How the Minnesota Twins can shock MLB

The 2017 June amateur draft is just around the corner and our hometown Minnesota Twins have the first overall pick. Sometimes there is a clear number one choice to take, this is not one of those years. When you have the top pick on the draft you had better hit the bull’s eye and then sign that player or you will pay for your mistake for years to come.

The top players rated by many (in no particular order) are Hunter Greene, a RHP/SS from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, Brendan McKay, a LHP/1B from Louisville University and  Kyle Wright, a RHP from Vanderbilt University. Let’s assume for the moment that these players are indeed the cream of the crop and that the Twins will select one of these players.

Several mock drafts have the Twins snapping up the LHP/1B prospect Brendan McKay from Louisville with the initial pick in the draft come June 12. Baseball America states that:

Meanwhile, McKay has changed in the last month, adding a cut fastball and pitching with diminished velocity. Against Georgia Tech on April 13, he pitched much of the game at 88-91 mph but one-hit the Yellow Jackets over eight shutout innings. Then last weekend against Clemson, in five shutout innings, McKay threw plenty of cutters—a pitch he just broke out April 28 against Toledo—as his fastball dipped into the 88-90 range. Despite that velocity drop, McKay is striking out more batters than ever, ranking eighth nationally with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 110 strikeouts overall.

You have to wonder if you should take a pitcher with the first pick in the draft that throws only in the 88-91 MPH range? Now days with the need for speed, it has to raise some serious question marks. When you pick a player that is both a pitcher and a position player are you hedging your bet or are you going to waste a few years if you choose the wrong position for McKay. If he turns out to be a first baseman, do you want to have selected him number one over all?

Some feel that the right-hander from Vanderbilt, Kyle Wright has the highest upside with lowest risk. He supposedly has four plus pitches at times and is trending towards being the top pick.

Then last by certainly not least we have the high schooler from Sherman Oaks, California, Hunter Greene. He is a RHP and a shortstop who has already reached 101 MPH on the mound but has been shut-down as a pitcher this spring and is playing shortstop full-time. The next coming of Babe Ruth some say… The rumors are that he wants to be a San Diego Padre. No RHP out of high school has ever been drafted number one over-all.

I am not sure if there is any good way to rank the 52 (actually 51 because Danny Goodwin was drafted number one twice) over-all number one picks selected over the years so I will use WAR (B-R) in the list below to rank them, If you look at the 52 number one over-all picks rated by WAR, the top seven are all high school picks and all position players. As mentioned earlier, no RHP has been picked number one over-all out of high school. 

First over-all picks since 1965

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According to ELIAS – Jose Berrios

Berrios pitches deep into another victory

Jose Berrios

Jose Berrios allowed two hits over 7.2 innings to earn his second win is as many starts this season as the Twins defeated the Rockies, 2–0, to gain a split of their doubleheader yesterday. Berrios, who allowed only one run in 7.2 innings in his season debut against the Indians last weekend, is only the third Twins pitcher in the last 30 seasons to pitch into the eighth inning and win each of his first two appearances of a season. The others were Brad Radke (2001) and Andrew Albers (2013).

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Major League Debuts as Minnesota Twins – May 19 – Buchanan & Strickland

Brian Buchanan

Brian Buchanan (OF) – May 19, 2000 – Traded by the New York Yankees with Cristian GuzmanEric MiltonDanny Mota and cash to the Minnesota Twins for Chuck Knoblauch on February 6, 1998.

 

Jim Strickland (P) – May 19, 1971 – Drafted by the Minnesota Twins from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970 minor league draft. Starter Jim Perry didn’t have it in his start against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium so manager Mele called on Jim Strickland to show what he could do to stop the bleeding with the Twins down 5-4 and Angels runners at first and second with two out in the bottom of the third. Strickland retired Sandy Alomar on a grounder to third and he was out of the inning. In the fourth inning he struck out the side (Alex Johnson, Tony Conigliaro, and John Stephenson) and in the top of the fifth the Twins scored three runs and went ahead 7-6. Strickland stayed in the game and retired the Angels on one hit and no runs. Mele brought in Tom Hall and he earned the save by pitching four perfect innings with six strikeouts and the Twins won the game 12-6 and Jim Strickland notched his first big league win in his major league debut.

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The 1967 AL Pennant Race – Part 8 – Chance, Ollom, Carew and cold weather

AL Standings as of April 15, 1967

 

On Monday, May 15, 1967 the Minnesota Twins found themselves on the way to Chicago to play the 18-7 first place Chicago White Sox. Sam Mele’s bunch had just completed a two-week home stand in the cold Minnesota weather and the team played 6-5 baseball. But now the Twins were now on a three-game losing skid and their record stood at 11-15, tied for eighth place and 7 1/2 games out of the league lead. The highest attendance at any of the 11 home games in early May against the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Senators and Athletics was just 11,864.

