The Twins began the MLB first-year players draft by selecting a pair of high school kids on Sunday night. They ended it by picking 19 college players over the course of the next two days, all 21 of whom the Twins expect to sign, scouting director Sean Johnson said.
“Our main mantra is to walk out of the room with a feeling that we took players that we liked, from a lot of different lenses, starting with the scouts,” Johnson said. “I think we did that again this year. I think we felt good about the picks we made and where we took the players.”
The draft, which was five rounds last season as a result of the pandemic, was 20 rounds this year — down from 40 in years prior — and was pushed back to correspond with the this week’s MLB All-Star Game.
While COVID-19 caused initial issues in scouting this year’s class of players as high school and college leagues shut down and games were postponed, things started to normalize in the scouting world as the draft drew nearer.
With their first pick at No. 26 overall, the Twins took 18-year-old pitcher Chase Petty from Mainland Regional High School in New Jersey, a high-velocity slinger who hit 100 mph for the first time a year prior. The Twins nabbed Noah Miller, a switch-hitting high school shortstop, with their competitive balance pick at No. 36 overall.
Their second- and third-round picks were both left-handed pitchers from the Big Ten in Steven Hajjar from Michigan and Cade Povich from Nebraska. In total, they grabbed 11 pitchers, three shortstops, three catchers, two third basemen, a second baseman and an outfielder in the draft.
Johnson said the mantra was to take a shot at nabbing some starters later on. Six of the Twins’ 10 selections on Tuesday were pitchers.
“You get lucky with the Bailey Obers of the world in this range, so we went more pitching than position player, and I think our current roster situation in the minor leagues, yeah we could use some more pitching down at that level, and I prefer to take pitching this late in the draft,” he said.
Already, with a later draft, the Twins have begun scouting the class of 2022. In six days, Johnson will head to Cape Cod to really dive into that class.
And already, the Twins are thinking of ways to improve their drafting process moving forward.
“We always de-brief right after and talk about what happened the past three days, and how can we do it better,” Johnson said. “We do that every year. How do we move forward? What can we do different next year? We’re never really satisfied with the process. But I think coming from Year 1 in 2017 to now, we’ve come a long way. Our continuity really helps, having the same people in the room.”