Monday, May 20, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 1996

1996 was a surprisingly good season for the Twins.  They would finish with a record near .500 and had a decent amount of young talent on the roster.  Some thought it was the start of a turnaround, but ultimately that turnaround was delayed by a few years.  The 1996 draft brought the team another important future piece; a player who was also very popular with the fans.  No, not Dave Hooten, you'll have to wait and see who I am referring to.

1st Round Pick

That popular player was not Travis Lee.  Travis Lee was drafted second overall by the Twins and would be in the Majors by 1998.  Success!  Unfortunately, he did not play for the Twins.  The Twins did not offer him a written contract in time, so he was granted free agency and signed with the Diamondbacks.  I'm sure there was much fuss at the time, but said fuss would have been unwarranted fuss, as Lee wasn't really a very good player anyway.  

Ah, but what if? 

Signing no one kind of sucks.  However, the next few picks were nothing special.  In fact, the best player in the first round was Eric Chavez at 10.  Chavez was an excellent player until he developed back problems.  Even right now, he would be a great platoon-mate with Trevor Plouffe, but I doubt the Twins have that kind of foresight. 

Best Player Drafted

Jacque Jones!  My favorite Jacque Jones affectation was his penchant for throwing the ball straight into the ground and having it bounce its way back to the infield.  Always amusing.  You can see it immortalized in Paint right here.  Anyway, Jones wasn't a prototypical lead-off hitter by any measure, but he was fun to watch and helped the team get back to the playoffs in the early 2000s.  His 2002 season is one of the more underrated in Twins' history. 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

Seventh-round pick Chad Moeller had a negative 3.6 career WAR!  He only played 48 games for the Twins before being traded to Arizona as punishment for them snaking Travis Lee.  Snaking.  Get it?  The Twins received Hanley Frias, who never played another MLB game. 

The One Who Got Away

Lee is the correct answer, but Mike Lamb is the fun answer.  You may remember Mike Lamb from being terrible, back in 2008.  If the Twins had signed him in 1996, they may have been able to enjoy his good seasons.  You know, the seasons that gave the Twins the idea to sign him.

Best Name

Mario Opipari in the 53rd round. 

Fun Facts
  • R.A. Dickey was drafted 18th overall in the 1996 draft.  He wasn't a knuckleballer just yet, but he wasn't very good either. 
  • Two other former and future Twins were taken in the first round - Eric Milton and Jason Marquis, along with two other pitchers who just seem like they should have been Twins - Jake Westrbrook and Adam Eaton.
  • The Indians drafted Danny Peoples in the 1st round.  If that name sounds familiar it would be because he won Best Name back in the 1993 draft overview. 
  • The Twins drafted Dan Cey, son of former MLB player Ron Cey, in the 3rd round.  He never made it to the Majors and has a really short name.
  • The Twins drafted future big-leaguers Mike Ryan, Mike Lincoln and Mike Lamb for the first ever reported Tri-Mike-Fecta, which I actually just invented if you can believe that.
All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Jacque Jones, Travis Lee, Mike Lamb, Josh Bard, Mike Lincoln, Mike Ryan, Matt Kata, Chad Allen, and Chad Moeller

One Sentence Summary

The Twins failed to sign their first-round, second-overall pick and it worked out just fine.


  1. I think Dan was nick-named the Cey-Hay-Kid (of Ron.) Never really caught on like you thought it would.

    1. That is fantastic. I love nicknames that require explanation.