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Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:32 PM
The Twins made some changes this offseason already in their minor league system. Pitching coaches Ivan Arteaga and Henry Bonilla were let...
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Article: AFL Report - Week 5: Air Force Ace

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:22 PM
What a difference a week can make in the small sample size of the Arizona Fall League as the Salt River Rafters followed up their string...
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Baseball America's Top Ten Twins Prospects

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:14 PM
Looks like Mike Berardino was again in charge of the Twins rankings for Baseball America's Top Prospects. Here are his choices for the to...
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I'm Bored of the Offseason

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:53 PM
Why is it in baseball we have to wait for weeks on end for anything to happen in free agency? In other sports like football and basketbal...
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NBA 2018-19 Thread

Minnesota Timberwolves Talk Today, 06:51 PM
You all probably know I’m a Lakers guy by now. But, I like you guys, so I want to keep talking hoops on TD. This season is going to be F...
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Twins Prospects and the Final Piece

In any given season, a major league fanbase is going to clamor for the emergence and promotion of their top prospects. If a team is bad, the desire is for a level of excitement. Should things be going well, the hope is that the youngster would help to stoke the already burning flame. The Minnesota Twins find themselves somewhere in the middle ground, and three of their top prospects are close, but they all have one area yet to hone in on.
Image courtesy of © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
At the current juncture, it's too early to decide whether or not the Twins should be using the balance of the 2018 season for development or continuing to believe the Indians are a reachable distance away. The reality is that this current club is underperforming significantly, but the division isn't getting away from them either. At some point however, promotions for near-ready prospects will be come a reality. For three guys, there's one key piece to each of their games that could be holding them back.

Stephen Gonsalves

Now through seven Triple-A starts, Gonsalves has been passed over in favor of both Fernando Romero and Zack Littell when it comes to making a big league debut. Despite dominating Double-A Chattanooga to start the year, Gonsalves had put up a couple of clunkers with the Red Wings.

Through his seven starts, three of them have seen one or less runs cross the plate, while a fourth saw three runners score in 5.2 IP. As a whole, opposing batters own just a .643 OPS against the talented lefty, and batters are hitting just .190 against him. Those numbers are all indicative of a guy who would be expected to be performing at a high level.

If there's something that gives for Gonsalves, it's the same bugaboo that has plagued him in recent years: free passes. 2016 was when Gonsalves really started to gain steam, and the knock then was his walk rate. He posted a 3.7 BB/9 split between Fort Myers and Chattanooga. In his first turn at Double-A, he owned a 4.5 BB/9. 2017 saw that number drop all the way to 2.4 BB/9 in 87.1 IP. Fast forward to this season, and Gonsalves walked 4.4 per nine in 201. IP at Double-A, with 5.5 BB/9 through 32.2 Triple-A innings.

Gonsalves has a very strong 1.189 WHIP, and he limited damage by allowing just 5.6 H/9 and 0.8 HR/9. For him to be successful at the next level, and keep himself out of precarious positions, keeping batters from getting free bases is a must. As the walk rate drops, his call up chances will rise dramatically.

Nick Gordon

As a guy who is going to play up the middle for the Twins, the last question remaining is where there's an avenue for time. In part, it's on Gordon to cement himself as a defender, and on the flip side, Minnesota must decide how they want to go about defensive positioning.

Right now Ehire Adrianza leaves an immense amount to be desired at the plate, while Eduardo Escobar can't hack it there in the field. Brian Dozier is entrenched as the every day second basemen, but his time with the Twins could soon be coming to an end. With only short bursts of opportunity presenting themselves, it's hard to get real bent out of shape about Gordon being at Triple-A.

Thus far in 2018, he's played eight games at second and 48 at short across two levels. He makes more than his fair share of errors, and that's continued to be an opportunity for improvement. Jorge Polanco may be better suited of the pair to hang on at short, but Gordon is also more than capable of making it a competition.

Right now, Nick needs to continue honing in both his arm and glove, while biding his time until the iron is hot. Should the Twins fall out of it, he's going to get his chance. Miguel Sano hitting the DL provided an opportunity I feel the Twins missed on, but another injury could allow them a shot to right that wrong as well.

