MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins opened Day 2 of the 2017 MLB Draft on Tuesday by selecting high school right-hander Blayne Enlow with the first pick of the third round at No. 76 overall.
Enlow, from St. Amant High School (La.), was ranked as the No. 29 Draft prospect by MLBPipeline.com and was considered the best talent available on the second day of the Draft. He's the second prep right-hander taken by the Twins, joining second-rounder Landon Leach.
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"He's a guy we liked a lot last summer on the circuit," Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said. "He had a good spring. He may have the best curveball of the high school group. He has a high ceiling with a fastball he can run up to 94. He's got a pretty lean body and some height. He can spin the ball, which is hard to teach."
Enlow, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound 18-year-old, is well known on the showcase circuit, and many scouts believe he has the best curveball of any prep pitcher in the class. His fastball velocity, however, dipped a bit in his senior year from 90-94 mph to 88-91 mph. Enlow still excelled and was a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game First-Team All-American and Southeast All-Region First-Team selection. His high school has produced Major Leaguers Ben Sheets, Reid Brignac and Kim Batiste.
Enlow pitched for the U.S. National Team last October and tossed 13 scoreless innings to help the U.S. to the gold medal in the Pan-American Games. He has the upside of a top-end starter and is committed to LSU. The pick has a slot value of $755,500, but the Twins could go over slot, as they're expected to sign No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis for under slot.
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 11 a.m. CT.
Round 4: LHP Charlie Barnes, Clemson
Picked 106th overall, Barnes is ranked as the No. 149 Draft prospect by MLBPipeline.com and is considered a crafty lefty. He pitched well when matched up against top talent such as Louisville's Brendan McKay and North Carolina's J.B. Bukauskas in heavily scouted games this spring.
"He's a severe strike-thrower," Johnson said. "He definitely has a starter's profile with a full mix. He's performed."
His fastball touches 91 mph with some sink, but he possesses a plus changeup as well as a mid-70s curveball and a low-80s cutter/slider. He's a strike-thrower who showed better command this year, improving his ERA from 4.66 last season to 3.20. Barnes, regarded as a potential mid-rotation starter, struck out 113 and walked 22 in 101 1/3 innings.
Barnes earned his degree from Clemson in three years, majoring in parks, recreation and tourism management. The pick has a slot value of $507,000.
Round 5: 3B Andrew Bechtold, Chipola College
The Twins selected their second college position player of the Draft with Bechtold at No. 136. Bechtold was ranked as the No. 142 overall Draft prospect by MLBPipeline.com.
After a torn thumb ligament at the University of Maryland kept him out of action until his sophomore year, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder transferred to Chipola, a junior college hotbed that has produced players such as Jose Bautista and Russell Martin. He's considered a tough out at the plate with the chance to hit for average and power. He's considered at least an average runner, and he has a strong arm and good hands at third.
"Bechtold is a guy we liked a lot," Johnson said. "We were glad he was available at that spot. He's a guy we targeted earlier than that. He has a third-base profile. He reminds me of Matt Chapman from the A's Draft. He's got good power and is a good defender at third. His makeup is really good."
Bechtold, 21, batted .419 with 16 doubles, 12 home runs, 24 stolen bases and 65 RBIs in 60 games while leading Chipola to the 2017 NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series championship, going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in the title game. Bechtold, previously drafted by the Rangers in the 37th round of the 2014 Draft, has a scholarship offer from Louisiana State University. The pick has a slot value of $378,700. His father, Scott, played football at Syracuse University and baseball at the University of Delaware.
Round 6: SS Ricardo De La Torre, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
The Twins have had success with Draft picks from Puerto Rico in recent years, including Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario, and they hope for more of the same from De La Torre, taken with the 166th pick. With his plus tools, De La Torre (ranked 180th overall) was regarded as a potential first-round pick before the Draft, but he slid due to an inconsistent spring.
