Everything You Need to Know About New Minnesota Twins Prospect Gabriel Gonzalez

Photo: Baseball AmericaCredit: Photo: Baseball America

The Minnesota Twins’ decision to trade star second baseman Jorge Polanco to the Seattle Mariners on Monday had to be a bitter pill for fans to swallow in the Twin Cities. Polanco, 30, has been a fixture for the Twins for the better part of the past decade. He anchored several playoff teams and was a fan favorite.

But Twins president Derek Falvey had set into place this possibility earlier in the offseason by clearly indicating that Minnesota was looking to cut payroll. Nothing really came to fruition on that front until Monday’s blockbuster trade with Seattle.

In return for Polanco, the Twins were able to net four players. This includes two MLB pitchers in that of starter Anthony DeSclafani and reliever Justin Topa. Sure, adding depth to the pitching staff was seen as key here. However, it’s the two minor leaguers that Minnesota acquired in the blockbuster which will tell us the story of this trade years down the road.

The headliner is 20-year-old outfield prospect Gabriel Gonzalez who MLB has ranked as the 79th-best prospect in all of baseball. Per that outlet, Gonzalez also entered the 2023 MLB season as the Mariners’ third-ranked prospect.

This is no small addition for the Twins’ organization given their mediocre No. 17 ranking among MLB farm systems. Retooling in this regard was key. And while Gonzalez is ways away from the Majors, he provides a major jolt for the Twins’ minor league system.

Related: Minnesota Twins GM Says Brooks Lee Can Call Himself Up to Big Leagues Whenever He Feels Ready

Meet New Minnesota Twins Prospect Gabriel Gonzalez

minnesota twins' gabriel gonzalez
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Gonzalez can absolutely belt from the plate. Before even turning 20 earlier in January, he was dominating lower-level minor league pitching. Just look what the Venezuela native did in stints at Single-A Modesto and high Single-A Everett during the 2023 season.

  • Gabriel Gonzalez stats (2023): .298 average, 18 HR, 84 RBI, .837 OPS

Gonzalez struck out 89 times in 535 plate appearances. He walked 36 times while stealing 10 bases and scoring 78 runs in 116 games between the two stops.

Back in 2022 in between rookie level ball and Single-A, Gonzalez hit .321 with an .879 OPS. Though, he only hit seven home runs. It’s clear that as Gonazalez’ frame has grown that his power has also increased. That bodes well moving forward.

Gonzalez did struggle making the jump to high Single-A ball in 2023, hitting .216 with a 21.5% strikeout rate. That needs to turn around if the Twins are going to be considered a winner in this blockbuster trade.

Per Fangraphs, he has elite raw power and speed. That makes Gonzalez a potential five-tool prospect moving forward for Minnesota. He has played primarily in right field in the minors since debuting back in 2021. While still raw in that regard, his speed is going to be effective in manning right field moving forward.

Barring a potential trade ahead of Opening Day, Max Kepler is slated to man right field for the Twins in 2024. It’s pretty obvious what Minnesota’s brass did in this trade by acquiring Gonzalez. Kepler is a free agent after the upcoming season and likely doesn’t have a long-term future with the organization.

Per MLB Pipeline, Gonzalez slides in as the Twins’ No. 4 prospect behind the likes of Walker Jenkins, Brooks Lee and Emmanuel Rodríguez.

His addition could be huge down the road for Minnesota as the organization looks to team Gonzalez up with Rodriguez in the outfield down the line.

Related: Minnesota Twins Sign Top-10 International Prospect, Daiber De Los Santos

Rodriguez, 20, is yet another top-100 prospect in the Twins’ farm. He blasted 16 homers with 55 RBI in high Single-A ball this past season. With 10 of the Twins’ top-18 prospects delivering from the bump, it made sense to get another quality everyday youngster.

At the very least, Falvey and Co. accomplished this feat on Monday.

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