Over the past month, as MLB mock draft seasons has started to heat up, the two most frequent names linked to the Twins with the No. 1 overall draft pick have been prep shortstop/pitcher Hunter Greene and college first baseman/left-handed pitcher Brendan McKay.
Baseball America sees things differently.
In the publication’s latest mock draft, BA’s John Manuel has the Twins picking Vanderbilt pitcher Kyle Wright with the No. 1 overall selection.
That’s amid concerns that McKay has seen a drop in velocity on the mound. BA’s John Manuel wrote that the lefty has been 88-90 mph in recent starts for the Cardinals, which is below-average velo if the Twins are looking at him as a starter. Of course, he could also be drafted as a good-hitting first baseman with power, so it’s no sure thing that a drop in velocity will knock him out of the Twins’ plans with the top pick.
If they do pick McKay, they may have to decide which position he should focus on as he begins his pro career this summer.
And this is after a recent report from USA Today that said the Twins are ‘leaning toward’ passing on Hunter Greene to draft McKay. Greene is also a two-way player, although published scouting reports are more glowing about the high school right-hander on the mound, where he’s hit triple digits on radar guns.
One MLB.com report said that the Twins were considering as many as 7 players for the No. 1 pick, and several important stakeholders for the Twins have said that they’ll do their due diligence on multiple players before refining their list ahead of June’s draft.
It’s entirely possible the Twins don’t know who will go first in the upcoming draft, as they’ll wait to confer with all scouts and decision makers in pre-draft meetings next month.
Wright has posted a 3.06 ERA in 13 starts for Vanderbilt this year. Despite a slow start to the season, he’s racked up 93 strikeouts against 26 walks in 82 1/3 innings. Manuel calls Wright “the best combination of upside and modest risk,” and says the Twins have been “in hard on Wright’s last three starts.” Manuel says that Wright has shown up to “four plus pitches at times,” and he could wind up as the first player selected in June.
His past 5 starts: 39 1/3 innings, 51 strikeouts, 7 walks and a 1.44 ERA. He’s struck out almost 37% of all the hitters he’s faced, according to Vanderbilt’s stats page.