HS catcher Rortvedt taken with 56th pick

Twins address need with backstop from Wisconsin

June 10th, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins went with another high school position player with their second pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, selecting catcher Ben Rortvedt from Wisconsin's Verona Area High School with the No. 56 overall pick.

After taking prep outfielder Alex Kirilloff with the No. 15 overall pick, the Twins went with Rortvedt, who hails from New Glarus, Wisc., which is about 280 miles from Minneapolis. Rortvedt, ranked as the No. 51 Draft prospect by MLBPipeline.com, is considered the best offensive catcher among high schoolers.

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15th overall: Alex Kirilloff

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"We targeted him last year as well," Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. "We thought he was one of the better high school catchers available. He can throw, he can hit. He has really good makeup. We thought he was one of the only catchers who could hit. The kid was born to catch."

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon CT.

As a senior, the left-handed hitter batted .406 with five doubles, three triples and 10 RBIs. As a junior in 2015, he batted .437 with 10 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 29 RBIs with a .770 slugging percentage. Rortvedt also played football as a running back, linebacker, kicker and punter.

Rortvedt, 18, fills a need for the Twins, who are light on organizational catching depth, especially at the lower levels. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder is committed to the University of Arkansas, but is expected to sign. The pick carries a slot value of $1,141,600.

"He's not the biggest guy, but he's really strong," Johnson said. "He's got tremendous leadership qualities."

Johnson also praised Rortvedt's defensive skills behind the plate, as he's more than just an offense-first backstop.

"He's a really good receiver," Johnson said. "He has an average-to-plus arm. This guy can throw. Good hands. He calls a good game. He's a good leader. He's very vocal. He'll get into a pitcher's face. Tough kid. He's a grinder."

Rortvedt is just the seventh Wisconsin high schooler to be drafted in the first two rounds of the last 51 Drafts, joining shortstop Gavin Lux, who was taken by the Dodgers with the No. 20 overall pick.

"The Upper Midwest was pretty good this year," Johnson said. "It's getting better, talent-wise."