Twins’ Graterol voted top pitching prospect in Southern League

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 14th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.

 

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

Last week: 1 game (1 start), 0-1, 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Season (High-A): 11 games (10 starts), 5-3, 3.02 ERA, 53.2 IP, 40 H, 3 HR, 16 BB, 68 K, .201 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, who hasn’t pitched since July 18, was activated from the temporary inactive list on Aug. 6. In Baseball America’s yearly poll among minor-league managers, Balazovic was voted as having the best control of any pitcher in the Florida State League.

 

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Keoni Cavaco, SS (age 18/Rookie)

Last week: 3 games, 12 AB, 4 H, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 6 K, .333 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 had a hit in all three games this past week in which he had a plate appearance. He had two hits on Aug. 6 and the next day hit a three-run home run – his first dinger as a professional.

 

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

Last week: 2 games, 6 AB, 0 H, 0 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 1 K, .000 BA

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 was placed on the injured list on Aug. 5, retroactive to Aug. 3, with a left lower leg contusion. Gordon had to leave Rochester’s game on Aug. 2 after being hit by a pitch.

 

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

Last week: n/a

Season: 9 games (9 starts), 5-0, 1.89 ERA, 47.2 IP, 31 H, 2 HR, 19 BB, 46 K, .188 OBA, 1.05 WHIP

Notable: Out since May 19, Graterol was activated from the injured list Aug. 7. He made two rehab starts in the GCL and tossed two scoreless innings in his last outing, Aug. 1. Graterol was voted best pitching prospect and also having the best fastball and best breaking pitch in the Southern League by the league’s managers.

 

Young Twins Tracker Archive

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

Last week: 6 games, 25 AB, 7 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 8 RBI, 1 SB, 1 BB, 3 K, .280 BA

Season: 73 games, 290 AB, .272 BA, .334 OBP, .397 SLG, .731 OPS, 14 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 33 R, 31 RBI, 5 SB, 22 BB, 65 K.

Notable: Kirilloff is riding a seven-game hit streak. On Aug. 1 he went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and season-high five RBI (he hadn’t driven in more than two runs in any other game this year).

 

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

Last week: 5 games, 18 AB, 5 H, 2 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, 0 SB, 4 BB, 7 K, .278 BA

Season (Double-A): 19 games, 70 AB, .257 BA, .350 OBP, .400 SLG, .750 OPS, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 14 R, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 9 BB, 26 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: After not homering since July 21, Larnach went deep in back-to-back games Aug. 2-3. He followed that up on Aug. 4 with his first three-hit game with Pensacola, having a perfect day at the plate with two walks, two runs and two RBI. Larnach was tabbed the best batting prospect in the Florida State League (where he no longer plays) in voting by the league’s managers.

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 25 AB, 5 H, 1 3B, 5 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 3 BB, 7 K, .200 BA

Season (Double-A): 10 games, 42 AB, .214 BA, .283 OBP, .310 SLG, .592 OPS, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 5 R, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 4 BB, 9 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: After recording a hit in seven of his first eight games with Pensacola, Lewis was hitless in his last two contests. He had two hits on Aug. 2 and rapped out his first Double-A triple the next day. Lewis was voted as having the best infield arm in the Florida State League by the league’s managers.

 

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 remains on the injured list, where he was placed July 16, retroactive to July 14.

 

Others:  Returned to Rochester on Aug. 3, LHP Lewis Thorpe tossed six shutout innings, allowing one hit with no walks and seven strikeouts, on Aug. 7 vs. Gwinnett. … C Ryan Jeffers (2nd round, 2018) has played in just six games since being promoted to Double-A Pensacola on July 25, but he’s 9-for-23 (.391) with a double and two home runs. … Blue Wahoos 1B Ryan Costello, who was acquired from Seattle in the Zach Duke trade, hit homers in three straight games Aug. 2-4. … Fort Myers OF Gabriel Maciel went 8-for-19 (.421) last week with a double and homer. He also did not strike out. … The good news for Miracle RHP Cole Sands (5th round, 2018): He threw six scoreless innings on Aug. 1, giving up just two hits and fanning seven. The bad news: He went on the injured list Aug. 5, retroactive to Aug. 3, due to a strained left calf. … OF Victor Heredia of the Gulf Coast Twins went 7-for-15 (.467) with three doubles. … GCL Twins RHP Miguel Rodriguez pitched six shutout innings with no walks and nine strikeouts. In his 21 innings this season, Rodriguez has allowed two runs on 15 hits (.192 OBA) while walking six and whiffing 26.

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