Twins must wait and watch with No. 4 overall draft pick

The Astros, Cubs and Rockies will get first crack at whom many consider to be the Big Three of the 2013 amateur draft.

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North Carolina's Colin Moran slides safely home as Miami catcher Garrett Kennedy waits for the late throw during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Thursday, May 23, 2013.

Photo: Bernard Thomas, Associated Press

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The consensus is that a Big Three of prospects is available on Thursday when Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft takes place.

That’s too bad for the Twins, who have the fourth overall pick.

Then again, things could change as teams take a few more looks at their draft board and make adjustments before the draft begins a 6 p.m.

The top three prospects are considered to be Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel and University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant. The Twins would be pleased if either Gray or Bryant fell to them. It’s not clear if they feel the same way about Appel, who is represented by mega agent Scott Boras.

“It racks your brain a little bit trying to figure it out,’’ Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. “Picking No. 2 [their pick last year] is a lot easier than picking four. There’s a lot of different scenarios with that fourth pick. We’ll play it by ear.”

Could one of the top three prospects drop? The Houston Astros surprised everyone last year when they selected prep shortstop Carlos Correa first overall and signed him for less than the league’s recommended bonus. That left Byron Buxton for the Twins. Buxton now is considered one of the elite prospects in the game.

Houston has been looking at about seven candidates for the first overall pick this year.

“It’s a lot of pressure because one-one [first round, first pick] is supposed to have a big impact,’’ Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow told Houston reporters earlier this week, “and we will find someone that will have a big impact.’’

The Chicago Cubs might shake up the draft, too, with the second pick. Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, spoke earlier this week about the need to add polished hitters with plate discipline. Then it was learned that, in addition to the Big Three, the Cubs were looking at a fourth prospect: University of North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran.

If the Cubs take Moran, then one of the Big Three will be there for the Twins at No. 4.

It was reported Tuesday that Gray, whose fastball touches 100 miles per hour, tested positive for the drug Adderall during MLB’s pre-draft testing. The drug is banned from the league unless a player is granted an exemption for therapeutic use. But the positive test is not expected to affect Gray’s stock, and the Twins remain interested in him.

If Gray, Appel and Bryant are gone, the Twins have been looking at Moran and three other players: Kohl Stewart, a righthander from St. Pius X High School in Houston; Austin Meadows, an outfielder from Grayson (Ga.) High School; and Reese McGuire, a catcher from Kentwood (Wash.) High School.

There were reports in recent weeks that the Twins could sign McGuire for less than the league’s recommended bonus of a little more than $4.5 million. Johnson nixed that, saying that it’s dangerous to play money games with high picks.

“We can’t miss with that pick,’’ Johnson said.

Signability could be a factor, too. While teams have bonus constraints, advisers can ask for anything.

“We have to be prepared to make that guy selectable,’’ Johnson said. “We are not in the business of selecting a guy and not sign him. When you are picking that high in the draft, you don’t want to mess around with that.’’

Johnson, along with Mike Radcliff, vice president in charge of player personnel, welcomed scouts to Target Field last weekend as they began draft preparations by ranking their top 75 players. That sets them up for their first two picks, No. 4 and No. 43. The 43rd pick comes from compensatory and competitive balance picks awarded to teams between the first and second rounds.

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New England 5:30 PM
Seattle
Miami 13 1st Qtr 5:11
Boston 7
LA Lakers 1:00 PM
New York
Arizona 0 1st Prd 13:49
Montreal 2
St. Louis 1 1st Prd 13:06
Washington 0
Nashville 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Minnesota 2:00 PM
Vancouver
Miami-Florida 36 2nd Half
Florida State 25
Oakland 49 2nd Half
Youngstown St 42
Cincinnati 15 1st Half 8:41
East Carolina 11
Michigan 15 1st Half 10:37
Michigan State 8
Marist 1:00 PM
Canisius
Fordham 1:00 PM
Dayton
Manhattan 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Quinnipiac 1:00 PM
Niagara
Utah 1:30 PM
USC
Connecticut 2:00 PM
Houston
California 2:00 PM
Washington
North Dakota St 2:00 PM
Western Ill
Penn State 39 2nd Half 15:17
(22) Rutgers 42
(14) Texas 13 1st Half 12:14
TCU 13
Coll of Charleston 10 1st Half 9:22
Towson 22
Cornell 14 1st Half 11:07
Yale 13
Xavier 13 1st Half 11:32
Providence 10
Drexel 14 1st Half 11:22
UNC-Wilmington 11
Stony Brook 4 1st Half 11:51
New Hampshire 9
Maine 11 1st Half 8:02
Albany 8
Miami-Florida 14 1st Half 10:38
Pittsburgh 14
(21) Georgia 13 1st Half 11:56
(10) Kentucky 17
Arizona 12 1st Half 9:50
Colorado 14
Wake Forest 16 1st Half 11:06
(4) Notre Dame 19
Loyola-Chicago 13 1st Half 11:50
Illinois State 13
(24) Oklahoma 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Butler 1:00 PM
Creighton
St Johns 1:00 PM
Seton Hall
Delaware 1:00 PM
Hofstra
Binghamton 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Vermont 1:00 PM
Hartford
William & Mary 1:00 PM
Northeastern
Boston College 1:00 PM
(16) North Carolina
Virginia 1:00 PM
Clemson
(2) Connecticut 1:00 PM
Temple
Arkansas 1:00 PM
Alabama
Virginia Tech 1:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Kansas 1:00 PM
(3) Baylor
Canisius 1:00 PM
Rider
Monmouth 1:00 PM
Fairfield
Quinnipiac 1:00 PM
Saint Peters
Wichita State 1:05 PM
Drake
Evansville 1:05 PM
Indiana State
(18) Miss State 2:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
Villanova 2:00 PM
DePaul
Georgetown 2:00 PM
Marquette
North Texas 2:00 PM
Rice
Auburn 2:00 PM
(12) Texas A&M
(11) Arizona State 2:00 PM
Utah
Missouri State 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Michigan 2:00 PM
(15) Nebraska
Minnesota 2:00 PM
Northwestern
Wisconsin 2:00 PM
Illinois
Bradley 2:05 PM
Southern Ill
Florida 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
(20) Iowa 3:00 PM
(5) Maryland
(1) South Carolina 3:30 PM
Ole Miss

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