Twins’ 2018 top pick Larnach tearing up Florida State 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 6th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.

 

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

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

Season (High-A): 5 games (5 starts), 3-0, 2.13 ERA, 25.1 IP, 12 H, 0 HR, 5 BB, 35 K, .140 OBA, 0.67 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: For some reason (which we could not find), Balazovic only pitched 1 1/3 innings on May 31. He wasn’t put on the injured list.

 

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

Last week: 5 games, 20 AB, 4 H, 1 3B, 3 R, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 4 BB, 5 K, .200 BA

Season: 21 games, 83 AB, .289 BA, .337 OBP, .458 SLG, .795 OPS, 7 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 11 R, 10 RBI, 3 SB, 6 BB, 18 K.

Notable: Gordon, who didn’t play in April, hit .303/.338/.485 in May. While he opened June going 4-for-17, he had a hit in all four games in the month.

 

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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: Graterol remains on the injured list, where he was placed May 19 due to a right shoulder impingement.

 

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

Last week: 3 games, 13 AB, 5 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 3 K, .385 BA

Season: 29 games, 112 AB, .268 BA, .359 OBP, .402 SLG, .761 OPS, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 12 RBI, 3 SB, 14 BB, 27 K.

Notable: Kirilloff got off to a hot start in June, going 3-for-3 with a double and home run on June 1 and 2-for-5 on June 2. However, on June 3 he was placed on the injured list, the reason was not given although he did miss time earlier in the year with a wrist injury. In May, Kirilloff hit .240/.336/.346 in 27 games.

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 22 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 4 BB, 2 K, .364 BA

Season: 54 games, 205 AB, .312 BA, .386 OBP, .488 SLG, .873 OPS, 19 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 23 R, 33 RBI, 3 SB, 26 BB, 48 K.

Notable: Larnach, last year’s first-round pick, continues to pound the ball and has reached base in 13 straight games, with a hit in 11 of those. He went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles on June 5. Larnach leads the Florida State League in total bases (tied with teammate Lewin Diaz) with 100 and doubles, is third in batting average and fourth in doubles. After a slow April in which he hit .244/.297/.322, Larnach posted a .371/.456/.619 slash line in May (and is at .333/.429/.611 in five June games).

 

Young Twins Tracker Archive

Royce Lewis, SS (age 19/High-A)

Last week: 6 games, 26 AB, 5 H, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 0 BB, 10 K, .192 BA

Season: 55 games, 223 AB, .224 BA, .286 OBP, .332 SLG, .618 OPS, 12 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 31 R, 15 RBI, 10 SB, 19 BB, 59 K.

Notable: While the struggles continue — Lewis went 0-for-5 on May 31 with three strikeouts then the next day whiffed all four times he was up — he did have a pair of multiple-hit games as well. In 27 games in May, he batted .234/.280/.405.

 

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

Last week: 5 games, 17 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 3 R, 5 RBI, 0 SB, 4 BB, 7 K, .471 BA

Season: 29 games, 107 AB, .262 BA, .342 OBP, .495 SLG, .837 OPS, 7 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 16 R, 17 RBI, 0 SB, 10 BB, 50 K.

Notable: Due to injuries, Rooker played only eight games in May, batting .235/.278/.500. Activated from the injured list on June 1, Rooker finished the week with three straight two-hit games and is riding an overall seven-game hit streak.

Others:  Back in Triple-A, Rochester 2B Luis Arraez went 4-for-9 with two walks and no whiffs in three games. … Red Wings RHP Randy Dobnak, who was promoted to Triple-A on May 25, tossed six shutout innings on June 3 at Syracuse. … Pensacola 2B Travis Blankenhorn (3rd round, 2015) had another good week, going 8-for-26 (.308) with three doubles and a homer. He’s batting .312/.348/.539 in 37 games for the Blue Wahoos. … Fort Myers OF Aaron Whitefield stole five bases last week and had at least one in three straight games. The native of Brisbane, Australia has 17 steals in 47 games. … Coming off his 14-strikeout outing, Fort Myers RHP Jhoan Duran had another strong start on June 1 – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K. … Cedar Rapids RHP Derek Molina (14th round, 2017) tossed four scoreless innings in relief, striking out eight. He has six saves in 14 games with a 2.91 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 33 whiffs in 21 2/3 innings. … Kernels SS Wander Javier played his first full week of the season after missing all of 2018 and in five games went 6-for-21 (.286) with a home run.

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