Posted at 9:28 AM on June 3, 2005
by David Zingler
With the amateur draft just days away, letís take a look at the Twins top picks over the past decade....
2004 (20th overall): Trevor Plouffe, SS, Crespi Carmelite HS (CA) - The versatile Plouffe also pitched in high school. He hit .283 at Elizabethton (rookie level) last season and is currently at Beloit (low A ball).
2003 (21st overall): Matt Moses, 3B, Mills Godwin HS (VA) - Injuries limited the potential slugger to 48 games the past two seasons. He is currently healthy and hitting well at Fort Myers (high A balll).
2001 (1st overall): Joe Mauer, C, Cretin Derham Hall HS (MN) - The St. Paul native was a controversial selection over Stanford pitcher Mark Prior. Mauer has shown superstar potential and could be the most popular Twins player since Kirby Puckett if he remains healthy.
2000 (2nd overall): Adam Johnson, P, Cal St. Fullerton - A complete bust, Johnson was inconsistent in the minor leagues and terrible in the majors. In two short stints with the Twins, the right-hander went 1-3 with a 10.25 ERA. He went to camp with Arizona this spring, but was released. He has since surfaced with the Puebla Parrots of the Mexican Summer League.
1999 (5th overall): B.J. Garbe, OF, Moses Lake HS (WA) - The Twins took a chance drafting a high school outfielder and it didnít pan out. In six seasons in the Twins system, Garbe hit .231 with 25 HRs. He was dealt to Seattle last August for veteran catcher Pat Borders and is currently with their single A affiliate, Inland Empire.
1998 (6th overall): Ryan Mills, P, Arizona St. - Another college pitcher that went bust, Mills was 17-40 with a 5.79 ERA in the Twins minor league system from 1998-2004. He never threw a pitch for the Twins.
1997 (6th overall): Michael Cuddyer, IF, Great Bridge HS (VA) - Drafted as a shortstop, Cuddyer was shifted all over the diamond before settling in at third base. He is currently in his first season as a regular. This season will go a long way in proving if he was a good pick.
1996 (2nd overall): Travis Lee, 1B, San Diego St. - In one of the more embarrassing episodes in Twins history, a paper work error made Lee an unrestricted free agent 15 days after the draft. He would eventually sign with the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks. Thankfully for the Twins, he never lived up to the hype and was dealt to Philadelphia as part of the Curt Schilling trade in 2000. He is currently in his second stint with the Devil Rays.
1995 (13th overall): Mark Redman, P, Oklahoma - The left-handed starter joined the Twins full time in 2000 and had a solid rookie season (12-9, 4.76 ERA). He had an injury plagued start to the 2001 season and was dealt to Detroit for reliever Todd Jones in one of Terry Ryanís more dubious deals. A member of the 2003 World Series winning Marlins, Redman has carved out a solid big league career. He is currently with Pittsburgh.
I've noticed the Twins success in the draft tends to not come from the ealry picks, but the later ones. The Twins scouting is so much stronger, and it shows when they draft future major leaguers out of late rounds.
one note on redman, while the todd jones trade didnt pan out, Redman would not be a starter the Twins could use today. He has always had a problem pitching in big games. This makes Pittsburgh perfect for him. his career bears out his vagabond 4th or 5th starter role, only one or two years in any given place, then he moves on. detroit, florida, oakland, pittsburgh (though he may find a home there)
A couple of things...baseball, more than any other sport is a very inexact science when it comes to drafting top players. Anybody remember phenom Brien Taylor who was picked #1 by the Yankees and was expected to be the greatest thing ever? Turns out he was a colossal bust who never threw a pitch for the Yankees. That is only one example of many. In many ways, it would be more valuable to analyze the entire draft on a yearly basis, versus just the #1 picks.