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Twins Minor Leagues: Romero makes his debut

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Top Twins prospects start to turn it on as the weather heats up.

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

We are back with another farm report! Its been a crazy two weeks for me— I didn’t even know the report got published two weeks ago. So I’m sorry for the delay but we have some exciting stat lines to look at for some of our top prospects.

We are also getting closer to the MLB Draft, so be on the lookout for some pieces on the prospects the Twins could potentially add come June!

Minnesota Twins

Fernando Romero (2) - Season (MLB): 2 GS, 11.2 IP, 14/6 K/BB Ratio, 1.11 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
Season (AAA): 4 G, 21 IP, 20/10 K/BB Ratio, 1.29 WHIP, 2.57 ERA

The Twins number 2 prospect made it the the majors with a bang, posting two shut out performances in his first two major league outings. Romero has great stuff and its great to see a starter in the Twins rotation with so much velocity and movement. Do expect the other shoe to fall a bit here— As great as his stuff is, teams will start getting advanced MLB scouting on him and should be able to adjust a bit. Regardless he is fun to watch, and may earn himself a spot in the rotation even once Ervin Santana returns

Rochester Redwings, Triple-A

Pitching

Stephen Gonsalves (3) Season (AAA): 3 GS, 16 IP, 16/5 K/BB ratio, 0.81 WHIP, 3.94 ERA
Season (AA): 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 25/10 K/BB ratio, 1.77 ERA

Gonsalves got destroyed in his most recent start for the Red Wings, but the fact that he still owns a 0.81 WHIP shows just how dominant he was in his first two starts. Look for him to bounceback. Gonsalves is in an interesting stage as a prospect, as he turns 24 in July. He has always outperformed his stuff (putting up great numbers despite have the stuff of a number 3-4 starter). With the Twins rotation as deep as it is currently (Berrios-Gibson-Odorizzi-Romero-Lynn with Santana and May returning) Gonsalves is on the outside looking in while becoming an older prospect.

Zack Littell (15) - Season (AAA): 2 GS, 12 IP, 14/6 K/BB ratio, 0.75 ERA
Season (AA): 5 GS, 23 IP, 32/7 K/BB ratio, 5.87 ERA

Littell is in the opposite position as Gonsalves— even if he were still in AA he would be on the younger side of the league. He pitched well enough in Double-A (despite the misleading ERA) to earn a spot in Rochester, and he has pitched well so far. I do wonder about his walk totals though. In 115 innings in the Yankees organization last year, Littell had a BB/9 rate of 1.81, and a similar 1.84 BB/9 in 165 innings in 2016, but while in the Twins organization he has a walk rate of 3.64 in 76.2 innings. I assume they are trying to get more strikeouts out of him— which has worked so far this year, with a career high 11.83 K/9. Littel could easily see Major League time this year and become a mid-rotation inning eater as early as next season.

Aaron Slegers - Season: 6 GS, 37.1 IP, 23/5 K/BB Ratio, 2.41 ERA
Month of May: 2 GS, 13.1 IP, 9/2 K/BB, 4.05 ERA

Slegers doesn’t overpower anyone but he has been solid in Rochester. I’d like to see him eventually take Phil Hughes’ role as the long man and spot starter in the major league pen.

Adelberto Mejia - Season: 4 G (3 GS), 9 IP 11/6 K/BB Ratio, 6.00 ERA
Month of May: Injured

Mejia is still on the disabled list. He still has back-of-the-rotation potential, but has to prove it this season

Dietrich Enns - Season: 5 GS, 22.2 IP, 12/13 K/BB ratio, 5.86 ERA
Month of May: 1 GS, 1/2 K/BB ratio, 16.88 ERA

An inconsistant season has led to fewer pitching opportunities for Enns, especially now with Gonsalves and Littel on the Rochester rotation.

