Luke Keaschall was at his home in Watsonville with his family sitting on the couch on Tuesday, July 11, as they kept a close eye on the Major League Baseball Draft, which was being streamed live on a slight delay from their television.
However, the former Aptos High baseball standout was continuously receiving updates from his advisor who kept him in the loop the entire time.
Moments later, Keaschall got the phone call he was anticipating and let out a sigh of relief after he found out the Minnesota Twins selected him with the No. 49 overall pick in the second round of this week’s amateur draft.
“It was nice because the whole last two, three months there was so much uncertainty, and you don’t know where you’re going or what’s gonna happen,” he said. “You hear a bunch of stuff but draft day is crazy, so you never know what’s gonna happen. Just hearing you’re gonna go to a team, especially the Twins, such a great organization, I just couldn’t be more excited.”
It didn’t take long for Keaschall to let the news settle in. He is already scheduled to fly out to Fort Myers, Fla. on Sunday to meet with representatives of the Twins organization.
“I’m just excited to start getting some structure and playing some games and getting after stuff again,” he said. “I’m more tired of this little down time and ready to go to work.”
Aptos coach Jason Biancardi, who coached Keaschall up until his senior year in 2020, said Keaschall may not have been a huge name coming out of high school, yet he was one of the best players he’d ever coached.
“Luke was always the natural baseball player,” Biancardi said.
Plus, his senior season at Aptos was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which Biancardi said was sad to see because Keaschall was on track to have a stellar finale season with the Mariners.
“[Keaschall] didn’t just go ‘Well we just lost our year, I’m just gonna chill at home,’” Biancardi said. “He worked out, he got ready for college and it’s paying off for him.”
Coming out of high school, Keaschall took advantage of the opportunity to play at University of San Francisco before he transferred to Arizona State where he had a career-year at the plate.
He finished with a .725 slugging percentage, batting a .353 average (77-of-218) with 18 home runs, 25 doubles, one triples, 58 RBIs, 55 runs scored, 22 walks and 18 steals for the Sun Devils in 2023.
Biancardi recalls the time when several coaches including an assistant coach for Louisiana State University called him to try to persuade Keaschall to join the Tigers during his process of transferring out of USF.
“He’s like, ‘Hey, can you tell Luke to come here?’” he said.
But it worked out for Keaschall, who will now get the chance to make his way up to the Big Show.
“The fact that he transferred schools and just went on a rampage, it just worked out in his favor,” Biancardi said.
Biancardi said as cliche as it sounds, Keaschall was always the first player on the field and the last one to leave, sometimes staying after practice to talk with the coaches and wanting to be a part of the conversation.
The longtime Mariners coach mentioned that Keaschall was different from the get-go but at times he might have taken the game a little too seriously.
“One of the things he needed to work on was he would just get so into the game that it would kind of backfire on him,” Biancardi said. “I think that’s one of the things he learned as he got older was ‘I love the game, but I have to be able to handle my emotions.’”
In high school, Keaschall said he was also small on the athletic level and a late bloomer in the physical aspects. He realized there weren’t any opportunities to play professional baseball out of high school, so playing at the collegiate level was his lone option.
Keaschall never saw his lone college offer from USF as a downgrade and always believed he could reach the next level. He also got a chance to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League in Massachusetts.
“Just had to wait my turn and keep on putting in the work,” he said.
His drive to be super competitive came from the love of sports and staying active in just about anything he could.
But it was baseball that became his favorite and Keaschall always wanted to become a professional athlete.
“Even since I was a little kid, it’s always been the goal and dream,” he said.
As a youngster, a couple of his favorite professional baseball players were New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and Los Angeles Angels stud Mike Trout.
But deep down he always wanted to be like his older brother, Jake, who also played at Aptos before making his way to Cabrillo College.
“I just wanted to do everything he did,” Keaschall said. “[Jake’s] career fell a little bit short, but he still got me super motivated and wanted me to succeed and all that good stuff.”
Keaschall said he’s looking forward to meeting everybody in the Twins organization, especially the coaching staff that he’ll be working with in the near future.
“It’s going to be a lot of ups and a lot of downs but overall I’m just excited for the whole process,” he said.