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Farm Report: Alex Kiriloff, Nick Gordon, and Kohl Stewart have been performing

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Come read what Kiriloff and the rest of the Twins minor league prospects have been up to in the first week of the season.

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Welcome to our 2018 farm report!

In seasons past you may remember daily minor league reports bringing you fresh information about yesterday’s games for the Twins minor league affialiates.

This year we are doing something a bit different, as we will be providing weekly or biweekly prospect updates. We figure this should allow us to better see trends in our prospects’ performances rather than the daily reports. It also lets me, the prospect guy, focus on the minor leagues while allowing Maija and the rest of our staff focus on putting out content regarding the Major League team.

So here is our prospect report for the first few weeks of the minor league season! Enjoy it as you watch the snow fall and the Winter Warlock eat your soul! Remember, all prospect rankings are according to MLBpipeline.com

Rochester Redwings, Triple-A

Pitching

Aaron Slegers - 2 GS, 12 IP, 6/1 K/BB Ratio, 0.75 ERA

Slegers lacks high prospect upside but he provides solid depth as a call-up emergency starter type. He has pitched well so far in the cold weather.

Adelberto Mejia - 2 G (1 GS), 4IP 5/3 K/BB Ratio, 2.25 ERA

Mejia has been on a fairly odd regimen since he was the likely call up to start if the Twins had played on April 13th. Look for Mejia to get back on a normal routine with Phil Hughes on track to pitch the next time the Twins need a 5th starter. Mejia’s K/BB ratio is a bit suspect to start the season but we will have to watch it as the season goes on.

Fernando Romero (2)- 1 G, 5 IP, 3/2 K/BB Ratio, 1.40 WHIP

Romero’s apperance actually came in relief of Mejia’s planned short start last week. This was Romero’s first appearance in Triple-A, and he did okay.

Dietrich Enns - 1 GS, 3.2 IP, 2/2 K/BB ratio, 9.82 ERA

Enns is another solid depth option without true prospect status, and he got roughed up a bit in his opener.

Tyler Duffey - 4.1 IP, 4/0 K/BB ratio, 0.23 WHIP

Jake Reed - 3.1 IP, 5/0 K/BB ratio, 2.70 ERA

Mason Melotakis - 3.2 IP, 5/1 K/BB ratio, 4.91 ERA, 0.82 WHIP

Alan Busenitz - 2.2 IP, 3/1 K/BB ratio, 3.38 ERA

John Curtiss (21) - 2 IP, 4/0 K/BB ratio, 0.00 WHIP/ERA

The bullpen arms in Rochester had good first weeks, all posting solid K/BB ratios with mixed results in the runs allowed department, which is typical in these small sample sizes.

Batters

Jake Cave (26) - .222/.300/.333, 1HR, 3 RBI, 2/10 BB/K ratio

Cave hit his first dinger but has been swinging and missing a lot.

Zach Granite (27) - .200/.407/.200, 7/2 BB/K ratio, 1 SB (2CS)

Granite hasn’t hit much but he has been walking a lot, which is a skill he will need to continue to develop if he ever wants to be a mainstay in the majors. Not sure why he’s struggled on the bases

Kennys Vargas - .120/.267/.120, 2 RBI, 5/9 BB/k ratio

We still have Kennys Vargas. He is still Kennys Vargas, as opposed to David Ortiz

Chattanooga Lookouts, Double-A

Pitching

Stephen Gonsalves (3) - 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 8/6 K/BB ratio, 0.96 WHIP, 0.00 ERA

Gonsalves has limited runs despite a lack of command, which is a bit uncharacteristic for him.

Lewis Thorpe (12) - 2 GS, 8.1 IP, 9/1 K/BB ratio, 5.40 ERA, 2 HR allowed

Thorpe’s first week in Double-A went about as expected—he had good control but got hit a bit, which is normal for a young player in their first games at a level. The K/BB ratio is encouraging.

Zach Littell (15) - 2 GS, 8.1 IP, 17/3 K/BB ratio, 5.40 ERA

Littell has been hit a bit hard but has also been striking out everyone. I like the trend in K’s and expect to see him reign in the hits allowed.

Kohl Stewart (18) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 9/0 K/BB ratio, 1.80 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

One start doesn’t change the narrative so far for Kohl Stewart, but it was a positive sign nonetheless. After years of poor command and an inability to induce strikeouts, Stewart did just that in his first start. He still has the ceiling of a #3 starter with two solid pitches, so continued success means a lot for the former #4 overall pick.

Tyler Jay (16) - 1 G, 1.2 IP, 2/0 K/BB ratio, 0.00 ERA

Jay looked great in his first apperance of the year, working as a multi-inning power lefty. Then he got placed on the disabled list with a left groin strain. Jay is about to turn 24, and while he still has a Addison Reed-esque ceiling, he needs to stay healthy to reach it.

Batters

Nick Gordon (4) - .361/.395/.500, 1 2B, 2 3B, 5 RBI, 2/5 BB/K ratio, 2 SB (0 CS)

After slashing .315/.376/.504 in the first half last year, we knew Gordon could start hot. The extra base power is a positive sign, but Gordon’s test this year will be how he maintains his success as the season goes on after a dismal .221/.304/.305 after the All Star Break last year.

Brent Rooker (8) - .207/.233/.207, 0/11 B/KK ratio

For the first time in years, Rooker is facing off against opponent’s around his age and skill level. It makes sense then that it will take some time for Rooker to adjust. His B/KK ratio will be important, perhaps even moreso than his average or power, as he has to prove he wasn’t just the best kid on the sandlot in college and Single-A. Also of note, Rooker has only played one game of his eight in left field so far this season.

