With the draft underway, I figured what better way to continue our prospect profile series than to look at the Minnesota Twins first round pick of the 2019 MLB draft, Keoni Cavaco.
Keoni Cavaco is a 6’1″ 180 pound third baseman out of Eastlake High School in California where he was rated the top player in the state according to Perfect Game. Known as a bit of a “pop-up” player, Cavaco shot up many draft boards late in the process to climb into first round consideration. A great selection for the Minnesota Twins to kick off the 2019 MLB draft.
Though he may not be an established college bat or a high upside prep pitcher, Cavaco has the tools and high-ceiling upside the Minnesota Twins front office is looking for. He has great fielding instincts with a very powerful arm to be able to easily handle the hot corner for the Minnesota Twins down the road. I think he sticks at 3rd though there is talk of him making a move to SS.
His hit tool is a bit of a question mark so far (45 on the MLB Pipeline rating system) simply because he hasn’t faced the elite pitching most prep standouts or established college hitters have to this point on a consistent basis. He shows quite a bit of raw power and should add more as his frame fills out in the professional ranks. Though he’s committed to San Diego State to play for the Aztecs, he seems eager to get a start on his professional career.
A couple more ratings on Cavaco from MLB Pipeline that stand out quite a bit are his 60 arm and run ratings. Showing a nice combination of raw power and speed could bode well for the young third baseman as he works his way through the professional ranks.
It’s nice to know that he has the ability to play the entire left side of infield but as stated previously, I think sticking to 3rd is a must. Given that the Twins recently signed Jorge Polanco to a 5 year extension and have prospects Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, Wander Javier, and of course Royce Lewis to fill out shortstop or second base, having a solid prospect at third base could be just what the Twins need.
Many have already been making comparisons to Manny Machado. A bit of a reach and quite the comparison to live up to but exciting to hear nonetheless. Fortunately for Cavaco, time is on his side. Having just turned 18 years old, he should be able to take his time and slowly work his way up through the organization. No need to rush someone who’s definitely considered a bit of a project prospect.
Something to look for over the next couple days is that the Twins did seem to reach a little with the selection of Cavaco. Like in years past, could they be looking to sign the young infielder to a deal “under slot”? The front office employed this technique first with Royce Lewis and then Trevor Larnach saving money to offer more to players in later rounds trying to steal them away from their college commitments. Keep on eye on who they select in the coming rounds, especially if that player is a high-school guy with a firm commitment to play at the college level.
Overall I think Keoni is fantastic selection and could be one of the “steals of the draft” if he continues on his current trajectory. Not given much of a look until late in the process, the Minnesota Twins may have found an absolute gem in Keoni Cavaco.