Twins select UNC shortstop in 1st round of MLB draft

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS  — The Minnesota Twins have developed a formula over recent seasons in the first-round of the draft, preferring college pitchers or high school position players over the last 10 years or so.

Then they went out and deviated from that formula on Monday night.

The Twins selected North Carolina shortstop Levi Michael in the first round of the 2011 draft, making him the first college position player they’ve taken in the first round since first baseman Travis Lee in 1996.

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The 20-year-old switch-hitter was taken with the 30th overall pick. He hit .309 with 27 homers and 159 RBIs in three seasons with the Tar Heels.

“The wait, the anticipation was building up,” Michael said. “As soon as I heard I was picked by the Twins it was a huge sigh of relief. I’m really excited about it and looking forward to it.”

While he may not be the prototypical Twins first-round draft pick, Michael certainly appears to fit the Twins mold in a big area — versatility. Michael played second base as a freshman, third base as a sophomore and shortstop as a junior for UNC who are headed to the College World Series Super Regional this weekend.

“I feel most comfortable somewhere up the middle, whether it be second base or shortstop,” Michael said. I feel comfortable with both of those positions. But wherever fits for the organization. I’m just looking forward to playing.”

The Twins also had two compensatory picks after losing second baseman Orlando Hudson and right-hander Jesse Crain in free agency.

They took Travis Harrison, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound third baseman from Tustin High School in California with the 55th overall pick. Harrison also can play outfield and hit .486 with 12 home runs as a senior. He has committed to play in college at Southern Cal.

With the 55th pick, the Twins took big right-hander Hudson Boyd out of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Fla. Boyd is 6-2 and 235 pounds. If he decides to eschew a commitment to play at Florida and sticks with the Twins, he won’t have to go far to start his career.

The Twins spring training home is in Fort Myers, as is their Class-A affiliate the Fort Myers Miracle.