Paul Impressing Twins Early

FORT MYERS, Fla.—There’s a misconception about “senior signs” on the second day of the draft, Mike Radcliff said.

“People say you waste picks” by selecting college seniors with little leverage, in order to sign them to below-slot bonuses, said the Twins’ vice president for player personnel.

“That’s never been true. We have a senior board, and it’s got a lot of guys we like. You can find good talent there, maybe some guys who developed a little late.”

The Twins found one they like a lot last summer in Chris Paul, a righthanded-hitting first baseman from California who signed  for $50,000 as a sixth-round pick. Paul had modest success during his first three collegiate seasons, but he stepped forward as a senior.

“Numbers-wise, he got better as he went through college, but the visual (report) was always that he can hit,” Radcliff said of Paul, whose .562 slugging percentage ranked second in the Pacific-12 Conference in 2015.

“His swing is level, it’s flat, it’s balanced. All those mechanical things that say he’s a good technical hitter.”

The Twins were not surprised when Paul quickly began brutalizing pitchers at Rookie-level Elizabethton. He batted .302/.375/.488 with three home runs in 96 plate appearances to earn a promotion to low Class A Cedar Rapids. Paul drew just four walks while striking out 28 times.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of strike-zone knowledge,” Radcliff said. “He’s just a hitter. He swings. He probably needs to have a little more patience up there. But he’s had a lot of success making contact, and at his level, you don’t want to discourage him.”

Overall, the Twins are pleased, even if Paul turns out to be only the second-best athlete named Chris Paul.

“Yeah, I wish he was as athletic as the other one,” Radcliff said, referring to the all-star basketball guard of the Los Angeles Clippers. “But we like the one we got.”


•  The Twins released veteran outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Carlos Quentin, each of whom sat out the 2015 season, after they didn’t make the major league roster. Quentin declined a chance to play at Triple-A Rochester.

• The Twins outrighted lefthanded reliever (and Minnesota native) Mike Strong to Rochester. They claimed him on waivers from the Marlins in January.

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