Tyler Duffey - Season (AAA): 14.1 IP, 16/5 K/BB ratio, 1.88 ERA
Season (MLB): 2.1 IP, 1/1 K/BB ratio, 27.00 ERA

Duffey likely deserves to be on a major league roster. Unfortunately the Twins bullpen is stacked between actual talent (everyone except Phil Hughes) and a bad contract (Phil Hughes). Duffey’s future is also a bit hazy because he is a multiple inning reliever but probably not a true long reliever, which is the one role the Twins actually need, sans Hughes.

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

Jake Reed missed most of April and the beginning of May injured, which is his MO. Still has potential but like Duffey, is blocked by depth in the big leagues.

Mason Melotakis - Season: 14.2 IP, 14/5 K/BB ratio, 3.07 ERA,

Recently cut by the Twins, Melotakis had a decent season going for him. Perhaps a casualty of the new regime outing guys who aren’t theirs, I haven’t heard much of a reason for his dismissal. His stuff hadn’t been as electric as it was pre Tommy John, and is nearin 27 years of age.

Alan Busenitz - Season (AAA): 8 IP, 13/2 K/BB ratio, 1.13 ERA
Season (MLB): 4 IP, 7/2 K/BB ratio, 6.75 ERA

Another reliever who likely deserves a big league bullpen spot, Busenitz has been great in Rochester and is waiting his turn.

John Curtiss (20) - Season (AAA): 11.1 IP, 19/3 K/BB ratio, 2.38 ERA
Season (MLB): 0.2 IP, 2/1 K/BB ratio, 40.50 ERA

Curtiss has back-of-the-bullpen stuff and is pitching like it in Rochester. He had a poor outing in his cup of coffee in a stretch where the team was flailing, but he will be back.

Luke Bard (28) - Season (AAA): 5.1 IP, 6/0 K/BB ratio, 0.00 ERA
Season (MLB): 11.2 IP, 13/5 K/BB ratio, 5.40 ERA

A Rule 5 pick by the Angels in the winter, Bard was returned to the Twins and has pitched well so far in Rochester. He has the stuff to be a ranked prospect over the likes of Reed, but may have a short leash as an older reliever drafted by the old regime

Gabriel Moya - Season (AAA): 8.2 IP, 15/5 K/BB ratio, 3.12 ERA
Season (MLB): 5 IP, 6/2 K/BB ratio, 10.80 ERA

Another one of those ‘tweener relievers, providing depth in Triple-A while likely being good enough to be in the show. The one thing Moya has going for him is his age— he will pitch all season as a 23 year old, the youngest reliever in Rochester.

Batters

Jake Cave (25) - Season: .241/.343/.313, 5 2B, 1 HR , 16/26 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .323/.383/.395, 3 2B, 3/6 BB/K ratio

Cave has turned it up a notch in April, only missing the pop that made him stand out last season.

Zach Granite (26) - Season: .176/.349/.176, 9/3 BB/K ratio, 2 SB (2CS)

Granite has played one game since returning from injury

Kennys Vargas - Season: .176/.298/.284, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 18/33 BB/k ratio
Month of May: .155/..244/.256 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5/12 BB/K ratio

Still not David Ortiz.

Chattanooga Lookouts, Double-A

Pitching

Lewis Thorpe (12) - Season: 7 GS, 31.1 IP, 37/12 K/BB ratio, 5.17 ERA, 6 HR allowed
Month of May: 3 GS, 12.2 IP, 13/11 K/BB ratio, 4.97 ERA, 1 HR allowed

Thorpe’s season is still bizarro world. He once had an impeccable K/BB ratio but was getting hit hard, he recently has been walking everybody but been getting hit slightly less hard. He is sporting a .420 BABIP against, meaning he is either serving up beach balls or he has been getting unlucky. The strikeout rate is encouraging, and he will be 22 years old for the entire season, so there is still plenty of time for the young Aussie to learn the league and turn his season around.

Kohl Stewart (18) - Season: 6 GS, 28 IP, 29/6 K/BB ratio, 4.50 ERA
Month of May: 2 GS, 11 IP, 11/3 K/BB ratio, 2.45 ERA

In the last update I wondered whether Stewart’s early success or his poor start on April 21st was the outlier, and now we have more data. Without that April 21st start, Stewart has been posting a 2.73 ERA so far this season. Perhaps Stewart— like Kyle Gibson, another sinkerballer drafted by the old regime— has finally figured it out. He is 23 years old for the remainder of the season, and could easily become a back-of-the-rotation type if this success continues.

