Twins’ 2018 top pick Larnach has breakout week in Single-A

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 17th edition of the 2018 Young Twins Tracker.

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

Last week: 4 games, 20 AB, 5 H, 3 2B, 5 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 7 K, .263 BA

Season (Triple-A): 28 games, 108 AB, .241 BA, .305 OBP, .417 SLG, .722 OPS, 7 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 17 R, 11 RBI, 4 SB, 9 BB, 36 K

Notable: Buxton began the week going 5 for 15 in his first three games, but was 0 for 4 on Aug. 22.

 

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 23 AB, 3 H, 4 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 3 BB, 6 K, .130 BA

Season (Triple-A): 87 games, 339 AB, .209 BA, .251 OBP, .283 SLG, .534 OPS, 13 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 33 R, 26 RBI, 11 SB, 17 BB, 70 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: The former first-round pick’s struggles continue with Rochester. Gordon had a single hit in three of his six games and was hitless in the other three with one walk.

 

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

Last week: 1 game (1 start), 0-0, 5 2/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K

Season (High-A): 9 games, 4-2, 3.75 ERA, 50 1/3 IP, 52 H, 0 HR, 16 BB, 46 K, .274 OBA, 1.35 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 needed 91 pitches against Palm Beach on Aug. 21 but couldn’t make it through six innings, his second time in the last three starts he’s gone 5 2/3 innings.

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 21 AB, 6 H, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 1 K, .286 BA

Season (High-A): 54 games, 217 AB, .369 BA, .395 OBP, .548 SLG, .943 OPS, 23 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 33 R, 39 RBI, 2 SB, 10 BB, 33 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: After going hitless in back-to-back games, Kirilloff has a mini-three-game hit streak going. Despite his limited time with Fort Myers, Kirilloff is tied for ninth in the Florida State League in doubles. Every player tied or ahead of him has played 71 or more games, with the majority over 100.

 

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

Last week (Low-A): 7 games, 26 AB, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 R, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 5 K, .385 BA

Season (Low-A): 14 games, 60 AB, .317 BA, .359 OBP, .550 SLG, .909 OPS, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 6 RBI, 0 SB, 4 BB, 9 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: It took a week, but Minnesota’s top pick in 2018 got untracked at Cedar Rapids. Larnach finished the week with a six-game hit streak — which included three multi-hit games. On Aug. 22 at Beloit, he had three hits with a double and home run. He also recorded his first professional triple on Aug. 17. The strong week helped him greatly increase his slash line, which was at .250/.289/.444 after an 0-for-2 on Aug. 16.

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 23 AB, 4 H, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 2 BB, 3 K, .174 BA

Season (High-A): 36 games, 146 AB, .295 BA, .376 OBP, .479 SLG, .855 OPS, 6 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 32 R, 21 RBI, 6 SB, 18 BB, 25 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: After getting two hits, including a home run, on Aug. 17, Lewis went 2-for-his-next-17 to see his batting average dip below .300 for the first time since July 28.

 

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

Last week: 6 games, 24 AB, 5 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 9 K, .208 BA

Season: 119 games, 463 AB, .263 BA, .338 OBP, .490 SLG, .828 OPS, 31 2B, 4 3B, 22 HR, 69 R, 77 RBI, 5 SB, 50 BB, 141 K

Notable: Rooker had two hits, including a double, on Aug. 18 and hit a grand slam at Montgomery on Aug. 21. He’s tied for first in the Southern League in doubles and second in home runs and total bases.

 

Other notes: Rochester DH Kennys Vargas was 10 for 21 (.476) with a double, four home runs and 12 RBI in just six games. He now has 20 homers on the season, which is tied for second in the International League. … RHP Chase De Jong, who was acquired from Seattle in the Zach Duke deal, had his best outing since joining the Red Wings: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K on Aug. 18 at Toledo. … Chattanooga LHP Dietrich Ens allowed one run with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings. …. Lookouts 2B Luis Arraez was 9 for 21 (.429) and is batting .300 in his 40 games with the team. … Fort Myers C Ben Rortvedt (2nd round, 2016) went 5 for 15 (.333) with two doubles and a triple. … Cedar Rapids RHP Edwar Colina struck out 10 batters for the second consecutive start. He allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings at Wisconsin on Aug. 19. … Kernels 2B Michael Helman (11th round, 2018) was 8 for 25 (.320) with two doubles, a triple a home run, seven runs and five RBI. He’s batting .387 in his first 16 games with Cedar Rapids.

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