MINNEAPOLIS—Winning the American League Central comes with an incidental cost: The Twins have relatively lousy position in the various talent drafts. But the 27th pick is as good as the first if the right player is passed over 26 times.
"We went into the (Rule 5) draft thinking that Scott Diamond could help us more than anyone, but when you're picking 27th, you don't necessarily think you'll get him," vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff said. "We would have used the No. 1 pick on him, so we feel pretty fortunate."
Diamond was still there at 27 and now the former Braves lefthander will be given first shot at making Minnesota's bullpen. Just don't tell him that.
"He needs to prepare like he's a starting pitcher, come to camp and throw, and we'll sort it out," Radcliff said.
With lefthanders Ron Mahay, Brian Fuentes and Randy Flores all departed from the bullpen, Diamond will have a reasonable chance to stick. Jose Mijares is the only lefthander with a bullpen spot assured.
Diamond's four-pitch mix makes him an attractive risk, though his fastball tops out around 91 mph, albeit with good sink. "We think his fastball will play a little better out of the bullpen," Radcliff said.
Diamond, 24, pitched 56 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett last season, so "we got plenty of looks at him," Radcliff said. "Our scouts like him, and he passes statistical analysis, too—he doesn't give up home runs, doesn't walk many and gets a lot of ground balls."
Diamond, who signed with the Braves out of Binghamton in 2007, has never given up more than eight home runs in a season, and he strikes out three times as many as he walks. He went 8-7, 3.46 with Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett in 2010.
"Our evaluations say he appears ready to move up if given a shot," Radcliff said. "I'm still surprised he was there at (No.) 27."
• Ben Revere displayed impressive pitch selection during his stay in the Arizona Fall League, striking out just 12 times in 123 plate appearances. In addition, the Triple-A center fielder, who has a shot at sticking with the Twins as a reserve outfielder next spring, was 13-for-13 in stolen bases.
• The Twins added bullpen depth to their system by acquiring righthanders Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson from the Orioles for shortstop J.J. Hardy and reserve infielder Brendan Harris. Hoey, 28, posted a 3.25 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A last season, while Jacobson, 24, was 8-1, 2.79 at high Class A Frederick.