Collegians rule Twins' Day 2 picks

June 10th, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- After going with four high school position players on the first day of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Twins went with two collegiate pitchers with their first two picks on Friday.
Track every Twins pick from Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft, which consisted of Rounds 3-10. The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.
Round 3: RHP Griffin Jax, Air Force Academy
Jax, ranked as the No. 82 overall Draft prospect by, is a right-hander who was a three-year starter for the Air Force, with his fastball in the 89-95 mph range along with a changeup, slider and curve. He's the son of former NFL linebacker Garth Jax, who played with the Cowboys and Cardinals from 1986-95.

Jax, 21, went 9-2 with a 2.05 ERA in 15 starts this season as a junior, racking up the second-most wins in school history. He struck out 90 and walked 20 in 105 1/3 innings. He went 15-20 with a 4.27 ERA in his three seasons with the Air Force Academy. Jax had his active duty requirement deferred so he was eligible to be drafted.
"Jax was up there on our board," Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. "He's a really interesting kid. He's got really good makeup. Reminds me of [Brad] Radke. He has a good changeup and a fastball he can up to 95 mph."
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Round 4: RHP Thomas Hackimer, St. John's University
The Twins went with a college pitcher for the second straight pick, taking Hackimer with pick No. 123. Hackimer, who is ranked as the No. 174 overall prospect by, is a reliever who put up eye-popping numbers while setting the school's career saves record. Hackimer went 7-3 with a 1.17 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings as a senior. He racked up 36 saves over his four-year career, while posting a 2.42 ERA and striking out 176 batters in 160 innings.
Hackimer, a New Hyde Park, N.Y., native, isn't known for his velocity, however, as his fastball hovers around 88-91 mph. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder benefits from throwing from a funky sidearm slot that adds deception and makes his slider nearly unhittable when he's on. He was drafted by the Mets in the 15th round last year, but he opted not to sign.
"Hackimer is kind of unique and has a little bit of Pat Neshek in him with a different angle," Johnson said. "He can run it up to 90-92 mph. He reminds me of a [Trevor] Hildenberger, who is doing well for us at Double-A, but has a better slider than him."

Round 5 (153rd overall): RHP Jordan Balazovic, St. Martin Secondary School
The Twins selected their third straight pitcher, taking Balazovic. The right-hander comes from the prep ranks, and he's regarded as one of the top Draft prospects in Canada. As the No. 127-ranked prospect by, Balazovic turned heads while playing against Minor Leaguers in extended spring training in Arizona and Florida.

Balazovic, 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, isn't quite physically developed yet, but he has room to add strength and velocity. The Auburn commit, who throws from a three-quarters delivery, has a fastball that can hit 92 mph to go along with a changeup and a slider he needs to refine.
"Balazovic is a projection high school right-hander with a good body and a good arm," Johnson said. "He has a real chance to start. He throws strikes and he's young at 17. We like his upside."
Round 6 (183rd overall): RHP Alex Schick, Cal
The Twins went with yet another pitcher, selecting Schick with the No. 183 pick. Schick, a 6-foot-7, 210-pounder, made just seven appearances, including two starts this year, as he underwent knee surgery after injuring it in a freak accident while playing catch in late January. He posted a 2.03 ERA with nine strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings as a junior this season. In his three-year career at Cal, he went 6-3 with a 3.49 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 67 innings, making 32 relief appearances and eight starts.
"Schick was a high-profile guy coming into the year, but hurt his knee at the beginning of the year and only pitched less than a month," Johnson said. "But we had good follows on him from last year. He's got a good curveball and splitter, so we're going to run him out as a starter."
Round 7 (213rd overall): CF Matt Albanese, Bryant University
The Twins broke their stretch of taking four straight pitchers by selecting Albanese. The 20-year-old helped Bryant, a small university located in Rhode Island, to its best season ever, as the Bulldogs posted the best regular-season record in Division I this year at 47-12, and it advanced to the Super Regionals. Albanese was the team's star as a junior, hitting .366/.471/.639 with 11 homers, 15 stolen bases, 56 runs and 42 RBIs in 49 games. Albanese, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, earned All-Northeast Conference honors.
"Albanese, we took a flier on an athlete," Johnson said. "He actually got hurt in the conference final, but we had good reports on him. He broke his wrist so he won't be ready until July."
Round 8 (243rd overall): OF Shane Carrier, Fullerton College
The Twins went with a college outfielder for a second straight selection, taking Carrier with pick No. 243, and have drafted four outfielders through their first 10 picks. Carrier, 20, hit .387 with 12 homers, 44 runs and 59 RBIs in 42 games as a sophomore with Fullerton, a community college near where he grew up in Anaheim. He's committed to transfer to Cal State Fullerton.
Round 9 (273rd overall): C Mitchell Kranson, UC Berkeley
Kranson is the second catcher drafted by the Twins, joining prep backstop Ben Rortvedt, who was taken with the No. 56 overall pick. Kranson, a 5-foot-10, 205-pounder, has experience as both a catcher and infielder. The 22-year-old, who hits from the left side but throws right-handed, batted .333/.376/.474 with five homers, 15 doubles and 36 RBIs in 52 games as a senior this year.
"Kranson was a favorite in the room," Johnson said. "Just a baseball rat. He played third base at Cal, a three-hole hitter, but we're going to try to make him a catcher."
Round 10 (303rd overall): SS Brandon Lopez, Miami
The Twins went with their third college senior with their final pick of Day 2 by selecting Lopez. The 22-year-old, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, had a breakout season offensively, hitting .392/.467/.490 with two homers, 13 doubles and 41 RBIs in 53 games en route to being named to the All-ACC Third Team. Lopez was suspended to start the season for violating team rules, however, marking the third straight year he opened with a suspension, as he previously missed time for academic reasons.