Sue Tenerowicz

Twins Draft Review Part 3

MLB lead draft analyst Jeff Ellis continues his look at the Minnesota Twins 2016 draft. This time he looks at the six players taken between rounds rounds 6 and 11.

There are six more players to cover for the third and final part of this Twins 2016 draft look in.

One can find Part 1 here

Or find Part 2 here

In the sixth round the Twins took Alex Schick, a right handed pitcher from the University of California. He had missed most of the year, thanks to injury, but the previous two years he had mostly worked out of the pen. He had more starts in the Cape in 2015 then he had his first two years at Cal. He appeared in just seven games and pitched only 15.1 innings this spring for Cal before the draft.

Once drafted, the Twins had Schick start for their Elizabethton squad. He managed to record more starts this summer than he had during his entire college career. It is easy to see why one would expect Schick to start. He is 6’7” and weighs 210 pounds. He looks more like an innings eating starter then a reliever.

While his ERA was high, his overall rate data was solid this year. He posted low walk and home run rates, with a strikeout rate over nine. Schick sits in the low 90s, with a curve that should be an above average pitch. After missing much of his junior year, there is a chance for extra growth with Schick. I am sure the Twins will give him every chance to start, but he needs to develop a third pitch for any chance of that happening.

In the seventh round, the Twins took Matt Albanese from Bryant University. Bryant University has produced just one major leaguer, Keith MacWhorter, who was drafted in 1976.  Albanese was an interesting addition as a smaller school player who put up very impressive numbers. He showed average to above average tools across the board. His future is most likely as a right fielder, but there is a chance he could play center.

He broke his arm late in the year for Bryant, which meant that he did not play for any minor league affiliate this year. The injury also affected his stock, which caused him to slide and sign for below slot in the seventh.

I am intrigued by the numbers he put up in school, but it is very hard to judge him until we see him perform against the much better talent he will face in the minors.

Next up is eighth rounder Shane Carrier, who is an outfielder taken out of Fullerton College. The 20 year old JUCO player put up strong numbers as a sophomore, after limited time as a freshman. He is a solidly built player at 6’2” and 220 pounds. He profiles as a corner outfielder going forward.

Carrier played this season for Elizabethton and put up solid numbers in terms of power. His walk to strikeout ratio and strikeout percentages were troublesome, though. He was young for the level, but only a year younger than the average player. When I said troublesome, I meant a 6:1 K:BB ratio and a 19% strikeout rate.

Now, any player can change and grow, especially a 20 year old. However, I would be less than bullish on any player I saw with those numbers.

Mitchell Kranson is another player from the University of California taken by the Twins. He is the 6th player the Twins have taken from Cal in the last three years.

Kranson is another player who spent the year with Elizabethton. The senior split time between catcher, third, and first once drafted. Since he was 22 on draft day, he was already old for the level. After a productive career at Cal, I would have expected better results for Kranson.

There is not any stat in particular that I would point to that inspires confidence here, especially when you look at his age and experience compared to the level. I would think the big hope is that if he can settle into one position in general, that Kranson’s performance could improve going forward. As of now, though, he looks like a minor league depth, senior sign type.

Brandon Lopez marked back to back senior signs for the Twins. Lopez was a shortstop for Miami University, playing extensively since his freshman year. One would be hard pressed to find a more experienced player than Lopez in the entire draft; he logged 222 games in college and 900 plate appearances.

I really like this pick. Lopez put up high BABIP totals his junior and senior year, which often are a sign of quality contact. He was sent to Elizabethton and continued to post high BABIP totals before he was promoted to A ball to end the year. He appeared in just 18 games in low A, but continued to post good numbers, including a high BABIP.

The negatives on Lopez are very clear. He turned 23 in September, making him one of the oldest players in the draft. He has almost no power, but this might have been my favorite pick in the tenth round. The Twins were able to save a few dollars and land a player who has a chance down the road to be a utility infielder for the club.

Tyler Benninghoff is exactly the reason why I am writing up every team’s 11th round selection. He received a 600,000 dollar signing bonus, one of the highest of any player taken after round 10. Benninghoff had a chance to go much higher in the draft, but a bicep injury lead to Tommy John surgery, which is why he pitched so little as a senior. This also lead to him not pitching for any Twins minor league affiliate this year.

Benninghoff is a 6’4” right hander who is an excellent athlete. He was a multi-sport star in high school. He was a quarterback on the football team and also played basketball. The Twins paid a high price for Benninghoff, but the upside with his size and athleticism is pretty clear. He is mostly a low 90s guy right now, but the chance to add velocity, along with the beginnings of three working pitches (the best being his curve), could make Benninghoff one of the best players in the Twins’ entire draft.

This is a strong draft, with a lot of growth and ceiling to it. There is no way to judge it now since, with a class this young, it is going to take four years or more to really see the majority of this class make any impact. Nonetheless, Twins fans should be excited by the upside of this draft.

Minnesota Twins Tyler Benninghoff Brandon Lopez Mitchell Kranson Alex Schick

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