Twins reach no consensus on draft boards

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 18, 2014 - 10:10 PM

The Twins are focusing on a handful of prospects to select with the fifth overall pick of the June 5 draft, a class that includes several hard-throwing pitchers.

The Twins have attempted, in recent drafts, to address the lack of power arms in their farm system. Could the kid with the biggest arm of them all be available when it’s the Twins’ turn to draft?

Tyler Kolek, a righthander from Shepherd (Texas) High School, has a fastball that reaches 100 miles per hour, giving him the unofficial title as the hardest-throwing prep pitcher ever. Some mock drafts have him as a possible first overall pick. But Baseball America’s most recent predictions have Kolek on the board when the Twins’ turn comes up fifth overall.

Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said he expects draft boards to vary from team to team this year because it has been more difficult to identify the top tier of players this year than in the past.

“You can’t rely on what’s going to happen above you,” he said. “We have to be prepared to take the guy who gets to us. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut guy at the top. It’s been different this year.”

In addition to Kolek, the Twins are doing their most due diligence on righthander Aaron Nola, from Louisiana State; lefthander Brady Aiken from Cathedral Catholic in San Diego; Carlos Rodon, a lefthander from North Carolina State; Nick Gordon, a shortstop from Olympia High in Orlando; and Alex Jackson, a catcher-outfielder from Rancho Bernardo High near San Diego.

Despite the number of hard throwers in the draft, the Twins are keeping their options open. They ignored their glaring need for pitching in 2012 when they selected outfielder Byron Buxton with the second overall pick. So someone such as Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon and the brother of Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon, definitely is on their radar.

Hartman honored
The Twins honored Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman on Sunday for his years on the local sports beat.

The media conference room at Target Field was renamed the Sid Hartman Press Conference Room during manager Ron Gardenhire’s media session before Sunday’s 6-2 loss to Seattle. General Manager Terry Ryan helped unveil the dedication plaque inside the room.

Hartman and his family then gathered on the field for a ceremony, during which messages from several of Hartman’s close personal friends were played on the video board, including Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Bob Knight, Joe Mauer, Bud Grant and Kent Hrbek.

During a speech, Twins owner Jim Pohlad said, “There are many of us, including myself, who love calling Sid our close personal friend.”

With a mighty underhand flip, Hartman tossed the first pitch to Gardenhire.

The Twins also announced that a field at Northeast Athletic Park in Minneapolis will be renamed Sid Hartman All-Star Field and used for RBI leagues and high school games.

• As expected, the Twins sent righthander Michael Tonkin to Class AAA Rochester after Sunday’s game and recalled catcher-outfielder Chris Herr­mann. Tonkin as a 5.84 ERA in 15 games. Herrmann, sent down May 9 after hitting .128 with the Twins, batted .400 in nine games with the Red Wings. This gives Gardenhire another bench option for their five interleague road games this week.

• Outfielder Sam Fuld said he is not symptom-free after landing on the disabled list May 8 because of a concussion.

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