Brent Rooker

Drafted as a fast moving, bat first (only) prospect, Rooker touted some incredible numbers in the SEC. A Triple Crown winner, there were very few questions about his ability to hit the baseball. He's as decorated of a college athlete as they come, and getting him deep in the first round looked like an absolute steal for the Twins.

So far during his pro career, things have gone as expected for Brent. He posted a .930 OPS between rookie ball and High-A last season, which led to starting 2018 at Chattanooga. While he got off to a slow start for the lookouts, Rooker owns an .890 OPS over his last 29 games. He's got 24 extra base hits on the season, and has launched eight longballs. In other words, the production off of his bat leaves little to question.

Where things get a bit out of whack, are when Rooker swings and misses. Right now he owns a 66/14 K/BB through 55 games. For some context, that's a 160/41 K/BB ratio over 133 games, the same sample size that saw Adam Brett Walker post a 195/51 K/BB in his best Double-A season. Brent is a better pure hitter than Walker was, and ideally he's not destined to be a three true outcomes guy. That said, it's imperative that the discipline at the dish is honed in a bit more.

There's reason to believe that a perfect storm could land Rooker in Minnesota by the end of 2018 for a cup of coffee. In order for that to happen though, he's going to need to drastically tighten things up when he steps into the batters box.

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17 Comments

Nice! Very clear perspective on all 3 guys.

Gonsalves: At every level, he has shown the ability to learn and make adjustments. Not possessing the pure stuff of a Berrios or Romero, his stuff plays well, as does his pitching acumen. Might he struggle a bit when first called up? Yes. But most pitchers do initially. Just a little more consistency, and he will not only be up, but be a fixture. Right now though, nobody to replace.

Gordon: I think the bat is going to play. We've seen the development, even with the case last season. Maybe Polanco will be the better choice at SS. I know I'm a fan and believer and feel we've seen both improvement and potential. I don't pretend to know how good, or bad, Gordon truly is at SS. But I do know looking at milb error totals is a waste of time. There are a lot of All Star SS whose milb error numbers would surprise you if you looked. (I have). Did the Twins miss an opportunity to bring him up already or were they being prudent? Hard to say. But one way or another, he will be up this season.

Rooker: I don't care how great his final college season was, to mash as he did last season in pro ball with wooden bat was outstanding. And already at AA in his FIRST FULL SEASON and beginning to mash after a slow start is impressive! Agreed 100% he just needs to reign in the contact numbers. He does that, he could finish in Rochester. From reports, he's no Grossman in the OF, but wondering if his "fit" will be 1B/DH/backup OF.
    • glunn, gunnarthor and mikelink45 like this

I'd have no problem seeing either Gordon or Dozier DH some.We need more guys that can get on base and fewer K's, Gordon fits right now.Remember how quickly Sano and Buxton were brought up?Then why wait on Gordon who was a 1st round draft pick. Its getting old watching guys hitting under .225 and all the K's. 

    • mikelink45 likes this
Don’t look now but after an extremely slow start Rooker is up to .268 batting average. He should get a cup of coffee this year. Extremely fast track. Can someone get his splits by month?
For the next month Gordon should be up here playing. There are too many holes in the lineup not to have him up. There is no extra place for Gonsalves at the moment. If Lynn continues to pitch better and we dont improve our standings then he could be traded....but Santana and May will be back by then...if Rooker is ready Morrison is replaceable so nothing blocking him from comming up to mash...
    • mikelink45 likes this

Gordon and Gonsalves >> Petit and Littell.

 

 

    • Dantes929, jun, mikelink45 and 1 other like this

Gordon and Gonsalves >> Petit and Littell.


Just to be fair though, Littell looks like a very nice prospect. It was his ML debut. While I love Gonsalves, not sure if he wou,d have done better or not first time. Agree on Gordon.
    • Thrylos, Twins33, Monkeypaws and 2 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jun 08 2018 05:00 AM
I'm somewhat curious what Rooker's BB/K rate is in the last month. At both stops last year he started out with a lot of Ks and then settled into something a bit more reasonable. I'm curious if he's done that in AA as well.
Rooker has figured something out in the last month. He's slashing .295/.350/.566/.916 since 06 May. He is still striking out 25.2% and walking only 7.7% of the time so there is still some work to do there. Maybe he gets that up to 10% and earns a promotion? I'm really rooting for this guy to be a force in the Twins lineup soon!