Tyler Jay (16) - Season: 9.0 IP, 8/3 K/BB ratio, 0.00 ERA
Month of May: 4.0 IP, 4/2 K/BB ratio, 0.00 ERA

Jay has been used almost exclusively as a multi-inning reliever, which is good news for the Twins. With his fastball-slider combo he has the potential to be a legitimate Andrew Miller type option for the Twins if he keeps it up.

Batters

Nick Gordon (4) - Season: .346/.392/.535, 9 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 9/21 BB/K ratio, 4 SB
Month of May: .349/.442/.535, 5 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6/9 BB/K ratio, 1SB

Gordon keeps swinging the bat and getting good results. He has also upped his walk rate so far in May. Gordon started turning into a pumpkin in July last season, so maybe he stays with the Lookouts until he proves he can hit in the second half.

Brent Rooker (8) - Season: .221/.262/.336, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6/39 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .147/.231/.265, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4/12 BB/K ratio

Rooker surged at the end of April but has cooled off early in May, despite a game-winning grand slam this week. He is starting to walk a bit more which is a good sign.

Lamonte Wade (13) - Season: .297/.402/.423, 1 3B, 4 HR, 19/11 BB/K ratio, 4 SB (2CS)
Month of May: .265/.390/.441, 2 HR, 6/5 BB/K ratio, 2 SB

Wade has been getting on base and hitting the ball while also showing some power so far this season. Wade is 24 years old (and will be all season) so I don’t know what is keeping the team from moving him to Triple-A.

Fort Myers Miracle, Single-A Advanced

Pitching

Charlie Barnes - Season: 6 GS, 27.1 IP, 29/14 K/BB ratio, 4.61 ERA
Month of May: 2 GS, 10/1 IP, 5/4 K/BB ratio, 5.23 ERA

Barnes continues to be so-so in a league where he should have the upper hand, although he did post his best outing on May 9th, going 6.1 innings and striking out 4 while only giving up 2 runs.

Batters

Lewin Diaz (10) - Season: .245/.274/.441, 2 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 2/22 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .306/.342/.472, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1/9 BB/K ratio

Diaz has started to turn his season around so far in May, which is a good sign for the team’s number 10 prospect. His walk rate is still abyssmal, which is a concern since it has gotten worse at each level. He still has that pure raw and game power, so he will always be worth it to keep an eye on.

Travis Blankenhorn (14) -Season: .256/.295/.480, 6 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 7/36 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .163/.200/.372. 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 2/14 BB/K ratio

Blankenhorn has been struggling as of late but but when he does make contact he has been getting extra bases. If he can turn himself into a .280 hitter I could see him flying up the system, but he has to get there first. He has now made an error both at third base (14 games) and second base (9 games) while also getting some action in left field (2 games).

Luis Arreaz (22) - Season: .194/.244/.236, 3 2B, 4/13 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .265/.316/.353, 3 2B, 3/3 BB/K ratio

After shaking the rust off Arreaz is starting to hit, and will likely continue to do so. Defensively he has seen time at second base (11 games), third base (4 games) and even shortstop (2 games).

Cedar Rapids Kernals, Single-A

Pitchers

Brusdar Graterol (7) -Season: 2 GS, 8.2 IP, 11/0 K/BB ratio, 1.04 ERA

As exciting as his first two games were, Graterol now finds himself on the disabled list with back spasms. Hopefully its a short stay on the DL so he can pick up where he left off.

Blayne Enlow (9) - Season: 4 GS, 14.1 IP, 11/7 K/BB ratio, 5.65 ERA
Month of May: 2 GS, 5.1 IP, 6/3 K/BB ratio, 6.75 ERA

Enlow has been blah all season, which makes sense when you consider he is a 19 year old pitching mostly to 20 and 21 year olds. He will likely have a short pitch count all year and his success may very well not be easily seen via statistics.

