Twins load up with power arms in MLB draft

Out of 18 picks thus far by the organization, 13 have been pitchers -- and most of them light up the radar gun with their fastballs.

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Mason Melotakis

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Mason Melotakis settled in for a steak dinner with his parents Tuesday near his home in Houston. But he had to purchase a Twins cap first.

Earlier in the day, Melotakis turned on his television and saw he had been selected by the Twins with third pick in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft "and my family went ballistic."

Ballistic? The Twins drafted Melotakis, a lefthander from Northwestern State, because of what his pitches do while in flight. His fastball has been clocked at 94 to 96 miles per hour to go with a sharp curve.

"I've revved it up to 97, 98," he claims. "I just know more is coming. There's more in the tank."

He's an example of the Twins' efforts to add more hard throwers to their farm system. With extra picks in the early rounds -- and drafting second in most rounds this week -- the Twins had opportunities to address the lack of power on the mound.

"He's one we really targeted," said Deron Johnson, the Twins' scouting director. "Remember Terry Mulholland? Similar delivery."

Thirteen of the Twins' 18 picks so far in the draft have been pitchers. Through the 10th round, nine of 13 picks were pitchers, their highest percentage of pitching selections since 2004, when they used 11 of 14 picks on arms.

And several of them are considered power arms. Righthanders Jose Berrios and Luke Bard, both selected on Monday, have fastballs in the mid-90s. Fourth-round pick Jon Chargois, a righthander out of Rice, throws 95 mph with good movement. Their fourth-round pick, righthander Zach Jones of San Jose State, has hit 98 mph on the gun but averages 94 to 96 mph.

The Twins took Chargois' teammate, righthander Tyler Duffey, in the fifth round. He throws 88 to 92 mph and has touched 94, but had a higher strikeout rate than Chargois. Alex Muren, selected in the 12th round out of Cal State-Northridge, is raw but hit 97 mph last fall and pitched at 90 to 94 mph during the college season.

"We drafted more power arms probably than we ever have," Johnson said.

Some of the pitchers selected are relievers, but Johnson said the Twins plan to give Bard and Melotakis a chance to start. Melotakis says he has a feel for a changeup, which would give him a third pitch, but he hasn't had to use it much while closing.

"I feel fortunate," Melotakis said, "because I feel they are going to develop me into a great pitcher."

Other starters the Twins have drafted so far include Berrios; Andre Martinez, a prep lefthander taken in the sixth round out of Pembroke Pines, Fla.; eighth-round pick Christian Powell, a righthander from the College of Charleston; 10th-round pick D.J. Baxendale, a righthander from the University of Arkansas; 11th-round pick Taylor Rogers, a lefthander from the University of Kentucky; 13th-round pick Erich Knab, a prep righthander from Conway, South Carolina; and 15th-rounder Jarret Leverett, a lefthander from Georgia Southern.

"I'm happy with the arms we got," Johnson said.

The draft concludes tomorrow with rounds 16-40.

Draft notes

• The Twins drafted outfielder Adam Walker of Jacksonville University after he put on a power display during a workout at Target Field on Saturday. His father, who goes by the same name, was a replacement player for the Vikings.

• Johnson said outfielder Byron Buxton, the second overall pick, will probably begin his pro career with the Twins' rookie team in the Gulf Coast League but move on to Elizabethton, Tenn., of the Appalachian League. Buxton has to sign first, of course.

  • DAY 2 TUESDAY, ROUNDS 2-15 TODAY, ROUNDS 16-40

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 51 3rd Qtr
Golden State 56
Washington 46 3rd Qtr
LA Lakers 57
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 1 3rd Prd 13:35
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 2 2nd Prd 2:41
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 46 2nd Half 7:49
Nevada 44
SD Christian 48 2nd Half 1:32
CS-Bakersfield 77
Colorado State 22 1st Half 6:51
Boise State 22
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
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