Twins 2018 No. 1 pick Larnach hits his way to Double-A promotion

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 11th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.

 

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

Last week: 1 game, 1-0, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Season (High-A): 10 games (9 starts), 5-2, 2.76 ERA, 49 IP, 35 H, 3 HR, 15 BB, 64 K, .196 OBA, 1.02 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: Pitching for the first time since June 29, Balazovic tossed the final four innings of Fort Myers’ 8-4 win at Bradenton on July 12. He threw 55 pitches and allowed just one baserunner.

 

Keoni Cavaco, SS (age 18/Rookie)

Last week: 4 games, 17 AB, 3 H, 0 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 1 BB, 9 K, .176 BA

Season: 10 games, 37 AB, .216 BA, .237 OBP, .297 SLG, .534 OPS, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 1 BB, 13 K.

Notable: Minnesota’s top pick in the 2019 draft had his second two-hit game of his young career, going 2-for-5 with an RBI on July 15.

 

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

Last week: 7 games, 30 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 4 K, .267 BA

Season: 57 games, 237 AB, .287 BA, .329 OBP, .447 SLG, .777 OPS, 23 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 43 R, 33 RBI, 12 SB, 15 BB, 55 K.

Notable: Gordon had a six-game hit streak end July 16, but he’s had a good month so far. In 15 July games, he’s batting .317/.377/.508 with 13 runs, 12 RBI and seven doubles. He was hitting .276 entering the month.

 

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: 6 games, 25 AB, 6 H, 1 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 9 K, .240 BA

Season: 55 games, 216 AB, .278 BA, .353 OBP, .412 SLG, .765 OPS, 13 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 27 R, 21 RBI, 3 SB, 21 BB, 53 K.

Notable: Kirilloff had three hitless games but also had a three-hit contest on July 13 and two hits on July 15. He had 17 multiple-hit games this season, including five with three hits.

 

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

Last week (Double-A): 1 game, 4 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 1 K, .250 BA

Last week (Single-A): 3 games, 14 AB, 7 H, 1 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, 0 SB, 2 BB, 1 K, .500 BA

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: Minnesota’s top pick in 2018 was promoted from Fort Myers to Pensacola on July 16 after one more week of mashing Single-A pitching. He leaves as the only Florida State League player to be hitting over .300 and still leads the league in OPS, doubles and total bases (147) as well as being second in hits.

 

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

Last week: 5 games, 20 AB, 3 H, 1 2B, 2 R, 0 RBI, 1 SB, 3 BB, 7 K, .150 BA

Season: 71 games, 290 AB, .228 BA, .278 OBP, .345 SLG, .623 OPS, 13 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 41 R, 23 RBI, 13 SB, 20 BB, 70 K.

Notable: An 0-for-5 on July 13 hurt Lewis’ week, but he reached based in his other four games and had two walks on July 17 – the first time he’s been issued a pair of free passes since he did it three times in five days from April 4-7. Lewis is slashing .273/.365/.455 in 11 games in July.

 

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

Last week: 3 games, 8 AB, 1 H, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 4 K, .125 BA

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 was placed on the 7-day injured list on July 16, retroactive to July 14. He left Rochester’s July 13 game after getting one at-bat with a reported groin injury.

Others:  Rochester OF Jaylin Davis (24th round, 2015) was 10-for-28 (.357) last week with four home runs, 10 runs and eight RBI. Davis homered in three straight games from July 13-15 then went deep again July 17. In 29 games for the Red Wings, he’s slashing .340/.407/.755 and has hit 12 home runs. … Red Wings OF Zander Wiel (12th round, 2015) hit five home runs, including a pair of two-homer games. In the first game of a July 11 doubleheader, he went 4-for-4 with 2 HR, 3 runs and 7 RBI. … Pensacola 2B Travis Blankenhorn (3rd round, 2015) was placed on the 7-day IL, that roster move clearing space for Larnach’s arrival. … Blue Wahoos 1B Lewin Diaz hit homers in back-to-back games July 15-16 and now has 17 on the season with Fort Myers and Pensacola. He’s slugging .606 in 24 games at Double-A. … Fort Myers RHP Cole Sands (5th round, 2018) allowed one earned run and fanned six in seven innings on July 16. In six starts since being promoted to the Miracle, Sands has a 2.04 ERA, .195 OBA and 0.76 WHIP. … Cedar Rapids RHP Kai-Wei Teng pitched six scoreless innings on July 14, striking out 10 while throwing a season-high 94 pitches. It was Teng’s fourth straight start of 6+ innings allowing two or fewer runs. He hasn’t walked a batter in back-to-back starts. … Kernels SS Wander Javier broke out of a long slump with a four-hit games on July 15. He homered twice and drove in six. … SS Spencer Steer, a third-round pick this year, was promoted from Elizabethtown to Cedar Rapids on July 14. He hit .325/.442/.506 in 20 games in rookie ball and was 4-for-12 with a home run in his first three games with the Kernels. … Elizabethtown 1B Seth Gray (4th round, 2019) was 9-for-26 (.346) last week with three doubles, two homers, seven runs and 10 RBI. … OF Albee Weiss (23rd round, 2018) was 8-for-22 (.364) with two doubles, a triple, three homers and 10 RBI for Elizabethtown and then was promoted to Cedar Rapids, where he went 4-for-11 with three doubles in his first three games. Weiss had a .604 slugging percentage in 23 games with Elizabethtown.

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