Minnesota Twins prospect Mitchell Kranson takes batting practice at Cal Pro Day

BERKELEY -- Minnesota Twins catching prospect Mitchell "El Gaucho" Kranson takes his cuts at California's Pro Day at Evans Diamond.

BERKELEY -- California alum and ninth-round draft pick by the Minnesota TwinsMitchell "El Gaucho" Kranson, returned to Berkeley on Friday to take part in the Golden Bears' Pro Day, along with fellow Twins farmhands Chris PaulAlex Schick (who threw a bullpen) and Ryan Mason.

Almost exactly a year ago -- on the first day of practice in 2016 -- learned that his mother, Laura Jo Kranson -- was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, and played the entire season in her honor. Laura Jo Kranson is now fully healthy, and after the season was over, she spent some time in Hawaii with her sons and family to celebrate.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1677557-mitchell-kranson-d... Though Kranson spent much of last season at third base, Twins area scout Elliot Strankman knew that Kranson was catcher material from the moment he saw him catch the entirety of Cal's 2015 Regional run at College Station.

"He caught when it counted at the end, when they’re going to catch the best guy," Strankman said after drafting Kranson.

Following the season, Strankman had Kranson over to his condo in Walnut Creek, and spent two hours conversing with the stocky backstop.

"After that conversation I had with him, I decided that I think he deserves a chance to catch, and I think he deserves a chance to put on the gear," Strankman said. “If he can catch and hit like he’s hitting, he’s got a real chance. I think he wants to catch. He likes catching. Everybody likes to catch, but it’s hard. Part of it was, first of all, it’s all about the bat. First things first: He’s got to swing that may translate well into pro ball, but he wanted to catch. I had him send me a bunch of video of him catching, and his dad actually downloaded some catching video of him in the A&M Regional, and I looked at it and I studied it. I had him send me video of him playing against Northwestern, when he caught this year. I used all of that as ammo to sell the room that, ‘Hey, let us give this guy a chance to catch.’”

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1643846-el-gaucho-s-last-ride The Twins did just that, this season. Kranson played 11 games behind the plate, recording four assists and throwing out on runner in 10 chances. In 43 rookie league games, Kranson hit .245, slugged .365, with four home runs and six doubles, walking 13 times.

“I’m telling you, dude, our draft room, even our support staff, our assistant scouting people, they all loved him," Strankman said. "When we took Gaucho, there was as big an applause and happiness as when we took our first-round draft pick. We like the guy. We got the guy. We just love him. That was kind of funny ... There’s just something about the kid. He forced himself onto me, just by the way he worked and got after it, and he hits. I just like the kid, and I’m rooting for him.”

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