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Jon Krawczynski / Associated Press, Published June 03 2012

Important draft awaits Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins plunge into the MLB draft this week with a lot of holes to fill and a lot of ammunition to fill them.

So it’s no wonder why general manager Terry Ryan doesn’t want to hear about this year’s draft class being weaker than recent seasons. With the second overall pick, and three selections in the top 42 choices, Ryan said they have to make the most of their many opportunities to fill needs in the starting rotation and replenish a farm system that has been picked clean and is smarting from some lackluster recent drafts.

Couple the high picks with the current struggles of the big league club on the field, and Twins can’t afford to have another unproductive draft.

“It’s not so much the state of the organization as it is the opportunity with the excess picks that we have to do something with it,” Ryan said. “We have picked up top before back in the ‘90s quite often. Every one of those drafts are important.

“This one’s important. We have so many opportunities here to get better, replenish the system and get good players that this is a draft that we need to take advantage of.”

The last time the Twins picked second overall, they missed in a major way in 2000 when they chose Cal State-Fullerton pitcher Adam Johnson, who only appeared in nine big-league games.

Johnson was recommended by Twins scout Deron Johnson, who has been in charge of the Twins draft since 2008. It may be as big a draft for Deron Johnson as it is for the Twins. Since Johnson took over the draft room, the Twins have yet to get much return from their choices. Right-hander Kyle Gibson, chosen in the first round in 2009, appeared to be on his way to the Twins rotation before needing Tommy John surgery last year, 2008 first-rounder Aaron Hicks is highly thought of, but has yet to start producing on a consistent basis in the minor leagues, right-hander Carlos Gutierrez (2008) has been moved to the bullpen full-time and hasn’t been in the big leagues and right-hander Alex Wimmers (2010) struggled mightily with his control before being shut down this season with elbow problems.

Other selections like Shooter Hunt and Matt Bashore fell flat as well, but the Twins have also had some hits in recent seasons with the likes of Denard Span (2002), Matt Garza (2005) and Glen Perkins (2004).