The dead-tree edition of BA that arrived in my mailbox over the weekend gives us a few hints of who might be pushing their way to the top of the Twins list.
Stephen Gonsalves, a left-handed pitcher who was No. 9 on the preseason list, was one of five starting pitchers named to BA's minor league all star team. Gonsalves split 2016 between High A Fort Myers and Double A Chattanooga and combined went 13-5, 2.06 with 155 strikeouts in 140 innings.
Some words of caution on the 6-foot-5 lefty from BA's writeup:
While scouts are unconvinced that Gonsalves possesses the current fastball command to dominate big league hitters, the 22-year-old lefthander does throw a changeup that improves each season. ... (He) must reduce his walk rate of 3.7 batters per nine innings, but he's clearly doing something right.
Gonsalves is scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, and it will be interesting to see how he fares there. My current guess is that he'll open 2017 in Chattanooga again, and if he continues to be too much for Southern League hitters to handle, he'll move up to Triple A by June.
Gonsalves was also named to BA's Double-A all-star team (as was Chih-Wei Hu, the Tawianese righty the Twins traded in 2015 for Kevin Jepsen).
Felix Jorge was named to the High-A team; he went 9-3, 1.55 in Fort Myers, then moved up to Chattanooga and struggled a bit (3-5, 4.12). I saw Jorge last year at Cedar Rapids and wrote about what I saw here. He was No. 24 on BA's preseason Twins list, and I wouldn't expect to see a big jump.
Nobody from the Cedar Rapids club was named to BA's Low-A all-stars. For the Rookie leagues honors, BA tabbed outfielder Alex Kirilloff, last June's first-rounder, who slashed .304/.341/.454 at Elizabethton. He will be in the Twins Top 10, maybe top 5, this winter, and a reason to make a relatively early trip to Iowa next year.
I was mildly disappointed to see that Nick Gordon, who slashed .291/.335/.386 at Fort Myers, didn't get the shortstop nod for High A. BA selected Gleyber Torres, who the Cubs traded to the Yankees in the Alrodis Chapman trade. But Gordon, No. 4 on the Twins preseason list, is likely to top the list this winter. Gordon's slugging percentage doesn't look like much, but the Florida State League depresses power; the league slugging percentage was only .356. Double A for Gordon next year.
Another name to take note of is Fernando Romero, who appears to have had a very good comeback from Tommy John surgery. He racked up 90 innings combined at Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers, with 90 strikeouts and ERAs below 2 at both levels. He's described as having three strikeout pitches. He's at least a level behind Gonsalves, but he might be a better starting prospect. Building his innings is the next project for him.