Alerick Soularie was getting a haircut Thursday evening, June 11, when he got the news he had been waiting for: The Minnesota Twins were selecting him in the second round of the 2020 MLB draft.
“I definitely thought I would have time to get my haircut and finish,” he said, laughing.
The Twins selected Soularie, a 20-year-old junior out of the University of Tennessee, with the 59th overall pick in the draft. He was announced as an outfielder, where he played primarily during his time at Tennessee, but said he hopes to stick at second base, if possible.
Soularie, who said he tries to model his game after “prime Adam Jones,” was ranked as the No. 105 prospect heading into the draft by MLB Pipeline, which described him as a player who “has excellent feel for recognizing and barreling pitches, making consistent line-drive contact to all fields while controlling the strike zone.”
As a junior, he led the Volunteers with five home runs in 16 games played during his coronavirus-shortened 2020 season. Last year, Soularie hit .357 with a .466 on-base percentage and .602 slugging percentage, adding 70 hits and 11 home runs in 60 games played.
“I knew I still had some stuff that I needed to prove in the SEC, which, having the season cut off, it was definitely heartbreaking because I feel like our team was deep enough to make a good run in the College World Series,” Soularie said. “Since then, I’ve really been staying in the weight room, doing what I need to do to stay healthy and just trying to be ahead of everything, staying up on all the draft information.”
That’s included a lot of communication with the Twins.
Soularie, who hails from Houston, said he was hoping the Twins would pick him after he developed a comfort with the organization throughout the draft process.
He said he spoke frequently with Twins scout Jack Powell and also talked to other members of the organization. First, communication was weekly and then every couple days as it moved closer to the draft. He also had a Zoom call with the Twins where they spoke about his hitting approach and where they saw him playing in the future, among other things, before they selected him.
“It was definitely good to see the interest that they gave throughout the draft process,” he said. “That made me feel comfortable as a player.”
Soularie is the second college bat the Twins took in the shortened draft after taking North Carolina power-hitting first baseman Aaron Sabato with their first-round selection on Wednesday. After Soularie, the Twins drafted Marco Raya in the fourth round (128th overall), a right-handed pitcher from Laredo, Texas, who had committed to Texas Tech.