The Minnesota Twins announced tonight that they have selected outfielder Walker Jenkins from South Brunswick High School (NC) with the fifth overall selection in the first round of the 2023 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound outfielder hit .417 with two home runs, 33 runs scored, a .632 on-base percentage and a .633 slugging percentage in 24 games his senior season at South Brunswick, walking in 32 of his 95 plate appearances and leading the Cougars to the Round of 16 in the NCHSAA Class 3A state playoffs. His performance earned him the Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season, after taking home the honor in 2022. The 18-year-old was also named the Coastal Preps Offensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season, becoming the first repeat winner since former major leaguer Cameron Maybin did so from 2004-05.
Over four seasons for South Brunswick, Jenkins slashed .487/.598/.921 (74-for-152) with 20 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 53 RBI, 78 runs scored, 35 walks and a 1.519 OPS in 49 games. He hit .527 with 10 home runs, 40 RBI, 49 runs scored, a .628 on-base percentage and a 1.032 slugging percentage as a junior in the 2022 season, earning Mideastern 3A/4A Conference Player of the Year honors for his performance. The Southport, NC native has been a longtime participant in USA Baseball’s National Team programs, partaking in the 2021 16U/17U National Team Development Program, the 2021 18U National Team and was an invite to the 2022 18U National Team Training Camp. He entered the 2023 draft as one of the top high school prospects in the nation and the top in the state of North Carolina.
This is the 13th time the Twins have selected a high school outfielder with their first overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft, first since taking Alex Kirilloff 15th overall in the 2016 draft. It’s also just the third time they’ve done so since 2009, also selecting Byron Buxton second overall in 2012. Walker Jenkins was recommended by Twins scout Ty Dawson.
This year marks the third time in Twins history they have had the fifth overall selection in the MLB June Amateur Draft, also doing so in 1999 (B.J. Garbe) and in 2014 (Nick Gordon).
The Twins also selected right-handed pitcher Charlee Soto in Competitive Balance Round A (34th overall), out of Reborn Christian Academy (FL). The 6-foot-5, 210-pound right-hander posted a 0.52 ERA (42.0 IP, 4 ER) with five walks and 69 strikeouts in 12 appearances his senior season at Reborn Christian. He was alsoinvited to the 2022 USA Baseball 18U National Team Training Camp. The 17-year-old was born in Philadelphia, PA to Puerto Rican parents, and was raised in Kissimmee, FL; his father, Carlos Sr., was a pitcher in Puerto Rico and his older brother, Carlos Jr., is currently a pitcher in the collegiate ranks. Charlee Soto was recommended by Twins scout Brett Dowdy.
The Twins also selected second baseman Luke Keaschall in the second round (49th overall) of tonight’s draft, out of Arizona State University. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound 20-year-old slashed .353/.443/.725 (77-for-218) with 25 doubles, one triple, 18 home runs, 58 RBI, 18 stolen bases, 22 walks, 55 runs scored and a 1.168 OPS in 55 games for the Sun Devils in 2023. Prior to transferring to ASU, the Watsonville, CA native spent two seasons at the University of San Francisco, hitting .312 (129-for-413) with 29 doubles, four triples, 12 home runs, 64 RBI, 55 walks, 87 runs scored and a .427 on-base percentage in 110 games for the Dons. Luke Keaschall was recommended by Twins scout Chandler Wagoner.
(info courtesy of Twin)