The 2015 MLB first-year player draft has come and gone. After three days and 40 selections, the Minnesota Twins will try to sign as many players as possible. On average, the Twins sign between 25-30 players from each draft class. In 2014, they signed their first 19 picks and went on to sign a total of 30 players.
Prior to the draft, each team was informed of the slot values assigned to the first 315 picks of the 2015 draft, through the first 10 rounds.
Not only did the Twins draft for need (discussed below), some selections were probably made based on the signability of a given player. Since 2005, the Twins have only been able to sign each of the first ten players selected three times (2014, 2011 and 2010). Is that a bad thing? That depends on the player. But it is important to remember that talented players don’t just come in the first ten rounds. Midwest League All-Star, Trey Vavra was a thirty-third round selection in 2014. Florida State League All-Star, Alex Swim was a twenty-second round selection in 2013. You just never know until they get on the field.
At the end of this year’s draft, the Twins selected 18 pitchers, 11 outfielders, five catchers, and six infielders, including back-to-back third basemen with the third and fourth selections. Twenty-six were taken out of college and 14 out of high school.
Tyler Jay was the Twins’ fourth top-six pick in the last four years. He was a dominant reliever for the University of Illinois. He posted a 1.08 ERA, 76 strikeouts and just seven walks in 66 2/3 innings as a junior this year; However, Minnesota believes Jay has the ability to start. Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said: “He’s a power arm, and he’s left-handed, which we don’t have a lot of in our system. I think we got lucky in adding some impact from the left side.”
With the 73rd pick, Minnesota took another college pitcher, Kyle Cody. Johnson said: “He’s got a really big fastball. He runs it up to 96-97 [mph]. He is a starter. He had some struggles early in the year but started coming on late. He’s got a slider and a decent feel for a changeup. But his best pitch is his hard, sinking fastball.”
Minnesota went with highly regarded high school third basemen with back-to-back picks by taking Travis Blankenhorn at No. 80 and Trey Cabbage at No. 110.
Recaps for all 40 picks can be found at: MLB.com.
If you’re wondering why the Twins selected both Blackenhorn and Cabbage look no further than AAA Rochester. Can you name the third baseman? There’s actually three: Jose Martinez has started 41 games, Ryan Wheeler 10 games, and Doug Bernier has manned the hot corner in four games. Miguel Sano is the future third baseman and will make his debut either this year or next but every team needs depth. And, nothing against the previously mentioned players, but they are not big league caliber players.
The next step will be for the Twins to sign as many of these talented prospects as possible. Like the Twins, fans should be excited with this year’s draft class. They added a top-tier pitching prospect in Jay, multiple power arms, and much needed outfield and infield depth.
Once again the Twins have the best farm system in the league.