The Scoops: Twins narrow pick to college pitchers, prep outfielders
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The Minnesota Twins' top two draft decision makers, scouting director Deron Johnson and vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff, convened for meetings Monday and Tuesday at Target Field. They conducted conference calls with each regional scout to finalize their board until everyone's together again starting on June 1.
The Twins have the fourth pick overall.
"We got four, finally, with three others talked about," Radcliff said. "We're good to go."
Two of the four players are Stanford pitcher Mark Appel and Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray, the expected top two picks. The other two are a bit of mystery although we did get Radcliff to opine on a few possibilities.
Eight Twins scouts have watched the two Georgia high school outfielders, Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier. According to Radcliff, the opinion on who's better is a 50/50 split.
As for whether they'd take an outfielder over a bigger position of need, say, a pitcher, Radcliff said: "We'll probably take something we need. ... But we still have to take the best guy."
Even if that best guy is being advised by power agent Scott Boras?
"He has a bunch," Radcliff said. "To be determined. But he tells us what the deal is. We'll know (what it'll take to sign the player)."
University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant, a Boras guy, has position flexibility, Radcliff said: "Third, first, the outfield -- he'll be able to play somewhere. He has great power."
Indiana State left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea, like Bryant, is projected top-10 pick. But he has "battled with an injury," Radcliff said. "That has to be a factor."
The draft is June 6 to 8.
Radcliff on Buxton
In many ways, Radcliff agrees: "He'll dictate."
Buxton is often compared to Braves outfielder B.J. Upton because both were the No. 2 overall pick out of high school. Upton made his major league debut two years after signing.
"He's a way better hitter than Upton," Radcliff said of Buxton. "Upton is a nice player, a plus defender. ... But Buxton has a swing that will allow him to hit for average. It's the fastest, quickest, most direct swing you'll see."
So, we will see Buxton at High-A Fort Myers soon?
"That's not imminent," Radcliff said.
Buxton is hitting .373/.488/.647 with 15 extra-base hits, 13 stolen bases and 31 runs scored in his first 28 games for Low-A Cedar Rapids.
• Coon Rapids right-handed pitcher Logan Shore hit 91 mph in the seventh inning of his start on Tuesday. Scouts love to see that sustained arm strength. He's expected to go in the top 75 of the draft, then will have to decide if he'll go pro or use his scholarship offer to Florida. According to Shore and his coach, Jerry Coe, the Twins, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Oakland A's, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets have shown the most interest.
• Radcliff on whether we'll see pitcher Kyle Gibson, who threw a complete game shutout for Rochester on Wednesday, next week at Target Field: "I don't think so. He's still uneven. Been better the last four times out."
• Radcliff isn't concerned about first baseman Justin Morneau, who has just four homers and eight doubles in his last 58 games: "We all want Justin to do well. There are not major issues swing-wise, approach-wise. He feels good. I have confidence that his production will ramp up."
• Former Twins minor leaguer and Texas Rangers reliever Mark Hamburger, 26, is back home living in mom and dad's basement in Shoreview. He's pitching for the St. Paul Saints, well on his way to recovery after being treated for marijuana use at Hazelden. If he signs again with a major league organization, he'll have to serve a 50-game suspension for failing a second drug test. The Saints have the right, per his contract, to test him.
• As tweeted late last week, look for Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders to pursue unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo this summer. Dallas doesn't have his Bird Rights, so a sign-and-trade isn't happening. Saunders will have to create a good amount of cap space to make that move a reality.
• Saunders and Adelman had a pow-wow on Wednesday for hours at Target Center. There's lots of work to do heading into next week's draft combine in Chicago. Look for many trade and free agent rumors to resonate when every front office member is together.
• Players with local ties who are among the 60 invited to Chicago: former Gopher Trevor Mbakwe, Roseville's Mike Muscala, ex-Gopher Colton Iverson and St. Cloud's Nate Wolters. Former Gopher Rodney Williams didn't make the cut. NBA teams go the list on Thursday afternoon.
• Mbakwe is training in Atlanta at a high speed performance academy. He's there with fellow prospects Lorenzo Brown (North Carolina State), Larry Drew (UCLA) and Devin Booker (Clemson). They all work directly with a trainer set up by agent Andy Miller.
• An unnamed agent who represents a free-agent linebacker on his talks with the Vikings: "They're not sure yet (if they'll sign someone). Plus, it all depends on who you ask. Lots of disagreement."
• Former Vikings defensive end Jayme Mitchell had a tryout with the Broncos on Thursday.
• Hall of Famer Cris Carter will host an elite skills camp at the University of Minnesota on July 12.
• Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher is expected to pursue ex-Gophers and Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek this summer. Vanek has one year remaining on his contract, and considering that Buffalo is rebuilding, he's an expected prime trade candidate.
• According to Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague, there won't be any basketball games with Richard Pitino against Rick Pitino this year. But a game or two with Louisville is a definite possibility starting in 2014. Teague did say that there's a chance one more high-profile nonconference game will be added for 2013. Right now, the Gophers will have good opponents in the Maui Invitational and in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. On the latter, fans should root more than ever for Andrew Wiggins, the guaranteed No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, to pick Florida State. It'll be the Seminoles at The Barn in early December.
• If Florida International transfer forward Rakeem Buckles can convince the NCAA to make him eligible to play right away, he's a good bet to be a Gopher. He has one year of eligibility left, so the Gophers could free up his scholarship again next offseason.
• A Gophers source said they're working on a few big men. The Gophers still have two scholarships to play with for next season.
• A Gophers source on new point guard Dre Mathieu: "Dre will bring speed and athleticism along with an ability to score and get into the paint." He has two years of eligibility remaining.
• The Gophers haven't made any inquires about Tulane transfer forward Josh Davis. He's eligible to play right away.
• In case you missed it: Chaska's Jake White, a Wichita State transfer, is not an option for the Gophers. He's heading to Nebraska-Omaha. The 6-foot-8 forward got backup minutes with the Shockers Final Four team.
• A Stanford football assistant coach was at DeLaSalle High School on Thursday. The Cardinal remain interested in quarterback Reid Travis.