Midseason Review of Minnesota Twins Preseason Top 10 Prospects
#4: Fernando Romero, RHP, Chattanooga
From the get-go, I mentioned that this could be one that looked low, stating “In a year, we all may look foolish for having Romero so low after he really took a monster step forward as a pitcher in 2016.”
The Twins had eased Romero back from Tommy John surgery, taking their time and giving him extra rest between outings, and he responded by being the most dominant pitcher in the system when he was on the mound.
Twins Daily thought highly enough of Romero to rank him #1 overall (as the lone place not to rank Nick Gordon #1 in the system), and very feasibly the one guy in the upper levels of the minors with front line starter stuff. Paired with fellow top prospect Gonsalves in Chattanooga this season, Romero hasn’t been quite as ridiculous as last season, but he’s continued success, with a 2.94 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and a 33/86 BB/K ratio over 85 2/3 innings.
Romero’s two best pitches are his fastball and his change up, so some polish on his breaking pitch would help for certain, but he seems to get weak contact with that pitch and generate strikeouts with his fastball and change.
Romero could very well see AAA soon and possibly be in line for a late-season call up if the Twins are out of the race, but he’ll almost certainly be one of the top 2 prospects in the system for most rankers this coming offseason.
#3: Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Chattanooga
Many fans struggled with the selection of Gonsalves in the 4th round in 2013 out of high school in San Diego. He was certainly well-built, but he was near maxed out physically without having taken the steps forward many thought he would with velocity.
Gonsalves has simply shown a feel for pitching from the time he entered the Twins system that has been advanced beyond his years. He works around 90 MPH with excellent movement and control, though he can reach back for mid-90s when needed. His change is a plus pitch and can flash double-plus, with excellent sinking action.
Gonsalves works with a curve that rates as an average to above-average pitch, flashing better on its best days, and he’s worked with a fourth pitch, a slider/cutter hybrid pitch.
Gonsalves was getting some top 100 love coming into the season and pretty consistently one of the top 2 guys in the system. Currently, he’s posted a 2.67 ERA and 0.91 WHIP to open the season over 54 innings with a 10/62 BB/K ratio after opening the season on the DL.
In midseason lists Gonsalves may take a bit of a step back due to the limited exposure this summer, but I would wager if he keeps this up through the season, he’ll be back on national lists this year.