Former top pick Larnach goes out with a bang in first full pro season

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 18th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.

 

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

Last week: n/a

Season (High-A): 15 games (14 starts), 6-4, 2.84 ERA, 73 IP, 52 H, 3 HR, 21 BB, 96 K, .193 OBA, 1.00 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 was promoted to Double-A Pensacola on Sept. 4 for the Southern League playoffs. His combined numbers in 2019: 2.69 ERA, .193 OBA, 0.98 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings.

 

More Twins Coverage

Keoni Cavaco, SS (age 18/Rookie)

Last week: n/a

Season: 25 games, 87 AB, .172 BA, .217 OBP, .253 SLG, .470 OPS, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 9 R, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 4 BB, 35 K.

Notable: The Gulf Coast League’s season ended early due to Hurricane Dorian thus ending Cavaco’s first year as a pro prematurely.

 

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 didn’t play again this season after being hit by a pitch below the knee in an Aug. 2 game.

 

Young Twins Tracker archive

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

Last week: 3 games, 12 AB, 4 H, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 1 K, .333 BA

Season: 94 games, 375 AB, .283 BA, .343 OBP, .413 SLG, .756 OPS, 18 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 47 R, 43 RBI, 7 SB, 29 BB, 76 K.

Notable: Kirilloff went 34-for-110 (.309) in the August/September, hitting five of his home runs. In Pensacola’s opening playoff game, an 11-10 loss in 10 innings to Biloxi on Wednesday, he went 2-for-5 with a double and a game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning.

 

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

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

Season (Double-A): 43 games, 156 AB, .295 BA, .387 OBP, .455 SLG, .842 OPS, 4 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 26 R, 22 RBI, 0 SB, 22 BB, 50 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 had three multi-hit games in his final week and batted .317 with a .519 slugging percentage in August/September, hitting six home runs.

 

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

Last week: 5 games, 20 AB, 3 H, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 3 BB, 6 K, .150 BA

Season (Double-A): 33 games, 134 AB, .231 BA, .291 OBP, .358 SLG, .649 OPS, 9 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 18 R, 14 RBI, 6 SB, 11 BB, 33 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’ final week was a struggle, but in Pensacola’s playoff game he went 3-for-5 and followed Kirilloff’s slam with a home run to give the Blue Wahoos a temporary 10-9 lead. Lewis also double, scored twice and drove in two.

 

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 had been rehabbing in the GCL when that season ended and was not reassigned elsewhere.

Others:  2B Yeltsin Encarnacion, a 21-year-old switch-hitter, was promoted from Fort Myers to Rochester for the final two games of the season and went 2-for-8 with a double and two runs. … Pensacola 2B Travis Blankenhorn (3rd round, 2015) went 9-for-22 (.409) with a double and homer in the final week of the regular season. In 93 games for the Blue Wahoos, he batted .278/.312/.474 with 18 homers. … Cedar Rapids RHP Austin Schulfer (19th round, 2018) whiffed six over three shutout innings in two relief appearances. He finished the season with 124 strikeouts in 97 2/3 innings. … Kernels 1B Gabe Snyder (21st round, 2018) went 6-for-17 (.353) with a triple and three homers, including two in one game, in the final week. He finished tied for second in the Midwest League with 19 home runs.

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