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Article: Cali Connection Jumps Draft Boards: Q&A with Keoni Cavaco

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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:23 AM

Helium is the word generally used to describe players who rocket up draft boards as the Major League Baseball amateur draft draws near. No one had more of that then California native Keoni Cavaco. After being out of the spotlight for most of his junior season, it was a senior year of high school that skyrocketed him to the 13th overall pick by the Minnesota Twins.Cavaco joins Royce Lewis, Travis Harrison, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee, Matt Garza, Trevor Plouffe, and Adam Johnson as first rounders selected from California by the Twins since the year 2000. He’s expected to play on the left side of the infield, and it’s the bat that immediately jumps off the page as one of his most exciting tools. Having been under the radar for quite some time, and now on center stage, it seems this would be a great time to learn a bit more about him.

Twins Daily: Plenty of draft analysts have described you as a "helium" player rocketing up draft boards this spring. Tell us about your senior year and what it's been like to see your name vault into the first round.

Keoni Cavaco: I didn’t think my name would’ve been called in the first round a year ago today, but all my hard work and dedication finally paid off. I knew there was going to be a chance after I finished my last summer of travel ball because teams started to pop up here and there. Then this season comes along and teams started to swarm in and my draft stock just continued to rise.

TD: You were announced as a SS but also play a very solid third base. Is there a position on the left side you feel most comfortable? How would you describe your defensive profile?

KC: I feel more comfortable at third base but shortstop is more fun to me. I only played there a few games but I felt comfortable, and I know I can play there at the next level if I put the work in. As defensive player, I feel like I have some things to improve on since I’ve been only playing infield for two years. I’ve been getting better and better every day but there is still room for improvement.

TD: Obviously playing a corner infield spot the goal is to have the bat play. What can you tell us about your approach at the plate and your production over the course of your high school career?

KC: My approach going into the box is to hit the ball hard, swing to do damage but also stay controlled and use all parts of the field. I like to hunt the fastball early and not get into deep counts so I have a better chance to get a better pitch to do damage.

TD: Having committed to San Diego State but now looking at a professional future, what are you most looking forward to as your career gets started? What parts of your game do you want to develop most?

KC: I’m looking forward to the grind of the minor leagues and the new journey I’m about to go on. I’m looking forward to getting to the show as fast as possible and help us get to the World Series and get a ring.

TD: California has long been a hotbed for professional talent. Growing up, has there been a player or players that you've modeled your game after?

KC: I model my game after Javier Baez. I love the way he plays the game and how much he loves to compete and his will to win. That’s the biggest thing for me is to have fun out there but always compete.

TD: As a West Coast kid have you been to Minnesota before? What do you know about the Twins, Target Field, and the organization as a whole?

KC: I know that it’s a good young team that has a lot of potential to win a title this year or in the next upcoming years. I know that Target Field is a beautiful stadium and that it gets really cold there. I’m excited to play in this organization and to be a huge factor for the team.

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#2 operation mindcrime

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:49 AM

Let's hope this is the beginning of a long hall of fame career!!!!!!
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#3 Dakota15


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Posted 07 June 2019 - 03:28 PM

Welcome to the organization Keoni!

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#4 AZTwin


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Posted 07 June 2019 - 05:01 PM

That video is awesome. I wonder what he thought of Harold Reynolds breaking him down on film haha

#5 TheLeviathan


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Posted 07 June 2019 - 06:35 PM

I'll take Javy Baez.

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#6 ScooterDance


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Posted 08 June 2019 - 09:54 AM

Yeah I love seeing that fire and desire. Looking forward to seeing this kid play.

#7 DocBauer


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Posted 08 June 2019 - 05:50 PM

Not comparing him to Lewis, but I find it fascinating, like Lewis, when you find out some of these kids only played infield for a year or two before being drafted.

I think we forget sometimes how young they are and how much projection used to make decisions like this.
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#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 09:29 PM


Not comparing him to Lewis, but I find it fascinating, like Lewis, when you find out some of these kids only played infield for a year or two before being drafted.

I think we forget sometimes how young they are and how much projection used to make decisions like this.


Not sure I understand what you mean...Lewis was a starting infielder for four years on the varsity of JSerra when he got drafted. Presumably he played a lot of infield before that.


But yes, we're talking about 17-18 year old high school kids, trying to project what they could be when they turn 22-28... that can't be easy.

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