2015 Shadow Twins draft wrap
Here are the final results for my 2015 Minnesota Twins shadow draft and why I picked who I picked.
You can check out the pre-season state of the Shadow system here. Past draft lists are in the comments section at that link.
My general strategy for 2015 was "best player available" in the first few rounds, but in middle and later rounds my goals this year were:
A) finding power bats, particularly left-handed power bats
B) pitchers of any kind with high strikeout rates. Miss bats!
C) general diversity of position and background among players.
D) some bias in favor of Midwesterners and local talents in later rounds.
Ultimately the goal of the exercise is to have fun and serve as a focus for deep research into amateur players. And even in a bad year, those goals get met.
1) Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas: real Twins pick was Tyler Jay. Benintendi went with the next pick to the Red Sox. My preference list at the top of the draft was Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Benintendi, Carson Fulmer, Tyler Jay, and Dillon Tate in that order. It came down to Benintendi or Fulmer; I almost went Fulmer, but ultimately stuck to my board. His broad base of tools and skills was irresistible.
CB) Jacob Nix, RHP, IMG Academy: Real Twins pick was Kyle Cody. I almost stayed with that because I do like Cody, but Nix was higher on my pre-draft board. I like Nix quite a bit as a potential number three, or maybe even a number two starter if the secondaries really develop. He’s done an awful lot to prove his makeup over the last year as well. Drafted by Padres in real life in the third round.
3) Austin Rei, C, Washington: Real Twins went with high school third baseman Travis Blankenhorn. I like Blankenhorn a lot but Rei was my guy: he could have been a first round pick due to his combination of fielding ability and a strong bat if he hadn’t missed much of the season with a thumb injury. Apparently the Red Sox and I were thinking along similar lines with Rei and Benintendi.
4) Trey Cabbage, 3B, Tennessee HS: Real Twins pick I stayed with. I had Cabbage rated as a second rounder pre-draft, very close to Rei actually, so when he dropped here in real life I had to agree with the Twins. He’s a great athlete and has a solid bat for average and probably power.
5) Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Arizona State: Real Twins with Alex Robinson, who certainly throws harder than Kellogg. However, I’ve liked Kellogg since he was in high school and stayed with that preference. I think he can be a workhorse starter. He went to the Cubs in real life.
6) Edwin Rios, 1B, Florida International: Real Twins pick was University of California senior Chris Paul, a solid bat outfielder. I prefer Rios as a left-handed power hitter with a successful track record with wooden bats in summer ball. Drafted by Dodgers in real life.
7) Jose Vizcaino Jr, 3B, Santa Clara University: Real Twins pick was Jovani Moran, a projectable high school arm from Puerto Rico. I like him, but Vizcaino was considerably higher on my ranking list for his power bat, strong arm, and big league bloodlines. Picked by Giants in real life.
8) Logan Ratledge, SS, North Carolina State University: Real Twins pick was slugger Kolton Kendrick, intriguing but raw. I went with senior Ratlidge, cheaper and with some Brian Dozier-like potential in my view. He was drafted later by the Pirates.
9) LaMonte Wade, OF, University of Maryland: Real Twins pick I stayed with, a polished line drive hitter from a successful program, though a tweener on defense.
10) James Reeves, LHP, The Citadel: Real Twins pick was college infielder Sean Miller. I’d just popped Ratledge and wanted a pitcher here, going with strikeout artist (115 K in 85 innings) Reeves as a cheap senior arm. He went to the Yankees in real life.
11) Alexis Omar Diaz, RHP, Juan Jose Maunez HS, Naguabo, PR: Real Twins pick was Kerby Camacho, a high school catcher from Puerto Rico. I stayed on the island but went with an arm instead, Diaz being very projectable and a guy who got third round buzz a few weeks ago. He went to the Reds in real life.
12) Adam Choplick, LHP, University of Oklahoma: Real Twins went with Zander Wiel, a senior bat from Vanderbilt. I considered that but Choplick as higher on my list, being a 6-9 lefty I saw in college. He went to the Rangers in real life.
13) Carson Cross, RHP, University of Connecticut: Real Twins went with Cody Stashak, RHP from St. John’s. A college pitcher seemed like a good idea but I knew more about Cross, drafted by the Cardinals in reality. He should be an efficient minor league starter.
