clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Waiting in the Wings: Kyle Gibson

A look at what the Minnesota Twins product can do for fantasy owners as soon as this season


Gibson was considered a steal by many when he was drafted 22nd overall in 2009. He had fallen due to forearm tightness in the Spring, but appeared healthy by the time of the draft. He was indeed healthy in 2010, racing through the Twins system to reach Triple-A in his first profession season. Things looked good for Gibson early on in 2011, with a high ERA obscuring solid peripherals. Unfortunately, disaster struck in the form of Tommy John surgery. TJ wiped out most of his 2012 season, though he was sent to the Arizona Fall League to build up his innings total, and he pitched well there, with positive reports coming back regarding his stuff. Gibson was always a strong command/control pitcher with good stuff as opposed to a monster-stuff type player. I'm sure no one is surprised to read that about a Twins draftee, though they've departed from their contact-first mantra in recent years.

Gibson only accrued 28.1 innings pitched in the minors in 2012, and added another 23.1 IP in the AFL. While almost no pitcher's rate stats look good in the AFL, Gibson did post 28 strikeouts against only 8 walks against some of the better minor league talent out there. This jives with his regular season minor league numbers where he totaled 33 strikeouts against only 6 walks across three levels. Gibson isn't likely to be a big strikeout guy, despite his 2012 numbers. Optimistically I'd anticipate a k/9 in the 7s with the understanding that it may come a bit below that. On the upside, he walks very few people and keeps the hits relatively in check, so he doesn't harm your WHIP at all. He's likely to be the Twins best starter from the moment he gets called up, and I'd argue that he deserves to be in the rotation as of this writing. The reason he's not? The Twins can more adequately monitor and distribute his workload in the minors than they would be able to in the majors, where "winning is more of a priority" if you can believe that.

Gibson can run his fastball up into the mid 90s but will generally sit in the lower 90s. His fastball could be described as heavy, and it's a real wormburner. He gets good movement on it and demonstrates strong command of the pitch. Gibson uses his 6'6 frame well, generating good plane on his pitches, furthering his groundball tendencies. His best secondary pitch is his slider, which can be a swing and miss pitch at times, but lacks overall consistency. It arrives in the low 80s and shows good shape and tilt, with late bite. The feel for the slider has not come all the way back since his surgery, but command tends to be the last thing that does. Gibson also shows an above-average change up that can generate swings and misses. It has fastball arm speed and disguises itself well, with a bit of sinking action. All of these pitches play up due to his advanced feel for pitching.

By all appearances, Gibson is healthy this Spring, and it's my position that the Twins are keeping him in the minors to keep a tighter leash on his pitch and innings counts without affecting games that matter. That it keeps his arbitration and free agency clocks from starting is just an added bonus. I do think that Gibson makes his debut this year and I think it happens before the all star break. That doesn't mean he'll even pitch a full complement of innings while in the big leagues, but for dynasty leaguers, he'll be well worth stashing. He's a quality third starter at his peak. That might not be uber-sexy, but it will get the job done and carries plenty of value in deeper leagues. He's unlikely to be worth keeping or stashing in non-dynasties but that doesn't mean you can't use him when he's available. As long as you keep your expectations in check, Gibson will be worth your time.

Source Material
Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference

You can follow me on Twitter at @cdgoldstein
You can find more of my work at The Dynasty Guru and MLB Draft Insider