Reviewing MLB Mock Drafts: Who Will the Twins Take Second Overall?

Whose name will Bud Selig call at number two?

MLB Mock Drafts are not as pundit-heavy as NFL Mock Drafts, but they still exist. Who do they believe the Twins will take with the second overall selection?

Two weeks ago today I ran through my top five prospects who I'd like to see the Twins target with their second overall draft pick, along with five others who will probably be considered but whom I chose to leave out for a variety of reasons. With the draft now on the horizon, roughly a week and a half away, I thought now would be a good time to look through some mock drafts to see what the pundits think our hometown nine might do.

What always surprises me about mock drafts are their uniformity. This year, for the Twins, it's not such a surprise. When a team picks second overall it's more about that organization's philosophy on need and talent, simply because there is less uncertainty in a projection that only has to worry about one other player being taken in front of it. Let's see what our fellow online experts have to say.

Matt Garrioch, Minor League Ball
C, Mike Zunino, Florida

Garrioch doesn't give any commentary, but it's hard to blame him when he's projecting all ten rounds of the draft. As objective as I am about which options are good options and which options aren't such good options, because I clearly have a crystal ball, Zunino is one player I'd be very happy to see the Twins select.

Travistwinstalk, Twins Daily
SP, Mark Appel, Stanford

Here's a selection of what Travis had to say:

There are 6 guys that are plausible in my mind with Buxton, Appel, Zunino, Zimmer, Gausman, and Giolito ... everything that we have heard Gausman is a step behind Appel and Zimmer for pitchers ... My guess is it will come down to Buxton and Appel and the Twins will take whoever Houston doesn't take ... If you want true upside the pick should be Buxton who has a chance to be in the Justin Upton mold, but also a high chance he doesn't reach that potential.

I disagree with the assessment that "everything that we have heard" puts Gausman behind Appel and Zimmer. Certainly some players have longer track records and are more polished, but saying "everything" puts a bit of a finality on the observation which doesn't actually exist.

As for the pick itself, Appel makes a lot of sense. He's relatively polished and an accomplished collegiate pitcher. My reservations for Appel are what they'll always be: a lack of deception, and a common belief among scouts that his stuff won't translate well.

Chris Ransom, Rant Sports
OF, Byron Buxton, Appling County High School Georgia

Ransom looks like he copied and pasted a bunch of stuff from a bunch of different scouting reports and ends up reading like a machine, but it's hard to argue with what he says about Buxton. Unfortunately he doesn't relate him to the Twins too much, leaning on the obvious: Minnesota has taken toolsy high school outfielders in recent drafts, and without an obvious pick at number two they go that way again.

While taking the "best overall player" is usually a wise strategy, and that probably applies in this year's draft in spite of its weak nature, the Twins have a need at catcher and pitcher while they definitely do not have a need for another outfield prospect. Any Twins blog's top prospect list is littered with them, and with good reason. It won't surprise me to see Minnesota go Buxton's way, but I'd rather see them go elsewhere.

Chris Crawford, MLB Draft Insider
OF, Byron Buxton, Appling County High School Georgia

No commentary from Crawford, but it's obvious that people are drawn to Buxton's upside and, thanks to selections like Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks, believe the Twins will be, too.

Mock Draft 6.0, MLB Draft Countdown
SP, Kevin Gausman, Louisiana State

MLB Draft Countdown sees the Astros taking Appel at number one, saying:

This works out for Minnesota, who would probably prefer Gausman to Appel anyway.

Now I have absolutely no idea why the Twins might prefer Gausman to Appel, because personally I'd probably imagine it was the other way around, but I like Gausman because he can throw a good fastball, has decent secondary stuff, strikes out hitters in droves, and also gets ground balls.

Gausman, like Zunino, is another favorite of mine. But I'm not biased. I am completely objective.

Michael Schwartze, MLB Dirt
SP, Kevin Gausman, Louisiana State

Yeah, go Michael!

The Twins have consistently been linked to a pitcher so that is where I will go with this pick. Gausman has ace potential with a fastball that has been clocked at 99 mph, a potentially plus change-up, and a breaking ball that can be above-average. He has an ideal frame and could move fast through Baltimore’s system with Dylan Bundy and with Manny Machado. I really want to take Mike Zunino here but pitcher really seems to be the way they are leaning.

Oh wait. I think he had Baltimore taking Gausman, then changed it to the Twins. Know what though? I'm not arguing. He states exactly why I like this guy.

Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com
OF, Byron Buxton, Appling County High School Georgia

This is the lazy kind of analysis I can't stand:

The last time the Twins went the high school route, it was for toolsy outfielder Aaron Hicks in 2008. Assuming Buxton, whose skill set has drawn comparisons to the Upton brothers, doesn't go to the Astros, he could be too tough for Minnesota to pass up.

What does it mean "could be too tough for Minnesota to pass up"? All that means is: I don't really know what's going to happen, and the Aaron Hicks selection comes to mind, so I'll go with the Twins being automatons. It's not that the Twins might not take Buxton, because they very well might, but the reasoning Mayo gives allows him to sound accurate without really doing any research.

Then again he's also writing for a mass audience and his post will get a few kajillion more views than mine will. In my face.

Keith Law, ESPN.com
OF, Byron Buxton, Appling County High School Georgia

They were presumed to be on San Francisco right-hander Kyle Zimmer until the past few weeks, when Zimmer's velocity slipped and he missed a start with a hamstring injury. Appel seems to be the other option here, or perhaps prep right-hander Lucas Giolito now that teams are getting more and more comfortable with reports on his elbow injury, which caused him to miss most of the year.

Oddly enough, nobody has picked the Twins to take Zimmer. At least not in any of the mock drafts I looked through, and I looked through about fifteen (don't worry I won't subject you to all of those). But I like this analysis, and it makes sense to look at it from the perspective of eliminating other options. In a weak draft, the player with the fewest number of reasons to NOT be selected might be the guy who gets taken.

Conclusions

Obviously nobody really knows what's going to happen on June 4th, but it does surprise me how few Mock Drafts existed that projected the Twins to take Zunino. Nobody blinked at Zimmer. Appel seems to either go first or not to the Twins.

But there is a lot of love for Buxton, and a bit for Gausman. Right now, approximately eleven days and nine hours prior to the draft, those two players seem to be options A and B.

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