Twins prospect Lewin Diaz making some home run history

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 4th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.

 

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

Last week: 1 game (1 start), 0-0, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 8 K

Season (High-A): 3 games (3 starts), 2-0, 3.18 ERA, 17 IP, 9 H, 0 HR, 4 BB, 30 K, .153 OBA, 0.76 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 97 pitches in his last start against St. Lucie on May 19, meaning he’s thrown at least 94 pitches in all three of his starts for Fort Myers. He doesn’t qualify for the Florida State League leaders yet, but his WHIP would lead the league.

 

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

Last week: 2 games, 10 AB, 2 H, 1 2B, 1 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 3 K, .200 BA

Season: 10 games, 44 AB, .318 BA, .348 OBP, .455 SLG, .802 OPS, 6 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 3 SB, 1 BB, 11 K.

Notable: Gordon’s latest stint on the injured list, for a strained left adductor, lasted just seven days. He was activated May 21 and the next day went 2-for-5, his fifth multi-hit game of the season.

 

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

Last week: 1 game (1 start), 0-0, 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K

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 threw 81 pitches in his start last week vs. Mobile on May 19, which tied his second-highest total for the season. He’s allowed fewer than two runs in eight of his nine starts and is sixth in the Southern League in both ERA and WHIP.

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 27 AB, 5 H, 3 2B, 2 R, 0 RBI, 2 SB, 3 BB, 6 K, .208 BA

Season: 19 games, 75 AB, .227 BA, .318 OBP, .307 SLG, .624 OPS, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 6 R, 6 RBI, 3 SB, 8 BB, 19 K.

Notable: Kirilloff had a hit in every-other game (and was hitless in every-other game as well), collecting two hits and a double on both May 19 and May 22.  He also stole a base in each of those games.

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 19 AB, 2 H, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 5 BB, 7 K, .105 BA

Season: 42 games, 160 AB, .281 BA, .355 OBP, .413 SLG, .768 OPS, 13 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 15 R, 23 RBI, 2 SB, 19 BB, 37 K.

Notable: After a hot stretch the previous week, Larnach cooled off, collecting a hit in only two of six games. He did collect his second career triple, though.

 

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

Last week: 7 games, 27 AB, 7 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 1 BB, 3 K, .259 BA

Season: 43 games, 172 AB, .238 BA, .309 OBP, .343 SLG, .652 OPS, 11 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 25 R, 12 RBI, 9 SB, 18 BB, 38 K.

Notable: Lewis finished the week on a four-game hit streak and had a hit in six of his seven games. He’s had an extra-base hit in eight of his last 12 games,

 

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

Last week: 1 games, 4 AB, 1 H, 1 2B, 1 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 3 K, .250 BA

Season: 24 games, 90 AB, .222 BA, .278 OBP, .478 SLG, .756 OPS, 5 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 13 R, 12 RBI, 0 SB, 6 BB, 43 K.

Notable: Rooker was placed on the injured list on May 18 (retroactive to May 17) with a left wrist strain.

Others: Rochester OF Zander Wiel (12th round, 2015) was 5-for-16 with seven walks, a double and home run – a slash line of .313/.522/.563. On the season he’s batting .282/.358/.527. … Red Wings LHP Lewis Thorpe, who had a tough start to the year, allowed one run on five hits with eight strikeouts over five innings on May 18 at Durham. … Rochester RHP Kohl Stewart (1st round, 2013) allowed two runs with 10 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings in two starts last week. On May 22 vs. Buffalo, he gave up one hit in five scoreless frames. … Pensacola 2B Travis Blankenhorn (3rd round, 2015) hit three homers, including two May 16 vs. Mobile. He has seven combined HR this season, six at Double-A. … Fort Myers 1B Lewin Diaz struggled at High-A last year (.224/.255/.344) but he’s adjusted in 2019. He hit five home runs last week, including three (the first Miracle player ever to hit three HR in a game) as part of a 4-for-5, five-RBI day May 16 at Bradenton. On the week he slashed .370/.393/.963 and is now batting .316/.350/.556 on the season. He’s leads the Florida State League in OPS (.906), and is third batting average and homers (8) and tied for fifth in RBI (24). Diaz’s eight home runs in May are tied for the most in Miracle history with Kennys Vargas, who did it in 2013. … Cedar Rapids RHP Austin Schulfer (19th round, 2018) made two appearances last week and tossed eight hitless, scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts. He’s allowed just 16 hits in 33 2/3 innings with 47 whiffs. … Kernels RHP Cole Sands (5th round, 2018) fanned 10 in five innings on May 18. In seven starts he has a 2.48 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 46 K in 36 1/3 IP.

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