Tuesday, May 21, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 1997

Travis Lee was being a real jag and didn't want to sign with the Twins after the 1996 draft.  The Twins did not want to duplicate that jaggery in 1997.  They had a strict "no-jag" policy in '97, opting instead for super nice guys.  In the end, the Twins drafted two very popular players and one (perhaps) unfairly unpopular player.  They also drafted a guy who they would later draft much higher and with much worse results.  Stay tuned!

1st Round Picks

The Twins had two, as the aforementioned jag did not sign.  The Twins had the 9th overall pick, and used it to draft Michael Cuddyer.  "Cuddy," or "Cuddy Bear," as he would be affectionately called, took some time to get it going, but ultimately became a useful and versatile player, albeit one with a very red face.  With their Lee pick, the Twins drafted Matt LeCroy.  He looked like a teddy bear, so the Twins completed the Cuddy Bear/Teddy Bear combo successfully.

Ah, but what if? 

I know that Cuddy was very popular, but Lance Berkman went 16th overall and was roughly four times the player as Cuddyer (by WAR, which I know, I know, it sucks, but just handle it, k?).  Berkman has a semi-decent Hall of Fame case and a no-doubt Hall of Fame nickname - Big Puma.  Would he have become Big Puma in Minnesota?  He'd probably be Berky or LancePants, so I think everything worked out perfectly for all stakeholders. 

Best Player Drafted

Well, well, well, if it isn't Mr. Nick Punto!  Punto narrowly edges Cuddyer out by WAR, mostly because he was a great defensive player with good on-base skills and he battled just slightly more than Cuddy.  Honestly, Nick Punto drew a lot of ire from fans, but was never the worst player on the team and not nearly as embarrassing as Denny Hocking and his frosted tips (unprovoked Hocking shot alert!). 

Of course, Punto didn't actually sign with the Twins.  He went back to school (he's smart) and was drafted in the 21st round by the Phillies the following year.  He would then come to the Twins in the 2003 Eric Milton trade. 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

25th-round pick Adam Johnson, who posted a -1.1 career WAR.  You may remember Johnson as a first-round pick, but that would come a few years later.  In fact...

The One Who Got Away

I'd argue that Johnson is the one who got away.  If the Twins had signed him back in 1997, he wouldn't have been around to draft in the first round in 2000.  If not him, Punto, but he eventually found his way back to the flock.   

Best Name

Tagg Bozied in the 50th round.  Much like the Terminator, "he would be back, later."

Fun Facts
  • The Twins drafted future backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo in the 34th round.  He should have been in soap ads; seems like a huge missed opportunity.
  • Michael Restovich, the Twins' second-round pick, went to Mayo High School.  When you think of it, it's a Miracle that he Whipped himself to the Big Leagues.  Right?
  • The Twins drafted Tim Sturdy in the 23rd round.  Oddly enough, he was 7' 5" and 155 lb. 
  • Michael Cuddyer was arguably a better pitcher than Adam Johnson
  • The Twins drafted David Justice in the 49th round, which was later deemed illegal, as Justice was an established player with the Braves.  It was worth a shot.
All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Nick Punto, Michael Cuddyer, J.C. Romero, Matt LeCroy, Michael Restovich, Kevin Frederick, and Adam Johnson

One Sentence Summary



  1. I like the premise of this article, but it is not written very well. Excessive use of non-useful commas and even "k" as an apparent English word being used. I understand the informal and light approach (in fact I like it), but with any journalism there needs to be a little more professionalism in the writing.

    That said, quite an interesting look-back! Any plans for a follow-up for 98, 99 or perhaps a "best and worst draft picks of the last 10 years" or something along those lines?

    1. Thanks for reading and thanks for the feedback as well. I appreciate the association between my blog and journalism, but I'd say my stuff is about as far from actual journalism as can be.

      I have been running summaries from each draft. I started back in 1988 and plan to run a new summary each day until I hit 2012.