Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Posts about Twins prospects

Live from the GM Meetings: An early Boras sighting

Posted by: Phil Miller Updated: November 14, 2011 - 11:37 AM

MILWAUKEE -- I'm at the Pfister Hotel for baseball's annual GM meetings. I'll check in here from time-to-time with updates.

It's quiet here so far, as Terry Ryan and most GMs aren't expected to arrive until this afternoon. Scott Boras and his assistants passed through the lobby this morning, and I did pick up one tidbit. Boras is advising Arizona State shortstop Devin Marrero, the multi-talented junior who has been projected to go in the Top 5 of next June's draft.

The Twins hold the No. 2 pick, of course, so you had to figure they'd run into a few potential Boras clients. He represents Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, who commanded mega deals after the Nationals made them the No. 1 picks, respectively, in the 2009 and 2010 drafts.

Boras represents Prince Fielder, Ryan Madson, Edwin Jackson and Carlos Pena from this year's free agent class. I don't see the Twins matching up with them, but here's a name to keep in mind: Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez. He turns 40 in November and batted just .218/.281/.323 in 44 games for Washington this year, but the Twins probably could get him as a low-cost backup for Joe Mauer.

Quick plug

If you haven't yet, be sure to order your copy of the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook. It's 136 pages filled with information that guides you through all the big decisions Ryan is facing as he looks to retool a team coming off a 99-loss season. The e-book costs $9.99, but if you enter the promo code "JOEC," the price drops to $5.99. (Promise, I'm not getting a cut. I just think the great work Seth Stohs, John Bonnes, Parker Hageman and Nick Nelson do should go rewarded.)

Twins update: Another international signing

Posted by: Phil Miller Updated: November 30, 2010 - 10:06 AM

The Twins have signed 17-year-old Dominican shortstop prospect Javier Pimental to a $575,000 bonus, according to Baseball America and MLBTradeRumors.com.

According to Baseball America, Pimental is a 6-foot-2, 160-pound righthanded hitter, who "is a skinny shortstop with a projectable body who has shown good hands and arm in the field. He's a solid-average runner. He isn't a huge threat at the plate right now, but he could grow into more power as he fills out his lanky body."

The Twins' international efforts continue to grow. They have exclusive negotiating rights with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka through Dec. 26, and you can add Pimental to a list of young Dominican infield prospects that include Miguel Angel Sano and Jorge Polanco.

Update: Mike Radcliff, the Twins' VP of Player Personnel, said Pimental is now about 6-3, 185. "We like his bat," Radcliff said. Polanco is more of a true shortstop. Pimental is a hitting prospect likely to move to third base or the outfield as he matures.

Gibson, Hicks top Baseball America's list of Top 10 Twins prospects

Posted by: Phil Miller Updated: November 23, 2010 - 10:30 AM

Baseball America released its list of Top 10 Twins prospects this morning:

1. Kyle Gibson, rhp
2. Aaron Hicks, of
3. Miguel Sano, 3b/ss
4. Joe Benson, of
5. Ben Revere, of
6. Liam Hendriks, rhp
7. Alex Wimmers, rhp
8. Adrian Salcedo, rhp
9. Oswaldo Arcia, of
10. Carlos Gutierrez, rhp

John Manuel, editor in chief of this highly respected trade magazine, has been ranking the Twins' prospects for years, talking to talent evaluators inside and outside the team's system.

His scouting reports are really insightful, though you have to be a subscriber to read them online. He notes that Arcia, a Venezuelan signee who batted .375/.424/.672 for rookie-level Elizabethton, bypassed some other good international outfield prospects in the Twins' system. Arcia, Manuel writes, "pushed himself past German teenager Max Kepler, Puerto Rican toolshed Angel Morales and solid Canadian Rene Tosoni in 2010."

Here's part of Manuel's assessment on Gibson:

In 2011, he likely will be asked to pitch in the major league rotation at some point, especially if Minnesota loses free agent Carl Pavano. Gibson is all but assured of a nonroster invitation to spring training, though he'll probably open the season back in Triple-A and be first in line for a promotion if and when a need arises. The Twins see him as a future No. 2 starter on a playoff club—he'd need more fastball to qualify as a true ace—and even more skeptical scouts outside the organization see him as no worse than a No. 3.

You don't have to be a subscriber to see Manuel's projected 2014 Twins lineup. He sees Gibson, Hicks, Sano, Hendricks, Wimmers and Gutierrez playing prominent roles.

