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  • When Will Gibson Get a Chance?

    Mike Berardino, the excellent new beat writer for the Pioneer Press, linked to a new story on Wednesday with an amusing teaser: "Attention Gibsonites: Kyle Gibson takes a step back at Rochester."

    Gibsonites. I like it. And it’s a label I’ll proudly wear because, from my view, it seems obvious that Gibson should be on the major-league roster by now.


    Yes, it's true. The right-hander had a poor outing on Wednesday. The Twins are of course no strangers to those. In his worst start of the season, Gibson lasted only three-plus innings, coughing up four runs on seven hits. On the same day, Mike Pelfrey turned in yet another unimpressive effort for the Twins. Along with Vance Worley and Pedro Hernandez, Pelfrey has been a mess, helping to saddle Minnesota's starting corps with the second-worst ERA in the major leagues. Worley owns the highest opponents’ batting average in the game at .379 and Pelfrey ranks fourth at .339. Hernandez has allowed a 1.172 OPS against right-handed hitters, demonstrating why he doesn’t belong in an MLB rotation.

    Unlike those three struggling starters, Gibson has found success more often than not this year. He hurled a complete game shutout prior to Wednesday's dud, and his overall numbers -- 3.92 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 38/12 K/BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings -- are perfectly solid. One could say he's been inconsistent, but look at what we're comparing him to. The Twins should feel compelled to shake things up in their rotation at this point because the passive approach isn't working.

    Even looking beyond the potential for improved results, there is the matter of Gibson's development, which should rank as a high priority at this point. He was considered nearly big-league ready before he suffered his injury, and he's now 20 months removed from surgery. In late April, Terry Ryan declared the 25-year-old pitching prospect to be “100 percent.”


    “There’s no question – his arm, delivery, his mechanics. Everything is in good order, which is encouraging,” said the general manager.

    So… what’s the hold-up? The Twins set a 130-150 inning cap for Gibson this year in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, and he’s already closing in on 50 frames at Triple-A. How many more of his limited innings will be used up facing minor-league hitters, whom he’s proven capable of handling in spite of a couple clunky outings, when he could be gaining valuable MLB experience?

    It’s a bit of a baffling situation when you consider that standing in Gibson’s way are some of the most hittable pitchers in the major leagues. Even if he struggles to adapt, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that the former first-round pick would be a downgrade from any member of the rotation not named Scott Diamond or Kevin Correia.
    This article was originally published in blog: When Will Gibson Get a Chance? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 88 Comments
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Gibson's numbers should be better before being called up. Do not want to destroy him before he finds out what the majors are all about. This year is not about winning(though that is nice). It is about player development. I expect about the all star games in the minor leagues a number of players will be moved up and some players will be moved out of the organization and some players will be in the majors. I expect to see Gibson at that time.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      from my perspective, he'll get called up when he bunches together 3-4 good starts. At this point, he's being treated just like every minor leaguer, developing and trying to get better until the need arises. Pelfrey and Worley aren't leaving the rotation any time soon. Pedro Hernandez will get 1-2 more opportunities. Gibson certainly hasn't dominated in Rochester. But, he'll be up soon.

      Is he more ready than Hicks and maybe Arcia? Probably.

      But just because he's 25 doesn't mean they need to push, regardless of his 2013 innings limit. They need to do what is best for him from 2013 through 2019 when he 'could' become a free agent. They'll get his ages 25-32, and that is exciting.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Even if he struggles to adapt, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that the former first-round pick would be a downgrade from any member of the rotation not named Scott Diamond or Kevin Correia.
      Don't necessarily assume continued good news from the Twins aces. The worm has already begun to turn on Correia. His May numbers should raise the caution flags all over, as well. His ERA for May is 5.71, compared to a May SP Twins team ERA of 5.30. And it's most certainly not BABIP related- .289. You expressed concern for Pelfrey's OBA of .339. Correia's May OBA is alarming for the alleged Twins ACE, coming in at .333. That number ranks tied for 7th worst for all MLB qualifying starters. His May bOPS is .937. That means that every batter that Correia has faced in May averages out to something inbetween Prince Fielder (.938) and Joe Mauer (.931).

