Gabriel Maciel Goes All Out, All The Time
After three increasingly impressive seasons in the minors, outfielder Gabriel Maciel is about to turn 20. It’s time, the Twins feel, for the Brazilian outfielder to get serious about a major league career.
Maciel is way ahead of them.
"I’ve never seen a kid his age with more focus. His intensity, from the moment he puts the uniform on until the last out, is unbelievable,” vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff said. "He’s some kind of serious about the game, and about getting better at it. You want to say, ‘Dude, it’s not life and death.’ "
That ferocity, though, has turned Maciel into a legitimate prospect despite growing up in a country where baseball is still in its infancy, and despite his slight 5-foot-10 stature. It also convinced the Twins, who had scouted Maciel since he was 16, to insist he be included in the July trade with the Diamondbacks for veteran infielder Eduardo Escobar.
The switch-hitting Maciel, who signed in 2015, spent the season in the low Class A Midwest League, hitting a combined .280/.345/.348 for two teams, while also stealing 16 bases in 26 tries. His weight-room fervor has made him unusually strong for his size, but the Twins don’t see that turning into home run power.
"He has a little more length on his swing than he needs, but you have to like his approach, that he’s going to hit the ball as hard as he possibly can,” Radcliff said of Maciel, who homered three times in 2018. "It just needs to be directed toward the gaps. He’s got the tools to be a dangerous guy at the plate.”
In the field, too. The Twins rated Maciel’s defense as plus-plus in center field when they traded for him, and he didn’t disappoint.
"His defense is advanced. He can play center. He can run and throw,” Radcliff said. "He worked hard on it, just like you’d expect. It’s a long journey for a guy who signs when he’s 16, but his approach is paying off. We just want him to have a little fun, too.”
Baseball Hotbeds: Why Florida Is No. 1?
Florida produces more baseball players on a per capita basis than any other state.
— The Twins claimed 26-year-old outfielder Michael Reed on waivers from the Braves. The righthanded hitter compiled a .453 on-base percentage at Double-A and Triple-A that led all full-season minor league batters in 2018. Reed has received cups of coffee in the big leagues with the Brewers in 2015 and 2016 and the Braves in 2018.