Twins Take Different Direction With This Year’s First-rounder

The past few years, the Minnesota Twins drafts have been highlighted by high-upside players.

We’ve seen high school outfielders Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks taken in recent first rounds. Then last year, the Twins selected University of Missouri pitcher Kyle Gibson, who was projected to be a top-10 pick but fell to the Twins thanks to some injury concerns.

This year, the Twins changed directions with their first rounder, when they took Ohio State right-handed starting pitcher Alex Wimmers with the 21st overall pick on Monday.

Wimmers might not have the upside of a Gibson. But he was tabbed by one analyst on MLB Network as the most major league ready player available.

The Twins typically move players slowly through the minor leagues, so I wouldn’t expect to see him pitching for the team by the end of the season or anything. But obviously, the Twins could use some pitching depth, especially someone that could step in soon.

So who is Wimmers? FanGraphs’ Bryan Smith likens him to Pat Hentgen in a best-case scenario. And anyone without a plus fastball but a plus change-up will be compared to former Twins pitcher Brad Radke.

Smith wrote another piece for FanGraphs breaking down each of the first-rounders. Smith says that while Wimmers might be the most major league ready player available, he shouldn’t be compared to Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake, who has made a big splash with the Reds just one year after being drafted.

Wimmers throws in the low 90s with his fastball and has the best change-up in the draft.

Now the test will be seeing if he can translate all of that into a big league career.