Lamonte Wade (13) - .269/.355/.269, 4/2 BB/K ratio, 3 RBI

What do you know, Lamonte Wade is hitting singles and taking walks. Everyone knows Wade can do that, so really we are watching for his power to develop.

Fort Myers Miracle, Single-A Advanced

Pitching

Phil Hughes - 2 GS, 10 IP, 9/1 K/BB ratio, 2.70 ERA

Yes, that Phil Hughes. In Fort Myers on a rehab assignment, he has pitched fairly well despite being hit a bit in his first start. His command seems good so far, and he is lined up to pitch the Twins next game in which the big league team needs a fifth starter.

Charlie Barnes - 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 13/3 K/BB ratio, 5.79 ERA

Barnes has been hit around a bit so far, but he is boasting an impressive K/BB ratio for someone who barely hits 90 mph. Only 22 years old for the season, a solid first half could see the lefty moved up the Chattanooga while he is still young for the level.

Batters

Lewin Diaz (10) - .194/.194/.355, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0/6 BB/K ratio

I have never been high on Diaz, and weeks like this are why. He can hit for power and he doesn’t strike out much for a power hitter, but he has never been one to take walks (25/80 BB/K ratio in 2017). A more developed eye at the plate would raise his OBP while also probably helping pitch selection that raises his average and power numbers.

Travis Blankenhorn (14) - .294/.333/.588, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 R, 5 RBI, 2/9 BB/K ratio

Blankenhorn has gotten off to a lightning fast start, with 7 of his first 10 hits going for extra bases. He has legit extra base power and a good eye at the plate, so his average (.251 last year in Cedar Rapids) is the only thing offensively keeping him back from a more pronounced prospect status. In seven games in the field he has been at third base six times (no errors) and second base only once.

Cedar Rapids Kernals, Single-A

Pitchers

Blayne Enlow (9) - 1 GS, 4.1 IP, 2/2 K/BB ratio, 2.08 ERA

Early season starts for young pitchers in the minors are weird, as they are usually on 70-80 pitch counts. Enlow did okay in his first start at Single-A, and is poised for a great year.

Tyler Watson (22) - 1 GS, 5.1 IP, 1/0 K/BB ratio, 1.69 ERA, 0.56 WHIP

A good first performance for Watson, who pitched for Cedar Rapids upon his trade to the Twins system last year. With similar success as the year goes on, I’d expect to see him in Fort Myers. His velocity will be a big thing to watch— if he can get his average fastball up a few ticks he could be a steal from the Brandon Kintzler trade.

Bryan Sammons - 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 9/3 K/BB ratio, 0.96 ERA

Sammons is about to turn 23 but is still intriguing as a sleep prospect. If he continues to make short work of 19-20 year olds he could move quickly through the system, maybe up to Chattanooga by years end.

Jovani Moran - 3 G, 4.1 IP, 7/7 K/BB ratio, 2.08 Era

Moran struck out 45 batters in 24.1 innings last year in rookie ball, so he is an interesting youngster to watch. His control issue is probably due to getting to know a new league.

Batters

Royce Lewis (1) - .261/.370/.435, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4/3 BB/K ratio, 1 SB (0 CS)

Lewis has started pretty much right where he left off last season- he is showing an advanced approach at the plate and hitting the ball pretty well. Of course we want to see him hit in the .300 range, but the OBP and slugging percentage are good signs early. He has an error so far in 6 games at short, for those wondering about his fringey defense.

Alex Kiriloff (6) - .267/.258/.533, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 0/7 BB/K ratio

Kiriloff has pounded the ball so far in Cedar Rapids, a good sign since he missed all of last season. He hit both homers in the same game and has 3 multi-hit games in his last 4. He had success in rookie ball in 2016 despite a poor walk rate, but hopefully that improves here.

Akil Baddoo (11) - .167/.286/.250, 1 3B, 4/14 BB/K ratio, 3 SB (0 CS)

So Baddoo has struck out A LOT. 14 K in 6 games is flat out bad. But he is also taking walks, stealing bases, and hitting the ball fairly hard when he does make contact. The strikeouts weren’t an issue last year, so it may be simply adjusting to the level, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Andrew Bechtold (20) - .364/.440/.409, 1 2B, 3/5 BB/K ratio, 1 SB (0 CS)

Drafed out of junior college last year Bechtold is a bit old for the level (turns 22 this week) and his success is expected. He has been uncharactersistically poor in the field so far, but that should work itself out. If his bat continues to succeed he could see himself in Fort Myers soon.

Ben Rortvedt (24) - .400/.429/.550, 3 2B, 1/3 BB/K ratio

Seeing Rortvedt off to a hot start is inspiring considering his struggles offensively last year at this level. Catchers in the minors have weird schedules, as Rortvedt has only played in 5 of seven games so far, and only 4 of those at catcher. His defense should play, so continued offense success is a big sign for the 20 year old.

Jose Miranda (28) - .143/.240/.143, 2/1 BB/K ratio

Still only 19 years old until June, Miranda’s bat has not yet come around in his first go in full-season ball. He has played mostly second base with a game at third, and that positional flexibility should help Miranda as a prospect until his bat catches up.

David Banuelos - .188/.278/.375, 1 HR, 2/7 BB/K ratio

The other catching prospect in the Twins system (and on the same team as the other), Banuelos has hit okay so far in an interesting time split. He hit his first homer, and has fielded well (2 CS in 3 attempts) when he is behind the plate.


That’s all for this week! Your Twins prospect performers of the week are: Nick Gordon, Alex Kiriloff, and Kohl Stewart (it feels weird — but good — writing that). Check in next time to see how the Twins’ prospects have progressed.