Prospect Gonsalves working diligently on slider

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins top pitching prospect Stephen Gonsalves is on the cusp of reaching the Majors after putting up impressive numbers in the Minors since being drafted in 2013, and he participated in Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program last week.

Gonsalves, ranked as the No. 64 overall prospect and the club's No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was joined by fellow Twins prospects Fernando Romero, John Curtiss and LaMonte Wade at the event, which provides helpful seminars for prospective big leaguers.

Gonsalves, one of 20 prospects from MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list at the event, is considered close to the Majors, and the lefty will head to Spring Training with a chance to compete for a spot in the rotation.

"You just have to take it one step at a time and know it's a learning process," Gonsalves said. "You have to trust the club and the future they have in mind for you."

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Gonsalves, 23, reached Triple-A for the first time last year, posting a combined 3.27 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 110 innings between Double-A Chattanooga and Rochester. He's likely to open the year at Triple-A again, but he said he learned a lot last season.

"It was fun," Gonsalves said. "Got to work with all the guys I've been with the last couple years. A lot of the same guys from my Draft class. I had Mitch Garver back there [at catcher], and he got to the big leagues in September. It was kinda nice he got there before me, and he can teach what it's like up there."

Gonsalves, who is 41-17 with a 2.39 ERA in 478 1/3 innings in the Minors, has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but he fools batters with his impressive changeup. He's still working on his slider and curveball, which he believes will be important at the next level.

"I just need to be a little more consistent," Gonsalves said. "I've been working on my slider a little bit. That's going to be huge for me, hopefully. Just staying with that curveball and trusting it. Big leaguers need four pitches to have a long career."

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