MLB this week: Twins in first place as big draft night arrives

The First-Year Player Draft covers three days from Monday through Wednesday and will take place at the Major League Baseball network Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey. They took Joe Mauer in 2001 the only other time they held the No. 1 pick. In essence, with a competitive balance pick at No. 35 overall and a second-rounder at No. 37, the Twins have a chance to walk away with three first-round talents if the right players fall due to cost concerns. But the Twins, who lead the AL Central after going 59-103 a year ago, classified him as a shortstop when Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement at MLB Network studios. Would they go for one of the top two high school pitchers: right-hander Hunter Greene or lefty MacKenzie Gore? His arm might be a touch short for the infield position, but teams might be willing to send him out and let him play his way off the dirt. Greene throws four pitches for strikes, including a fastball that touches triple digits and a plus slider.

"I feel like I haven't even grown into any of my man strength yet", he said. "I'm different on the field than I am off the field". Some believe he could hit 15-20 home runs a year when he fills out.

While Greene appears unlikely to get past the Cincinnati Reds and their $7.2 million slot at No. 2, another draft candidate such as McKay or Lewis could plunge all the way to No. 7 and still be dealing with the Diamondbacks and a $5 million slot. "Being young like this, it's pretty awesome knowing I still have a lot of potential I haven't even tapped into yet". Lewis is an undeniably good prospect, but it's a little bit of a surprise that the Twins passed on McKay and Greene. In 310 career innings he is 31-10 with a 2.15 earned run average.

  • Julie Sanders