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Twins: Two players named to AFL Top Prospects Team


July 10, 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; USA pitcher Kyle Gibson throws a pitch during the 2011 Futures Game at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Two Minnesota Twins prospects were honored today by being named to the 2012 Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team.  The team is comprised of 22 players representing 15 organizations.

Kyle Gibson is a Twins starting pitching prospect whose return from Tommy John surgery has been highly anticipated.  Many consider his return a success, although his six starts had split results.  His first three games, all home games for the Peoria Javelinas, covered 13 innings during which he gave up one earned run on 13 hits with 2 walks and 19 strikeouts.  The final three games, all of which were away games for the Javelinas, were markedly different.  Gibson pitched 10.1 one innings and gave up 13 earned runs on 18 hits with 6 walks and 9 strikeouts.

The other Twins’ player to make the AFL Prospects Team was outfielder Nate Roberts.  If you’ve caught anything about the AFL, you’ve probably seen his name., and hopefully you read Michael Longoria’s “Bright Futures” article on Roberts.  Roberts had a hot bat this fall and ended the season with a .446 batting average in 65 at-bats, with an on-base percentage of .565.  To put Roberts’ OBP in context, Joe Mauer is considered an on-base machine, and www.mlb.com shows that he ended the 2012 season with a major league leading .416 OBP.  Mauer owned that stat over a significantly higher number of at bats (545), but Roberts’ effort was enough to make him the AFL leader by a significant margin; the next AFL player in line had a .494 OBP.

The successful fall season of two Twins prospects certainly won’t erase the memory of a bad 2012 for the Big Club, but it does give some hope for the future.  Particularly, the (at least partial) success of Gibson bodes well for a Twins team that likely expects him in the starting rotation for at least part of the 2013 season.