Wednesday, May 22, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 1998

Nick Punto ain't walkin' through this door.  The Twins would have loved to have drafted a Nick Punto in 1998.  Unfortunately, they only had 20 opportunities to do so.  Punto was the first pick in the 21st round and the Twins were probably just about to take him!  They got Marc Bluma instead.  No hard feelings.  Not to worry, the Twins didn't draft anyone good in 1998, so not getting Punto fits in quite well.

1st Round Pick

Ryan Mills was a lefty starter out of Arizona State University.  He was a hoss, at 6'5" and probably awesome at partying, as I believe that is the only major at ASU.  He had previously been drafted by the Yankees in 1995, but did not sign.  So, if you need another reason to despise the Yankees, just remember that they could have kept the Twins from ever drafting Ryan Mills, the party-hoss from Peoria, Illinois.

Ah, but what if? 

Look, Mills didn't work out, but it's not like there was a better lefty starter option.  It's not like there was a future 200 game winner.  It's not like there was another really tall guy.  It's not like CC Sabathia was selected with the 20th overall pick.  Oh wait, it's like that.  It's exactly like that.  Bummer.  There was also a guy named J.M. Gold taken 13th by the Brewers and that's just a fantastic name.

Best Player Drafted

The Twins drafted Saul Rivera in the 9th round.  He eventually left the organization and went on an odyssey.  In 2003, his Baseball Reference line states:  "Did not play in major leagues (unknown)."  That's different.  He bounced to a few organizations and then landed in Washington, where he made his MLB debut in 2006, at the age of 28.  By way of simply getting to the Bigs, he is easily the best player the Twins drafted and signed in 1998. 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

The Twins really liked Kevin Frederick.  They drafted him in the 17th round in 1997.  He did not sign.  Then, they drafted him in the 34th round in 1998 in what would be later seen as a complete waste of everyone's time.  Frederick made his Twins debut in 2002, pitching 11.2 innings and giving up 13 earned runs.  He had five strikeouts and ten walks.  I can see why the Twins liked him. 

The One Who Got Away

The Twins drafted J.J. Putz in the 17th round, but he did not sign with the team.  Putz was a really good closer for a few years, got injured, then resumed being a really good closer.  His name is silly.

Best Name

Rhett Riviere in the 22nd round.  That sounds more like a Hollywood movie star than a baseball player, omg! lol

Fun Facts
  • The Twins drafted Kevin Frederick two more times than they drafted CC Sabathia
  • Ryan Mills was a disaster, walking almost six batters per nine innings in his minor league career. 
  • Adam Dunn was selected one pick after Twins' second-round pick Marcus Sents.  Dick Bremer seemed legitimately concerned that Adam Dunn would kill Aaron Hicks last week.
  • This has nothing to do with anything, but I noticed that Twins' 42nd-round pick Andy Neufeld went to Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Florida.  I'm pretty sure I made fun of that name before, but I can't really remember why.  Anyway when looking through other players from this school, I found this guy:  Hilly Hathaway!  Doesn't that sound like the name of a player from the 1890s?  Hilly did not have much of a career, but that is a fantastic name and no one can take that from him. 
  • Alex Cole went to Manatee CC too.  Just sayin.
All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

J.J. Putz, Saul Rivera, Juan Padilla, Tommy Watkins, Mike Gosling, Kevin Thompson, and Kevin Frederick

One Sentence Summary

I may name my first-born Hilly Hathaway Swanson.

Link to the Twins' 1998 draft from Baseball Reference

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