What is Major League Baseball going to do this year? Play 60 games? 70? I sure hope it isn’t 50. The season still hasn’t started yet, as we now approach July. If the timeline from the owners’ original proposal had played out, we’d be getting ready to play games… That’s how fractured the two sides have become.
While the league and it’s players try to drown baseball in the present, the Minnesota Twins are focusing on their future. They have signed two of their four draft picks and have scooped up a few undrafted free agents, as well.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) June 18, 2020
A normal MLB draft consists of 40 rounds. The COVID-19 shortened draft was diminished to five. This put pressure on the front office, to select players that will make an impact sooner rather than later. Keith Law doesn’t think the Twins accomplished that.
There is a silver lining to the minimized draft, though. In your typical draft, players often are offered slot values all the way into the 10th round. Some are able to make upwards of $140,000 before even putting on the uniform. However, with the shortened draft and money supposedly tight, the league has mandated a maximum of $20,000 be spent on any one undrafted free agent. This also forces teams to get creative, with how they sign the best players still available.
WHERE THE TWINS STAND WITH DRAFT PICKS
Entering the draft, the Twins were given a bonus pool allotment of only $4,528,600 to use for all four of their draft picks (they lost two picks to the signing of Josh Donaldson and in the Kenta Maeda trade). While that may seem like a lot, it pales in comparison of what teams at the top of the draft have to work with. If they do not sign a pick, that picks slot value is subtracted from the team’s total bonus pool.
Here is where the Twins stand on signing their draft picks:
|Round||Player||Slot Value||Signed For|
|1||Aaron Sabato (1B)||$2,570,100||Unsigned|
|2||Alerick Soularie (OF)||$1,185,500||$900,000|
|4||Marco Raya (RHP)||$442,900||$410,000|
|5||Kala’i Rosario (OF)||$330,100||Unsigned|
For those who are mathematically-inclined, this means the Twins have used $1,310,000 of their bonus pool and have $3,218,600 remaining. It is also crucial to recognize the signings of Soularie and Raya were for less than their slot value. Giving the team wiggle room to negotiate with both Sabato and Rosario. I expect them to sign soon.
But as noted above, the draft picks are not the only players the Twins have had their eyes on. They have made additional moves to lure in quality undrafted free agents in the last two weeks.
JOHN STANKIEWICZ (RHP) — FORDHAM
The first UFDA the Twins picked up is beyond quality in my mind. Stankiewicz, a seasoned collegiate player at Fordham, racked up excellent career numbers in college. From his 145 to 37 strikeout to walk ratio in 135 innings pitched to his solid 2.00 ERA and 30 earned runs. The kid has the goods and was criminally underrated coming into the draft. He was even named the 9th best college pitcher according to D1Baseball analytics.
John Stankiewicz – Fordham Junior – RHP
FB, CB, SL, CH
A10 Pitcher of the Year 2019
1.47 ERA 102 Ks
That CB is 🤢 pic.twitter.com/p41pfDAmkZ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 17, 2020
His numbers only improved once he was moved out of the bullpen and into a starting role in 2019 and into 2020. Since then, he has posted a 1.51 ERA while having the NCAA’s 6th lowest ERA (1.47) and 9th lowest WHIP (.901) in 2019.
Those performances garnered him the Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year and a 3rd-Team All-American selection. With a nasty curveball and a four-pitch arsenal, Stankiewicz could make an immediate impact in the minors.
Yet the most interesting aspect of his signing is how the Twins utilized rookie and former undrafted free agent Randy Dobnak and technology to sell him. As he told Dan Hayes of The Athletic:
“I’m really intrigued by everything they have from the technology side. All the analytical stuff is a big tool in baseball now, and it’s something I can definitely use to develop and get better…One of the selling points of the organization was Dobnak. When you’re talking about a non-drafted guy, everybody’s first year is, am I going to get a chance? Well, Dobnak got a chance. He pitched Game 2.”John Stankiewicz – Twins Undrafted Free Agent
LUKE SWEANY (LHP) — PACIFIC
Sweany, a 6′ 6″ left-hander out of Pacific University won’t turn as many heads as Stankiewicz. But his height is something I believe the Twins were high on to assist in his other areas of development.
Although his shortened 2020 season was worrisome. Going 1-4 in five starts and allowing 13 earned runs while only striking out 14 in 21.2 innings. It will be a process to mold him into what that Twins want.
While he isn’t the strikeout or command machine Stankiewicz is, striking out 93 in 113 innings pitched and a career ERA of 4.62, he has the tools to become a reliever the Twins need in the coming years.
Another Tiger turns PRO!— jointhepaf (@JOINTHEPAF) June 18, 2020
“I am so thankful for everyone that has helped me achieve this dream. Thank you to Pacific for being my home the last three years…I truly couldn’t have done it without all of you.” -Lucas Sweany
Join the PAF and fulfill dreams!https://t.co/1dlEtNpQig pic.twitter.com/KjVaBYYgW9
ALLANTE HALL (C) — PENSACOLA STATE
Another project, Hall had a winding path through his collegiate career. Originally committed to Arkansas coming out of high school and ranked the 38th best catching prospect, Hall wound up at Howard College before transferring too Pensacola.
It makes sense as to why he never broke into the most competitive collegiate conference too. At Howard, he batted a decent .273/.431/.432 but could never quite find his bearings. He struck out 10 times in 44 at-bats and his power is lacking as he hit only two doubles, one triple, and a single homer in 2019.
As for 2020, it was even worse. Batting .214/.340/.262 in 13 games while striking out 11 times in 42 at bats.
As a user of the @Dynaswing training bat, we want to congradulate Allante Hall (C) on getting drafted by the Minnesota Twins! To train like the best, visit https://t.co/g77WGqoaBg pic.twitter.com/JlN9OPbWgG— Dynaswing LLC (@Dynaswing) June 18, 2020
ZARION SHARPE (LHP) — UNC-WILLMINGTON
Another seasoned college player, Sharpe has potential. Over his four seasons with UNC-Willmington he racked up a 12-6 record in 38 appearances (33 starts) while obtaining a 147-60 strikeout to walk ratio in 157 innings.
While not a top-end prospect, Sharpe has the potential to command the zone and keep runners off the base paths with his 6′ 4″ height and 1.287 career WHIP.
We will keep you updated of any additional Twins UFDA signings as they occur.
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan