Former Twins top picks Larnach, Lewis finding their groove in Double-A

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 15th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.

 

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

Last week: 1 game (1 start), 1-0, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K

Season (High-A): 12 games (11 starts), 6-3, 2.73 ERA, 58.2 IP, 42 H, 3 HR, 17 BB, 77 K, .194 OBA, 1.01 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: Making his first appearance since July 18, Balazovic was back to his dominant self, allowing just two hits and no runs. His nine strikeouts were his most since fanning 12 back on May 13.

 

Keoni Cavaco, SS (age 18/Rookie)

Last week: 1 game, 4 AB, 0 H, 1 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 1 K, .000 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 hasn’t played since Aug. 9.

 

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

Last week: n/a

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 remains on the injured list, where he was placed Aug. 5, retroactive to Aug. 3, with a left lower leg contusion.

 

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

Last week: 2 games, SV, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K

Season: 11 games (9 starts), 5-0, 1 SV, 1.78 ERA, 50.2 IP, 32 H, 2 HR, 21 BB, 49 K, .185 OBA, 1.05 WHIP

Notable: The Twins are obviously taking it easy with Graterol as he returns from a lengthy absence, using him out of the bullpen. He threw 29 pitches (21 for strikes) on Aug. 8 and 13 pitches in recording his first career save on Aug. 14. In that latter game, Graterol also touched 102 mph on the radar gun.

 

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

Last week: 5 games, 21 AB, 6 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 0 BB, 2 K, .286 BA

Season: 78 games, 311 AB, .273 BA, .332 OBP, .412 SLG, .744 OPS, 15 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 38 R, 36 RBI, 6 SB, 22 BB, 67 K.

Notable: Kirilloff had a pair of multi-hit games last week, going 2-for-4 with a home run on Aug. 9 at Mobile and 3-for-5 with a homer vs. Charlotte on Aug. 14.

 

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

Last week: 5 games, 19 AB, 8 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 2 BB, 4 K, .421 BA

Season (Double-A): 24 games, 89 AB, .292 BA, .373 OBP, .449 SLG, .822 OPS, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 17 R, 11 RBI, 0 SB, 11 BB, 30 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: Larnach has a hit in five straight games and eight of his last nine. He had two hits, including a homer, on Aug. 9 at Mobile and finished the week going 3-for-4 on Aug. 14. Larnach was hitting .232 after going 0-for-4 on Aug. 1 and has 13 hits in 33 at-bats (.394) since.

 

Young Twins Tracker Archive

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

Last week: 5 games, 21 AB, 7 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 1 BB, 4 K, .333 BA

Season (Double-A): 15 games, 63 AB, .254 BA, .304 OBP, .397 SLG, .701 OPS, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 3 SB, 5 BB, 13 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: Lewis is on a five game-hit streak, including having two hits in two of this last three contests. He slugged his first Double-A home run on Aug. 9. Lewis has reached base in 13 of his first 15 games with Pensacola.

 

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 has now been out a month as he remains on the injured list, where he was placed July 16, retroactive to July 14.

 

Others:  Fort Myers LHP Tyler Watson, who was acquired in 2017 from Washington for Brandon Kintzler, threw four shutout innings in relief on Aug. 8, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out six, then started on Aug. 14 and gave up just one run in six innings with six Ks. …  Miracle RHP Chris Vallimont, who came over from San Francisco in the Sergio Romo deal, gave up two runs on two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over seven innings on Aug. 9. … Another trade acquisition, Fort Myers RHP Dakota Chalmers, who was obtained from Oakland for Fernando Rodney last year, allowed one unearned run in six innings on Aug. 13. He gave up three hits and one walk while fanning a season-high nine batters. … Cedar Rapids SS Daniel Ozoria, who doesn’t turn 19 until Aug. 24, was 7-for16 (.438) with four runs last week. … Kernels OF Gilberto Celestino was 10-for-21 (.476) with three doubles, a home run and five runs. … Elizabethtown RHP Andriu Marin pitched six shutout innings on Aug. 12, walking none and striking out a career-high 11 batters. He has 60 Ks in 39 innings. … Elizabethtown 1B Parker Phillips (27th round, 2019) went 8-for-23 (.348) wit ha double, three homers, six runs and seven RBI. He has a nine-game hit streak.

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