MLB Analyst Keith Law Rips the Minnesota Twins 2020 Draft
The Minnesota Twins wrapped up their 2020 MLB Draft, late Thursday. It seemed like a successful and very productive two night virtual outing. They drafted Aaron Sabato (North Carolina – 1B) with the 27th overall pick on night one, and went into night two with just three picks for four rounds.
The Twins started and ended day two, like so many things they do these days… with more hitting! Alerick Soularie (Tennessee – OF) got a “TC” hat first, at pick 59 (2), then they took their only pitcher of the night, Marco Raya (United South H.S.[TX] – RHP) with the 128 (4) overall pick, and then eventually finished the night with Kala’i Rosario (Waiakea H.S. [HI] – OF/1B) at pick 158 (5).
Over the next few days, like any good fan, I went looking for more information and more “expert opinions”… on my favorite team’s draft. I quickly remembered, however, why local coverage is always better than national. Two MLB writers from the same outlet, Keith Law and Aaron Gleeman (The Athletic) both wrote about the Twins draft… but the outlook was a bit different.
One is national and has to write something about 30 other teams (some of which his readers care much more about than others) and the other is local, and will pour over hours… (ok days) of research surrounding any major maneuvers the Minnesota Twins make. Let’s compare.
UNC first baseman Aaron Sabato (1) is a draft-eligible sophomore who got himself into the first round with huge exit velocities and a brief track record of patience and power. He’s a below-average defender at first base, and there’s a good chance he ends up at DH, but he should have the bat to be valuable there.Keith Law – The Athletic
Sabato joins Brent Rooker (No. 35 in 2017), Trevor Larnach (No. 20 in 2018) and Matt Wallner (No. 39 in 2019) in a farm system overflowing with former college superstars boasting huge power potential and limited defensive chops.
Unlike the previous regime, Falvey, Levine and scouting director Sean Johnson repeatedly target polished college hitters with excellent production facing high-level competition. Old-school scouting still plays a big part, but the increased availability of advanced data on college players enables teams like the Twins to crunch numbers like never before.Aaron Gleeman – The Athletic
Keith’s take on Sabato, who hits absolute piss missiles and is possibly one of the most MLB-ready power hitters in this draft, is underwhelming and generic. He seems… disappointed with the pick.
Meanwhile, Aaron Gleeman compares Sabato’s stats to #1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson, and his place in the Twins system, up there with with the organizations best hitters. It would be preposterous, at this time, to say Sabato is a better prospect than Torkelson or any of the guys Gleeman lists in the excerpt above. He definitely deserves more respect than Law is giving him, though. Law’s criticism gets worse, though.
Alerick Soularie (2) is a young junior at Tennessee, turning 21 next month, who’s had success in the SEC despite an awkward swing that sees his back side collapse. He can’t play center and doesn’t project to the power for a corner.Keith Law – The Athletic
[Scouting Director] Johnson expects Soularie to be a corner outfielder, but said he’ll also get some looks in center field and at second base. While not a great athlete, he’s seen as at least average defensively in the outfield, with decent speed. But make no mistake, like the majority of the college position players taken by Falvey and Levine, he was drafted for his hitting. They keep stockpiling big bats.Aaron Gleeman – The Athletic
Keith Law isn’t the only MLB analyst doubting Alerick Soularie. He doesn’t have the prettiest swing, strongest arm or fastest legs, but Soularie has been a staple of consistency vs the best collegiate competition in the country (SEC).
Soulaire was a JUCO product, right out of high school at San Jacinto College in Houston. There, he impressed scouts and received an offer to play for the University of Tennessee. In his first full season as a Volunteer, Soularie posted a .357 avg, 11 HR, 48 RBI and 8 stolen bases. He’s plays with a chip on his and now has another doubter (Law) to prove wrong.
Sean Johnson (Scouting Director) says the Twins plan on using Soularie, not only in the outfield, but at second base as well. There is a lot of negativity surrounding his defense, so that’s an interesting comment.
Marco Raya (4) is an undersized right-hander from Laredo, Texas, with average velocity from a high slot and a max-effort delivery.Keith Law – The Athletic
Raya is worth just one sentence to Keith Law, apparently. The Twins only had FOUR draft picks to talk about and one sentence full of disappointment is all he can muster… If there is anything that current Twins pitchers Sergio Romo (5-11, 185 lbs) and Cody Stashak (6-2, 169 lbs) have taught us, it’s that size doesn’t matter (as an MLB pitcher). Sorry to get your hopes up fellas.
Also Raya throws mid-90’s and has a higher spin rate than Jose Berrios. If that’s “average velocity” then Average is ok by me…
You see Marco Raya with a couple fastballs at 92 mph with a 2300 rpm spin rate in the video above. For context, here are the averages of a few current #MNTwins pitchers:— Tom Froemming (@TFTwins) June 12, 2020
Jake Odorizzi: 92.9 mph, 2236 spin
Jose Berrios 93.1 mph, 2190 spin
Kenta Maeda 92.1 mph, 2287 spin
Raya is only 17 years old and has a very long path to the majors, so wtf does Keith Law know about where he will be as an MLB pitcher? Let’s just throw away all of the research the Twins have done, with this one shitty generic sentence. Numbers don’t lie and, despite his lack of size, Raya jumps off the page statistically and has a very promising outlook.
The Twins finished off the draft by selecting Kala’i Rosario, a young power hitter from Hawaii. Keith Law, surprisingly, had nothing negative to say about Rosario and actually believes he can become a regular on the Twins roster.
Because Law couldn’t get a shot in on Rosario, he had to finish his Twins section with one last shot at the entire 4-player draft.
Kala’i Rosario (5), a high school outfielder from Hilo, Hawai’i, has big raw power and impressive bat speed, driving the ball well in spite of a very early stride and weight transfer, and if he hits enough to get to that power in games he’ll have a chance to be a regular in an outfield corner. Sabato could come up very quickly, but there doesn’t seem to be a ton of upside here [for the Twins’ draft as a whole].
Cameron Thompson | Minnesota Sports Fan