Kyle Gibson has been named the Minnesota Twins’ fifth starter — based off what fans saw last season, this is a surprise. In 2013, Gibson was coming off Tommy John surgery and only pitched 152 innings with 51 of those in the major leagues. His 2.92 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in the minors earned him 10 starts with the Twins. Most of those starts seemed to suggest his arm was tired after coming off surgery as indicated by major league batters hitting .327/.395/.479 (Batting AVG/OBP/SLG) against Gibson and his allowing nearly two base runners in each of those 51 innings.
Another way of viewing Kyle Gibson’s rookie season is he turned every batter he faced into Joe Mauer. Obviously continuing this pattern would be detrimental to Gibson’s career path and he came into spring training determined to do more than make opposing batters into all-stars.
Through 13+ innings this spring he’s allowed four earned runs and has a WHIP of just 0.94. What is concerning is his lack of strikeouts, Gibson has just six. Last season, Gibson K’d just 5.1 batters per nine innings with the Twins — his post surgery tired arm is likely to blame. The Twins rarely struck anyone out last year — to see this 6’6″, 26-year-old pitcher become a pitch to contact hurler would be tough to see.
So when it is all said and done, did Kyle Gibson deserve the fifth spot in the rotation or did Sam Deduno earn that spot with some credible pitching in 2013? Going with Deduno and putting Gibson in the bullpen to have him learn how to be a major league pitcher makes sense, but the Twins have decided the time is now for Gibson and I can see why.
The Twins need to know if, at age 26, Kyle Gibson is going to be a part of their future. Putting him in the rotation offers the highest potential return on their investment.
Sam Deduno is a 30-year-old pitcher who has never pitched more than 146 innings at any level. Gibson still may not be a major league pitcher, but imagine finding out he has what it takes to win 12 to 14 games a year with an ERA around 4.00. Not superstar stuff, but the kind of pedigree that will keep someone pitching the majors for many years. It’s time for Kyle Gibson to show fans what kind of pitcher he will be — he’ll get that chance in 2014.
Photos by: BeGreen90