Twins promote Buxton, Gibson

Prospects moving up to Florida State League, Majors

By Jake Seiner / Special to | June 23, 2013 7:18 PM ET

Sundays are taking on increased significance for Minor Leaguers in the Twins organization.

Minnesota, which boasts one of baseball's top farm systems, announced the promotion of elite prospect Byron Buxton to Class A Advanced Fort Myers and will call up Kyle Gibson to make his Major League debut on Saturday.

The moves come two weeks after top prospect Miguel Sano was moved from Fort Myers up to Double-A New Britain.

Ranked second behind Sano among Twins prospects, Buxton put together a first half with Class A Cedar Rapids that propelled him into the conversation regarding best prospect in the game.

Buxton, the second overall pick in the 2012 Draft, hit .341 with eight homers, 10 triples, 15 doubles, 55 RBIs and 68 runs scored in 68 games. He posted a .431 on-base percentage, .990 OPS, stole 32 bases in 43 tries and received rave reviews for his work in center field.

"He's done a good job down there," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. "Basically, we were just looking for an opening and an opportunity when it presented itself."

The decision came after general manager Terry Ryan reportedly spent the weekend in Appleton, Wis., watching Buxton and the Kernels.

Eager to get his own eyes on the 19-year-old outfielder is Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz, under whom Sano terrorized the Florida State League with a .330 average and 1.079 OPS prior to his promotion to Double-A.

"I wanted him out of Spring Training, I kept at it at every meeting, 'You know, he needs some humidity, he needs to come here first,'" Mientkiewicz said earlier this month. "But he maybe spent 10 days with my team in Spring Training and I got to kind of know him on a personal level, a little better.

"Obviously, the tools are through the roof, but his parents would be proud at how he handles himself, a great kid. He still says, 'Yes, sir' and I get mad at him because I'm not that old yet."

Gibson,'s No. 45 overall prospect, has been solid all season in the International League as he continues to work his way back from 2011 Tommy John surgery. In 15 starts, he's 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA and 79 strikeouts over 92 2/3 innings.

The 25-year-old right-hander out of the University of Missouri product has pitched at least six innings in seven straight starts and ranks third in the International League in strikeouts and eighth in ERA. He'll be officially promoted Tuesday and is slated to face the Royals in his big league debut.

The Twins' weren't the only organization making moves with their top Minor Leaguers. On Sunday night, the Astros announced that No. 3 prospect George Springer was headed from Double-A Corpus Christi to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The 23-year-old center fielder will leave the Texas League after Tuesday's All-Star Game. In 73 games with the Hooks, Springer shared the league lead with 19 homers, was tied for second with 23 steals and batted .297 with a .978 OPS.

The first half marked a turnaround for the University of Connecticut product, who hit .219 with a .630 OPS in a 22-game stint with Corpus Christi at the end of last season.

"It was good that he came here last year and saw the challenge ahead of him and he still has a long way to go, although he's had a very, very productive first half," Hooks manager Keith Bodie said in a statement. "Obviously, when you have a guy like that in your lineup, he contributes a lot."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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