Twins' top pick Cavaco signs, eyes fast track

'I give myself 3 years,' says 18-year-old shortstop taken 13th overall

June 12th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Throughout the scouting process, the Twins just couldn't quit Keoni Cavaco.

Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said he'd regularly check in with members of his staff and find that they were, again, in the San Diego area, watching Cavaco during his senior year at Eastlake High School.

"I got a lot of Keoni propaganda once a week -- once a day, come April, May, June," Johnson said. "We had a couple of guys that were like, 'I just can't quit going to watch him.' You fall in love with certain players, and Keoni is certainly one of, [for] a few guys on our staff, their favorite player they've ever scouted."

All that's to say: The Twins knew all along that Cavaco was their guy. That became official on Tuesday, when the 18-year-old arrived in Minnesota for the first time in his life and officially signed with the Twins at Target Field.

According to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Cavaco signed for $4.05 million, which is $147,300 shy of the slot value for the No. 13 selection.

"The past week, it didn't really hit me that I got drafted, and then coming here, seeing the stadium and everything, it really hit me," Cavaco said. "I'm part of this organization now. It's fun for me to get here quicker and be a part of this team."

Though Cavaco didn't hit the Twins' radar until relatively late in the process, as he hadn't been at the events attended by the scouting staff, he caught their eye at a workout at Angel Stadium. As the Twins aggressively pursued him, they felt increasingly drawn to his five-tool skill set, as well as his character.

He's certainly not lacking in confidence.

"I think [I need to] just mature, overall, my game," Cavaco said. "Just as a human being and just get bigger and stronger like these [Major Leaguers] here. I know my talent's good enough to compete with these guys right now. I've just got to get bigger and mature more."

Cavaco spent Tuesday seeing Target Field and spending time around the big league club, and he will head out to Fort Myers, Fla., to begin his journey through the organization with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins. Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said the Twins will see how Cavaco responds to increased play as they determine the path for his immediate future.

"It's a dream come true to me, seeing everything and knowing that I could be a part of it very soon," Cavaco said.

How soon?

"I give myself three years," he said with a grin.

Cruz, Baldelli send well wishes to Ortiz
As former Twins and Red Sox slugger David Ortiz recovers in Boston following a gunshot wound from late Sunday night in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, countryman and fellow veteran Nelson Cruz referred to the ordeal as a "sad moment for the whole country" and hoped to speak to Ortiz's father on Tuesday.

"He's one of our biggest ambassadors," Cruz said. "He's represented us for such a long time, not only on the field, but also off the field. He helps the communities in Boston, all over the States and in the Dominican through his foundation, and he's a big inspiration for a lot of kids in the Dominican -- kids and even guys in the league when he was playing, including myself. Definitely a sad moment for the whole country."

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who was teammates with Ortiz in Boston in 2009, spoke highly of the slugger's presence on and off the field, and his ambassador status in the game across the United States and in Latin America.

"He was a wonderful teammate," Baldelli said. "He's a very unique guy. He's got this tremendous energy that he brings. He's David Ortiz, and you talk to him, he's wonderful, and then he steps on the field, and he's Big Papi. And he can go back and forth. Not many people can do that. He's this bigger-than-life character, but he's a man, too, and he's just a wonderful guy."

Mejia begins rehab assignment
Adalberto Mejia began a rehab assignment on Monday with Class A Advanced Fort Myers following his recovery from a right calf strain and work to tweak his mechanics and pitch usage while he was sidelined with the injury. He served as the opener in Monday night's game against Tampa and pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a single but recording two strikeouts.

Mejia, who had allowed 11 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings (an 8.74 ERA) with 11 strikeouts and nine walks in 11 games for the Twins prior to his injury, had not appeared in a game for 39 days following his May 2 placement on the 10-day injured list.