Twins send Van Mil to Angels completing Fuentes trade

Posted by: Phil Miller Updated: September 1, 2010 - 2:22 PM

The Twins sent minor-league pitcher Loek Van Mil to the Angels today, completing their trade for reliever Brian Fuentes.

When that trade was made Saturday, the teams agreed that the Twins would send the Angels a player to be named or cash by Oct. 15. We were told the Twins would surrender a mid-level prospect, not a top prospect, and Van Mil fits that description.

Van Mil, 25, had been designated for assignment and dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for Fuentes. A a 7-foot-1 righthander from The Netherlands, Van Mil was 1-2 with a 6.37 ERA in 23 games for Class AA New Britain this year.

Van Mil's stock was on the rise last year, and he was invited to big league camp this spring. When healthy, he has a powerful righthanded arm, but injuries have slowed his development.

Manship promoted to the Twins; Gibson likely promoted to Rochester

Posted by: Phil Miller Updated: August 12, 2010 - 12:51 PM

CHICAGO -- Kyle Gibson, the Twins' 2009 first-round draft pick, will likely be promoted to Class AAA Rochester to start Friday's game, Twins minor league director Jim Rantz said.

Gibson, 22, would replace righthander Jeff Manship, who is being promoted to the Twins again with lefthander Jose Mijares headed to the disabled list with a strained right knee.

Though this would put Gibson one step away from the big leagues, that's probably as far as he'll go this year. Rantz said the Twins want to cap his workload at 150-160 innings. Gibson has thrown 136 1/3 innings between Class A and Class AA this year, so Rochester would be his final stop.

"I'm sending him up there thinking it's probably going to be for the remainder of the year," Rantz said.

Gibson went 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA for Class A Fort Myers before going 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA for Class AA New Britain, where he had 77 strikeouts and 22 walks.

BLACKBURN PLAN

Nick Blackburn will make his third start for Class AAA Rochester tonight and then return home to be with his wife, Alicia, who is expecting the couple's first child.

Blackburn has posted a 1.59 ERA in his first two starts for Rochester. The Twins expect him to be a factor in September, if not late-August.

FIRST ROUNDERS BANGED UP

* Aaron Hicks, the Twins' 2008 first-round draft pick, has been out since Aug. 8 with a broken pinky. Hicks, who is batting .278 for Class A Beloit, has not been placed on the DL. Hicks can do everything except swing a bat, and the Twins don't expect him to miss much more than a week.

* Ben Revere, the Twins' 2007 first-round pick, is making good progress in his recovery from an Aug. 3 beaning near his right eye. Revere suffered two orbital fractures, and is expected to miss the rest of New Britain's season. There is hope, however, that Revere will be ready to play this offseason, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League. He batted .297 for New Britain.

Manship promoted to the Twins; Gibson likely promoted to Rochester

Posted by: Phil Miller Updated: August 12, 2010 - 12:51 PM

CHICAGO -- Kyle Gibson, the Twins' 2009 first-round draft pick, will likely be promoted to Class AAA Rochester to start Friday's game, Twins minor league director Jim Rantz said.

Gibson, 22, would replace righthander Jeff Manship, who is being promoted to the Twins again with lefthander Jose Mijares headed to the disabled list with a strained right knee.

Though this would put Gibson one step away from the big leagues, that's probably as far as he'll go this year. Rantz said the Twins want to cap his workload at 150-160 innings. Gibson has thrown 136 1/3 innings between Class A and Class AA this year, so Rochester would be his final stop.

"I'm sending him up there thinking it's probably going to be for the remainder of the year," Rantz said.

Gibson went 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA for Class A Fort Myers before going 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA for Class AA New Britain, where he had 77 strikeouts and 22 walks.

BLACKBURN PLAN

Nick Blackburn will make his third start for Class AAA Rochester tonight and then return home to be with his wife, Alicia, who is expecting the couple's first child.

Blackburn has posted a 1.59 ERA in his first two starts for Rochester. The Twins expect him to be a factor in September, if not late-August.

FIRST ROUNDERS BANGED UP

* Aaron Hicks, the Twins' 2008 first-round draft pick, has been out since Aug. 8 with a broken pinky. Hicks, who is batting .278 for Class A Beloit, has not been placed on the DL. Hicks can do everything except swing a bat, and the Twins don't expect him to miss much more than a week.

* Ben Revere, the Twins' 2007 first-round pick, is making good progress in his recovery from an Aug. 3 beaning near his right eye. Revere suffered two orbital fractures, and is expected to miss the rest of New Britain's season. There is hope, however, that Revere will be ready to play this offseason, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League. He batted .297 for New Britain.

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