While the Twins added shortstop Nick Gordon with their first pick on Thursday, their Central rivals were also loading up for the future. Here’s a look at the players who may be influencing the AL Central race within a few years:
Indians: Bradley Zimmer is the only collegiate player to be ranked among the top 50 in both stolen bases and slugging percentage, so the Indians couldn’t resist the University of San Francisco center fielder’s versatility with the 21st pick. He’s the brother of pitcher Kyle Zimmer, taken fifth overall by Kansas City two years ago.
Royals: Brandon Finnegan has hit 99 mph with his fastball, but the lefthander’s 5-11 frame caused many scouts to project him as a future closer. But Kansas City intends to keep the 17th overall pick a starter, as he was at TCU, where he posted a 2.07 ERA. With the 28th pick, K.C. took another lefty, Foster Griffin of First Academy in Orlando.
Tigers: Derek Hill grew up modeling his game after Torii Hunter, so the Elk Grove (Calif.) outfielder was overjoyed to be joining his hero’s organization. The Tigers believe the 23rd overall pick, who batted .500 during his senior year with 29 stolen bases, more closely resembles the last prep outfielder they drafted in Round 1: Curtis Granderson.
White Sox: With Chris Sale already atop their rotation, the Sox tried to add another, choosing North Carolina State lefthander Carlos Rodon with the third overall pick. Tall and polished, Rodon has a fastball that can hit 97 mph and a “wipeout” slider, which helped him strike out 117 batters in 98 ⅔ innings for the Wolfpack. He should join Sale quickly.