Twins host first MLB draft party, select no. 1 overall

Apr 3, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Fans enter Target Field for the Opening Day game between the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Fans enter Target Field for the Opening Day game between the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Minnesota Twins select their third no. 1 overall pick in team history this Monday, fans will be celebrating at Target Field where the team announced they will host their first-ever MLB draft party. BUT, who will fans get to celebrate?

Minnesota Twins‘ fans are welcome to buy tickets for the June 12 game against the Seattle Mariners and enjoy a draft party prior to the game, featuring “special programming and inside information from members of the Twins baseball operations team,” according to the Twins webpage. The Twins’ no. 1 selection is scheduled for around 6:00 p.m. with gates opening for the party around 5:30 p.m.

This year’s draft doesn’t boast a clear cut no. 1 prospect, making the Twins’ selection more intriguing. Yet, the general consensus is that the Twins will end up taking a pitching prospect.

Recently, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey offered insight to’s Rhett Bollinger on what goes into evaluating pitching prospects.

"“It’s important for us to identify a type of pitcher who we think we can grow and develop through our development system,” Falvey said. “One of the things I felt was of benefit when I was working in Cleveland was matching up the type of player we wanted to select, both from the mindset, makeup, mechanical standpoint and otherwise, with what we felt we can develop and help change along the way. I think that’s important, that alignment in how you’re operating developmentally with what you’re getting from the scouts.”"

Luckily, he has three pitching prospects to evaluate and choose from. The names fluttering around the Twins’ no. 1 pick are prep star Hunter Greene, Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright and Louisville LHP Brendan McKay.

Many sources say Greene, 17, is the prospect with the most potential, as he has reportedly thrown at 102 mph, according to Yet, Greene presents the highest risk of the three, considering his secondary pitches are the least polished. Ultimately, the development of those secondary pitches, mainly his curveball and change-up, will determine his success in the pros, but in the meantime, Greene is headed for a long-term stay in the minors in which his future team hopes leads to superstardom in the MLB.

While a number of reports suggest that the Twins are staying away from the high-risk, high-reward prospect, Darren Wolfson of KSTP TV says Greene is definitely still in the mix.

Wolfson’s report means that the Twins are meeting with Greene this Friday, three days before the June 12-14 draft, showing he’s far from out of the picture. The results of that meeting should help Falvey and Twins management determine if they are willing to take a risk on the young right-hander.

If they decide to pass, the Twins have a couple of college prospects in Wright and McKay to choose from.

Lately, Wright, 21, has shown that he deserves to be in the discussion for the no. 1 selection, as he’s had a great run with Vanderbilt down the stretch. In fact, a tweet from the Vanderbilt Baseball twitter page says it all:

The day after this post, Wright pitched 7 innings with 3 earned runs and 9 strikeouts in a winning effort against the Clemson Tigers, who were the no. 1 seed in the Clemson Regional of the College World Series. For the year, Wright has a 5-5 record with a 2.98 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 96.2 innings.

Wright has an ideal arsenal of pitches, including a curve, slider, and change-up to go along with his fastball. Additionally, he likely has a quicker path to the major leagues than Greene.

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As for McKay, the 21-year-old, left-hander has posted better pitching numbers than Wright this season. In 15 starts, he has a 9-3 record with a 2.31 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 97.1 innings.

Yet, McKay may be an even better first baseman in the pros and according to Baseball America’s John Manuel, McKay’s pitching velocity has dropped recently, a potential concern to the Twins. Nevertheless, McKay still has pitched well, using a cut fastball, very good curveball, and solid change-up.

Like Wright, he should reach the major leagues at a faster rate than Greene and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the college prospects reach the MLB around the same time, maybe as soon as 2018.

Regardless, whoever the Twins pick, they will get a prospect with major potential. But, who should they pick?

Well, considering that the Twins have almost 14.2 million to spend on draft picks and there’s no concrete no. 1 prospect, I see the Twins taking Kyle Wright, who seems most likely to take less than the allotted 7.7 million dollar bonus that can be given for the pick. By adding Wright, they get arguably the top prospect and give themselves more flexibility to sign their other picks, including selections at no. 35 and 37 overall.

That being said, with Greene meeting with the Twins on Friday, don’t be surprised if the Twins surprise people by taking the prospect with the highest ceiling, especially if they are sold on his potential.

No matter what, Monday is an exciting day for Twins fans to take part in the Twins’ first-ever draft party, as well as welcome a potential star to the state of Minnesota.

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