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Minnesota Twins

2012 Twins Draft: A Closer Look at the First Five Rounds

Byron Buxton

Position: OF

Age: 18

Drafted: 1st Round, 2nd pick

The Twins have always been infatuated with toolsy outfielders so it’ wasn’t a surprise when they passed on several high end collegiate pitchers in order to grab Buxton with the 2nd overall pick. Even without that infatuation it would have been hard to pass up on a player that many consider to be the best prospect in the entire draft.

When it comes to high school players like Buxton it’s hard to project just how good they will be. Aaron Hicks was considered by many to be the top prospect in the organization just a few years ago but has yet to make any significant progress towards the majors. All the tools in the world are useless if the prospect can’t put them to use, but if Buxton’s tools can translate into success then something special could be in the works.

The most impressive of those tools has to be his speed. The story of him scoring from second base on a sacrifice fly is pretty well known across the baseball world by now. Not only will that speed allow him to wreak havoc on the base paths, it will also help him cover the outfield.

To go along with his speed he has superb athleticism and a plus arm that elevates his defensive prowess. In the batter’s box he has a smooth swing that could translate into power in the future if it stays consistent. He has yet to face above average pitching so he will most likely need to learn to be disciplined at the plate before any of the offensive numbers begin to show.

All in all Buxton could easily become a perennial MVP candidate if everything falls into place. He has the raw skills, now they just need to be harnessed so they can translate into production at the major league level.

Jose Berrios

Position: RHP

Age: 18

Drafted: Supplemental 1st Round, 32nd pick

In a stunning turn of events the Twins defied their usual philosophy of grabbing college pitchers and instead went young with the selection of Berrios, a young pitcher from Puerto Rico.

Not only does Berrios defy the Twins philosophy of selecting college age pitchers, he also throws extremely hard. He sits around 93-95 mph consistently with his fastball and has hit high nineties many times before. He throws a sharp slider that is above average and his changeup has late action and is still progressing.

Similarly to Buxton it’s hard to pinpoint just how good Beriios will be. Just in the past year he has elevated his game, gaining 20-25 pounds of muscle which has helped his once erratic delivery become more consistent. There is still a lot of work to be done on his delivery in order for him to become a starting pitcher in the future though.

Luke Bard

Position: RHP

Age: 21

Drafted: Supplemental 1st Round, 42nd pick

There were rumors that Luke was contemplating returning to Georgia Tech but he couldn’t resist the $1.227 million offer the Twins dangled in front of him.

He is the younger brother of the once highly touted pitching prospect Daniel Bard and although he doesn’t reach the high 90’s like his brother, he does consistently sits around 93-95 mph with his fastball and has solid movement as well. Along with that fastball comes a power slider that has been an above average pitch throughout his entire Georgia Tech career.

It will be interesting to see how Minnesota treats Bard initially. He has been used primarily as a closer for the Yellow Jackets throughout his career but the belief is that he will be transitioned into a starter after being drafted so high. This will likely mean that it will take a little longer to build up his arm strength and his fastball will probably lose some of its velocity. Given that has fastball has good movement on it already that shouldn’t be a big problem for Bard as he progresses through the system.

The other thing working against him is the fact that his season was cut short by a torn lat muscle. He’ll need to get to 100% before he will see the mound.

Mason Melotakis

Position: LHP

Age: 20

Drafted: 2nd Round, 63rd Pick

Melotakis may be the most interesting pick for the Twins because no one is really sure what he will be. Obviously he will be pitching but whether he’ll continue to be a reliever or move to the starting rotation is still in question.

He has solid velocity, hanging around 94-96 mph with his fastball, but his breaking ball and changeup leave a lot to be desired. He has a good frame (6’3” 206 lbs) which helps him repeat his throwing motion consistently but he’ll need to work on his secondary pitches if he wants to become a starter.

One thing that he does have going for him is the fact that he is a LHP, something that all organizations salivate over when it comes to developing starting pitching. Another thing is that towards the end of the season he moved into Northwestern State’s rotation so he does have a sliver of experience starting games.

In all likelihood he will become a late game reliever and possible closer. With his ability to challenge hitters with his powerful fastball he should be a very good option for the Twins in the near future.

JT Chargois

Position: RHP

Age: 21

Drafted: 2nd Round, 72nd pick

The Twins kept their promise of focusing on restocking their farm system’s shelves with the selection of Chargois. He, like the previous three pitching selections, is a hard throwing college relief pitcher, but unlike the rest of the selections he is somewhat new to pitching.

He only switched over to the mound in his sophomore season at Rice University so his mechanics and delivery are still in the developing stages. He tops out around 98 mph with his fastball and his slider sits around 86 mph which he has used primarily as his out pitch.

Chances are Chargois will never see the starting rotation and will instead be used as a possible closer down the road. With the deception that he brings to the mound he should be with the Twins in the next year or two, just as long as his throwing motion becomes more fluid.

Adam Walker

Position: OF/1B

Age: 21

Drafted: 3rd Round, 97th pick

The Twins went away from their pitching oriented draft strategy and went with power hitting Walker in the 3rd round. A native of Wisconsin and product of Jacksonville University, Walker projects to be a big bat but where exactly he’ll play isn’t known yet.

He played 1B at Jacksonville but he was drafted for RF which is confusing considering his lack of defensive skills and below average arm. Those skills will need to be honed if he has any shot of making it to the major leagues as anything but a DH.

Then again the Twins didn’t draft Walker for his glove; they grabbed him for his bat. Some scouts have compared his physique to that of Giancarlo Stanton (it’s unlikely he’ll be that good but one can dream) and they have also said that he has the most power potential in the entire draft. All of that potential could be wasted if he doesn’t adapt to professional pitching which is always a gamble.

Zack Jones

Position: RHP

Age: 21

Drafted: 4th Round, 130th pick

Jones, out of San Jose State, is another collegiate closer that the Twins are hopeful will turn into a possible starter in the near future.

Similarly to the previous selections, Jones throws in the mid to low nineties but will need to develop his secondary pitches if he wants to be successful in the professional game. He’ll also need to work on his command and deceptiveness to be a more dynamic hurler.

Once again he projects to be a reliever rather than a starter. The next year or two will tell us a lot about Jones and whether he can develop into a middle of the rotation starter that the Twins need or another bullpen arm.

Tyler Duffey

Position: RHP

Age: 21

Drafted: 5th Round, 160th pick

Dipping back into the Rice University talent pool the Twins took Chargois’ bullpen mate Tyler Duffey. The selection of Duffey also was a return to the old strategy of selecting command over sheer power.

Duffey throws in the low 90’s and has an average slider that could become a plus pitch in time. He also has a somewhat decent changeup that could be improved upon in the minor leagues.

Although he worked mainly as a relief pitcher at Rice there is a solid chance that he will be given a chance to become a starter for the Twins organization. He is very resilient and has a solid frame (6’3” 210 ilbs) for a projected starting pitcher. If the Twins do opt to keep him as a reliever then it will most likely be as a long reliever opposed to a closer or late innings guy.

Although he is not as highly touted as some of pitchers picked before him, he may be the dark horse when it comes to developing into a starting pitcher. The organization loves their control pitchers who throw strikes and Duffey can fit that bill.



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