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  • Q&A with Stephen Gonsalves

    The start of minor league camp is still about two weeks. Today, Iím happy to post the below Q&A with the Twins 2013 fourth-round draft pick, left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves.

    On signing, the 6'-5" lefty was assigned to the Gulf Coast League. He impressed. He gave up just one run in 14.1 innings (0.63 ERA). He moved up to the Elizabethton Twins where he gave up just two runs in 14 innings. Combined, he struck out 39 batters in those 28.1 innings.

    Recently, the San Diego native took some time to answer several questions. So, letís get started. Letís learn a little bit about Stephen Gonsalves.



    Twins Daily (TD)
    : Growing up in southern California, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch?

    Stephen Gonsalves (SG): The San Diego Padres have always been my favorite team and Trevor Hoffman has always been a great role model on and off the field.

    TD: What are your best memories from your high school baseball days?

    SG: My best memory from high school would have to be pitching my junior year City Championship Game at Tony Gwynn Stadium. I led off the game with a triple and then scored, and I pitched a three hitter. We had a huge crowd and a great group of guys that year.

    TD: As the draft approached, were you seeing or talking to more scouts? Did you have much conversation with any Twins scouts?

    SG: Yes I talked to numerous teams leading up to the draft. Many regularly attended games and made home visits. John Leavitt came to the house, but he was the only one I talked to until Draft Day. I couldn't be happier with the Twins organization.

    TD: When the Twins took you in the 4th round, where were you, with who, and what was that experience like?

    SG: By the time I was drafted, it was the morning after and we were all tired and nervous, but the calls started coming in early so I felt it was close to being real. I was home with my parents and my childhood coach Carlos Fletes. Carlos kept the mood light. It was stressful and then such a relief when it happened.

    TD: You've made it pretty clear at times on Twitter that you had hoped to be drafted higher. How disappointed were you with where you were drafted and some of the discussion that came up from that? (It seems you've used that disappointed as a motivator!)

    SG: I heard from many that I was likely to go higher. I tried to keep expectations low, but when the first round was through and guys I played with and competed very well against went before me, I was disappointed. My agent told me the draft was a beauty contest and just one day in my baseball career. I am very motivated to compete and advance to the next levels and have a long successful career in the major leagues.

    TD: How difficult was the decision to sign with the Twins as opposed to going to college? What were some of the factors that caused you do sign?

    SG: It was not difficult. I knew I really wanted to play and had determined a minimum slot and value that I would take. When that happened, I knew I was ready to go.

    TD: You and Kohl Stewart came to Target Field to sign your contracts. What was the experience like, being at the stadium and meeting some of the Twins front office, coaching staff and players?

    SG: That was one of the best days of my life. Being in the clubhouse and on the field for BP was amazing. I still dream about that day.

    TD: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you, on and off the field? (In the GCL and then at Elizabethton)

    SG: The adjustment has been smooth for me. The batters are bigger, I just picture myself in high school where I dominated and think of Crash Davis from Bull Durham. I tell the batter in my head that you can't touch this.

    TD: If you were to write up a scouting report on yourself, what would it be? What pitches do you throw? What would you say are your strengths, and an area you want to work on to improve most?

    SG: I pitch to contact. My fastball is my best pitch. My curve ball is developing. I pitch to win. I never want to come out of the game.

    TD: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?

    SG: I've had good coaching in travel ball including Carlos Fletes, my long time coach and friend, and Buc Taylor who coaches at the community college near my home. Both are great baseball minds and taught me more about the game and strategies for success on and off the field. My Dad played ball with me since I was a baby, and of course, my family has supported me and always been there cheering me on and getting me wherever I needed to be.

    TD: Outside of baseball, what do you enjoy doing? Hobbies?

    SG: I enjoy every type of fishing, spear fishing mostly, and golfing and surfing.

    TD: As spring training is now just a couple of months away, what are you most anxious and excited about?

    SG: I can't wait to get back on the field and compete with all the elite players. I'm excited for a full season since last year was just a taste of what's to come. I also look forward to exposure to the fans. I enjoyed going to spring training in Arizona when I was younger and look forward to the experience in Florida.

    TD: Have you set any goals for yourself for the 2014 season? Are there certain stats you will or have paid attention to?

    SG: I want to play a full 140 game season and will be very focused on my strike out to walk ratio.

    TD: Favorite Baseball movie?

    SG: Bull Durham

    TD: What is one thing about yourself that you would want Twins fans to know?

    SG: I want the Twins Fans to know that I will never let them down. I am here to play the game that I love and will always bring my best. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have and believe I can compete at the next level and be a player that fans will love to follow.

    ---------------

    A big Thank You to Stephen Gonsalves for taking some time and doing a great job answering questions. He will soon report to Ft. Myers where he is likely competing for a job in the Cedar Rapids Kernels starting rotation.
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Will he start the year in Cedar Rapids? I look forward to seeing Stephen, Lewis Thorpe, and Stewart this season. Should be another fun year in Cedar Rapids.
    1. big dog's Avatar
      big dog -
      Thanks for the interview! I hope he progresses quickly.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      He could be a steal and I hope he makes his goal this year of starting the year in full-season ball.

