Healthy Buxton shines in return from DL at Rochester

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 16th edition of the 2018 Young Twins Tracker.

 

Byron Buxton, OF (age 22/Triple-A)

Last week: 1 game, 5 AB, 3 H, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 0 K, .600 BA

Season (Triple-A): 23 games, 84 AB, .238 BA, .312 OBP, .429 SLG, .740 OPS, 4 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 12 R, 11 RBI, 4 SB, 8 BB, 28 K

Notable: Buxton returned to the diamond Tuesday for his first game since going on the seven-day disabled list Aug. 1. He did not disappoint. The outfielder went 3-for-5 at the dish and launched a three-run homer in the fifth inning. He also made a nice running catch in center field and threw out a runner at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly. The Twins would rather see Buck do this at Target Field, but if he continues to produce and stay healthy, it’s only a matter of time.

 

Stephen Gonsalves, LHP (age 23/Triple-A)

Last week: 2 games (2 starts), 2-0, 12 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 14 K

Season (Triple-A): 19 games (18 starts), 9-3, 2.96 ERA, 100 1/3 IP, 65 H, 6 HR, 55 BB, 95 K, .187 OBA, 1.20 WHIP

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

Notable: Gonsalves’ ERA at Triple-A dipped below 3.00 for the first time since late May after holding Colorado Springs scoreless in six innings of work Tuesday. In his prior start, Gonsalves also tallied nine strikeouts, his fourth outing with 9+ Ks this season (three at Triple-A, one at Double-A).

 

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Nick Gordon, SS (age 22/Triple-A)

Last week: 7 games, 27 AB, 5 H, 2 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 3 BB, 7 K, .185 BA

Season (Triple-A): 80 games, 311 AB, .212 BA, .248 OBP, .293 SLG, .540 OPS, 13 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 28 R, 25 RBI, 9 SB, 14 BB, 64 K

Season (Double-A): 42 games, 162 AB, .333 BA, .381 OBP, .525 SLG, .906 OPS, 10 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 22 R, 20 RBI, 7 SB, 11 BB, 27 K

Notable: After a promotion to Triple-A in May, a September call-up to the big leagues seemed inevitable for Gordon. Although it’s still likely, especially with the departure of Brian Dozier, Gordon’s arduous learning process at Rochester continues. The former first-round pick has never hit worse than .270 in any of his previous minor-league stops, but he currently owns a .212 batting average with a little over two weeks to go in the season.

 

Brusdar Graterol, RHP (age 19/High-A)

Last week: 2 games (2 starts), 1-0, 12 2/3 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 10 K

Season (High-A): 8 games, 4-2, 3.63 ERA, 44 2/3 IP, 44 H, 0 HR, 14 BB, 42 K, .265 OBA, 1.300 WHIP

Season (Low-A): 8 games, 3-2, 2.18 ERA, 41 1/3 IP, 30 H, 2 HR, 9 BB, 51 K, .195 OBA, 0.94 WHIP

Notable: Graterol’s seven-inning outing Wednesday was his longest career start for Fort Myers, fanning six hitters in a tight 3-2 win for the Miracle.

 

Alex Kirilloff, OF (age 20/High-A)

Last week: 7 games, 29 AB, 13 H, 6 2B, 1 HR, 5 R, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 5 K, .448 BA

Season (High-A): 48 games, 196 AB, .378 BA, .397 OBP, .566 SLG, .963 OPS, 21 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 31 R, 37 RBI, 2 SB, 7 BB, 32 K

Season (Low-A): 65 games, 252 AB, .333 BA, .391 OBP, .607 SLG, .999 OPS, 20 2B, 5 3B, 13 HR, 36 R, 56 RBI, 1 SB, 24 BB, 47 K

Notable: The outfielder had a classic Kirilloff game Wednesday night, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. It’s been the of the year for the Twins’ No. 2 prospect, who, along with Royce Lewis, looks to push Fort Myers to a division title. The Miracle are currently a half-game behind Charlotte in the South division.

 

Trevor Larnach, OF (age 21/Low-A)

Last week (Low-A): 6 games, 26 AB, 5 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 3 K, .192 BA

Season (Low-A): 7 games, 30 AB, .267 BA, .290 OBP, 467 SLG, .757 OPS, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 3 K

Season (Rookie): 17 games, 60 AB, .300 BA, .405 OBP, .467 SLG, .872 OPS, 4 2B, 2 HR, 10 R, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 10 BB, 11 K

Notable: Larnach struggled a bit at the plate in his first full week with Low-A Cedar Rapids, but he did notch his first homer for the Kernels in a 9-6 win Saturday. Although the .192 batting average for the week doesn’t look pretty, Larnach only whiffed three times in 26 at-bats.

 

Young Twins Tracker Archive

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

Last week: 7 games, 29 AB, 9 H, 3 3B, 1 HR, 6 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 2 BB, 6 K, .310 BA

Season (High-A): 30 games, 123 AB, .317 BA, .400 OBP, .512 SLG, .912 OPS, 6 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 31 R, 20 RBI, 6 SB, 16 BB, 22 K

Season (Low-A): 75 games, 295 AB, .315 BA, .368 OBP, .485 SLG, .853 OPS, 23 2B, 0 3B, 9 HR, 50 R, 53 RBI, 22 SB, 24 BB, 49 K

Notable: Lewis hadn’t hit a triple all season — at both levels — but the 2017 No. 1 overall pick hit three of them last week. He also had the quote of the week, telling local TV reporter Sean Barie how he and Kirilloff will eventually help the Twins: “You ever watch the Cubs? I think about those guys and how they came up months apart. … They changed the culture and direction of that team.”

 

Brent Rooker, 1B (age 23/Double-A)

Last week: 6 games, 22 AB, 2 H, 3 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 5 BB, 5 K, .091 BA

Season: 113 games, 439 AB, .267 BA, .341 OBP, .497 SLG, .838 OPS, 30 2B, 4 3B, 21 HR, 64 R, 71 RBI, 5 SB, 49 BB, 132 K

Notable: It’s been a hot-and-cold season for Rooker, who had another rough week collecting just two hits in 27 plate appearances. He did, however tally five walks in six games, bumping his total to a team-high 49 BBs on the season.

 

Other notes: After his promotion to High-A Fort Myers on Aug. 6, 2B Jose Miranda (2nd, comp., 2016) is hitting .256/.356/.436 with two homers six RBI in 10 games. … Cedar Rapids 2B Michael Helman (Round 11, 2018) notched a .440 batting average (11 for 25) last week. … Rochester DH Kennys Vargas led the Twins organization with seven RBI last week. He’s hitting .262/.340/.524 with three homers and nine RBI in August (12 games). … Chattanooga RHP Tyler Wells (Round 15, 2016) notched 14 strikeouts in 12 innings of work last week. … Chattanooga RHP Omar Bencomo allowed just two runs in 10 1/3 innings (two starts) last week, lowering his ERA to 3.60 on the year.

Statistics courtesy milb.com and baseball-reference.com