The Minnesota Twins selected infielder Aaron Sabato from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the 27th overall selection in the first round of the 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound first baseman set a North Carolina freshman record for home runs in a season with 18 in 2019 (the eighth-most ever by any UNC player). Sabato also led the team in batting average (.343), hits (79), doubles (25), RBI (63) and slugging percentage (.696), while posting an OPS of 1.149. He had 44 extra-base hits, which tied for the second highest single-season total in Tar Heels history, matching Kyle Seager (2008) and Dustin Ackley (2009).
Sabato, 21, was also named 2019 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Co-National Freshman of the Year, First Team All-American and Freshman All-American; Baseball America and D1Baseball First Team Freshman All-American and Third Team All-American; NCBWA National Freshman Hitter of the Year; ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-American; Perfect Game First Team Freshman All-American; ACC Freshman of the Year and First Team All-ACC.
He was hitting .292 (19-for-65) with six doubles, seven home runs, 18 RBI, 20 runs scored, 22 walks and a .478 on-base percentage in 19 games as a sophomore for the Tar Heels before the 2020 season was shortened due to COVID-19.
Sabato was ranked as the 41st-best prospect in the 2020 Draft by MLB.com and 35th by Baseball America. The Rye Brook, NY native attended the Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT where he was ranked as the fourth-best player in the state and the 35th-best shortstop in the country by Perfect Game. His father played baseball at Mercy College, while his brother, Teddy, also played at UNC.
This is the 12th time the Twins have selected a college position player with their first selection in the draft, with the most recent being Trevor Larnach from Oregon State University in 2018. Additionally, the Twins have now selected a position player with their first pick six times since 2014 (Keoni Cavaco in 2019, Larnach in 2018, Royce Lewis in 2017, Alex Kirilloff in 2016, and Nick Gordon in 2014). Since 2001, 16 of the Twins’ first round selections have reached the major leagues.
This year marks the third time in Twins history they have had the 27th overall selection in the MLB June Amateur Draft, doing so in 2008 (RHP Carlos Gutierrez) and 1991 (INF Scott Stahoviak).
Aaron Sabato was recommended by Twins scout Ty Dawson.
Day two of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft will continue today at 4 p.m. (CT) with round two, the Competitive Balance Round B, the Second Round of Compensation picks, and rounds three through five. The Twins have three more selections, pick 59 (2nd round), pick 128 (4th round), and pick 158 (5th round).
(info courtesy of Minnesota Twins)