Gonsalves will be in an interesting situation not only in 2018 but in 2019.By September this season the Twins will have 8 starters ahead of him (current 5 plus May, Santana, Pineda in anticipated order of return.)In 2018, they will have 6 (these 8 minus Lynn and Santana.)So unless there are trades and injuries, I just don't see it happening this season, and will be tough to happen next.As a matter of fact, in the minor league pecking order, Mejia would be ahead of Gonsalves as well, and maybe even Littell.

I see Santana gone next year, the last year of his contract we are paying for DL, I am not a believer in May - he has been in the TD columns for years now - start, relieve...He is not doing that well in rehab.Lynn should be traded.Pineda looks good because we have not seen him all year, but for me I would have Gonsalves slated for the rotation with Berrios, Romero, Gibson, and Odorizzi (who also could be traded). 

 

Rooker is a younger Sano, Morrison, let him cut down the Ks before we pull him up (and I was one who really hoped he'd soar to the top.  

For me, we have wasted the year with Gordon.The Polanco suspension was made for giving him a trial.

    • jun likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Jun 10 2018 09:20 AM
If the National’s Juan Soto can do it why can’t Rooker/Lewis do it, we can always send them back to the minors once Polanco comes back. We did the same thing with Polanco, and it’s not like we’re hitting anyways so I think we can afford to take a chance, especially if they can be the spark plug this team needs.

 
Rooker is a younger Sano, Morrison, let him cut down the Ks before we pull him up (and I was one who really hoped he'd soar to the top.  


Yep. Rooker is a whole 1 1/2 years younger than Sano.

 

Yep. Rooker is a whole 1 1/2 years younger than Sano.

Thanks for that note.I have to admit I thought it was another year.

Hard no on Gordon coming up and DH’ ing. He needs to play and continue to develop defensively. If they’re OK with him playing SS with the big club, they should have already brought him up; if they’re not, they need to move Dozier.

Regarding Rooker, he apparently is not going to be an outfielder...other than of the emergency variety. After seeing him play the outfield for a bit last year, the Twins literally took a first-baseman (Zander Wiel) and made him an outfielder so that Rooker could play first base. He’s got 31 games at 1B, 21 DH, and 6 in LF.

So, he better rake.

 

I see Santana gone next year, the last year of his contract we are paying for DL, I am not a believer in May - he has been in the TD columns for years now - start, relieve...He is not doing that well in rehab.Lynn should be traded.Pineda looks good because we have not seen him all year, but for me I would have Gonsalves slated for the rotation with Berrios, Romero, Gibson, and Odorizzi (who also could be traded). 

 

Rooker is a younger Sano, Morrison, let him cut down the Ks before we pull him up (and I was one who really hoped he'd soar to the top.  

For me, we have wasted the year with Gordon.The Polanco suspension was made for giving him a trial.

Santana might not even make it back to the show. If that finger doesn't heal up right, he'll never get back his mid-90's heater, or his command of the slider. 

 

I wouldn't trade any farm arms until we know if Santana, Pineda, and May get back to 100 percent. Plus injuries, of course. Meanwhile, Gordon should be up right now and stay up to the end of the season. If somehow the Twins sneak into the playoffs, we know that Polanco is ruled out. 

 

Apparent pitching depth can disappear in a heartbeat, or a car crash, or a suspension, or a hundred other things that can go wrong when you try to throw thousands of baseballs over 90 miles per hour. 

    • mikelink45 likes this

If the National’s Juan Soto can do it why can’t Rooker/Lewis do it, we can always send them back to the minors once Polanco comes back. We did the same thing with Polanco


Polanco was already on the 40-man for Rule 5 purposes when we first called him up.
    • ashburyjohn likes this

 

Gonsalves will be in an interesting situation not only in 2018 but in 2019.By September this season the Twins will have 8 starters ahead of him (current 5 plus May, Santana, Pineda in anticipated order of return.)In 2018, they will have 6 (these 8 minus Lynn and Santana.)So unless there are trades and injuries, I just don't see it happening this season, and will be tough to happen next.As a matter of fact, in the minor league pecking order, Mejia would be ahead of Gonsalves as well, and maybe even Littell.

May has been struggling and has not been viewed as a starter so far. Santana and Pineda are not sure things. Mejia and Slegers are probably ahead of Gonsalves. Littell already had his chance and did nothing to prove he's ready.


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