Wolfson: The Scoop: Twins Feeling a Draft, Narrow Options for No. 4 Pick
Created: 05/30/2013 9:33 PM KSTP.com
By: Darren Wolfson
The most selfless job at Target Field isn't masquerading around in the TC the Bear costume or washing jocks. It has to be sorting through all the Twins scouts' expense reports.
From high school and college coaches to advisors and major league colleagues, the word this week from numerous individuals is that the Twins, led by vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff and scouting director Deron Johnson, prep harder for the draft than anyone.
That tireless travel and work, at least involving this year's draft-eligible prospects, comes to a close next week. The draft runs June 6-8.
In a lengthy chat on Wednesday afternoon, Radcliff reiterated that the Twins' draft board for the No. 4 overall pick is down to four players.
"We have enough guys we have no problem taking," Radcliff said. "Dollars, risk, creativity, we can go many ways."
What he means by that is this: when draft meetings commence at Target Field Friday with the entire staff -- all area scouts, general manager Terry Ryan, assistant general manager Rob Antony, etc. -- one discussion will be to take a player who they can sign for below the recommended slot.
In this case, the No. 4 pick is worthy of a signing bonus of approximately $4.5 million. Doing so would allow them more financial flexibility with later picks -- mostly their second and third rounders.
According to sources, the player who would take less is Washington high school catcher Reese McGuire. His advisors, Matt Sosnick and Adam Karon, have a great relationship with the Twins. They represent Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit and had no problem negotiating a deal for 2011 second round pick Madison Boer, who had the option to go back to Oregon for his senior year.
For what it's worth, the duo also has pending free agent pitcher Josh Johnson as a client -- a name to remember next winter when the Twins inevitably will be searching for starters.
Radcliff was noncommittal on that McGuire scenario, but did acknowledge that he's looking for a catcher.
"Well, we want a catcher every draft," he said. "Looking for a star catcher is the hardest thing to find."
Radcliff said they separate the catchers on their draft board from the rest of the positions.
If the Twins don't go the under-slot route at No. 4, the industry buzz from multiple angles is that Texas high school right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart will be the pick.
Radcliff and Johnson have seen Stewart in-person many times, and the Twins have had a scout watch his every pitch over the last couple years.
"Well-scouted player," Radcliff said. "We value seeing each player throughout his timeline. The more looks you get, the better decision you'll make."
As for the elephant in the room -- Stewart is a Type 1 diabetic -- Radcliff dismissed it.
"It's manageable, controllable," he said. "It has been discussed. It's not nearly as big a deal as it used to be."
Darek Braunecker is advising Stewart. He's also the advisor for Indiana high school pitcher Trey Ball, a likely top-15 pick.
Other draft notes
• Sosnick and Karon are also advising Nevada junior right-handed pitcher Braden Shipley. The buzz seems to be that the Twins are focusing more on McGuire with the duo. But once everyone's voice is heard in the forthcoming draft gatherings, it's possible the stance could be swayed.
• The Twins held a workout for Atlanta area prospects two Saturdays ago. Consensus top-10 player, outfielder Austin Meadows (Grayson, Georgia), didn't attend.
• Jason Wood is advising Arkansas junior right-handed pitcher Ryne Stanek, another consensus top-10 pick. Word is Wood is open to a pre-draft deal, but is not nearly on-board as Sosnick/Karon. In fact, many in the game say nobody touches Sosnick/Karon when it comes to pre-draft negotiating. Johnson has seen Stanek numerous times, and the Twins have done the most work on him of any top-10 team. That includes seeing every medical record necessary.
• The Twins are bringing a few guys in for workouts/visits on Monday. The list includes Kentucky high school left-handed pitcher Hunter Green.
• Radcliff said the Twins would have a top-50 board. "We have to take the best players at four and 43. We really need everything." While telling the truth, it'll be shocking if the Twins don't take at least one pitcher who those picks.
• Red Wing high school outfielder Ryan Boldt, who underwent knee surgery in early May, will be off crutches in a week. He said he expects to be able to play again in mid-August.
As for whether he's thought about going in the second-round to the Twins, "I've definitely thought about getting drafted by the Twins," Boldt said Thursday afternoon. "It'd be a dream come true." The indication, according to sources, is that the Twins will likely go in a different direction at No. 43. That's if Boldt is still available. He very easily could go higher.
• SFX's John Courtright is advising gophers' left-handed pitcher Tom Windle, a possibility at No. 43. Ryan saw Windle in the Big Ten Tournament at Target Field last week.
• A possibility at No. 1 with the Astros, there's no buzz linking the Twins to North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran. However, a few advisors stated this week that the Twins keep their intentions quieter than most teams.
• Nobody believes that Stanford right-handed pitcher Mark Appel will fall to No. 4. But some are starting to hypothesize that Houston will take Moran No. 1. In that scenario, San Diego junior power hitter Kris Bryant or Oklahoma right-handed pitcher Jonathan Gray would fall to No. 4. Radcliff and the Twins love Bryant's bat and are convinced he can play a position, but it might not be third base, which he currently occupies.
The other problem is that Bryant is using Scott Boras as his advisor. Gray, like every pitcher, is someone the Twins have a book on. BBI Sports Group's Jay Franklin is his advisor.
• Radcliff on the international free agent market, which opens July 2: "It has depth. There a lot of position players we like. There's enough pitching. We have the fourth-most money to spend. We are a major player." One player the Twins like is Dominican outfielder Lewin Diaz.
