At some point before 7:00pm EDT on Monday night, the Minnesota Twins brain trust will make a difficult decision.
That decision is likely to have a big impact on the organization during the decade of the 2020’s.
Both general manager Thad Levine and president of baseball operations Derek Falvey are in their first seasons in those roles. The future of the organization is now in their hands. On Monday night, they begin putting their stamp on that future.
After earning the worst record in Major League Baseball a year ago, the Twins hold the top pick in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft.
John Shipley had a Q&A with Falvey published at winonadailynews.com recently. Falvey stated the following in relation to the draft process.
“…the lifeblood of an organization like ours — for any organization, for that matter, but particularly for small and mid-size market teams — is that you need to build through the draft and through development. So, I look at it as, whether we’re picking first, fifth, 10th, 20th doesn’t matter; it’s important for us to get a lot of value out of each draft. It doesn’t just come with Pick 1. We need to be thinking about how we can accumulate as much value as possible.”
The draft will begin tomorrow night, with pre-draft coverage and then the complete first round being broadcast on the MLB Network beginning at 6:00pm EDT.
Once the first round selections are complete, streaming coverage will then be picked up by MLB.com for the second and competitive balance rounds. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, MLB.com will continue with their coverage through the end of the process.
GREENE THE EARLY FAVORITE
Early speculation had pitcher/shortstop Hunter Greene out of Notre Dame High School in California as the front-runner for that top pick. He worked out in front of Twins officials at Target Field on Friday.
If Greene is indeed the pick, the conversation will then switch to his ultimate position as a professional. Scouts and other evaluators are split, with some wanting to keep him on the mound, but others feeling his bat is more valuable.
If Greene is selected as a pitcher, he will become just the fourth high school hurler selected with the first overall pick in the draft.
In 1973, the Texas Rangers made lefty David Clyde the first such selection. It was then nearly two decades before the New York Yankees chose right-hander Brien Taylor. More than two more decades would pass before the Houston Astros picked lefty Brady Aiken with the top choice in 2014.
OTHERS EMERGE AS TOP PICK CONTENDERS
However, as the evaluation process has unfolded this spring, others have emerged as legitimate contenders to go first overall.
Scanning various reports coming out from around the game, the Twins choice now seems to be down to three players, including Greene.
One of the leading contenders appears to be right-handed pitcher Kyle Wright out of Vanderbilt. Wright’s collegiate career came to an end on Saturday night when the team lost to Oregon State in an NCAA Super Regional.
Other reports say the Twins are leaning towards Brendan McKay of Louisville. McKay is likely to be drafted as a lefty pitcher, though some teams feel his big bat makes McKay more valuable as a first baseman-outfielder.
Chad Gray of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press quoted McKay on the possibility of being taken first overall.
“It definitely would be really cool. But at the end of the day, it’s whatever is best for the Twins and what they’re looking for. You can’t let that get too into your mind, but it would definitely be cool and very special.”
It has already been an exciting season in the Twin Cities. Minnesota surprisingly leads the AL Central Division race into mid-June. If they stay in the race much longer, that Twins brain trust will have some decisions to make regarding bolstering the current roster.
On Monday night, it will not be the Twins present, but the future that is impacted in a major way. Will it be an arm or a bat? Maybe it will be someone talented enough to be considered as both. Then the organization will have to make yet another tough decision.