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  • Are Gibson, Hicks Destined For Rochester?

    Some of the most intriguing spring training battles for the Twins are the race for the starting center fielder job and for the last spot in the rotation. Two of the best prospects for the Twins are in the middle of these battles and they both have been putting together decent starts this spring. But even if the rest of the spring goes great for Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson, they could be destined to start the year in Rochester.

    There are a few different reasons to think that the Twins will be patient with these two young players. irst, there is opportunity. The team isn't suppose to be contending in 2013 or maybe even 2014. This means there is no rush to get either of these men to the big leagues. They can both be given the opportunity to find success at Triple-A.

    Second, long-term control and money is a factor.

    If the team waits until a few months into the season, they can control these players for an extra season. There are also rules in place for players that get called up in the first couple months of the season to let them reach arbitration as a super two player. The Twins could avoid some of this hassle by letting other players take their spot on the roster until the middle part of the year.

    Finally, each player's history suggests a slower immersion could be beneficial. Hicks has a history of slow starts when he advances to a new level. He played all of last season at the Double-A level so making a two level jump could be hard on him. The team has been very patient with him up until this point and it makes a lot of sense for the club to continue their patient ways.

    The Twins have been clear that Gibson will be on an innings limit this season. It is his first full year back from Tommy John surgery and it is important to be cautious with a young arm. If the Twins want to control his innings at the beginning of the year, it will be easier to do this in Rochester. They don't want a player in the major league starting rotation that has to be pulled early to keep his innings down.

    Within the organization, there might be some debate. While the front office might want Hicks and Gibson to get a little more experience, the manager might not be in a position to wait for the future. Ron Gardenhire is in the last year of his deal and he can't really afford for the club to get off to a slow start. He has said that he wants Hicks to have a shot to start and Gibson has a brighter future than some of the other rotation options.

    With the moves the Twins have made this offseason, their farm system is considered one of the best in the game. Most of their top-level talent hasn't made appearance above the Double-A level. For now, it looks like a waiting game as these players work their way through the minor leagues.

    So when will the next winning team grace fans at Target Field?

    The estimated arrival time for Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Byron Buxton might not be until 2014, 2015 or 2016. If those players make up the core of the next winning Twins team, it might be best to still have multiple years of control over Gibson and Hicks.

    There are going to be reasons to keep Gibson and Hicks with the big league team for the start of the year. However, the reasons to keep them in the minor leagues might outweigh those that are in favor of keeping them up.

    So what do you think? If Gibson and Hicks earn the jobs, should they start the year in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
    This article was originally published in blog: Gibson, Hicks might be destined for Rochester started by Cody Christie
    Comments 128 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Perhaps comparing the Twins to the Cardinals would make for a better comparison?
      Only for the purpose of embarrassing the Twins.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Perhaps comparing the Twins to the Cardinals would make for a better comparison?
      A much better comparison. The Cards are an obvious example of a mid-market team that thrives, despite having less than stellar pick position many years.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      I know it's just spring numbers, but Hicks has 4 home runs (and counting) in his past 3 games. His 8 RBI are tied for the team lead. If he has any chance of playing his way onto the team, he's doing it so far.
    1. mcrow's Avatar
      mcrow -
      Quote Originally Posted by PopRiveter View Post
      I know it's just spring numbers, but Hicks has 4 home runs (and counting) in his past 3 games. His 8 RBI are tied for the team lead. If he has any chance of playing his way onto the team, he's doing it so far.
      Yeah, I'd have to say if he really had any chance of playing his way onto the team he's on it right now. A lot of spring training left though.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      Just got his third of the day. If a starting job could be won today, it would be.
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Quote Originally Posted by PopRiveter View Post
      I know it's just spring numbers, but Hicks has 4 home runs (and counting) in his past 3 games. His 8 RBI are tied for the team lead. If he has any chance of playing his way onto the team, he's doing it so far.
      Make that 5 HR's in 3 Games... Apparently, he's got the right-handed batting down today (3HR game).
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      I've said this for quite some time. I love the Rays and how they operate but let's face it, they've had a good run that is little better than the Twins from 2001-2006 (and the Twins continued to be good off and on after that point). The Rays had years and years and years of #1, 2, and 3 draft picks to assemble their winning team. That helps any forward-thinking team get back into the playoffs.

      But now comes the real test. Can they continue to win after picking in the bottom half of the draft, as the Twins did for most of the 2000s?
      The 2012 Tampa Starting Rotation

      James Shields 16th round
      Matt Moore 8th
      Jeremy Hellickson 4th (rookie of the year)
      Alex Cobb 4th
      Dave Price 1st

      Tampa has mostly built their success on superior scouting and player development.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
      The 2012 Tampa Starting Rotation

      James Shields 16th round
      Matt Moore 8th
      Jeremy Hellickson 4th (rookie of the year)
      Alex Cobb 4th
      Dave Price 1st
      So the Rays have done a poor job with their high draft picks? Is that the point?

