Stephen Gonsalves Knows What He's Doing On The Mound
Best Player: C Mitch Garver
Garver has always hit, from his time at New Mexico to Team USA and through the Twins system.
“He was always going to have a career as a hitter,” vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff said. “But a catcher who can hit in the middle of the lineup? That’s about as rare a breed as you can find.”
That’s why the Twins are so excited about the 26-year-old Garver, who posted a .928 OPS for Triple-A Rochester and also above-average defense behind the plate.
“He’s addressed his body, he throws much better than he used to, and his defense and game-calling are major league caliber,” Radcliff said. “He’s probably played his last minor league game.” Best Pitcher: LHP Stephen Gonsalves
No more focusing on what Gonsalves is not, the Twins decided this year.
The 23-year-old lefthander, drafted out of high school in the fourth round in 2013, doesn’t have the lightning-bolt fastball of some of his teammates, and his command is prone to occasional hiccups. But “I have more confidence in him than in just about any other pitcher,” Radcliff said.
Gonsalves, the ace of Double-A Chattanooga staff, went 8-3, 2.89 in 15 starts before a promotion to Triple-A.
“Gonsalves knows what he’s doing on the mound," Radcliff said. "He doesn’t light you up, but his fastball plays and it moves. No matter what happens, he can figure it out.”
Keep an Eye on: OF LaMonte Wade
Scouts lack a shorthand for describing Wade, the 23-year-old outfielder the Twins grabbed in the ninth round in 2015 who rapidly rose to Double-A.
By the time prospects get so close to the majors, they’re “the guy with the arm,” or “the kid with the speed,” or “the home run guy.” But Wade? “He’s really not known for any one skill,” Radcliff said. “He’s known for having them all.”
Wade hit .292/.397/.408 with seven home runs at Chattanooga this year. “We now have a high degree of confidence he’ll be a regular in the major leagues, even though nobody has ever dropped a 60 (on the 20-80 scouting scale) on him.”
Twins Acquire Bullpen Help, Trade for Shaun Anderson
A day after signing Alex Colome, the Twins doubled down and traded for Shaun Anderson.
Wade came up as a center fielder but has shifted to the corners as he has climbed. He drew 76 walks to offset 71 strikeouts this season. “He does everything well—decent speed, occasional power, corner defense, great makeup,” Radcliff said.