Tyler Watson (21) - Season: 5 G (4 GS), 22.1 IP, 22/9 K/BB ratio, 3.22 ERA,
Month of May: 2 GS, 10.1 IP, 10/3 K/BB ratio, 3.48 ERA

Watson has been pitching fairly well so far for the Kernals. The big lefty will likely take some time to develop but he spent all year last year at this level, so a promotion may likely come in the second half.

Bryan Sammons - Season: 6 GS, 29.1 IP, 23/10 K/BB ratio, 2.76 ERA
Month of May: 2 GS, 11.2 IP, 6/4 K/BB ratio, 2.31 ERA

Sammons has been lights out in May, and has easily been the Kernels most reliable starter.

Jovani Moran - Season: 9 G, 14.1 IP, 19/16 K/BB ratio, 3.14 ERA
Month of May: 3 G, 7 IP, 7/4 K/BB ratio, 1.29 ERA

Moran has ever so slightly reduced his walk rate this month, putting up some great numbers despite the free passes.

Batters

Royce Lewis (1) - Season: .347/.392/.421, 4 2B, 1 HR, 7/11 BB/K ratio, 10 SB (1 CS)
Month of May: .395/.439/.474, 3 2B, 3/3 BB/K ratio, 5 SB

Lewis has been on fire as of late. His power hasn’t surfaced too much early but when he is getting on base and stealing the way he has, a single is as good as a double anyway. His power will come, and even if he tops out as a 15 HR kind of guy, his athleticism and plate discipline will make him a force at the top of a lineup.

Alex Kiriloff (6) - Season: .296/.339/.565, 12 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 7/25 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .364/.417/.750, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 3/9 BB/K Ratio

This kid has been straight up mashing the ball this month, with 11 of his 16 hits going for extra bases. The 2016 first round pick is certainly making up for lost time.

Akil Baddoo (11) - Season: .213/.393/.319, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 28/39 BB/K ratio, 8 SB (2 CS)
Month of May: .237/.420/.368, 2 2B, 1 HR, 12/12 BB/K ratio, 3 SB (1 CS)

Every time I look at Baddoo’s stats I want to take a drink. He has been turning it around a bit lately. The .237 average in the month of May is nothing special, but he has at least evened out his BB/K ratio and has been hitting a few more extra base hits. He is hitting .364 when he makes contact, it just needs to happen more consistently.

Andrew Bechtold (19) - Season: .196/.282/.239, 4 2B, 11/26 BB/K ratio, 1 SB (0 CS)
Month of May: .158/.200/.237, 3 2B, 2/14 BB/K ratio

A prolonged slump has really deflated Bechtold’s numbers. He is older for the level so he should be performing much better than he is. The only silver lining is that his fielding has gotten better as the season has progressed.

Ben Rortvedt (23) - Season: .244/.306/.346, 5 2B, 1 HR, 6/21 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .242/.286/.364, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2/12 BB/K Ratio

Rortvedt has been an inconsistant hitter so far this season, although his start this year is far better than his dreadful start last year (.514 OPS in the first half). Hopefully he can get it going a bit earlier this year.

Jose Miranda (28) - Season: .165/.224/.223, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6/13 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .143/.186/.143, 2/4 BB/K ratio

Miranda has been another Kernal struggling to hit so far in May. He has been okay at second base and has also spotted Bechtold at third base.

David Banuelos - Season: .182/.247/.258, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5/24 BB/K ratio
Month of May: .250/.269/.333 2 2B, 1/8 BB/K ratio

Banuelos is a glove first catcher so you don’t exactly expect him to set the world on fire, but he does need to pick it up a bit to be a worthwhile split with the younger Rortvedt. he has thrown out 50 percent of potential basestealers, but already allowed 4 passed balls in 15 games behind the plate.


That’s all for this week! Your Twins prospect performers of the week are: Fernando Romero, Royce Lewis, and Alex Kiriloff!