Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects
Index of Top 10 Prospects for all 30 Major League Teams
By Josh Boyd
1. Joe Mauer, c
Age: 18. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HSSt. Paul, Minn., 2001 (1st round).
Background: General manager Terry Ryan graded Mauer higher than any high school prospect he had ever seen, with three exceptions: Alex Rodriguez, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, Mauer capped his amateur career by leading Cretin-Derham Hall to the Minnesota state title and winning Baseball Americas High School Player of the Year award. He also won national football player of the year awards and tied a state record with 41 touchdown passes as a senior. He averaged nearly 20 points a game on the basketball court. Mauer had a scholarship to play quarterback at Florida State like fellow Cretin-Derham alum Chris Weinke, but the Twins put any doubts about Mauers athletic future to rest by signing the local product to a $5.15 million bonus, the second-highest ever for a player signing with the team that drafted him. Mauer was an easy choice as the Appalachian Leagues top prospect. He played at Elizabethton with his brother Jake, an infielder drafted in the 23rd round last year.
Strengths: Though he didnt homer in his pro debut, Mauer has excellent bat speed and gets good extension. The ball carries off his bat to all fields. He tied a national mark by homering in seven consecutive games in high school. He struck out only once in four years at Cretin-Derham Hall. Mauer is so athletically gifted that one scout said he could be a top-of-the-line defender at first base or third base, if not catcher. He has a rocket arm and unusual quickness for someone his size. He has a quick release and the ball comes out of his hand with ease. His makeup matches his talent.
Weaknesses: Mauer is polished for a high school player but still needs experience. If he fine-tunes his mechanics, hell become a top-notch catcher.
The Future: Mauer was the first prep backstop drafted No. 1 overall since Danny Goodwin in 1971. Of the 14 prep catchers taken with the top five picks, only Darrell Porter and Mike Lieberthal have stayed at the position and fulfilled their potential (reserving judgment on Ben Davis). The Twins are confident hell buck those odds. Mauer will make his full-season debut at low Class A Quad City in 2002.
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