The 2019 Draft: Where are they Now?
Image courtesy of © Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY SportsAfter a great 2019 season the Twins slid all the way down to 27th in the picking order for 2020. Falvey and Thad Levine have a brief but strong history of identifying talent for the organization however, and the hope would be that this season is no different. Taking a look back on the guys they tabbed in 2019, here’s how year one in pro ball went.
Keoni Cavaco SS (1, 13)
As a helium pick it was probably expected that there’d be growing pains. Cavaco rose the draft boards late and is a long-term play for the Twins. He played 25 games in the GCL and posted just a .470 OPS. The slash line isn’t as concerning as the 35/4 K/BB rate. He’ll need to clean that up as he adjusts to the next level.
Matt Wallner RF (1, 39)
A local kid and standout at Southern Miss, Wallner jumped into pro ball and did not disappoint. He pitched and hit in college but is being groomed solely as a position player for the Twins. After 53 games in Elizabethton, Wallner was promoted to Low-A Cedar Rapids. He posted an .810 OPS across both levels and the power translated to eight dingers in 65 games.
Matt Canterino RHP (2, 54)
Despite a quirky delivery, Canterino is one of my favorite arms in the Twins system. He made two quick GCL appearances and then went straight to Low-A Cedar Rapids. He pitched 25 innings after completing his season with Rice and posted some eye-popping results. The former Owls star had a 1.44 ERA 11.2 K/9 and allowed just eight walks.
Spencer Steer SS (3, 90)
After lighting it up in the Appy League to the tune of a .949 OPS, Minnesota got aggressive and moved Steer quickly. At Cedar Rapids he slashed .260/.358/.387 in 44 games. He showed awesome plate discipline and a good eye. Steer did make six errors in just over 100 innings at short for Elizabethton and then split over 300 innings at 2nd and 3rd for the Kernels.
Seth Gray 3B (4, 119)
Most of Gray’s 2019 was spent in the Appy League, reaching Cedar Rapids for just four games. Despite just a .225 average he posted a .781 OPS. 30 walks in 257 plate appearances was indicative of good zone control, and the power played to the tune of 11 homers. Gray had a nice spring for Minnesota as well in the brief time I saw him.
Will Holland SS (5, 149)
There was a little lag time in getting Holland started with Auburn’s participation in the College World Series. Across 36 games for Elizabethton he posted a .675 OPS with seven homers. After a .936 OPS in 2018 for the Tigers, Holland slid in the draft due to a .777 mark last season. He just turned 22 though and has the makings of a true shortstop. Certainly, a guy to watch in Minnesota’s system.
Sawyer Gipson-Long RHP (6, 179)
Minnesota got Gipson-Long going right away in the Appy League. He made six abbreviated starts going a total of 18.1 IP. He was scoreless through his first two outings, including a six-strikeout performance in just three innings of work. Things went south in his final four appearances but certainly could’ve been a bit of fatigue. An 11.3 K/9 in his pro debut is reason to be excited.
Anthony Prato SS (7, 209)
Prato posted a .755 OPS for Elizabethton in 45 games before getting a two-game stint with Cedar Rapids. The 26/20 K/BB is an encouraging sign for an up-the-middle player. The Twins did play him mostly at second and third base defensively. There isn’t much power in Prato’s bat, but he’s a good contact hitter with elite on-base ability.
Casey Legumina RHP (8, 239)
Minnesota took Legumina after he made just four starts for the Zags in 2019. He left after 73 pitches in his final outing and was shut down. There was an exciting velocity spike that garnered more draft attention. He did not pitch in pro ball last year.
Brent Headrick LHP (9, 269)
The first lefty on the board, Headrick only turned in 3.2 IP during his pro debut season. Pitching for Elizabethton he gave up two unearned runs on two hits. He did have a negative 2/5 K/BB ratio. Not much to go off of at this point professionally, but the Illinois State hurler had big time strikeout numbers in college.
Ben Gross RHP (10, 299)
Of all the pitchers drafted by Minnesota Gross may have been worked the most. He made 11 starts at Elizabethton and posted a 4.30 ERA across 52.1 IP. He tallied 8.4 K/9 and gave up just 2.4 BB/9. His college numbers remained pretty consistent from year to year, and while there’s nothing that jumps off the page, he’s a pretty safe bet to continue contributing.
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