Sunday, May 26, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 2002

Way back in 2001, the Minnesota Twins selected Joe Mauer, a beautiful catcher out of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Basically, the Twins are not going to ever be able to top that wonderful selection.  As a result, the Twins forfeited all of their 2002 picks and promoted Joe Mauer to owner/tsar.  These things did not happen.

These things did happen:

1st Round Pick

If you have read the book Moneyball, you know that Denard Span was supposed to go to the Colorado Rockies at pick nine.  Instead, he balked at their offer and the Rockies selected Jeff Francis.  Span slipped all the way to 20 and the Twins gobbled him up happily.  Span looked like he might be on the bust train after a few minor league seasons, but eventually became a steady leadoff hitter with great defensive skills.  The story from Moneyball contains the F word, and therefore is filthy. 

Ah, but what if? 

Honestly, Span was an excellent selection at 20.  You could argue that Jeremy Guthrie at 22 or Matt Cain at 25 were better picks, but Span worked out really well.  However, in the fourth round, the Twins completely blew their chance to take their future ace, when they drafted Alex Merricks just five picks prior to Kevin Correia.  Just think, Twins fans could have enjoyed years and years of Correia, instead of just these last glorious months.  What a boner.

Best Player Drafted

Denard Span or "Span Man" as he is affectionately called by Ron Gardenhire.  Span has excellent on-base skills, excellent range in the outfield, and an entertaining approach on the basepaths.  I was never fully confident that he would ever hit a ball, as he started his swing so late.  Plus, he always looked a little tired, so I choose to believe that he took tiny catnaps while batting, in order to conserve energy for being picked-off later.  Jokes! 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

The Twins drafted Kyle Phillips out of El Capitan High School in San Diego with their 10th round selection.  Phillips did not make it to Minnesota, but later played 41 games for Toronto and San Diego.  This is a great time to remind myself that all of these "worst players" have more baseball skill in their epidermis than I ever had in my whole skeleton. 

The One Who Got Away

Oh my, where do I start?  The correct answer is Adam Lind, who did not really pan out as a player, but has provided decent power at times.  The Twins drafted him in the 8th round, but he did not sign. 

The snarky answer is either Clete Thomas or Jeff Clement, a couple of current Rochester Red Wings.  Thomas was drafted in the 5th round and Clement was drafted in the 12th round.  Each chose to go to school (nerds) but only one improved his draft stock.  Thomas was drafted in 2005 in the 6th round and Clement was drafted in 2005 with the 3rd-overall pick.  As Borat would say, "Nice!"

Best Name

Doug Deeds in the 9th round.

Fun Facts
  • Twins' 11th-round pick Evan Meek has a career OPS of 2.000.  Yet, the Twins just released him without fanfare back in 2006.  Seems like this should be a bigger deal.
  • The Twins finally nabbed their Neshek, drafting Pat Neshek in the 6th round.
  • Denard Span went to Catholic High School in Tampa, Florida.  That has to be the most generic name for a school in modern history.
  • The Twins drafted Jesse Crain in the 2nd round.  I once stated that Jesse Crain would take over as closer from Joe Nathan.  This was back in 2005.  Nathan saved roughly 180 games from that point on.  I'm so smart.
  • The Twins clearly had it bad for Thomas and Clement.  Really, who can blame them?

All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Denard Span, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek, Adam Lind, Evan Meek, Clete Thomas, Kyle Phillips, Garrett Mock, and Jeff Clement.

One Sentence Summary

There wasn't a Joe Mauer in the 2002 draft, but things still worked out just fine. 

Link to the Twins' 2002 draft from Baseball Reference

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