• The Twins did not have a scout in Japan earlier this week to watch starting pitchers Shohei Otani, 18, and Masahiro Tanaka, 24. Tanaka will be made available to major league teams first.
• When contacted by phone earlier in the week, Twins owner Jim Pohlad declined comment about the team's recent 10-game losing streak/the quarter point of the season.
• The Twins scouted St. Paul Saints pitcher Mark Hamburger for a second time earlier this week.
• A couple NBA people are wondering why Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has not yet publicly declared his intention to return for a third season.
• There still hasn't been any contact between Adelman and his long-time confidant, Elston Turner, about a spot on the staff with the Wolves.
• Multiple NBA sources say that Milt Newton, Wizards vice president of player personnel, is a good bet to be the Wolves' new general manager. That wouldn't happen until after the draft. We first reported the Wolves' interest in Newton via Twitter last week. Newton and Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders worked together in Washington. Those who know Newton say he's a rock-solid guy. Newton was in town earlier in the week for the draft workouts.
• Saunders, along with 27 other teams will be in Vegas tomorrow for the ASM Sports workout. It'll include draft prospects and veteran free agents. The showing was organized by agent Andy Miller.
Draft prospects (in alphabetical order):
CJ Aiken - St. Joe's
Devin Booker - Clemson
Lorenzo Brown - North Carolina State
Vincent Council - Providence
Larry Drew II - UCLA
Elijah Johnson - Kansas
Sergey Karasev - Triumph, Russia
Trevor Mbakwe - Minnesota
Amath M'Baye - Oklahoma
Erik Murphy - Florida
Giovan Oniangue - Paris Levallois
Travis Releford - Kansas
Durand Scott - Miami, FL
Peyton Siva - Louisville
Deshaun Thomas - Ohio State
Elston Turner - Texas A&M
Khalif Wyatt - Temple
Veteran Free Agents:
Brian Asbury - Cajasol Sevilla, ACB
Brandon Bowman - Galil Gilboa, Israel
Steve Burtt - Rostov, Russia
Rasual Butler - Tulsa, NBDL
Keydren Clark - Umana Reyer, Italy
Will Daniels - VEF Riga, Latvia
Christian Eyenga - Texas, NBDL
Jayson Granger - Estudiantes, ACB
Malcolm Grant - Wollongong, Australia
Taurean Green - Barcellona, Italy A2
Xavier Gibson - Panefsiniakos, Greece
Stef Hannah - Santa Cruz, NBDL
Marquez Haynes - Artland, Germany
Quinton Hosley - Zastal, Poland
Josh Howard - Minnesota, NBA
Mac Koshwal Bakersfield, NBDL
Kyle Kuric - Estudiantes, ACB
James Mays - Sioux Falls, NBDL
Tasmin Mitchell - Triumph, Russia
Cuttino Mobley - Knicks, NBA
Patrick O'Bryant - Lietovas Rytas, Lithuania
Terrence Oglesby - Boros, Sweden
Juan Tello Palacios - Nantere, France
Antonio Pena - Caceres, Spain
Ryan Reid - Roanne, France
Gerald Robinson - Leuven, Belgium
Omar Samhan - Ulm, Germany
Ibrahima Thomas - Qater
Deron Washington - Netanya, Israel
Kyle Weems - Telecom Bonn, Germany
• Saunders will meet with point guard Ricky Rubio in Miami on Saturday then will see restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic in Europe next week.
• After an initial impression that a decision would come quickly, the latest word is that Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko will wait until the last second in late June to decide whether to opt-in to a $10 million contract for next season. The deadline is June 30.
• Known upcoming Wolves' draft workouts: Pittsburgh center Steven Adams on June 12. Kansas center Jeff Withey on June 13. North Carolina wing Reggie Bullock on June 17.
• The Wolves have also reached out to San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin and the NBDL's Glen Rice Jr. about coming into town. But no dates have been finalized. The Wolves will also have Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum in soon along with UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad and are working on Kansas two-guard Ben McLemore and Indiana two-guard Victor Oladipo. They are also targeting a couple other big men to have in.
• Former Wolves boss David Kahn is a safe bet to be involved with the new Sacramento ownership group. He'll likely be a part of the planning process for the new arena. Kahn has been spending time with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson.
• A scout who was present at Target Center Wednesday to see ex-Gopher Rodney Williams: "Big-time athlete. Showed decent. Has to be a lockdown defender to get into the league. No outside game."
• Among the NBA luminaries in town for the two-day workout: Kings GM Geoff Petrie, Mavs president Donnie Nelson, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld, Knicks GM Glen Grunwald, Knicks coach Mike Woodson, Warriors GM Bob Myers, & Raptors VP Ed Stefanski.
• The latest on Gophers basketball target, Florida International transfer forward Rakeem Buckles: "I heard that Rakeem is still trying to get up there, but that he has some work to do academically to be able to transfer," per a source close to Buckles.
• Former Eastview high school star and Drake transfer Joey King is not a good bet to be a walk-on for the Gophers. Bottom-line: he's good enough to land a scholarship somewhere. He has spoken with the Gophers' staff.
• It'll be an Arizona Cardinals mini-camp in town on Friday morning: receivers Larry Fitzgerald Jr. and Michael Floyd are training with a bunch of college players in Maple Grove.
• Gophers football recruit Frank Ragnow (junior offensive lineman, Chanhassen HS) received an offer this week from Kentucky. Ragnow will be finalizing a date in June to get a tour of the Minnesota campus with coach Jerry Kill.