Major League Baseball’s annual amateur draft kicks off tonight at 7pm ET, and the Twins will be on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since selecting local catcher out of St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall high school named Joe Mauer back in 2001. While some draft classes have a very clear top overall pick (e.g. Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg), that doesn’t appear to be the case this season. There have been rumors circulating about who the Twins will select No. 1 overall tonight for months, now, and the top three names on the board, at the very least, seem to be clear….
- Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, Calif.): Greene has been the most talked-about player in the draft class for the past year. A two-way high school star that has already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and generated awe with a fastball that has reached 102 mph, Greene sits atop the draft rankings of MLB.com, Baseball America and ESPN. However, while he has the highest upside in the class, there’s also never been a high school right-hander selected No. 1 overall in the draft, and the risks associated with a prep pitcher are greater than those associated with a college player or even a fellow high school pitcher. Most mock drafts from experts have had the Twins passing on Greene, though he’s undoubtedly a tempting option for the new-look Minnesota front office.
- Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt: Wright ranks first on Fangraphs’ list of draft prospects, just edging out Greene for that top spot. Over the past month, he’s been the most oft-connected name to the Twins, with most draft experts and scouting reports touting him as the best combination of ceiling and certainty. Armed with a fastball that sits in the low to mid 90s and can reach 97 mph, Wright also has solid control and three secondary offerings that scouting reports peg as average to above-average. He may not have generated as much fanfare and intrigue as the two-way stars that join him atop the draft class, but Wright is very much in the mix to go first overall.
- Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville: Scouting reports on McKay are split on whether his best long-term fit is on the mound or as a position player, but there’s a general belief that he could excel either way. Whether a team prefers McKay as a pitcher or a hitter, he seems like a virtual lock to go in the top five of the draft. MLB.com’s report gives him a future 60-grade rating in either role, while ESPN’s Keith Law notes that he showed a bit of fatigue on the mound late in the season. Dedicating himself fully to one discipline under a professional coaching/player development staff could allow McKay to take his game to a new level in either direction. The Twins have been connected to McKay quite often, and while most mocks had Wright going No. 1 overall for the past month, McKay’s name has regained a bit of steam in the past few days.
Readers can check out more details on this year’s draft class by diving into the excellent work from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (free); Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs (free); Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required/recommended); and John Manuel and his team over at Baseball America (subscription required and, once again, recommended).
But, if you already have an opinion on the matter formed, let’s get right to the poll (link for Trade Rumors mobile app users)…