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Twins Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: RHP Adam Johnson (1) dominated the high Class A Florida State League, going 5-3, 2.47 while striking out 92 in 69 innings and limiting opponents to a .186 average.

Best Athlete: RHP J.D. Durbin (2) was an all-state wide receiver for his Arizona high school. Shortstop Edgardo LeBron (5) has above-average speed and arm strength to go with his power potential.

Best Hitter: OF James Tomlin (7), who hit .338 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, gets the nod over OF Jason Kubel (12).

Best Raw Power: OF Josh Rabe (11) or C Cory Agar (14). Neither is in the class of 1B Taggert Bozied (2), whom the Twins failed to sign.

Fastest Runner: Tomlin would edge LeBron, though neither is a true blazer.

Best Defensive Player: The Twins believe LeBron can be a solid shortstop or center fielder. He played mostly third base in the GCL and could end up there if he grows too big for the other two positions.

Best Fastball: Johnson’s heavy fastball tops out at 94-95 mph and would show that more often if Minnesota turns him into a closer. For now, it looks like he will remain a starter. Durbin has the same peak velocity, though he didn’t show it before he was shut down with elbow tendinitis. RHP Andy Persby (18), a former Minnesota backup quarterback, also can touch 95.

Most Intriguing Background: Persby wasn’t the only passer drafted by the Twins. RHPs Shane Boyd (13) and T.J. Prunty (20) are backups at Kentucky and Miami, respectively. C Kelley Gulledge (10) is the son of Rangers public-address announcer Chuck Morgan. RHP Stephen Reiss’ (27) twin brother Michael was taken one round earlier the Brewers. Neither Reiss signed, nor did Boyd or Prunty.

Closest To The Majors: Johnson. His Cal State Fullerton teammate, RHP Ron Corona (6), was one of three pitchers drafted in June who reached Double-A. His fastball touches 94 mph and he throws strikes.

Best Late-Round Pick: Persby, who didn’t pitch for the Golden Gophers until this spring. Besides his fastball, the Twins love his size (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) and makeup.

The One Who Got Away: Missing out on Bozied was a major loss, as was RHP Aaron Heilman (1). Minnesota was much closer to signing Heilman, whose best pitch is a 92-93 mph sinker. Heilman returned to Notre Dame and Bozied went back to San Francisco for their senior seasons. If Prunty sticks with baseball, he could be a high pick in three years.

Assessment: The Twins were doomed by their penurious budget yet again. They failed to sign two premium picks and settled for signability with the No. 2 overall choice, though it’s hard to argue with Johnson’s initial success.

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