The Twins were off yesterday and, despite yet another Colorado Rockies loss, they are still in position to have the third overall draft selection in the 2013 MLB Draft. Minnesota’s hold on that 3rd draft selection is pretty tenuous, as they’re just half a game worse than the Rockies, and two games behind the Cleveland Indians. Something to watch for down the stretch after the Twins are officially eliminated from the playoffs (any combination of 8 Twins losses or White Sox victories).
Here are the final 5 prospect profiles in this early top 11 draft preview:
Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
Like Levi Michael, the Twins 2011 1st round draft selection, Moran plays his college ball at the University of North Carolina. Moran lacks any elite tools, and he’s slow, but he makes up for that by being a well above average hitter. He hits for average, makes good contact, has pretty good power numbers, and gets on base a ton (68 walks compared to just 57 strikeouts). In his two years at UNC he’s hit 12 home runs, and has a hitting line of .347/.439/.522. To move all the way to the top of the draft an be a serious candidate for the Twins Moran will have to hit for more power than he did as a sophomore (just 3 of his 12 home runs came in his 2nd year on the team) and he’ll likely need to demonstrate above average defense at 3B (at 6′ 3″ and only 180 he’s lanky and needs to stay down on balls hit his way). He was a 1st team College All-American in 2011, so all eyes will be on him for the 2013 season.
Bobby Wahl, RHP, Mississippi
Wahl was originally drafted late in the 2010 draft by the Cleveland Indians (39th round), but chose instead to enroll at Ole Miss. This past summer Wahl was named to the USA Collegiate squad and primarily serves as a late inning reliever. In his first four appearances he struck out nine batters, walked three, gave up no runs and recorded two saves. According to Pinestripesplus.com, Wahl possesses ”a great pitcher’s build and a fastball in the low 90s.” Despite being used as a reliever for the Collegiate National Team, Wahl started 17 games for the Rebels in 2012 and went 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA. He had 104 strike outs in 99 innings to go along with just 34 walks. If it wasn’t for the dramatic shift in the way the Twins draft pitchers evidenced by the 2012 draft, Wahl would be exactly the kind of low 90s control pitcher the Twins might normally target. Will need to be really impressive in 2013 to become a top-5 draft pick.
Clinton Hollon, RHP, Woodford County HS (KY)
The Twins typically shy away from high school pitching, but Hollon is a guy that they might not be able to pass up. He has a fast ball that generally works between 90-94 but has been clocked as high as 97 mph at times, according to PerfectGame.org. A lot of things have to go right for a high school pitcher to make it to the Major Leagues, but at 6′ 1″, 195 lbs Hollon has room to grow into his body and could add a couple of extra MPH to his fastball before everything is all said and done. I do not think the Twins will go this route, but if they think Hollon is the best talent available, and willing to sign at or near his slot value, the Twins could potentially take a gamble.
Karsten Whitson, RHP, Florida
Karsten Whitson is not only one of the leading draft prospects for the 2013 draft, but he has a phenomenal baseball name, which should be good for an extra $50 or something on his signing bonus. He was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 draft, (9th overall) but ended up at the University of Florida instead of playing pro-ball. In two years at Florida, and 10 starts as a sophomore, Whitson is 12-1 with 112 strikeouts and just 46 walks in 131 innings. Whitson is a big guy at 6′ 4″, 225 lbs, and throws in the mid to upper 90s. Despite some minor injury troubles that kept him out of some early season games a year ago, he should be ready to dominate as a Junior in the SEC. Whitson has a real opportunity to be the number one overall selection in the upcoming draft, and the Twins would be more than happy if he fell to them at number three.
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (California)
Gonsalves is the 2nd best pitcher, and 5th best overall high school prospect, as rated by ESPN. In his Junior year was 10-0 with 79 strike outs in 66 innings. Gonsalves has been clocked as high as 92 mph, but at 6′ 5″, 205 lbs, he will definitely put on more weight before he’s done growing and could be throwing in the upper 90s before too long per MLB Draft Countdown. Gonsalves also throws a change up and a curveball, with the latter being his go-to out pitch. He’s also a talented player off the mound where his size, athleticism, and arm strength make him a quality centerfield prospect as well should he not realize his future as a starting pitcher.
And there you have it, 11 men/boys that could potentially be the next Minnesota Twins 1st round draft pick. If you think I’ve missed anyone, or have any additional insights to share please leave me a message in the comments.