Minnesota Twins Minor League Pitcher and Hitter of the Year: Stephen Gonsalves and Brent Rooker

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BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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As the 2017 season has ended, Stephen Gonsalves and Brent Rooker have been named Minor League Hitter and Pitcher of the year.

The Minnesota Twins Minor League Pitcher and Hitter of the Year were recently announced. Every year MLBPipeline.com awards a pitcher and hitter of the year in each teams system. This year’s Twins award winners are SP Stephen Gonsalves and 1B/OF Brent Rooker.

Stephen Gonsalves

The 2017 season marks Gonsalves’ second consecutive season winning the award. This season he spent time with both the AA Chattanooga Lookouts and AAA Rochester Red Wings. He pitched to a 9-5 record with a 3.27 ERA over 110 innings pitched. The way Gonsalves pitches, with a fastball in the low 90’s, you wouldn’t expect much in the way of strikeouts from him, but he still was able to hold a strikeout per nine innings rate of 9.7.

Gonsalves dealt with a shoulder injury early in the season, but the injury only delayed a well-deserved promotion. His 2.68 ERA at Chattanooga led to Gonsalves promotion to AAA in August. MLBPipeline.com currently ranks Gonsalves as the Twins #3 prospect and #63 overall. Twins fans will be hoping that Gonsalves will be able to soon become a mainstay in the Twins rotation much like the last Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year who wasn’t Gonsalves, Jose Berrios.

Brent Rooker

Minor League Hitter of the Year Brent Rooker was drafted by the Twins in this year’s draft, selected 35th overall in the supplemental portion of the 1st round. During the season, Rooker spent time with both the Rookie Ball Elizabethton Twins and then skipped a level to join High-A Fort Meyers Miracle.

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Combined numbers between both leagues for Rooker were .281/.364/.566 and an OPS .930. The power in his bat was a highlight when he was drafted and certainly drew a lot of attention as he hit 18 home runs in the 62 games he participated in this season. Defensively, Rooker saw time both in the outfield and at first base. As he spends more time at first base it seems only natural to wonder if Rooker may be the preferred replacement for Joe Mauer when his contract expires after next season.

Rooker has gotten his fair share of exposure as a prospect from a national perspective as well. He was recently recognized as Baseball America’s 5th best prospect in the Appalachian League. MLBPipline.com has Rooker as the Twins 14th best prospect after his first season in the Twins system.

Next: Minnesota Twins 2017 Season in Review July

With these awards, the Twins get to highlight two exciting prospects in Gonsalves and Rooker. There is also realistic expectations that both players could be in the big leagues very soon. With Gonsalves as soon as 2018 and Rooker, if he continues on this pace, could be knocking on the major league door come 2019. Congratulations to both Stephan Gonsalves and Brent Rooker!

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