      I'm kidding, of course. But look at the Twins lineup from 2002 and the draft pick that was spent on them. If I remember right, it's comparable.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
      The 2012 Tampa Starting Rotation

      James Shields 16th round
      Matt Moore 8th
      Jeremy Hellickson 4th (rookie of the year)
      Alex Cobb 4th
      Dave Price 1st
      The Twins had plenty of guys who succeeded after being picked in later rounds as well... But is that a skill that can be maintained over time? That's far from a given and Tampa certainly hasn't proved that they can do it.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      So the Rays have done a poor job with their high draft picks? Is that the point?

      I'm kidding, of course. But look at the Twins lineup from 2002 and the draft pick that was spent on them. If I remember right, it's comparable.
      Yep and yep.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      So the Rays have done a poor job with their high draft picks? Is that the point?

      I'm kidding, of course. But look at the Twins lineup from 2002 and the draft pick that was spent on them. If I remember right, it's comparable.

      I do not agree that Tampa,s success is built mostly on high round draft picks.
      Many folks believe that Tampa's success is attributed to their years of picking high in the draft.
      My point is, this is not necessarily so. Their starting staff highlights my opinion.
      Its obvious that they have developed a number of high round picks.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      RB, I'm with you on everthing in your post, sans your opening statements. The club's offseason actions strongly tipped their hand that the bulk of their decision-making is based upon "tomorrow", not "today". Thus, the selling to the public that cutting the payroll another 25% and then celebrating the Correia signing as your headline FA acquisition and stripping the top of your order and your keystone defensive players (with no obvious heir-apparents) for 2 minor league pitchers and a question mark SP, and no effort to bolster other obvious holes as much of your AL Central competition is doing precisely the opposite- is the Twins silent scream: "2013 is a lost season". How else should a loyal fan interpret the current situation?
      Because... No matter what the oddsmakers say... You and I both know that "Mine that Bird" did indeed win the Kentucky Derby in 2009 and the Balitmore Orioles won at Pimlico last year I believe.

      I'm simply not inclined to look at the Tigers Roster and place it next to the Twins Roster and cancelling my season tickets(I don't own season tickets). The Tigers can fall and the Twins can rise... I won't bet anything important on it but it's possible and it happens every year.

      Before the season starts you have to put your best foot forward. If Herb Brooks and squad took the what's the point attitude in 1980... Team USA would never have beaten Romania 7 to 2.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Hicks today: 4-5, 4 runs, 6 RBI, 3 HRs, SB. He now has five homers in his last nine at bats.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Only for the purpose of embarrassing the Twins.
      Exactly! The Twins are wont to blame disappointment on factors beyond their control--Yankee money, unfavorable draft position for the Twins but favorable for someone else, "injuries", "home field advantage", etc. But, it is rare that they ever admit to their own mistakes. For nearly ten years they trumpeted their success on the SF Giants trade and also the acquistion of Johan Santana, but "other trades or acquisitions"--silence. The long term lack of draft success is more likely systemic than "bad luck".
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
      I do not agree that Tampa,s success is built mostly on high round draft picks.
      Many folks believe that Tampa's success is attributed to their years of picking high in the draft.
      My point is, this is not necessarily so. Their starting staff highlights my opinion.
      Its obvious that they have developed a number of high round picks.
      As fans, it's easy for us to perceive defects in drafting. If a team's top picks don't pan out, then it's easy to criticize the people handling the drafting.

      What seems far more opaque is a team's ability to develop that players who the team drafts. I don't know how to measure this, and I could be 100% wrong, but it seems to me that the Rays probably do a great job at developing pitchers.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      since we are being nostalgic, I'd think a nice Dankind post would be appropriate.
      Oh man, I really miss that guy. He was such a goober but his mullet and hate for Mauer made him actually pretty funny.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Trout's rookie year was last year. He's free agent eligible in 2018. So last year and the upcoming 5. 6 years of control, just like most players.
      Everyone is forgetting that Trout was called up in 2011 and was awful. The fact that he was awful doesn't matter but that PT in 2011 gave him enough service time that keeping him in AAA didn't matter.

      Hicks is a different case. He wasn't called up in 2012 so waiting a month does actually delay FA a year.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Everyone is forgetting that Trout was called up in 2011 and was awful. The fact that he was awful doesn't matter but that PT in 2011 gave him enough service time that keeping him in AAA didn't matter.

      Hicks is a different case. He wasn't called up in 2012 so waiting a month does actually delay FA a year.
      yeah, I was just pointing out what he was saying about Trout wasn't true...that's not why he didn't make the team out the gate in 2012.

      I think it's longer than a month they need to wait as well, but maybe you're right
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Oh man, I really miss that guy. He was such a goober but his mullet and hate for Mauer made him actually pretty funny.
      How about getting a 'Slap Single' word filter for a day?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Because... No matter what the oddsmakers say... You and I both know that "Mine that Bird" did indeed win the Kentucky Derby in 2009 and the Balitmore Orioles won at Pimlico last year I believe.

      I'm simply not inclined to look at the Tigers Roster and place it next to the Twins Roster and cancelling my season tickets(I don't own season tickets). The Tigers can fall and the Twins can rise... I won't bet anything important on it but it's possible and it happens every year.

      Before the season starts you have to put your best foot forward. If Herb Brooks and squad took the what's the point attitude in 1980... Team USA would never have beaten Romania 7 to 2.
      I fear what the Twins are about to step in, even with their best foot forward. Particularly when they needlessly tied one hand behind their back!
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