14) Garrett Kennedy, C, University of Miami-Florida: Real Twins picked A.J. Murray, a slugging first baseman/catcher from Georgia Tech. I liked Kennedy better due to his superior defense, although Murray does have a lot more power. Kennedy went to the Dodgers in real life.
15) Adam Whitt, RHP, University of Nevada: Real Twins picked Anthony McIver, a lefty from San Diego. He was a good college reliever but Whitt was better and in a more difficult environment. He went to the Astros in reality.
16) Trevor Belicek, LHP, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: Leon Marrero, high school outfielder from Puerto Rico was the real pick. I went with Belicek, who fanned 111 in 88 innings. He went to the Braves in real life.
17) Giovanny Alfonzo, SS, University of Tampa: Nate Gerken, senior pitcher from Academy of the Arts University. I knew nothing about him but Alfonzo met my need for some infield roster fillers, hit well in college, hit a homer against the Phillies in spring training and has bloodlines (nephew of Edgardo Alfonzo). He went to the Marlins in real life.
18) Melvin Rodriguez, 2B, Jackson State University: Daniel Kihle, outfielder from Wichita State, was the real pick. He’s fast but I saw him in college and I doubt the bat at higher levels. Rodriguez doesn’t have big tools but he hit .422 this spring, stole 12 bases, slugged .635 and walked more than twice as often as he struck out. Can’t resist that. He went to the Nationals in real life.
19) Seth Brown, 1B, Lewis-Clark State College: Kyle Wilson, prep RHP from Missouri, was the real pick. Brown led the NAIA with 23 homers. He went to Oakland in real life.
20) Michael Rivera, RHP, Colegio Hector Urdaneta HS, Rio Grande, PR: Colton Eastman, California prep pitcher, was the real choice. I’m needing arms here but went with another high school Puerto Rico arm, big-bodied hard-throwing Michael Rivera..He went to the Mariners in the 27th round in real life.
21) Kamran Young, OF, Cal State Dominguez Hills (Twins-21)
22) Stephen Dezzi, OF, University of Tampa (DBacks-25)
23) Alex Perez, SS, Virginia Tech (Twins-23)
24) Drasen Johnson, RHP, University of Illinois (Rockies-26)
25) Ben Meyer, RHP, University of Minnesota (Marlins-29)
These guys were all strong college performers, with Young and Perez being real Twins picks I stayed with. Johnson and Meyer were Big 10 strike-throwers who can eat innings at lower levels. Given the limited number of pitchers I took early, I have to have someone to take the mound in rookie ball and low-A.
26) Xavier Borde, LHP, University of Arizona (Orioles-36)
27) Dalton Sawyer, LHP, University of Minnesota (Twins-27)
28) Corey Hale, LHP, University of Mobile (Padres-28)
29) Reggie Wilson, OF, Oklahoma City University (Phillies-32)
30) Kyle Teaf, SS, University of South Florida (Rays-30)
More solid college performers, except for Sawyer, ironically the only real pick I stayed with. He has a good arm but needs better control. Wilson is fast; I like college lefties; Teaf gets on base.
31) Ty Jackson, RHP, Lewis-Clark State College (Rays-32)
32) Andrew Vasquez, LHP, Westmont College (Twins-32)
33) Adam Bray, RHP, South Dakota State University (Dodgers-33)
34) Quinnton Mack, OF, New Mexico State University (Dbacks-35)
35) Gage Green, C, Oklahoma State University (Dodgers-35)
Real Twins pick Vasquez is another strikeout machine but needs better control. Jackson was a very successful two-way player in college, a type I like. Bray is local, Mack has bloodlines (Shane Mack’s nephew), and Green is a guy I liked in college, versatile and athletic.
36) Gunnar Kines, LHP, Mount Olive University (Marlins-36)
37) Christian Talley, RHP, University of Southern Mississippi (not drafted)
38) Chris Powell, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona (Dodgers-39)
39) Santos Saldivar, RHP, Southern University (not drafted)
40) Andrew Thome, RHP, University of North Dakota (not drafted)
A local pick, a bloodline guy in Powell, three non-drafted picks, and another small college strikeout machine in Kines.
Overall, this meets the goal that I set out. I am especially happy with the top four picks. I wish I had more hard-throwers to go with Nix, but bats were the emphasis this year because they are scarce these days.
Real Twins: 6
Red Sox: 2