The Twins have signed an undrafted 24-year-old righthander who purportedly throws 100 mph.
The 6-foot-6 Brandon Poulson had an 8.38 ERA for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco after previously playing for Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC.
The Twins spotted Poulson pitching earlier this month for Healdsburg in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League, and with enough money remaining in their 2014 draft pool, were able to outbid the Athletics, Mariners and Phillies for his services, agreeing to terms on a deal for $250,000.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat originally reported the story.
Twins scout Elliott Strankman said he first saw Poulson in the fall at a scout’s day for the Academy of Art.
“They don’t even have a home field,” Strankman said. “They hold their practices and games at Laney Community College in Oakland, (but) I always try to make it if someone puts on a scout day. An old scout told me, ‘You should always go, it shows respect.’ ”
Strankman said he saw Poulson run with the position players and that was when he was struck.
“I was blown away by the body,” Strankman said, “and then he ran a 6.6 (seconds) 60(-yard dash).”
He wasn’t blown away by what he saw on the mound.
“Then he threw and it wasn't very good,” Strankman said. “It was a brutal delivery, not a lot of velocity, a bad breaking ball. He stuck in our mind, but I kind of lost track of him.”
Strankman was doing some pro scouting in Stockton, Calif., and got a tip that “there’s some dude throwing 98 (mph) for Healdsburg.
“When (the source) told me it was Academy of Art, I knew exactly who it was.”
Strankman went to see Poulson—a Tuesday doubleheader at noon—with 10-12 other scouts on hand.
“The first warmup pitch was 96 (mph), and it was one of those moments where when you’re a scout,” he said. “You say, ‘I guess this is why you scout.’ The delivery was clean and he was 96-99, but I’m telling you, it was 98-99. I’ve been around and I’ve seen some stuff, but nothing quite like that.”
He called Twins scouting director Deron Johnson and West scouting supervisor Sean Johnson.
“Deron was like, ‘Don’t leave the park. They’re going to try to sign him.’ ”
Strankman said he texted with Poulson, telling him not to sign until the Twins had a chance to talk with him.
After some negotiating—”my (overall future potential) went up on this kid because he has a little saavy”—the sides came to an agreement.
"It’s a great story,” Sean Johnson told the AP. “This kid came out of nowhere.”
Poulson will begin his pro career as a reliever at Rookie-level Elizabethton in the Appalachian League.
The Twins are excited about finding a potential diamond, but Strankman did not want to get ahead of himself.
“He's really raw, exciting raw,” he said. “We don't expect him to be in a big league pen in two weeks. But he’s got a good body, he’s a good athlete. Who knows?”
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