Twins 2002 Draft Overview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Mike Radcliff (first year: 1994)
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking second)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking first)
Twins pick 20th in rotation.
Minnesota has built a successful minor league system through the draft and the international market, and as long as that continues the major league team should remain competitive.
While the Twins don't have any trouble identifying talent, they have had problems signing the players they draft. Two years ago they missed out on Aaron Heilman and Tagg Bozied. Heilman went back to Notre Dame and dominated before the Mets took him 18th overall last June. Bozied again proved to be a difficult sign when the Padres drafted him in the third round last year, but the Padres did get him under contract. It was the second time in three years the Twins missed on Bozied, who spurned their 50th-round offer out of high school.
In 1996, the Twins were one of the four teams to lose a draft loophole free agent, which cost them second overall selection Travis Lee. Lee signed with the Diamondbacks for $10 million. Radcliff came back strong in 1997, bringing in Michael Cuddyer and Michael Restovich in the first two rounds--two power hitters who could end up better than Lee.
Last year, the Twins stayed away from consensus top talent Mark Prior with the first overall pick because of his expected contract demands. Hometown hero Joe Mauer was an excellent fallback position, though. He turned down a Florida State football scholarship for a $5.15 million bonus, and nobody questions his upside. With Mauer's Cretin-Derham Hall in the Twins' backyard, Radcliff scouted the athletic catcher more than 100 times. Twins general manager Terry Ryan had only graded three high school prospects--Alex Rodriguez, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry--higher than Mauer in his career.
After picking fifth, second and first in the last three drafts, the Twins find themselves in unfamiliar (but welcome) territory this year. The last time they drafted this low was 1993, when they used the 20th overall selection on outfielder Torii Hunter.
Radcliff generally has shown a tendency to go with the best college player available--Todd Walker (1994), Mark Redman (1995), Lee, Ryan Mills (1998) and Adam Johnson (2000). But he also has not hesitated to grab top prep talent when it's available, as shown by the selections Cuddyer, B.J. Garbe (1999) and Mauer.
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