Big week for Twins prospect Graterol: 103 mph on gun, promotion to Triple-A

The Minnesota Twins have positioned themselves as a playoff contender, but the team still has a number of promising prospects.

Every Thursday for the rest of the season, FOX Sports North will take a closer look at some specific young players in Minnesota’s farm system — as well as noting others who might be stepping up — measuring, highlighting and evaluating their progress.

This is the 16th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.

 

Jordan Balazovic, SP (age 20/High-A)

Last week: 1 game (1 start), 0-1, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K

Season (High-A): 13 games (12 starts), 6-4, 2.98 ERA, 63.1 IP, 47 H, 3 HR, 19 BB, 80 K, .199 OBA, 1.04 WHIP

Season (Low-A): 4 games (4 starts), 2-1, 2.18 ERA, 20.2 IP, 15 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 33 K, .195 OBA, 0.92 WHIP

Notable: Balazovic threw 89 pitches but could last only 4 2/3 innings on Aug. 16 at Jupiter. His three strikeouts were his fewest in an extended start since he had three on May 25 (he had two on May 31, but pitched only 1 1/3 innings).

 

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Keoni Cavaco, SS (age 18/Rookie)

Last week: 1 game, 3 AB, 0 H, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 1 K, .000 BA

Season: 21 games, 71 AB, .197 BA, .250 OBP, .296 SLG, .546 OPS, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 R, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 4 BB, 29 K.

Notable: Cavaco finally returned to the lineup Aug. 21 after not having played since Aug. 9.

 

Nick Gordon, 2B/SS (age 23/Triple-A)

Last week: n/a

Season: 70 games, 292 AB, .298 BA, .342 OBP, .459 SLG, .801 OPS, 29 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 49 R, 40 RBI, 14 SB, 18 BB, 65 K.

Notable: Gordon remains on the injured list, where he was placed Aug. 5, retroactive to Aug. 3, with a left lower leg contusion.

 

Brusdar Graterol, SP (age 20/Triple-A)

Last week (Triple-A): 1 game, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Last week (Double-A): 1 game, 1-0, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Season (Double-A): 12 games (9 starts), 6-0, 1 SV, 1.71 ERA, 52.2 IP, 32 H, 2 HR, 21 BB, 50 K, .179 OBA, 1.01 WHIP

Notable: Graterol, who turns 21 on Aug. 26, was promoted to Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 19 and made his debut two days later, pitching two scoreless innings. Pitching in relief, which he’s done exclusively since returning from injury, has agreed with Graterol as in seven innings he’s not allowed a run while giving up just four hits with seven strikeouts. Plus, his fastball has increased in velocity (as often happens when a pitcher no longer needs to pace himself over 5+ innings). Last week we reported he topped 100 mph. Well, In his final outing with Double-A Pensacola, Graterol was recorded at 103.8 mph.

 

Alex Kirilloff, OF (age 21/Double-A)

Last week: 7 games, 28 AB, 10 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 R, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 2 BB, 4 K, .357 BA

Season: 85 games, 339 AB, .280 BA, .338 OBP, .419 SLG, .757 OPS, 16 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 44 R, 41 RBI, 7 SB, 24 BB, 71 K.

Notable: Kirilloff finished the week on a five-game hit streak, raising his batting average 10 points, which included three multipe-hit games. Kirilloff went 3-for-4 with a home run and a steal on Aug. 17.

 

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Trevor Larnach, OF (age 22/Double-A)

Last week: 8 games, 30 AB, 8 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 10 K, .267 BA

Season (Double-A): 32 games, 119 AB, .286 BA, .368 OBP, .462 SLG, .830 OPS, 3 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 21 R, 19 RBI, 0 SB, 14 BB, 40 K.

Season (Single-A): 84 games, 320 AB, .316 BA, .382 OBP, .459 SLG, .842 OPS, 26 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 33 R, 44 RBI, 4 SB, 35 BB, 74 K.

Notable: Larnach began his week going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBI on Aug. 15 and closed it with a 3-for-5 effort with three RBI on Aug. 21.

 

Royce Lewis, SS (age 20/Double-A)

Last week: 7 games, 28 AB, 7 H, 1 2B, 6 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 2 BB, 8 K, .250 BA

Season (Double-A): 22 games, 91 AB, .253 BA, .300 OBP, .363 SLG, .663 OPS, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 15 R, 11 RBI, 4 SB, 7 BB, 21 K.

Season (Single-A): 94 games, 383 AB, .238 BA, .289 OBP, .376 SLG, .665 OPS, 17 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR, 55 R, 35 RBI, 16 SB, 27 BB, 90 K.

Notable: Like Larnach, Lewis sandwiched his week with two-hit games, gong 2-for-4 with three runs, an RBI and a steal on Aug 15 and 2-for-4 with a double, run and RBI on Aug. 21. After going 16-for-24 on steal attempts with Fort Myers, he’s a perfect 4-for-4 with Pensacola.

 

Brent Rooker 1B/OF (age 24/Triple-A)

Last week: n/a

Season: 65 games, 228 AB, .281 BA, .398 OBP, .535 SLG, .933 OPS, 16 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 41 R, 47 RBI, 2 SB, 35 BB, 95 K.

Notable: Rooker has now been out over a month as he remains on the injured list, where he was placed July 16, retroactive to July 14.

Others:  RHP Jorge Alcala was promoted to Triple-A and tossed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts in his debut Aug. 20. … RHP Bailey Ober (12th round, 2017) was promoted to Double-A and in his first two starts with Pensacola allowed just one run on five hits in 14 innings with one walk and 20 strikeouts. On Aug. 21, he fanned 12 (with no walks) in seven innings. … Pensacola C Ryan Jeffers (2nd round, 2018) went 5-for-14 (.357) with a double and two homers. … Fort Myers 3B Andrew Bechtold (5th round, 2017) was 6-for-17 with five walks (.353 BA, .500 OBP). … Miracle LHP Tyler Watson pitched four no-hit innings on Aug. 21, walking three and striking out six. He was pulled after 84 pitches. … Fort Myers RHP Chris Vallimont (5th round, 2018) tossed seven shutout innings on Aug. 17, allowing three hits and a walk with nine whiffs. … Cedar Rapids RHP Matt Canterino (2nd round, 2019) pitched five shutout innings, his longest outing as a pro, on Aug. 16, allowing one hit with no walks and five strikeouts. In 15 combined innings between the GCL Twins and Cedar Rapids, Canterino has allowed two runs on five hits with 19 Ks. … Elizabethtown SS Anthony Prato (7th round, 2019) went 8-for-19 (.421) with two doubles, two hit by pitches (.500 OBP) and a steal. .. Elizabethtown OF Max Smith (31st round, 2019) was 10-for-30 with a double, homer and two steals. He’s slashing .296/.363/.457 in his first year.

Statistics courtesy milb.com and baseball-reference.com

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns