Twins stock up on pitching in Draft
Minnesota picks up 29 arms out of 51 selections
MINNEAPOLIS -- From the opening selection to the final round, the 2009 First-Year Player Draft was deep with pitching prospects. Coincidentally for the Minnesota Twins, pitching was an area they were looking to bolster in this year's Draft.
With their first four picks of the Draft, the Twins took four college pitchers: Kyle Gibson of Missouri, Matthew Bashore from Indiana, Florida's William Bullock and Benjamin Tootle out of Jacksonville State."You've got to deal with the crop the way it is. It was pitching-dominated this year, both college and high school," said Mike Radcliffe, Minnesota's vice president of player personnel. "One of the things we wanted to add was pitching and velocity, so those were two of [many] objectives or side agendas you have as you go through it. But pitching was certainly a focus, no doubt." The Twins began Day 2 by drafting three straight position players -- highlighted by Minnesota native and Golden Gopher second baseman Derek McCallum in the fourth round. Outside of pitching, middle infielders were another need for the Twins organization. "Infield was another side agenda," Radcliffe said. "We took three of those guys early with [Wednesday's] portion of the Draft. [McCallum] was certainly part of the local focus, but a guy who's certainly good." After that, Minnesota got back to pitching. With four pitchers taken on Day 1, the Twins took another 13 pitchers with its 26 picks on the second day. On Day 3, Minnesota drafted 12 more arms, although just one lefty. Radcliffe said the organization didn't necessarily enter the Draft with a desire to draft so many pitchers, but took what was available.
Twins -- Top five selections
|22||RHP||Kyle Gibson||U Missouri Columbia|
|46||LHP||Matthew Bashore||Indiana U|
|70||RHP||William Bullock||U Florida|
|101||RHP||Benjamin Tootle||Jacksonville St U|
|132||2B||Derek McCallum||U Minnesota|
|Complete Twins Draft results >|
"We didn't have any particular strategy in regards to positions. You still try to get the best guys," Radcliffe said. "This was a Draft with a lot more pitching in it. That ended up kind of what we took for the most part."After taking a pair of Minnesota Golden Gophers on Day 2 (McCallum in the 4th round, and outfielder Eric Decker in the 27th round), the Twins nabbed a few more local products on the third and final day. Among them was Aaron Senne, an outfielder who played for Missouri but grew up in Rochester and was recruited by the Gophers. He was taken in the 32nd round, marking the second time he has been drafted by Minnesota. Later in the day, the Twins selected shortstop Ryan Abrahamson, from Tartan High School in Minnesota, in the 40th round. The 6-foot-4 senior was named the Metro Player of the Year after hitting .452 with 13 home runs this season. Taking a slightly different approach than in Drafts past, the Twins leaned more towards college players over high school prospects, especially in the earlier portion of the Draft. It wasn't until the ninth round that the Twins selected a high schooler, when they took shortstop Nick Lockwood from Jesuit High School in Florida. Overall on Day 2, however, Minnesota selected nine high school prospects. Last year, Minnesota made high school outfielder Aaron Hicks its No. 1 pick.
Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.