Minor League Report...February 5, 2011

With spring training only days away, there wasn't any player activity this week other than Kevin Slowey agreeing to a one year contract and avoiding arbitration. With the winter leagues finishing their playoffs, there aren't many Twins players still in action.

The Perth Heat beat first place Sydney in the first two games of their best of three series a week ago. The Heat, including Allan de San Miguel, Liam Hendriks and Luke Hughes, will now await the winner of this week's series between Sydney and Adelaide for the championship series next weekend. Perth will host the championship series, so they are hopeful that it is Adelaide as the ten games they played against Sydney this winter were all won by the visiting team.

The Tigres de Aragua lost the Venezuelan best of seven championship series to Caribes. After dropping the first two, Cesar Ciurcina came on in game three to pitch 3.1 innings of one hit, shutout relief with three strikeouts in a game Aragua would win, 8-4. That performance earned Ciurcina the start in game seven of the series. Considering that the majority of both lineups are experienced AAA players, many with some major league experience, Aragua's Manager showed a lot of confidence in the young Twins prospect who had only one year's experience in the rookie Gulf Coast League. Ciurcina didn't do well in that start, yet his performance this winter confirms that he is a young man the Twins will expect much of in the coming years. [Because Mayaguez was a last place team in the Puerto Rican League, I missed that Nelvin Fuentes was picked up by the Puerto Rican team playing in the Caribbean Series. Fuentes has made two appearances, pitching 0.2 innings without any hits, walks or runs. Thanks to LaVelle E. Neal III for pointing this out yesterday]

The Twins were fortunate in 2009 when a forearm injury caused several teams to pass over Kyle Gibson, enabling the Twins to select him with the twenty-second selection of the first round. He would sign with the Twins hours before the August deadline, however, not join the organization until the Fall Instructional League. Gibson made his professional debut this past spring, opening at Ft. Myers where he would post a 4-1 record with a 1.87 ERA in 43.1 innings. He would move on to AA New Britain where he made 16 starts, pitching 93.0 innings with a 3.68 ERA and a 7-5 record. He would get another promotion late in the season to AAA Rochester. While with the Red Wings, Gibson made three starts with a 1.72 ERA.

Most fans believe that Gibson will pitch for the Twins sometime in 2011. However, with the Twins having six experienced starters going into spring training they have the luxury of not rushing this top prospect. Today's question is how much will Gibson contribute to the Twins in 2011?

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