A light-hitting, speedy centerfielder? As if it was that hard to dig up a Jason Tyner or Denard Span will turn out to be anything more than a fourth outfielder? The Twins "first round pick" Ben Revere is also a prep player, which means he isn't going to be ready for the show for a number of years. Maybe, after budgeting for Santana, Mauer, Morneau and possibly Nathan, the Twins will resign Torii Hunter to a long enough deal where Revere is ready to step into center field for the big league club by the time Hunter leaves, but I doubt it, in case you were planning to use that in defense of the pick. Even if you were, and even if Revere could be ready in a breakneck three or four years, it still doesn't hold up as justification as the vast majority of teams buy into the logic that it is always best to draft the best available talent in the first round and pay little mind to organizational needs.
This pick blew my mind. There are the "signability" concerns that a lot of teams bow to, but still... Ben Revere? Seriously? Haven't the Twins shown themselves to be experts at packing their roster with a bunch of singles hitters on the cheap?
Rooting for the Twins is a bizarre thing. When it comes to pitching, the organization puts others to shame. The Twins do a truly stunning job of drafting, developing and pilfering major league arms. The organization grooms its hurlers to throw strikes and limit walks and Rick Anderson deserves a lot more mention than he gets, both locally and nationally (although he might prefer his relative level of anonymity).
When it comes to hitting, the organization shows time and time again that they just don't get it. The piranhas have no bite, and they're often strung four-deep in the line-up. It takes what, three singles to score a run? Two with a sacrifice or two thrown in? The odds of three batters reaching base in an inning are what, somewhere around one-in-four? And there is some cause of confusion over the Twins not scoring enough runs most of the time and the general inconsistency of the offense?
The idea that an offense built around getting on-base and hitting for power is some new fangled stat-geek idea is flawed. It's Earl Weaver baseball: "Pitching, defense, and three run homers." And the Twins already prioritize the the first two!
Don't give me that small market nonsense about the Twins not being able to afford to play that brand of baseball because its too expensive, because I'm not complaining about us not giving Alex Rodriguez a guaranteed $250 million. I'm talking about not taking Baseball America's 135th ranked player in the draft who doesn't even weigh 160 pounds with the 28th overall pick!
Who were some of the players the Twins could have had? Six players from Baseball Prospectus' top 30 were still on the board at the time of their pick:
13. Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS (CT)
21. Corey Brown, OF, Oklahoma State
22. Josh Smoker, LHP, Calhoun HS (GA)
28. Kyle Russell, OF, Texas
29. Kyle Blair, RHP, Los Gatos HS (CA)
30. Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State
Those are two power college bats the Twins passed on to draft a leadoff hitter that no one, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus or any other industry or media outfit, thought worthy of a first round pick. The Twins also passed on three pitchers with a lot of upside (Brackman is a 6'11" converted basketball player who is very raw for a college player but has still touched 99 with his fastball and has as much upside as any player in the draft).
But hey, the Twins did get the fastest player in the draft. There's just that whole retooling of Revere's entire approach at the plate to get him to utilize his speed that needs to be done and the reality that with his tiny frame Revere will never hit for any semblance of power at the major league level. Who's to say that the Twins couldn't have gotten Revere with their next pick (number 92 overall). According to Baseball America, that still would have been a slight reach of a round or so too early.
To add insult to injury, the Twins took another speedy, punchless centerfielder with their third pick! Here's what MLB.com had to say about Angel Morales:
"Morales is an extremely fast outfielder who likes to run and is fun to watch patrol center field. He still needs to learn how to use his speed to help his offensive game. If he can do that by playing small ball -- more line drives, hitting the gaps, bunting -- he could evolve into a pretty good leadoff type. Right now, except for the pure speed and the plus defense, everything else is a projection."
Watch out AL Central! The Twins have cornered the market on the Alex Sanchez/Joey Gaithwright clones! Can you hear the Tigers shaking in their shoes as they pony up the cash for yet another blue chip that falls to them because they're willing to invest a little money on someone with "signability" concerns. Here's what Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein had to say about the prospect that fell to the Tigers at 27th overall who BP had ranked second in the entire draft class:
"Porcello has a big, projectable frame, touches 98 and sits in mid-90s; excellent arm action in terms of both speed and smoothness; mature changeup for age; excellent athlete who fields position very well."
For all his "signability" concerns, I doubt Porcello's bonus comes out costing much more than the Twins paid for a month's worth of good starts from Ramon Ortiz. I can't fault the Twins for not taking Porcello, because the Tigers picked before the Twins did and MLB does not allow teams to trade draft picks, but I can get up on my soapbox and scream to the heavens that this is the kind of pick that the Twins should be making. Kevin Goldstein on the Tigers' scouting director David Chadd:
"Scouting director David Chadd loves pitchers with Porcello's profile, and he's not afraid to take the best player on the board on worry about money later -- see Verlander, Maybin, Miller in the last three years."
It's days like today that really test my allegiances as a fan. I don't care if the team I root for wins. The players are almost always trying their best, and if a team simply doesn't have the talent to contend that year but everyone goes out and puts up a good fight, that's all anyone can ask. But on an organizational level, when a team shoots itself in the foot, repeatedly, I'm left with one thought: If they're not going to learn from their mistakes, I'd better learn from mine.
I know the Twins have been an awesome team for the past half decade. I don't really care that much. I don't care if they're good. I don't care if they're awful. I just want them to try and be the best they can, at all times. Obviously the team thinks that's what they're doing in drafting slap hitters like Revere and Morales, but I just don't see it.