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MLB Mock Draft 2012: Byron Buxton Could Be Minnesota Twins Target

The Minnesota Twins essentially need all the help they can get so it'd be pretty easy to say the team should just take the best player available in the upcoming draft. Unfortunately it's a bit harder to tell the best available players in baseball as opposed to other sport so -- thankfully -- ESPN has released its first official 2012 MLB mock draft.

The Twins were said to be high on Kyle Zimmer when ESPN Insider Keith Law released his top prospects list last week, but that's apparently no longer the case. Now it seems as though Minnesota's either hoping Stanford pitcher Mark Appel falls to them or a different pitcher impresses them.

If neither of those options work out, it seems Minnesota is apparently ready to settle on Byron Buxton. Buxton, a 6-foot-1 senior at Appling County High School in Baxley, Ga., was described earlier this year as "by far the best upside prospect in this year's draft, as his body and off-the-charts athleticism have earned him comparisons to players from the Uptons to Matt Kemp to Eric Davis to Willie Mays."

Law's mock draft writeup on Buxton and the Twins doesn't include quite as much optimism, though, as he seems to indicate that the Twins would be better off falling in love with a pitcher.

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.

Starting pitching is certainly a problem, but if Buxton is as much of a prospect as advertised, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to take a look at him -- the Twins can't get any worse, anyway, and at least it'd be exciting to have another high-caliber prospect in the minors.

For more on the Twins, head over to Twinkie Town. For more MLB news and expert analysis, be sure to check out Baseball Nation.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.