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Twins Pick Third Baseman And Plenty Of Pitchers

June 4, 2003
By John Millea

Matt Moses has a scholarship from Clemson waiting for him, but the Twins are optimistic that the high school shortstop from Richmond, Va., will sign with them after they made him the 21st pick in Tuesday's draft.

The lefthanded-hitting Moses is considered to have the best prep bat in this draft by some scouts, and that's the biggest reason the Twins selected him. They like his power potential and expect to make him a full-time third baseman as soon as he signs. He also pitched in high school.

Moses was named Gatorade's Virginia State Player of the Year this season, making eligible for National Player of the Year honors.

"He has a lot of confidence in his offensive potential and a lot of belief in his makeup," scouting director Mike Radcliff said of the 6-1, 205-pound Moses. "We will be conservative with him and be patient and see how it goes. But he has a lot of conviction that he will be a good hitter."

After Moses, the Twins took pitchers with 14 of their next 19 picks. The Twins drafted seven collegians, seven high school players and five junior colleges. They also drafted Greg Najack, a Belgian who played American Legion ball in New York.

In drafting a Virginian, the Twins returned to familiar territory. They drafted Michael Cuddyer as a shortstop from Great Bridge High School with the ninth overall pick in 1997. Cuddyer, who became an outfielder in the minor leagues, has played at the Triple-A and major league levels for the past two years.

The last time the Twins took a third baseman with their first-round pick was Mike Sodders in 1981.

Physically, Moses is ahead of many high schoolers. With a good-sized frame and a burgeoning, athletic build, he has displayed a very quick batting stroke with line-drive power.

He hit .488 this spring. If he signs, the Twins probably will place him with their Gulf Coast League team.

The Twins' top pick in 2002, Florida outfielder Denard Span, signed for $1.7 million.

The Twins drafted 6-3 righthander Scott Baker from Oklahoma State in the second round, 6-4 righthander David Shinskie of Mount Carmel High School in Kulpmont, Pa., in the fourth round, 6-4 lefthander Errol Simonitsch of Gonzaga in the sixth round and 6-1 righthander Chris Schutt of in the seventh round.

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