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Keoni Cavaco Shifts to Pitching, Signs Minor League Deal with Astros


The Houston Astros have signed Keoni Cavaco to a minor league contract, according to a report by Kenny Van Doren of MLB Pipeline on X. Cavaco, previously released by the Minnesota Twins earlier this month, is transitioning to a pitching role. JJ Cooper of Baseball America confirmed the release on X, while Darren Wolfson of SKOR North mentioned that the Astros were one of two teams suggesting the move to pitching.

Cavaco was highly regarded entering the 2019 draft, with Baseball America ranking him 31st among the available players that year. At 18, he was noted for his tremendous natural talent, including significant power, speed, and strong defensive skills at third base, backed by a plus arm. However, there were concerns about his hitting ability, particularly his tendency to swing and miss, which were evident even in high school.


Despite these concerns, there was considerable excitement about his potential. FanGraphs ranked him 22nd in the draft, and the Twins selected him with the 13th overall pick, signing him to a $4.05 million bonus, slightly below the slot value for that pick.

Unfortunately, Cavaco’s struggles at the plate validated the early concerns about his hitting. Over 1,110 plate appearances in the Twins’ system, he hit just .212/.267/.335, striking out in 36.8% of his appearances and walking only 6.3% of the time. He never advanced beyond the High-A level before being released.

Before his release, Cavaco made three pitching appearances this year, pitching two scoreless innings at the High-A level with two strikeouts and no walks. His strong arm, initially noted during his high school years, will now be a focal point as he attempts to revive his career as a pitcher.

For the Astros, signing Cavaco to a minor league deal is a low-risk move. Despite his challenges at the plate, Cavaco’s athletic talents are undeniable, and at just 23 years old, he still has time to reinvent himself on the mound and pursue a path to the major leagues.

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