Originally posted at TwinsMVB.com .
With a few months of the minor league season in the books, and with several players having been either promoted or demoted throughout the system, it’s time for another minor league check-in.
Here are three players who Twins fans should be keeping their eye on this year:
Kyle Gibson, SP, New Britain Rock Cats
After dominating his opposition at the Fort Myers Miracle, Gibson sported a 1.87 ERA on the season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was looking excellent, and a few thought the former first-round pick may be able to challenge for a September call-up later in 2010.
Since being promoted to Double-A New Britain, Gibson has received a harsh welcome. Through seven starts, Gibson has a 4.83 ERA to go with an inflated WHIP. He is being hit much harder in New Britain, but has managed to keep his K/BB ratio intact and as appealing as ever.
Nearly all hope of a 2010 appearance with the major league club has been dissolved, but Gibson should still be able to finish the season with the Rochester Red Wings. He will contend for a rotation spot to start the 2011 season.
Joe Benson, OF, New Britain Rock Cats
Benson was one of the first Twins to be promoted this season, as he was sent from Fort Myers to New Britain. He has played 40 games at the Double-A level, and has proved that he isn’t over-matched at the higher level.
He is still struggling with strikeouts, but Benson’s .350/.478 on-base and slugging percentages are among the best in Minnesota’s organization. Benson has hit 12 home runs so far this season, and is stealing more bases than he has in the past.
Although the Twins’ outfield is jam-packed with talented players, if Benson keeps hitting like this it will be impossible to leave him out of the major league picture for too long.
Miguel Sano, 3B/OF, Dominican Summer League
One of the Twins’ biggest international signings in their history, Sano, has been raking opposing pitching through his first 14 games. Hitting .341/.444/.636, Sano has shown himself to be a natural hitter at the Hot Corner.
Of course, he’s only had about 50 professional plate appearances, and Sano will need many more years before he is polished enough to join the big league club. When Sano is ready for big-league action, the Twins will be more than happy to accommodate him.