Twins draft for speed in first round
High school outfielder Revere selected as 28th overall pick
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have never been an organization to select players based on others' perceptions of their skills.So the Twins' decision to draft high school outfielder Ben Revere with the 28th overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft was based solely on how their scouts felt about Revere. Even if that meant taking a player that most other people projected to be, at-best, a second-round pick. "I think the rest of the baseball world is a little surprised," Twins scouting director Mike Radcliff said. "He was most likely not going to be picked for another 30, 40, 50 picks -- somewhere into the second round. "But this is a pick that we gained conviction on over the course of the spring. And in the last few weeks, we realized that we were going to put this guy up into the first round." Revere, 19, was ranked the 42nd-best high school prospect by Baseball America. The reason he hadn't registered on other clubs' radars was in part due to his size, Radcliff said. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound outfielder might not have the physical attributes to make him an automatic pick, but scout Billy Corrigan was able to see enough to get the club interested. And after much scouting and watching over the past year, the Twins finally came to the conclusion that Revere was indeed their guy. "It's a reflection of our system that we were able to get a guy like him," Radcliff said. "Our system allowed us to see him enough and realize, 'Hey, this is a really good player with a high ceiling.'" The ceiling might have bumped Revere up to the first round, but even the 19-year-old admitted he thought his best chance was to be taken in the second round. That changed when he received a phone call not very long after the draft had begun. "My advisor called me at 3:30 and said the Twins were really interested in me for the 28th pick, and my heart started pounding big-time," Revere said. "I just never thought I would go in the first round. And when the moment it came, well, it's just been a blessing, definitely." Last year, the Twins drafted high school outfielder Chris Parmelee with the 20th overall pick for his power bat. But while it's common to seek out bats with pop in the draft, the Twins liked the different type of skills Revere brought to the table. "He's maybe the fastest guy in this draft," Radcliff said. "He's a good center fielder and a guy that we feel will have an offensive impact. He's a leadoff candidate, a run scorer, a catalyst. And just like a power guy hitting in the middle, that's a lineup position that's hard to find in this market."
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Revere batted .516 with 10 doubles, five triples, and 41 RBIs in his senior year at Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington, Ky. He also tallied nine home runs and 24 stolen bases. It was those types of numbers that earned him the 2006-07 Gatorade Kentucky Baseball Player of the Year.Over his four years of high school, Revere showed his speed by tallying 39 doubles and 27 triples. But he also demonstrated plate patience with a career batting average of .487 and struck out just 19 times in 433 at-bats. Revere has already started to draw comparisons to another former Twins first-round selection, outfielder Denard Span. Both players possess a tremendous amount of natural speed, but Radcliff said that while Span was targeted by other clubs as a first-round choice, Revere actually is a bit more advanced in his skills right now. "This guy has better instincts for the game, at this point in time," Radcliff said. "We feel he has a better chance to hit and bat leadoff than Denard did at the same time. But they are similar types of skilled athletes." Though Minnesota seems to be almost a world away from Kentucky, Revere grew up a fan of the Twins. He credited Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett for first getting him to watch the Twins play, and he's tried to model some of his play in center field after the team's current Gold Glover, Torii Hunter. Revere even got the opportunity a few years ago to visit the Metrodome while playing in a summer tournament up near the Twin Cities. And he said he fell in love with the ballpark. "I remember walking on the field, in the center field, and I ran around in there thinking, 'I would love to play here,'" Revere said. "God just answered my prayers. It's been a blessing." Revere likely won't have the chance to play in the Metrodome, with the Twins set to move to their new stadium in 2010. But as a left-handed bat, Revere could still enjoy what the new ballpark has to offer. The dimensions to right field in the new park will be the same as the Metrodome, a setup that favors left-handed hitters. "I don't care what stadium it is, it's just a blessing to be part of a great organization like the Twins," Reeves said. After the first round was over, Radcliffe said the Twins likely would stick with the high school talent, which was the strength of this year's Draft. That's exactly what occurred, with the Twins taking another high school outfielder, catcher, infielder and finally a pitcher. And Radcliff was happy with the results of Day 1, even if it's hard to judge after just five rounds. "You would have thought after five rounds there would be a college guy in the group, but that's not how it shook out," Radcliff said. "All those guys we have not only conviction in, but we have a ceiling on offensive ability with the hitters. I'm happy with the quality of hitters we got." Round 2: Danny "Bam Bam" Rams, C, Gulliver Prepatory, Miami, FL
Rams began his senior season rated the nation's No. 1 catcher by Rise Magazine. Possessing raw power, good arm strength and big-time bat speed, Rams is the type of hitter that the Twins often seek in the early rounds. After hitting .372 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs in 2006, Rams was selected to the AFLAC All-American Baseball Classic. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound catcher has some skills behind the plate, as well. The worst-case scenario is that he could end up at first base. Round 3: Angel Morales, CF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Arroyo, Puerto Rico
A five-tool fast-footed outfielder, the hope is that Morales will carry that speed over to his offense, as well. Considered to be a premium athlete with a good package of tools, Morales' natural skills have been compared to Mike Cameron and Willy Tavarez. Besides his proven defensive prowess, Morales is considered to be more of a work in progress. Round 4: Reggie Williams, INF, Bellflower (CA) High School
A player that has tools to play second base and third base, Williams also gives the Twins a bat with raw power potential. Described by scouts as very athlete with good makeup, the 6-foot-2 infielder has a bat that can drive the ball to the gaps. A really young kid that still has room to develop body wise, Williams is considered to have plenty of opportunity for growth in his skills as well. Round 5: Nathan Striz, RHP, Santa Fe Catholic High School
A guy known best for his heavy sinker, Striz is being projected as either a reliever or a starter. He can throw anywhere from 87-94 mph and has the strength the club feels to be a durable arm.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.