May Musings: Minnesota Twins Prospects

Jordan Balazovic - photo credit Bryan Green on Flickr

It’s May 19th and I’m sick. No, I’m not going to use some tongue and cheek pun to tell you I’m sick….and tired of blah blah blah. What I am is….sick. Stomach flu. I’ve been that way for a few days now, and I’m sick of it. Medication doesn’t seem to help (much), I’m bored watching TV all day, so I went out and decided to make my own medicine: I’m going to look at some recent standout Minnesota Twins prospect performances!

Jordan Balazovic

Since I last wrote, Balazovic was promoted to Class A-Advanced Fort Myers and boy did he perform well. The day after his promotion, he pitched perfectly in a 4-0 win. Sounds great, right? Except that this needs to be taken literally, as he pitched a PERFECT GAME. The best part was that it was a purely dominant performance. Here are some notable notes:

He needed 15 pitches or fewer in 5 of his 7 innings.

His longest inning pitched was 18 pitches (2nd inning).

Of the 21 outs in the game, he recorded 10 strikeouts, 6 outs within the infield and 5 outs in the outfield.

He threw 62/95 pitches for strikes.

Utterly brilliant. What a way to debut.

Now what can tend to happen after a great performance like this is that the pitcher falls back to earth in such a hard way. About one week later, Balazovic returned to the mound and did this:

5 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts…..which I think is about the line we can expect to see from him going forward with fewer strikeouts, of course. That said, he threw 59 strikes and 22 of them were swing and misses.

It’s been a dominating month for him, nonetheless, and, quite honestly, my stomach is feeling much better. Still…..I’d like to look at a few more:

Trevor Larnach continues to rake, as he is 22/61 in May, and just came off a 4 hit performance. I don’t think a promotion is imminent (he still strikes out a lot), but it would be interesting to see if this translates up another level. He’s getting better as the season progresses.

Mr. One-Step-Forward-Two-Steps-Back Nick Gordon has had a great start to his season, though it didn’t officially start for him until May did. His month has consisted of 4 multi-hit games, a 5 game hitting streak to start the year, and a .353 batting average. While we know that this can’t continue on forever, it’s encouraging that someone who needed a good start to a do-or-die season is showing some life and has recovered from a disastrous 2018. What’s discouraging, though, is the fact that he has since gone on the IL with a thigh strain. Here’s hoping he can return as soon as possible.

Luis Arraez had been carving up Double-A pitching. His .342 batting average was impressive, but, digging deeper, it was even better for a few reasons. He had more walks than strikeouts, he had decent speed (though caught stealing 3 times wasn’t great), and he had 7 extra base hits. He’d also had a hit in the first 12/13 days in the month of May.

So, a fortnight into the month, Arraez was promoted to Triple-A Rochester, to take the next step in his development….and didn’t miss a beat. He quickly went 5/14 in a handful of games. Then, in an unlikely move, he got the call up to the majors as Nelson Cruz was placed on the 10 day-IL.

Now imagine a week where you’re surging in Double-A, then get the call up on level to go to Triple-A, and from there get sent to fly cross country and join the Twins in Minnesota? The mental and physical grind of it all would be exhausting in and of itself. How did Arraez handle this? He swatted a double in his second major league at bat. The promotion might not be long, but any at bats would be a bonus and a first hand learning tool for a promising bat. Congratulations nonetheless, and here’s hoping he makes the most of his opportunity.

You know what? I do feel better now….funny how this worked. Who needs a doctor?!?!

Dave Funnell covers the Minnesota Twins minor leagues for Prospects1500. Located just south of Toronto in the city of Hamilton, he's an hour away from Buffalo (and the Bisons). He's been a fan of baseball his entire life and doesn't have a favorite team, which hopefully gives way for objectivty in analysis. Dave is in multiple keeper fantasy baseball leagues and is active on Twitter at @sportz_nutt51.

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