De La Torre, 18, has a strong arm, and his speed gives him range, although some scouts see him as a second baseman rather than a shortstop. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder has the defensive prowess to remain up the middle, while his bat is still a bit of a question mark. He shows flashes of power and will need to improve his approach at the plate.
"De La Torre is another guy we're super excited about for the round we got him," Johnson said. "He has a chance to stick at short but could move to third or second. But he's got power and an aggressive swing."
The Juana Diaz, P.R., native was named a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game First-Team All-American and was named to the Canada/Puerto Rico All Region First-Team. The pick has a slot value of $283,300.
Round 7: LHP Ryley Widell, Central Arizona College
Taken with the 196th pick, Widell was the Twins' second college lefty of the Draft. Widell, ranked as the No. 190 Draft prospect, has a fastball in the 87- to 92-mph range, while his changeup is his best pitch. He also throws a slurvy slider and a curveball. Scouts believe the curveball is a better pitch, but he'll have to refine it. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder went 8-2 with a 1.98 ERA this year, striking out 115 against 39 walks. Batters hit only .179 against him.
The Hawaii native, who also played at quarterback for King Kekaulike High School in Maui, started his career at Washington State University but transferred after posting an 8.85 ERA as a freshman. He's currently committed to the University of North Carolina. The pick has a slot value of $220,700.
"A starter with a mix," Johnson said. "Average fastball, good change and a nice breaking ball."
Round 8: LHP Bryan Sammons, Western Carolina University
Sammons, the No. 226 overall pick, posted a 3.02 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 41 walks in 104 1/3 innings as a senior. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder was a four-year starter for Western Carolina, earning Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team honors in '14. He also pitched in the Cape Cod League, helping Yarmouth-Dennis to the championship, and the California Collegiate League.
Given that the 22-year-old is a senior and doesn't have the option of returning to school, the Twins could look to sign him for under the $174,400 slot value of the pick. Sammons also starred at Hoggard High School in Wilmington, N.C., going 16-1 with a 1.00 ERA as a senior.
"I think we had an attitude that we wanted to acquire as much starting pitching as we could on Day 2," Johnson said. "We drafted three seniors at the end there, which could help with our bonus pool."
Round 9: OF Mark Contreras, University of California, Riverside
The Twins added an athletic outfielder with a plus hitting tool in Contreras with the No. 256 overall pick. He finished second in the Big West with a .366 batting average, third with a .427 on-base percentage and fifth with a .558 slugging percentage as a senior. He also led the conference in triples, while setting his team's record for the highest batting average since the new college bats were introduced in 2011. He also tied an NCAA record with three triples in a game, showing off his impressive speed.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder is the second college senior taken by the Twins, who could look to sign him for less than the slot value of $148,000. The 22-year-old batted .319/.387/.432 in his four years at UC Riverside. Contreras played shortstop and third base while starring for Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley, Calif., but he saw time in both the outfield and infield in college.
"He's a guy who can play all three spots but might be in a corner," Johnson said. "He had a nice year. Again, we took some seniors there at the end."
Round 10: RHP Calvin Faucher, University of California, Irvine
Faucher was the first reliever taken by the Twins this Draft, going on pick No. 286. He served as UC Irvine's closer in his senior season, posting a 4.08 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 30 walks over 39 2/3 innings, while registering 12 saves. The 21-year-old had a 0.71 ERA with eight saves and 34 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings as a junior.
As the third college senior taken by the Twins on Day 2, he could sign for less than the $137,100 slot value. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder also pitched with Sammons in the 2016 Cape Cod League with Yarmouth-Dennis, for whom he had a 2.91 ERA with seven saves. He went to Southwestern Community College before playing at UC Irvine and played high school ball at Hilltop High School near San Diego.
"He's definitely a reliever," Johnson said. "We liked his pitches and pure stuff. He's been up to 94-95 with a really good breaking ball. His walks were high, but he gets a lot of strikeouts, so there's some risk there."