The Minnesota Twins drafted Ohio State pitcher Alex Wimmers with the 21st overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
This is the second-year in a row that the Twins have used their first-round selection on a highly-touted collegiate hurler.
A year ago the club took a gamble on injured Missouri starter Kyle Gibson with the 22nd pick. Gibson is now healthy and rapidly working his way through the minor leagues.
Keith Law of ESPN.com described Wimmers as “one of the most Major League-ready prospects in the draft.” This evaluation—from one of the top player evaluators in the business—indicates that Wimmers could be on a fast track similar to that of Gibson.
Wimmers was described by Baseball America as having “the best changeup in the 2010 draft crop” and that “few pitchers in this draft can match the depth of his repertoire.”
That repertoire includes the aforementioned changeup, a good curveball that he can throw for strikes, and a solid—if not unspectacular—low-to-mid ‘90s fastball.
His fastball currently sits right around 90-92 mph and touches 94 mph when he really dials it up. It is believed that he could add a little more velocity if he builds arm strength by using it more in pro ball.
He was described by John Manuel of Baseball America as “the closest thing to Brad Radke in this draft” and the Twins had some pretty good success with that Radke guy once upon a time. He is a reliable starter who throws strikes and likes to challenge hitters.
His three-pitch mix, solid command, and excellent presence on the mound should all help him move quickly through the system as he has been very successful throughout his collegiate career.
Wimmers won back-to-back Big Ten pitcher of the year awards after going 9-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 2009 and following it up this year by going 9-0 with a 1.60 ERA for the Buckeyes this season. He struck out 86 and walked 23 in 73 innings pitched this year.
The Twins have had a lot of success with players cut from the same cloth as Wimmers.
He is a strike-thrower who doesn’t have any overpowering raw stuff, but he possesses a very good total package that figures to project out well as a middle-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues.
If his fastball can catch up to his other pitches in a hurry, it’s entirely possible that Wimmers could make his big league debut by late 2011.