This week we go into the Minnesota Twins minor league organization to find the shining talent that we name the Minor League Stars of the Week. Read on to see who we have named for this week's stars and take a moment to answer the poll and comment on any other players you feel that should have been named.
- Cedar Rapids Kernels (A - Low) - Sam Gibbons (P) - Our star for the Kernels this week is Sam Gibbons, starting pitcher for Cedar Rapids. Gibbons in his only start this past week helped the Kernels shutout the Beloit Snappers, 3-10. Sam threw six scoreless innings to get the win, striking out four and only allowing four hits through the six innings pitched. Gibbons has now tossed at least six innings in three of his five past starts. For the season Gibbons is 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA over 48.1 innings pitched. He has pitched in 9 games, starting all of those contests, and carries a 32 SO/16 BB ratio along with a .266 batting average against. The Kernels keep refining good pitching potential for the Twins and it looks as if they may have another one in Sam Gibbons.
- Fort Myers Miracle (A - High) - Chad Christensen (OF) - This week's star from the Fort Myers Miracle is Chad Christensen, outfielder for the Miracle. Christensen has made our weekly list previously this season and if he continues to hit like he has in his past 10 games, his name will start appearing more often. In his last 10 games, Chad is hitting .343 with 2 RBI, 6 R, and 6 SB. He is starting to show the ability to get on base and be able to move himself into scoring position via the stolen base. For the 2015 season, Christensen is hitting .260 with a .322 OBP, .326 SLG, and .648 OPS over 87 games at Fort Myers. In terms of extra bases, Christensen has 13 2B, 1 3B, and 2 HR. Chad has also driven in 30 runs, has scored 34 runs, and has stolen 19 bases on 24 attempts. Christensen has been an even better defensive player, committing just three errors during the 2015 season. Christensen is an interesting prospect in terms of speed and defense, especially with continued improvement at the plate. Chad has moved up a level each year in the Twins organization and I would look to see him in Chattanooga in 2016.
- Chattanooga Lookouts (AA) - Stuart Turner (C) - Our star from the Chattanooga Lookouts this week is Stuart Turner, catcher for the Lookouts. Turner is usually looked at as an above average defensive prospect but not looked at as an offensive threat. If he builds off what he has done in the last 10 games, the Twins organization might start to take further looks at Turner for one of the options for the Twins catcher of the future. In his last 10 games, Turner is hitting .417 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, and 6 R. Stuart has been red hot over his last 10 games and needs to continue this uptick in offensive performance to have a real opportunity to be in Rochester in 2016. For the 2015 season, Turner is hitting .224 with a .313 OBP, .320 SLG, and .632 OPS over 70 games at Chattanooga. In terms of extra bases, Stuart has 9 2B, 1 3B, and 4 HR. Turner has also driven in 25 runs, scored 27 runs, and has stolen 4 bases on 6 attempts. Turner has been a proven commodity behind the plate defensively, with just 4 errors on the season. Turner will finish the 2015 season with the Lookouts but if he continues to be the good defensive player with even a slight improvement in offensive production, Rochester should be in Turner's plans for 2016.
- Rochester Red Wings (AAA) - Reynaldo Rodriguez (OF) - This week's star from the Rochester Red Wings is Reynaldo Rodriguez, outfielder for Rochester. Rodriguez was also named the Batavia Downs Gaming and Racetrack Player of the Week this past week and with his numbers over the last 10 games, it's easy to see why Reynaldo was their choice and ours. In his past 10 games, Rodriguez is hitting .342 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, and 7 R. Rodriguez has been one of the run producers for Rochester in 2015 and should definitely be back with the Red Wings in 2016, making a push to make the big league club. For the 2015 season, Rodriguez is hitting .259 with a .306 OBP, .437 SLG, and .743 OPS over 98 games at Rochester. In terms of extra bases, Reynaldo has 23 2B, 5 3B, and 11 HR. Rodriguez has also driven in 60 runs, scored 61 runs, and has stolen 5 bases on 9 attempts. Rodriguez has been a positive defensive player as well with only 4 errors on the 2015 season and those were committed at 1B, no errors made in the outfield. Rodriguez makes an interesting case in terms of batting for a fourth outfielder or bench spot at Spring Training for the Twins in 2016.
There you have it for this week, our Minor League Stars of the Week. Catch next week's article to see who cracks the list from Cedar Rapids to Rochester and shines from within the Minnesota Twins organization. Check out the poll to vote for your favorite star and use the comments section to let us know who else you think has been deserving of being named a star!