With the Twins searching for a potential trade partner this offseason, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey made his expectations clear to anybody who reached out. If he was going to make a move, he was looking for players who could help the Twins in the present, as well as prospects who could help them in the future.
The decision to trade fan favorite second baseman Jorge Polanco to the Seattle Mariners accomplished exactly that. Not only did the Twins acquire a pair of pitchers in Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Topa, who should be able to contribute immediately, they also added a pair of prospects in Gabby Gonzalez and Darren Bowen, who could make an impact in the future.
The prize of the trade for the Twins was Gonzalez, a 20-year-old outfielder from Venezuela, who is listed among the Top 100 prospects in the game. Asked about the importance of Gonzalez being included in the negotiations, Falvey expressed his excitement, replying, “That’s a critical piece.”
There’s a lot to like about Gonzalez simply by looking at his statistics in the minor leagues. He played 116 games in Single A last season, finishing with a .298 batting average, 18 home runs and 84 runs batted in. He projects as somebody who could have a decent amount of power throughout his rise up the ranks.
“This is a guy who our scouts really like,” Falvey said. “Our player development guys got a chance to look at the video and assess the swing and think about what he can do.”
The key will be keeping Gonzalez on an upward trajectory. There are so many different things that can happen during the development process in the minor leagues. It’s on the Twins to make sure he reaches his full potential now that he’s a part of the organization.
Though it’s nearly impossible to give an exact timeline for Gonzalez at this point, it’s safe to say he won’t be competing for a spot on the big-league Twins roster anytime soon. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He will have time to refine his skill set in the minor leagues alongside a number of other highly regarded prospects.
According to the Top 100 prospects ranked by MLB Pipeline, within the Twins farm system only outfielder Walker Jenkins (No. 10), shortstop Brooks Lee (No. 18) and outfielder Emmanuel Rodriguez (No. 42) are ahead of Gonzalez (No. 79) at the moment.
“We look down and we see guys like Walker Jenkins and Emmanuel Rodriguez and Gabby Gonzalez,” Falvey said. “We’re always talking about, ‘How do we get those waves of talent up here?’ ”
The fact that the Twins were able to add Gonzalez to the mix isn’t something they are taking for granted.
“He’s a really good young player,” Falvey said. “We’re really excited about getting him.”