One of the highlights of their recent home-stand was watching Rod Carew go 5 for 5 on May 8 against the Washington Senators but unfortunately the Senators scored six in the top of the seventh inning and won the game 7-4. Carew became the first Twins player to go 5 for 5 at Met Stadium.

The Twins were struggling, they had five hitters (Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Russ Nixon, Rich Rollins, Early Battey) hitting under 2.25. Starter Dave Boswell had a 9.50 ERA in four starts. Rumors were flying that manager Sam Mele’s job was at risk.

Sporting News May 20, 1967 P21

The rest of the stories that I have done on the 1967 AL pennant race can be found here.

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Major League debut as a Minnesota Twin – David McCarty

Only one player made his major league debut as a Minnesota Twin on May 17 and he is one of former manager Tom Kelly‘s all-time favorites. NOT!

Dave McCarty (1B) – May 17, 1993 – Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 1991 amateur draft. Kind of an odd first round in 1991, the Yankees pick as number one over-all was LHP Brien Taylor who never pitched in the big leagues and number 13 pick Manny Ramirez who was selected by the Indians may have been the best of the first rounders.

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Minnesota Twins 2005 first round pick dead at the age of 30 from cancer

Henry Sanchez

Former Minnesota Twins minor league player Henry Sanchez passed away on April 30, 2017 at the age of 30 after a four-year battle with a rare soft-tissue cancer called synovial sarcoma. Sanchez was one of San Diego County’s great sluggers while attending Mission Bay High School. 

Henry Thomas Sanchez Jr. was drafted by the Minnesota Twins as a first baseman out of high school in 2005 as a supplementary first round selection and 39th pick over-all in what a very good draft with numerous 2005 first rounders playing in the big leagues today. The Twins used their first pick in round one to select RHP Matt Garza 25th over-all. Only 11 of the 48 players picked in the first round in 2005 failed to reach the big leagues, unfortunately; for Sanchez and the Twins he was one of those unlucky eleven players.

Henry Sanchez signed with Minnesota for a reported $900,000 and reported to the 2005 Twins Gulf Coast League Twins to start his pro career. Injuries derailed the big league hopes of Sanchez who was compared to big-league sluggers Andres Galarraga and Prince Fielder but Sanchez never appeared in more than 60 games in a season and never hit more than 6 home runs. The power that Sanchez had never had a chance to blossom and his baseball career came to an abrupt end when the Twins released him in 2009. Sanchez was suspended by MLB for 50 games in April 2009 after testing positive for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Services for Henry Sanchez were held May 7, 2017. Our condolences to all of Henry’s family and friends.

Former Mission Bay baseball standout Henry Sanchez dies

Henry Thomas Sanchez Jr. Obituary

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Major League Debuts as Minnesota Twins – Julio DePaula

The only player to make his major league debut as a Minnesota Twin on May 14, ten years ago today, was Twins right-handed pitcher Julio DePaula.

Julio DePaula

Julio DePaula (P) – May 16, 2007 – Signed by the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent on July 10, 1999.

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Major League Debuts as Minnesota Twins – G. Jones, Filson, & Redfern

The following players made their major league debut on this day in a Minnesota Twins uniform.

Garrett Jones

Garrett Jones (1B/OF) – May 15, 2007 – Signed as a Free Agent with the Minnesota Twins on May 24, 2002.

Pete Filson (P) – May 15, 1982 – Traded by the New York Yankees with Larry Milbourne, John Pacella and cash to the Minnesota Twins for Roger Erickson and Butch Wynegar on May 12, 1982. 

Pete Redfern

Pete Redfern (P) – May 15, 1976 – Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (1st pick) of the 1976 amateur draft (January Secondary). Redfern was drafted in January and pitching for the Twins in May with 4 games of minor league experience. Earned a “W” in his first big league game.

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According to ELIAS – Jose Berrios

It’s a new year and a new Berrios

Jose Berrios, making his 2017 major-league debut, allowed one run on two hits over 7.2 innings to earn the victory in the Twins’ 4–1 win at Cleveland yesterday afternoon. Last season, Berrios’ total of 14 starts was the highest by any AL pitcher who did not face a batter in the seventh inning or later as a starting pitcher.

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Major League Debuts as Minnesota Twins – Mike Milchin

The only player to make his major league debut as a Minnesota Twin on May 14 was Twins left-handed pitcher Mike Milchin.

I can’t find a Twins picture of Mike Milchin. He was a 1B/P on the 1988 USA Olympic Gold Medal Team.

Mike Milchin (P) – May 14, 1996 – Signed as a Free Agent with the Minnesota Twins on December 7, 1995.

Mike Milchin pitching in a Minnesota Twins road game on July 25, 1996. (Courtesy of the Minnesota Twins)

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