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09/27/2010 3:17 PM ET
Joe Benson and Kyle Gibson named 2010 Twins Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year
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Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins announced today that outfielder Joe Benson has been named the 2010 Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins' Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson has been named the 2010 Jim Rantz Award winner as the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Benson, 22, began the season at Double-A New Britain and batted .251 (94-for-274) with 20 doubles, seven triples, 23 home runs, 49 rbi, 65 runs scored, 14 steals and 39 walks in 102 games with the Rock Cats. He was transferred to Single-A Ft. Myers on May 17 and batted .294 (25-for-85) with 11 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 13 rbi, 16 runs scored, five steals and eight walks in 21 games with the Miracle, before being promoted back to New Britain on June 16. He combined to bat .259 (119-for-459) with 31 doubles, eight triples, 27 home runs and 62 rbi in 123 games this season.

The 6-foot-1, 211-pounder was the Twins Minor League Player of the Week for May 15-21, batting .423 (11-for-26) with three doubles, three home runs and six rbi in seven games. He was also named Twins Minor League Player of the Month for June, batting .312 (29-for-93) with 10 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 14 rbi in 26 combined games between Ft. Myers and New Britain. Benson was the Twins second round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Joliet Catholic Academy High School in Illinois.

Gibson, 22, combined to go 11-6, 2.96 ERA (152.0 ip, 50 er) with 39 walks and 126 strikeouts in 26 starts between Single-A Ft. Myers, Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester this season. He held opponents to a .242 (136-for-563) batting average. The right-hander went 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA (39.2 ip, 7 er) with 35 strikeouts in May and was named the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Month. Gibson was also named the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Week for April 24-May 1, after going 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA (14.0, 1 ip), including a complete-game one-hitter on April 29 at Jupiter.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pounder was named Florida State League Player of the Week for May 2 and was also named to the 2010 Eastern League All-Star team. Coming into the 2010 season, Gibson was rated as the top pitching prospect (third best prospect overall) and as having the best slider in the Twins organization by Baseball America. He was drafted by the Twins in the 1st round (22nd overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player draft out of the University of Missouri.

The Sherry Robertson Award, named in honor of the Twins first farm director, was established in 1970 to recognize the Twins top minor league performer each season. Beginning in 2002, the award began recognizing the Twins Minor League Player of the Year while an additional award was created to recognize the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year. This award was named in honor of current Twins Minor League Director and Twins Hall of Famer, Jim Rantz. Past winners of the Sherry Robertson Award include Butch Wynegar (1974), Kent Hrbek (1981), Gene Larkin (1986), Paul Sorrento (1989), Denny Neagle (1990), Marty Cordova (1992), LaTroy Hawkins (1993 and '94), Todd Walker (1996), David Ortiz (1997), Doug Mientkiewicz (1998), Michael Restovich (1999), Michael Cuddyer (2001), Lew Ford (2002), Joe Mauer (2003), Jason Kubel (2004), Alexi Casilla (2006) and Brian Buscher (2007), while J.D. Durbin (2002), Jesse Crain (2003), Scott Baker (2004), Francisco Liriano (2005), Matt Garza (2006) and Kevin Slowey (2007) have won the Jim Rantz Award.

Both Benson and Gibson, along with the Twins other 2010 award winners, will be recognized at the Sixth Annual Diamond Awards dinner, which will be held on Thursday, January 27, 2010, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Target Field.

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