Twins pitching prospect Gonsalves already bumped up a level

The Minnesota Twins are reshaping their franchise with an injection of youth and 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 inaugural edition of the 2018 Young Twins Tracker.

 

Stephen Gonsalves (age 23/Triple-A)

Season (Double-A): 4 games (4 starts), 3-0, 1.77 ERA, 20 1/3 IP, 11 H, 2 HR, 10 BB, 25 K, .167 OBA, 1.03 WHIP

Season (Triple-A): 1 game (1 start), 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 HR, 1 BB, 5 K, .043 OBA, 0.42 WHIP

Notable: It didn’t take long for the Twins to elevate Gonsalves back to Triple-A. After flourishing in four Double-A starts, Gonsalves was promoted to Rochester, where he struggled last year, posting a 5.56 ERA over 22 2/3 innings. But that was last year. Pitching at Pawtucket, Gonsalves allowed just two baserunners (one hit, a single in the second inning, and a walk in the eighth) in 7 2/3 innings on April 27. “I was excited to get back up with this group of guys and show them what I have and get through my game and pitch and show who I am,” Gonsalves told milb.com.

 

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Nick Gordon (age 22/Double-A)

Season: 24 games, 89 AB, .337 BA, .361 OBP, .528 SLG, .889 OPS, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 13 RBI, 3 SB, 4 BB, 14 K.

Notable: Gordon opened the season with a four-hit game and has had eight other multiple-hit games. He ranks ninth in the Southern League in batting average.

 

Tyler Jay (age 24/Double-A)

Season: 3 games, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 4 H, 0 HR, 1 BB, 4 K, .211 OBA, 1.00 WHIP

Notable: After missing most of 2017 due to injuries, Jay, Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2015, was sidelined for a couple of weeks in April due to a groin strain. His last outing was April 29, throwing 37 pitches in 2 1/2 scoreless innings.

 

Alex Kirilloff (age 20/High-A)

Season: 19 games, 79 AB, .266 BA, .298 OBP, .468 SLG, .766 OPS, 7 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 R, 19 RBI, 0 SB, 4 BB, 16 K.

Notable: Minnesota’s top pick in 2016 is back after missing all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. The 2016 Appalachian League’s Player of the Year had a two homers in a game on April 11 and has six multi-hit games this season, including two three-hit games.

 

Young Twins Tracker Archive

Royce Lewis (age 18/High-A)

Season: 15 games, 62 AB, .339 BA, .379 OBP, .403 SLG, .782 OPS, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 10 R, 10 RBI, 5 SB, 4 BB, 8 K.

Notable: One of the youngest players in the Midwest League (he turned 19 in June), last year’s No. 1 overall pick is tied for eighth in batting average. Last week he was 9 for 22 (.409).

 

Brent Rooker (age 23/Double-A)

Season: 25 games, 92 AB, .239 BA, .268 OBP, .348 SLG, .616 OPS, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 R, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 3 BB, 31 K.

Notable: Last year’s first-round (compensatory) pick is making his debut in Double-A after hitting .281/.364/.566 combined in 2017 at Elizabethton and Fort Myers. Rooker struggled out of the gate, but last week hit .333 with three doubles.

 

LaMonte Wade (age 24/Double-A)

Season: 24 games, 82 AB, .293 BA, .392 OBP, .390 SLG, .782 OPS, 0 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 12 R, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 14 BB, 8 K.

Notable: The on-base machine has reached base in 21 of his 24 games this season. He’s the only player on Carolina who has played more than one game who has more walks than strikeouts — something he’s accomplished in each of his previous three minor-league seasons.

 

Others: Before being recalled to the Twins, Fernando Romeo had a 2.57 ERA and 1.29 WHIP at Triple-A Rochester. … Red Wings RHP John Curtiss (6th round, 2014) has a 0.96 WHIP and 17 K in 19 1/3 IP. … Rochester RHP Aaron Slegers (5th round, 2013) has a 1.50 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in four starts. … In his first year in Double-A, 2B Zander Wiel (12th round, 2015) is hitting .321/.409/.506 with nine doubles. … Chattanooga RHP Zack Jones (4thround, 2012) has an interesting pitching line thus far: 10.2 IP, 2 H, 15 BB, 18 K. … Fort Myers 3B Joe Cronin (34th round, 2016) is hitting .360/.441/.560 in 16 games. …  After batting .311/.373/.522 at Fort Myers, OF Jimmy Kerrigan was moved all the way up to Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday.

Statistics courtesy milb.com and STATS

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