Twins select SS Levi Michael with the 30th pick in the MLB Draft
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins selected shortstop Levi Michael with the 30th overall pick in the first round of baseball's first-year player draft on Monday night.
A 5-foot-10, 175-pound switch-hitter out of the University of North Carolina, Michael is hitting .327/.478/.497 with three triples and 41 RBIs in his junior year.
"He is a switch-hitting, athletic shortstop," Twins director of scouting Deron Johnson said. "He played with a sore hip flexor and a sore ankle probably about the last month of the year, and he really grinded it out, and that kind of showed what kind of makeup the kid has."
Johnson was impressed by Michael's ability to hit from both sides of the plate and his power.
"He is not just a punch-and-judy hitter," Johnson said. "He can drive a ball."
At 20, Michael is a young junior who has shown great versatility in his college career, playing second base, third base and shortstop. But he said in a conference call with Twin Cities reporters he feels most comfortable playing in the middle of the infield.
"We think he can stay at shortstop, which is key," Johnson said. "If you can get a middle infielder that can stay at short, college position player, and he is almost 20."
Said Michael, "Whether it be second base or shortstop, I feel comfortable with both of those positions but whatever fits for the organization. I am just looking forward to playing."
The Tar Heels advanced to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, and Michael says he is looking forward to finishing the season before focusing on the Twins.
"Hopefully, (the Heels) make it back to (the College World Series) again this year, but right now, I am just taking it one thing at a time," Michael said.
Johnson said Michael will "absolutely" will leave as a junior and be in the Twins organization next season.
"If everything progresses right," Johnson said, "he should move rather quickly (through the minors)."
Michael is the first position player out of college the Twins have drafted in the first round since first baseman Travis Lee in 1996.
Per ESPN Scounts Inc.:
Michael is the top college shortstop in the class and the Twins may be pairing him with import Tsyoshi Nishioka in the middle of the infield in a few years. Michael runs well and handles shortstop, but his bat is his best tool and he projects to hit for average and get on base thanks to an ability to use the whole field. The Twins passed on some prep arms but didn't reach for the college pitcher as some expected.