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Friday, June 6, 2008

Draft Thoughts

With the 14th pick in the 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft, the Minnesota Twins select..... high school star Aaron Hicks from Long Beach, California. (Now wait four years until you ever hear his name again!)

Yes, it is hard to sometimes get excited for the MLB draft, it certainly doesn't carry the same magnitude or at least immediate impact as the NFL or NBA draft; however, the past two days are an important crapshot for stockpiling the Twins organization with some jokers that hope to turn into aces.

I personally am quite excited for Aaron Hicks. He's a five-tool player who the Twins have had on their radar for quite some time. A great athlete with tremendous potential, Hicks could someday be a star for the Twins in the outfield. Of course, you may say we don't need another outfielder right now. This is true, but Hicks is still raw and probably four years away from the big leagues and I agree with the Twins philosophy of simply drafting the biggest talent regardless of position. ESPN analyst and senior writer for Scouts Inc., Keith Law, had this to say of Hicks,

In terms of tools, Hicks is one of the top three or four players in the draft. He's first-rounder as an outfielder and a pitcher. He is relatively unpolished, so he should take a long time to get to the majors. He's gotten by a lot on strength and bat speed for now. The Twins will have to work with him on his hitting approach. He has a chance to be a switch-hitting Andrew McCutchen, one of the top prospects in the minors.

The Twins turned some heads with their second pick, Carlos Gutierrez, a right handed closer for the Univeristy of Miami Hurricanes. Gutierrez is the closer for the #1 college team in the country, but was on no one's radar as a first round pick. This is certainly a gamble for the Twins. Many scouts say Gutierrez has no other pitch under than his great fastball. He also missed the entire 2007 season due to Tommy John surgery. The reports certainly stack against the right hander, but the Twins have a history of drafting players ahead of their projected position and receiving high returns on their investment. Just look at last year's #1, Ben Revere. Law had this to say about the 27th pick,

Now this is the biggest surprise of the first round so far. Gutierrez is another college closer whose fastball tops out at 94 with sink. But he doesn't have a viable second pitch, not even a breaking ball. I don't think a team should take a player with only one pitch in the first round. But the Twins have always had success with power arms out of their bullpen.

With their third pick in the first round, techincally the supplemental round, the Twins went with another college pitcher, Shooter Hunt from Tulane University. The 6 foot 3, 200 pound righty has been lights out for Tulane this year holding batters to a .144 average against and striking out 12.2 batters per 9 innings. Hunt was ranked as the 11th best prospect overall by Baseball America and fourth best among pitchers. After taking a risk with Gutierrez, it seems Hunt could be a very solid pick who may be able to move quickly through the minor leagues. Plus, now we have a guy in the system named Shooter!

This concludes first round coverage. I'll have to do some more research into the later picks. The tricky part about this whole process is we may never hear from these guys ever again, but hopefully someday we'll be anxiously waiting as these three guys tear up the minor leagues. I think there is a bright future in store for Aaron Hicks if he continues to work hard and develop. Gutierrez and Hunt could add some depth and strength to the minor league system and may contribute to the big league club quicker than expected. Only time will tell....

Get to know Mr. Shooter Hunt up close and personal here:

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