Heading into the draft, there was one thing for certain in regards to the Minnesota Twins’ draft strategy: they were going to take the best player available. The Twins certainly felt that they accomplished that goal by taking prep pitcher Kohl Stewart with the fourth overall selection and getting the player they reportedly “wanted all along”. However, if you look back on the draft when it was all said and done, another trend and draft strategy emerged for the Twins: stockpile pitching.
It isn’t uncommon for a team in baseball to stockpile as many pitchers as they possibly can, but the Twins certainly felt they needed to bring in a plethora of arms as they drafted 24 pitchers—seven left-handers and 17 right-handers—throughout the entire draft. It is no mystery that the Twins currently have pitching problems at the big-league level, but their overall depth of pitching in their organization was not thought of to be horrible. At any rate, the Twins reinforced their organizational pitching draft early and often during the 2013 draft and seemingly have subscribed to the theory of “you can never have too much pitching”.
Overall, I was pleased with the Twins’ draft this year especially with their selection of Stewart at number four. I admittedly had my hesitations about the selection—as evidenced by my article written right after the Stewart selection which can be accessed here—but with the news that Stewart plans to sign with the Twins—which you can view here—my fears have been put to rest for the time being. Stewart definitely has top-of-the-rotation potential written all over him and hopefully he can live up to that hype because he could be a very dominant and helpful addition to the Twins’ future rotation.
If there was one complaint that I would have about the Twins 2013 draft it would be that they didn’t—in my opinion—draft enough middle infielders early on in the draft. This is not to say that the three shortstops and one second basemen that we did draft aren’t talented, but for a team that has had its fair share of instability and underperformance out of its middle infield for what seems to be forever, you’d think they’d put more of a premium on drafting quality shortstops and second basemen high in the draft. Their first selection of a middle infielder didn’t come until round 11; instead, the team focused on accumulating catchers—four total and three in the first 10 rounds—and pitching. Maybe the scouts believed this was a weak draft for middle infielders, but I do believe that should be an area of concern that the Twins need to address through the draft. Maybe next year will be the year they finally address the scarcity.
If I were to grade the Twins on their draft in 2013, I’d give them a B+ simply because they took the best player available at number four—Stewart—added pitching depth throughout the draft and also stocked up on quality catchers early on in the draft. Now it will take years before we know how well the draft ended up for the Twins and there may be gems and busts littered throughout the new Twins’ draftees; but as of now, it is pure speculation on my part and viewing the draft by placing most of my emphasis on the first few rounds. That is why the Twins receive a B+ based purely on the eye test and a gut feeling.
Top player selected in the draft: Stewart, RHP, Round 1
Steal of the draft: Brandon Easton – LHP – Lakeland CC, Round 24
First draftee to reach majors and when: C.K. Irby – RHP – Round 10, June 2015