      Someone may have to correct me, but wasn't one of the knocks on Stephen that he had a dust up or didn't listen to his coach? If I'm remembering that correctly I'm guessing it was overblown considering he posititvely mentioned his coach more than once here.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      He could not have said anything better. At the end I thought he'd use the Nuke stock phrases: "I'm just happy to be here." "I'll take it one game at a time." Etc.

      Can't wait to see him pitch. Making the Cedar Rapids team, and playing a full season is a good goal for him. Not sure if he'll be able to out of spring training, given the depth of the system. But I would be shocked if he doesn't pitch there at some point this year.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      He could be a steal and I hope he makes his goal this year of starting the year in full-season ball.

      Someone may have to correct me, but wasn't one of the knocks on Stephen that he had a dust up or didn't listen to his coach? If I'm remembering that correctly I'm guessing it was overblown considering he posititvely mentioned his coach more than once here.
      He gave some teammates a ride home after a party in which some of them were drinking and smoking pot. By team policy, the whole car was suspended.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Great interview. There is a pretty good chance a lot of teams will regret letting Gonsalves slide so low. His bad rep was such a non-issue I was pretty surprised people didn't dig a little deeper to uncover what really happened. Great move by the Twins grabbing him when they did.

      I'm really curious to see how he progresses, what a steal he could end up being.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      I know nothing about him besides what I've read on this site, but I like his answers. He sounds a little chippy and very confident, and that's a good thing in a starting pitcher. Definitely seems like we may have gotten a steal. Best of luck to him this season, I hope we start hearing about him regularly as that will likely mean he's doing well.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      He gave some teammates a ride home after a party in which some of them were drinking and smoking pot. By team policy, the whole car was suspended.
      Yeah, I was thinking there was a different issue with an authority figure and I thought that figure was the coach. I'm probably wrong, but regardless, he spoke well of the man.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      I did chuckle when he said he pitches to contact.

      Gardy and Andy will like this kid.
    1. Nate Haseman's Avatar
      Nate Haseman -
      I want to see this kid pitch against the Yankees in the playoffs and make good on his "never let us down" promise.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Great article Seth. I also chuckled when he talked about pitching to contact. Since he was one of my adapt-a-prospects last year, I followed him closely and was very impressed.

      I don't tweet so I didn't see his tweets but heard about them. He is a wee bit cocky, I wonder what will happen when he runs into his first problem (injury, a series of bad games, a bunch of bad calls from minor league umps). How will he handle it??

      I hope he makes Cedar Rapids rotation and does well. A big lefty with powerful stuff...but part of me wonders about him overcoming obstacles. I will be following him again this summer.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      He's made it hard so far not to root for him. His goals are pretty reasonable too, though being a HS draftee, I'd suspect he's going to be on an innings limit this year. Seeing him in CR at one point though seems reasonable. I kind of hope he starts there early on. With Thorpe, Stewart, and Gonclaves, they have a rotation that will keep me checking their box scores daily.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Thanks for the interview Seth. This is one I have been waiting on. I'm a huge fan of this kid and can definitely see him being the steal of the draft. I almost fell of my chair because I was so excited when the Twins drafted him.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I'm OK with a kid pitching to contact, as long as he puts up a 12 K/9.
    1. Jdosen's Avatar
      Jdosen -
      "I pitch to contact"-Stephen Gonsalves

      *facepalm*-Jdosen

      In all seriousness, he's got good K/9 numbers so far, but he's only appeared in 8 games in his whole career. I hope that's just a quote and not a philosophy.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Again, "Pitch to Contact" means throw strikes... that's the area he probably has to work on most. It's just a phrase... we overthink it way too much.
    1. AM.'s Avatar
      AM. -
      It is almost like he was baiting this forum with the pitch to contact response. Awesome.

      I like this kid. I hope he and Stewart move up through the minors together. It was an interesting response about watching guys he played against and thought he was better than get drafted higher. I like the chip on the shoulder attitude. I have a gut feeling in a couple of years it is going to be hard to remember that he and Stewart were drafted three rounds apart.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I thought the same thing about the Pitch to Contact thing... thought maybe I should edit it out. Ha!!
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Again, "Pitch to Contact" means throw strikes... that's the area he probably has to work on most. It's just a phrase... we overthink it way too much.
      Well said Seth. Last year we were dead last in strikeouts and it wasn't close. We were 7th best on the walks side but still very close to league average.
      Its not the pitch to contact philosophy that hurts us so bad. Its that we execute it so badly. Anywhere in the top 18 in strikeouts and giving up the fewest walks would satisfy me.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      I don't see any way he starts at CR next season. There are just too many other intriguing players fighting for starts. Jorge, Landa and Rosario seem to be locks. Then there are Hein Robb and Josh Burris who made starts their last year before being sent back to the Appy league. There is a chance Ryan Eades starts in CR as well instead of FM. IIRC the Twins wanted to move Slegers to the rotation and we can't forget about Luke Bard. He'll be back after his injury this season rearing to go. Then you also have Kohl Stewart and Lewis Thorpe as well.

      It seems strange to say this but there seems to be an abundance of intriguing pitching building in the low minors. Behind the guys previously mentioned there are also some intriguing bullpen arms and a couple more guys who were pretty darn good at GCL last season who are just a year behind.
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