The Twins have had a very obvious preference in recent years for using their early draft picks on two particular types of players: light-throwing college pitchers and athletic high school outfielders.
1) Alex Wimmers, a right-handed starting pitcher from Ohio State University whose fastball barely touches 90 mph.
3) Pat Dean, a left-handed starting pitcher from Boston College who typically works in the high 80s with his fastball.
The fact that the Twins consistently target these same types of players in the high rounds year after year can be frustrating for fans. When I say they like "light-tossing" college pitchers I don't mean they like to draft guys who throw underhand, but they tend to go after the polished control pitchers like Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker rather than the raw hard-throwers with big-time upside. While this strategy could be considered relatively safe, it doesn't churn out many dominating top-of-the-rotation types.
While some might be dismayed to see the Twins employing the same old approach this year, it's awfully difficult to argue with their recent results.
Aaron Hicks, a toolsy high school outfielder taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, has displayed advanced plate discipline and outstanding athleticism in his young professional career and was ranked as the No. 19 prospect in all of baseball prior to this season by Baseball America.
Of course, there are plenty of other examples from years past, including Slowey, Baker, Span, Matt Garza, Torii Hunter and so forth.
Like it or not, the Twins have stringently adhered to a specific draft strategy in recent years and for the most part it has worked for them. Granted, this year's draft -- which saw the Twins select pitchers and outfielders in rounds five-through-eight as well -- once again leaves the organization looking pretty thin on high-end talent at the infield positions, but let's not forget that the team's best current infield prospect (Miguel Sano) and best current catching prospect (Wilson Ramos) were both signed as international free agents. That's an area where the Twins have ramped up their focus lately, so we'll have to hope they can seek to address the areas that remain weaknesses through that avenue.