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Twins Draft Preview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Mike Radcliff (first draft: 1994)
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking second)
2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking first)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking 20th)
(*Did not sign)
They saw a lot of their work pay off at the big league level last year, and the future looks just as bright with one of the best-stocked minor league systems in the game.
The organization's one consistent weakness--leaving several of their top picks each year unsigned--relates directly to Radcliff's limited signing budget. That the Twins have still been able to build depth is a testament to the hard work done by Radcliff's area scouts. It is crucial for them to identify and secure signable talent in the middle and later rounds of the draft.
Mark Sauls and Clete Thomas joined the Twins' star-studded list of "ones who got away" in the draft last year. The organization drafted five of the top 50 prospects who entered college as freshmen, according to BA's College Preview, including Sauls, Thomas and power-hitting phenom Jeff Clement (12th round, Southern California), outfielder Adam Lind (eighth round, South Alabama) and southpaw Ryan Schreppel (20th round, Cal State Fullerton).
The Twins still have Bellevue (Wash.) JC righthander Evan Meek (11th round) under control and should make a push to sign him before the closed period.
The Twins take a balanced approach in the draft, tending to select the best player on the board (when money doesn't overrule). Last year, they landed Tampa prep outfielder Denard Span, one of the top athletes in the draft, with the 20th pick. They added college pitching, a common theme for Radcliff, with righthanders Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek (sixth round) and lefty Ricky Barrett (seventh round). They seem to rely on the high school ranks more for position players.
The organization's most glaring weakness is depth in the middle of the infield. As usual, there aren't a lot of pure shortstops on the board, but Virginia high school shortstop Matt Moses could be one of their targets. Most scouts project Moses to move to third or second base, but like his hitting potential.