep Mitch Brown. Ideally I would love something like this, mixing Zunino with some high school arms and a college arm.
1) Mike Zunino, C, University of Florida
1S) Shane Watson, RHP, California HS
1S) Nick Travieso, RHP, Florida HS
2) Mitch Brown, RHP, Minnesota HS
2) Nolan Sanborn, RHP, University of Arkansas
It won't pan out that way, of course. I am working on my preference list and draft board and will have a lot more to come on the draft in May.