Twins scouts from all over the country have converged on Target Field, part of the organization’s final preparations for the upcoming first-year player draft.
“Anybody who is involved with any organization will tell you that this is probably the most important time of the year,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said.
Ryan has watched a handful of the top prospects and scouted the Big Ten tournament at Target Field last week. That’s about as far as Ryan wants to get involved. There’s a belief that general managers are becoming more involved in the draft because of the money involved, but Ryan said that can be dangerous.
“You don’t have a grasp on what is happening nationwide,” Ryan said. “You don’t have a list that gives you some slotting, where this guy belongs and this guy goes here. And on top of that, we’ve had the same scouts, most of them for 20-plus years. We’re pretty much on the same page and know what works and what hasn’t. Let them do their jobs.”
The club spent Saturday ranking the top 35 players in the nation and extended its list to 75 on Sunday. From there, the Twins will begin ranking the best players by position.
The Twins have the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, which begins Thursday with the first two rounds. Rounds 3 through 10 will be Friday, and Rounds 11 through 40 on Saturday.
The top players available in the draft are considered to be Oklahoma righthander Jonathan Gray, Stanford righthander Mark Appel and University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant. The Twins are looking at a handful of players to select with their first pick.
Colabello sent down
The Twins sent first baseman Chris Colabello back to Class AAA Rochester after their 10-0 victory over Seattle on Sunday. Colabello was 2-for-15 in two stints with the club.
The club will announce a corresponding move Monday. Outfielder Clete Thomas, batting .296 at Rochester, is a candidate to be called up, but the Twins would have to clear space on their 40-man roster for him. The Twins could use the depth because they lack a quality defensive outfielder on the bench.
• Justin Morneau sent a text message to manager Ron Gardenhire on Sunday morning expressing a willingness to start as the designated hitter, if needed.
Gardenhire decided against it, knowing that his first baseman is not 100 percent because of flulike symptoms. The Twins hope Morneau will be able to return to the lineup Tuesday at Kansas City.
• Trevor Plouffe (left calf) and Wilkin Ramirez (concussion) will not travel with the team on its upcoming road trip to Kansas City and Washington.
Plouffe is making progress after injuring his calf on Wednesday. There’s a chance he will have to go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment once he is healthy, but Ryan said it depends on when the third baseman will be ready for baseball activities.
Gardenhire wants Plouffe’s swing to be healthy, too.
“I’d sure like to see if Plouffe can come back and drive the baseball,” he said. “His bat can be very valuable to us.”
Ramirez is eligible to come off the seven-day concussion DL but hasn’t been cleared to play.
• Class A Cedar Rapids outfielder Byron Buxton, the Twins’ top pick in last year’s draft, will miss a few days because of a sore right thumb suffered while swinging the bat. Buxton, batting .333 with seven homers, 39 RBI and 26 stolen bases, recently was elevated to the No. 2 prospect in baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law.