How Will the Minnesota Twins Navigate a Five-Round MLB Draft and Free Agency Fallout?

COVID-19 has affected millions of people all across the world in one way or another. Thus, people are working from home, partaking in countless Zoom meetings, and doing other things that seemed unfathomable in January. COVID-19 affects all daily life, eventually cancelling sports leagues worldwide too, including Major League Baseball.

Opening Day (which should be a National Holiday, btw) has been pushed back from the end of March, to early July (hopefully). The MLB draft, which usually happens in early June and runs 40 rounds, has made HUGE changes to save money. It will now be shortened to just… five, yes five rounds.

Building on last season’s success

A year ago, the Twins had one of the best seasons in team history, winning 101 games. But regardless of regular season success, the Twins met their inevitable fate and fell to the Bronx Bombers in the ALDS.

That success a season ago brought the Twins into a “win-now” mode, which was a change of pace from former GM’s, like Bill Smith and Terry Ryan. These two signed under-the-radar types of players, who they hoped would have a good season. Sometimes it worked, most times it didn’t.

In their time, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have done a remarkable job building a winner inside the Target Field dimensions. They have made impact signings in Michael Pineda, Nelson Cruz and most notably this off-season, former AL MVP Josh Donaldson. The Donaldson signing in January meant that the Twins would lose their Comp. B pick (73rd) in a normal draft. In a draft that is only five rounds, that could be a big deal.

Success in past drafts

Heading into this year’s draft, the Twins have one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball, ranked 7th by Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and Mike Rosenbaum of The minor teams are highlighted by top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kiriloff, Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic.

All but one of those players were drafted in the first round, so the Twins know how to draft early. After taking position players in the previous three drafts (Lewis, Larnach and last year’s first rounder, Keoni Cavaco), I would expect the Twins to look at an experienced arm.

How to approach this draft

The Twins will have just four picks in this year’s draft; picks 27 (1st round), 59 (2nd round), 99 (4th round), and 125 (5th round).

There are two names to keep an eye on in the late-first round, both coming from the SEC:

J.T. Ginn

As a freshman, Ginn had a solid season for Mississippi State with a 3.13 ERA in the loaded SEC conference. He reached top-10 on some draft boards entering 2020 until his sophomore season was cut short (even shorter than everyone else’). He pitched in just one game before he required Tommy John surgery. That was in March… like 2 months ago.

Carmen Mlodzinski

A former South Carolina Gamecock, Mlodzinski doesn’t have the great numbers (ERA 4.74), but he does have a nice three-pitch arsenal that could be appealing to the Twins. CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa mocked him to the Twins this week.

Ed Howard

The former Little League Star is a high school name to watch and he should be around when the Twins draft at 27. (Jonathan Mayo) has him landing in the Twin Cities with this mock draft posted yesterday.

Howard played on the Jackie Robinson West Little League team, making the LLWS Championship in 2014. The youngster was a big part of that team, earning the final outs of the U.S. Championship. Now an Oklahoma commit, Howard might be tough to pry away from the Sooners, but he is athletic enough to stick at shortstop.

Since, the draft only being five rounds, expect some future stars to go undrafted. These undrafted players can still get $20,000 guaranteed. It will have a feel of the NFL draft, where some NFL teams ridden hidden gems for cheap, which could be the case for the Twins. 

Now, Falvey and Levine will look to build on their already outstanding farm system. Though it may look different, this is a big and interesting draft for the Twins.

Hunter Plante | Minnesota Sports Fan

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