Twins pitching prospect Duran fans 14, hits 101 mph on gun
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 5th edition of the 2019 Young Twins Tracker.
Jordan Balazovic, SP (age 20/High-A)
Last week: 1 game (1 start), 1-0, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Season (High-A): 4 games (4 starts), 3-0, 2.25 ERA, 24 IP, 12 H, 0 HR, 5 BB, 33 K, .146 OBA, 0.71 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 bounced back from his worst start of the season to blank Daytona Beach over seven innings. He threw 89 pitches, his first start under 90 since being promoted to Fort Myers.
Nick Gordon, 2B/SS (age 23/Triple-A)
Last week: 6 games, 19 AB, 6 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 2 K, .316 BA
Season: 16 games, 63 AB, .317 BA, .348 OBP, .508 SLG, .856 OPS, 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 R, 7 RBI, 3 SB, 2 BB, 13 K.
Notable: Gordon is riding a six-game hit streak and has an extra-base hit in each of his last three. He had his first triple of the year on May 27 and followed that up in Rochester’s next game, the first game of a May 29 doubleheader, by socking his first home run. In 99 Triple-A games last year, he had two homers.
Brusdar Graterol, SP (age 20/Double-A)
Last week: 1 game (1 start), 0-0, 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K
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 was placed on the injured list on May 19 due to a right shoulder impingement.
Alex Kirilloff, OF (age 21/Double-A)
Last week: 6 games, 24 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 5 K, .333 BA
Season: 25 games, 99 AB, .253 BA, .339 OBP, .364 SLG, .703 OPS, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 3 SB, 11 BB, 24 K.
Notable: Kirilloff’s six-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-3 on May 29. However, the previous day he hit his first Double-A home run. He also had three two-hit games last week, giving him seven multi-hit games this season.
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Trevor Larnach, OF (age 22/High-A)
Last week: 6 games, 23 AB, 11 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 R, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 9 K, .478 BA
Season: 48 games, 183 AB, .306 BA, .376 OBP, .475 SLG, .852 OPS, 17 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 20 R, 30 RBI, 2 SB, 22 BB, 46 K.
Notable: Larnach, one of eight Fort Myers players named to the Florida State League All-Star Game, finished the week on a five-game hit streak. He had three multi-hit games, including going 4-for-5 with a double on May 28 and 3-for-4 with a double, homer and five RBI on May 29. He leads the FSL in doubles and is third in RBI.
Royce Lewis, SS (age 19/High-A)
Last week: 6 games, 25 AB, 4 H, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 11 K, .160 BA
Season: 49 games, 197 AB, .228 BA, .298 OBP, .345 SLG, .643 OPS, 11 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 29 R, 13 RBI, 9 SB, 19 BB, 49 K.
Notable: While it was another rough week for Lewis, he did finish on a three-game hit streak (4-for-13 with a triple and homer) and was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game.
Brent Rooker 1B/OF (age 24/Triple-A)
Last week: n/a
Season: 24 games, 90 AB, .222 BA, .278 OBP, .478 SLG, .756 OPS, 5 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 13 R, 12 RBI, 0 SB, 6 BB, 43 K.
Notable: Rooker remains on the injured list with a left wrist strain.
Others: RHP Sean Poppen (19th round, 2016) was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A and in his first appearance for Rochester since making a start back on April 10, he pitched six innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits with seven strikeouts. … Red Wings LHP Steven Gonsalves (4th round, 2013) went on the injured list May 25 due a stress reaction in his elbow/forearm. … Pensacola 2B Travis Blankenhorn (3rd round, 2015) continues to mash the ball. In six games last week he had 11 hits (.393 batting average), including two doubles and two home runs, with six runs and eight RBI. In 31 games for the Blue Wahoos he’s hitting .313/.350/.539. … LHP Charlie Barnes (4th round, 2017) didn’t allow a run in his two starts last week. He went eight innings on May 23 for Single-A Fort Myers, giving up five hits and one walk with five whiffs, then was promoted to Double-A where he went five innings with four hits, no walks and seven Ks on May 29. … Besides Larnach and Lewis, other Fort Myers players selected for the FSL All-Star Game were 1B Lewin Diaz, RHP Tom Hackimer (4th round, 2016), C Ryan Jeffers (2nd round, 2018), RHP Alex Phillips, RHP Johan Quezada and LHP Bryan Simmons (6th round, 2017). In addition, Toby Gardenhire will serve as manager and Luis Ramirez is the pitching coach. … Miracle OF Akil Badoo (comp. pick Round B, 2016) had Tommy John surgery. … Fort Myers RHP Jhoan Duran, who was acquired from Arizona in the Eduardo Escobar deal, allowed one run on one hit and two walks over six innings on May 26 at Daytona Beach while striking out 14. The six innings was his longest outing of the season and Duran reportedly threw as hard as 101 mph. Duran’s ERA is a bit high at 4.08, but in his eight starts he has a .220 OBA, 1.16 WHIP and 44 K in 35 1/3 IP. … Cedar Rapids OF Jared Akins (13th round, 2017) is off to a fine start. He was 8-for-21 with two doubles, a triple and a homer last week and in his first 13 games is slashing .360/.389/.740. … After missing the 2018 season with a torn labrum, SS Wander Javier made his debut for Cedar Rapids on May 25. He went 0-for-4 but in his next game, May 29, was 1-for-2 with two walks.
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