MINNEAPOLIS -- It's easy to see the kind of success the Twins have had in the past with regards to the First-Year Player Draft.
After all, the Twins drafted and developed many of their top position players such as Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Denard Span, as well as starting pitchers Scott Baker, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn.
This year, the Twins have a chance to add their collection of talent with three first-round picks, including the No. 30 overall pick and two selections in the compensation round (No. 50 and No. 55) following the departures of Orlando Hudson and Jesse Crain via free agency.
"I think, over time, we've stacked up in terms of our staff and our ability to be able to draft well, because we've had as much success through the Draft as anybody else," said Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff. "So we get a chance to add two extra guys, which is a pretty big deal. So we're excited for the opportunity."
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on Monday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Recent Twins Draft picks
|2010||Alex Wimmers||RHP||Extended spring|
|2009||Kyle Gibson||RHP||Rochester (AAA)|
|2008||Aaron Hicks||OF||Fort Myers (A)|
|2007||Ben Revere||OF||Twins (MLB)|
|2006||Chris Parmelee||1B||Double-A New Britain|
The Twins are looking to add a few high-impact players with their early selections, while also adding to their overall organizational depth that has been hurt with so many players getting called up to the Majors this season.
"Drafts are made for three, four or five years down the road, so that's why we don't stray too far from the best available players," Radcliff said. "There's no telling what your needs will be five years down the road, and there's no telling how your system will stack up, no matter how much you want to evaluate it. We have five-year plans and evaluate the future, but things change."
Here's a glance at what the Twins have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Twins haven't had this many early selections since having three of the top 31 picks in the 2008 Draft, so the club is looking forward to adding high-ceiling players with three of the first 55 picks in this year's Draft.
"We'll definitely get players we like. It's guys you have conviction in that you'll end up taking. So we're excited, because it's always great for a scouting staff to have extra picks. You usually have 30 picks in between each selection, so we get a shot to have three picks in the first 55, and really three picks between 30 and 55, so it's great. That's a quality level of the Draft, and there are some really good players there, so we'll get three quality players. There's no doubt about it." -- Radcliff
Radcliff said this Draft is top-heavy, as there are about a dozen players he considers to be elite prospects, but that it's a fairly average crop in terms of overall depth. That being said, there still should be no shortage of quality arms available when the Twins select at No. 30. Minnesota has been linked to college pitchers such as Oregon left-hander Tyler Anderson and Florida State left-hander Sean Gilmartin, as well as high school right-hander Tyler Beade, according to various mock drafts.
There is no such thing as having too many quality arms in an organization, so the Twins will definitely look to add pitching in the early rounds. But they'll also look to add to their overall depth in the middle infield, and are always on the lookout for power bats.
The Twins have not taken a college position player in the first round since taking Travis Lee in the 1996 Draft, as they've preferred to go with pitchers or high school position players who offer high-upside. They could buck that trend this year, however, as Radcliff said the club will take the best-available player regardless of position.
Recent Draft History
Right-hander Kyle Gibson, taken as the Twins' top selection in the 2009 Draft, has continued to impress in the Minors, and is currently plying his trade with Triple-A Rochester. He currently has a 3.60 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 55 innings, and is expected to see action with the Twins at some point this year.
Outfielder Rene Tosoni, a Canada native, was drafted in the 36th round of the 2005 Draft, and saw his first action with the Twins this season. He's back in Triple-A to get more seasoning, but could figure into the Twins' outfield plans in the near future.
In The Show
The Twins have yet to see one of their picks from the last three Drafts make it to the big leagues, but Gibson will likely make his debut in Minnesota this season.