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Twins take speed at the top
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06/04/2002 6:51 pm ET 
Twins take speed at the top
By Mark Sheldon /

Twins Scouting Director Mike Radcliff talks to reporters after the first day of the draft. (
Twins round-by-round picks

MINNEAPOLIS -- While they used the bulk of their first-day draft picks on pitching Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins were searching for speed.

They got it with their first selection when Minnesota selected high school center fielder Denard Span of Tampa, Fla. with the 20th overall pick. The Twins also took center fielder Clete Thomas from Lynn Haven, Fla. with their fifth-round pick.

"We don't have many of them in our organization," Twins scouting director Mike Radcliff said. "That's why we define that as a priority. Speed, center field profile."

It wasn't a thick draft for position players and power hitters this year. Fortunately for the Twins, the organization has many power hitters like prospects Michael Restovich, Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau. But, players like Span and Thomas filled a perceived hole.

"You have to put each draft into perspective with what your system has," Radcliff said. "We have some power in our system. These kinds of guys, table-setters, were high-priority items for us this year and we got two of them we hope."

Even if there weren’t as many position players available in the first half of the 2002 draft, there was the usual abundance of pitching. Of their first 22 picks, the Twins selected 14 pitchers.

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Two of those pitchers hail from the Twin Cities area. Brooklyn Park, Minn. native Pat Neshek, a right-hander for Butler University, was taken in the sixth round and T.J. Prunty, a right-hander for the University of Miami, was taken in the 21st round.

Overall, Radcliff felt that everything went as expected Tuesday.

"It wasn't a real deep crop," Radcliff said. "The board could have gone a lot of different directions early. Surprisingly, it stayed about how we thought."

Here’s a round-by-round breakdown of the Twins first 22 picks:

Round 1. Denard Span, OF, Tampa Catholic HS, Tampa, Fla.:
Radcliff says: "If he reaches his maximum bat potential, he has a chance to be an impact, lead off type offensive player."

Round 2. Jesse Crain, RHP, University of Houston, Houston, TX:
Radcliff says: "He's a converted infielder that's now a pitcher. In over 30 innings, he did not give up an earned run. He's a guy that's coming on. He's probably a reliever with two very good pitches: a fastball with life and a hard, hard slider. Potentially a closer if he meets his upside."

Round 3. Mark Sauls, RHP, Bays HS, Panama City, Fla. :
Radcliff says: "Is the lone guy at the top of the board that fits the starter profile. He's a big strong guy. He's very young, just turned 17. He kind of reminds you of Scott Erickson size-wise and maybe mix wise of what he could be in the future.”

Round 4. Alexander Merricks, LHP, Oxnard HS, Oxnard, Calif.:
Radcliff says: "A live-arm left-handed pitcher. A probable reliever, but a starter in high school. Two pitches that could be a plus."

Round 5. Clete Thomas, CF, Mosley HS, Lynn Haven, Fla.:
Radcliff says: "He's another guy who can really run. We like his bat. We like his ability to play center field. We had that as a priority this year to try and take speed. We got two guys."

Round 6. Patrick Neshek, RHP, Butler University, Brooklyn Park, Minn.:
Radcliff says: "He's another probable reliever. He has a hard-diving sinking fastball that comes from the side and a hard slider. He started in college, but we see him as a reliever."

Round 7. William Barrett, LHP/CF, Univ. of San Diego, West Sacramento, Calif.:
Scouting Report says: "Medium size, compact frame. Similar to Randy Wolf. Sneaky quick fastball with occasional sink action. Fastball is effective, moves around in zone. Deceptive circle change with occasional late drop. Mixes pitches well and keeps hitters off balance. Good mound presence."

Round 8. Adam Lind, 1B, Highland HS, Anderson, Ind.
Scouting Report says: "Lean build on large frame. Body like Brad Fullmer. Quiet hitting approach with quick bat through zone and good extension. Ball jumps off bat. Loft in finish for power. Handles the bag OK. Playable arm."

Round 9. Doug Deeds, OF, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.:
Radcliff says: "He's the lone guy on there that has some power potential possibilities."

Round 10. Kyle Phillips, C, El Capitan HS, El Cajon, Calif.:

Round 11. Evan Meek, RHP, Inglemoor HS, Bothell, Wash.:
Radcliff says: "Is a guy we thought would be drafted earlier."

Round 12. Jeffrey Clement, C, Marshalltown HS, Marshalltown, IA.:
Radcliff says: "Is a guy with some difficult signablity. He has a four-year scholarship to the Univ. of Southern Calif. He's a guy who was probably thought of for a higher round."

Round 13. William Pettit, RHP, Louisiana State Univ., Houston, TX:

Round 14. Garrett Mock, RHP, Grayson County College, Houston, TX:

Round 15. Adam Harben, RHP, Westark Community College, Maumelle, Ark.:

Round 16. KC Jones, RHP, Eatonville HS, Eatonville, Wash.:
Radcliff says: "A big right-handed pitcher that has some fastball. We really like him."

Round17. Adam Hawes, RHP, Saskatoon SS, Victoria Harbour, ONT.: Scouting Report says: Tall, slender, athletic build. Body similar to Kip Wells. Loose arm, good action. Downward plane fastball with some tailing action. Downer curveball with occasional, late, sharp bite. Keeps arm speed on deceptive straight change that fades. Competes well. Agile. Good makeup."

Round 18. Javier Lopez, RF, Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico:

Round 19. Adam L. Daniels, LHP, Capilan College, N. Vancouver, BC:
Radcliff says: "A left-hander that might be a starter. He has a fastball and a breaking ball."

Round 20. Ryan Schreppel, LHP, Lincoln HS, Stockton, Calif.:
Radcliff says: "A guy that would have been drafted a lot higher. He has a scholarship to Cal. State Fullerton and a will likely be a difficult sign. He has a ceiling as a starting pitcher, whether we can sign him is questionable."

Round 21. TJ Prunty, RHP, Univ. of Miami, Inver Grove Heights, Minn:
Radcliff says: "He had a pretty good year this year for a guy that's devoted almost all his time to football. He's a guy that has a good upside still, just like last year when we selected him."

22. Justin Sims, OF, Middle Tennesee St., Knoxville, Tenn.

Mark Sheldon covers the Twins for and can be reached at This article was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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