Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Feeling a draft (Day 1)

The Twins did indeed take high school infielder Keoni Cavaco with the 13th pick Monday night.

As I said in my post that morning, I don't know enough to judge any of these guys. Cavaco by general consensus was not prominent on scouting radars a year ago, and he wasn't selected for a prominent scouting showcase called the Area Code games last summer. But he started to emerge as a potential high draft pick last fall, and the Twins say they had a scout at every game he played this spring. He had, as the Baseball America term has it, "helium" -- he just kept rising up draft lists.

The plan, once he signs, is to let him play short until he plays himself off the position. A more likely position is implicitly third base.

Pluses: Very fast, legitimate power, young for his draft class (just turned 18). The Twins rave about his defensive tools.

Red flags: Because he wasn't on the showcase circuit last summer, he's had less exposure to higher-level pitching than most high schoolers getting picked in the first round. So his hit tool -- which is the most important of the five (hit, power, arm, speed, fielding) -- is the least established.

I don't think he's going to be a rapid riser, and those of us who go annually to Cedar Rapids to see the Twins low-A afflilate there are unlikely to see him there this year.

The Twins took a college outfielder and Forest Lake native, Matt Wallner of Southern Mississippi, with their competitive balance pick, No. 39 overall. The Twins drafted him three years ago with a late-round pick as a pitcher; he didn't sign. Now he's a slugging outfielder, with 22 homers this year for Brian Dozier's alma mater. The Twins system is rich in outfielders, but here's another.

A sign of the passage of time: He told the Star Tribune of growing up rooting for Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter. All those blasts from the past.

The Twins' final selection of the night, No. 54, was a college pitcher, Matt Canterino of Rice. A few years ago Rice was spitting out pitching prospects on a regular basis, but most if not all had arm issues after turning pro, and the school's baseball program got a reputation for overworking hurlers. I don't know if that's changed, but I'm instinctively wary of Rice pitchers. Canterino is said to have good velocity but not a lot of movement on the fastball.

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