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Twins arm themselves in 2011 Draft

June 7, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — One thing that seemed clear about the Twins’ strategy in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft is that they targeted pitchers, especially college arms and big left-handers.

Out of 52 selections, the Twins selected 35 pitchers. Of those, 16 were left-handed, and 19 were college pitchers. After selecting 21 pitchers on Day 2, the Twins came back for 13 more on the third day of the Draft on Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t say we just targeted college pitching,” Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. “That’s just kind of how it fell. In the history of the Draft, a lot of times after the 10th or 11th round, it’s tough to sign a high school player. Those kids are going to go to school.”

The Twins bucked the trends a bit in their drafting patterns, selecting two infielders on Day 1 before going pitching-heavy on Days 2 and 3. Overall, however, the 2011 Draft saw teams focus heavily on pitching on Day 1 and switch to bats on Day 2.

The first two right-handers selected by the Twins — Hudson Boyd at No. 55, and Madison Boer at No. 87 — both look to have the potential to move relatively quickly through the system.

Another pick the Twins really liked was their third-round selection, left-hander Corey Williams out of Vanderbilt University. Williams is a power reliever who can touch 95 mph with his fastball.

“We like [Williams’] potential,” Johnson said. “He’s got a good arm; he’s a bullpen guy with three solid pitches. We definitely plan on signing him.”

With so many picks used on pitching, the Twins took only 17 position players in the Draft. After selecting a pair of infielders on Day 1 when they got shortstop Levi Michael at No. 30 and third baseman Travis Harrison at No. 55, the Twins drafted seven position players on Day 2 and eight on Day 3.

Six of those position players were shortstops and six were outfielders, while they also picked up two catchers, a pair of second basemen and one third baseman in Harrison. Like the pitchers, most (10 of 17) of the position players drafted by the Twins were collegiate athletes.

Again, the Twins were looking for older prospects to plug into their system, and Michael is another pick who could move quickly through the Minors to the big leagues. Johnson said he was happy to get some athletic middle infielders, something he thought could benefit the young players already in the organization at those positions.

Overall, Johnson said the Twins were able to fill some organizational needs with this year’s Draft, especially with the big power arms selected. With their Day 3 picks, the Twins filled some needs at the lower levels of the organization and also took some guys that they’ll keep an eye on as they take part in collegiate summer competition, like the Cape Cod League.

“We took a few guys that we’re going to attempt to sign; we’ll follow them in the summer,” Johnson said. “A few of them are going to the Cape; I think a few of them might be in the Northwoods League. We’ll monitor them [and] their progress during the summer, and we’ll make a decision at some point during the summer.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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