      Maybe it's just a short-term slump on a 3 start small sample. But Correia has tended to be a fast starter and ends seasons prematurely with a tired arm. The Twins are likely going to need more help than just from Gibson.
    1. Joe A. Preusser's Avatar
      Joe A. Preusser -
      Is it just me or could we solve several problems at once by moving Hernandez to the pen and sending down Fein? Hernandez as another lefty specialist would only help our bullpen, and Fein has an ERA north of 4 now I believe?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      He's better than 1, maybe three current starters. There are only so many innings in any arm, let alone his this year. If the Twins care about the paying customers and team this year at all, he should be up here now. Worrying about age 32 seasons for a pitcher that has already had surgery? Not sure I get that that much.
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      I'm going to guess right around June 1st. After 2-3 more starts in Rochester.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Why on earth did they let their top pitching prospect throw 114 pitches 18 months after TJ surgery? His bad outing is directly related to that. It's almost as though they intentionally gave him a dead arm so they can delay his promotion to the majors.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      Why on earth did they let their top pitching prospect throw 114 pitches 18 months after TJ surgery? His bad outing is directly related to that. It's almost as though they intentionally gave him a dead arm so they can delay his promotion to the majors.
      Facts not in evidence, your honor.

      If indeed true, however, then any pitcher who can't comfortably throw 114 pitches, in one outing, probably shouldn't be promoted to the major leagues.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Facts not in evidence, your honor.

      If indeed true, however, then any pitcher who can't comfortably throw 114 pitches, in one outing, probably shouldn't be promoted to the major leagues.
      I doubt that many, if any, of the Twins current MLB pitchers could comfortably throw 114 pitches in an outing. They're never asked to.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe A. Preusser View Post
      Is it just me or could we solve several problems at once by moving Hernandez to the pen and sending down Fein? Hernandez as another lefty specialist would only help our bullpen, and Fein has an ERA north of 4 now I believe?
      Fein's ERA doesn't tell the whole story. His WHIP is at 1.12, tied for third on the pitching staff, and he's got 15 K's in 17 innings pitched. All the same, it would be nice to see another lefty in the pen alongside Duensing. It depends upon how the starting rotation shakes out over the balance of May. I hope we see Gibson in a MN Twins uniform by the All Star break...
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      Fein's ERA doesn't tell the whole story. His WHIP is at 1.12, tied for third on the pitching staff, and he's got 15 K's in 17 innings pitched.
      Right. Fien is the victim of inherited runner syndrome. It was our former second lefthander (who shall not be named) who gave up the grand slam with Fien's runners who was partially responsible for those runs.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      I doubt that many, if any, of the Twins current MLB pitchers could comfortably throw 114 pitches in an outing. They're never asked to.
      IMO, the reason they never do is because they can't get that far into a game without getting lit up, rather than because they aren't able to throw that many pitches and be ready for their next start.

      If Gibson had thrown 100 pitches in that start, nobody would have said a word. 14 extra pitches, in one start in which he was by all accounts very effective, means he's unable to come back effective 5 days later?

      I doubt that's true, but if it is, he shouldn't be in the major leagues, and he shouldn't be allowed to reach even 100 pitches. If 114 pitches is putting such stress on his arm that he can't recover, then 100 pitches is obviously too many as well.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      All the same, it would be nice to see another lefty in the pen alongside Duensing.
      We have another lefty in the pen already, although you would be forgiven if you forgot about him because of his sparse usage this season. Maybe it's time the Twins suspended the "closer" role and used that roster spot to try to get leads before the ninth instead of waiting for them.

      As for Gibson, I agree with Seth that they're looking for more consistency, a string of good outings. Of course he's better than Pelfrey right now, and probably Worley, but by that standard, a team like the Twins will be constantly swapping 3/5 of its rotation. The Hernandez rotation spot is definitely in play, though, and I imagine it will be occupied by someone else soon (De Vries?).
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      usaFchief, that logic is pretty faulty. Taking it to its exreme, then 50 or 1 is too many pitches. I won't speak for everyone else, but I know that fatigue sets in at some point when I hike, or climb, or bike, or even walk up 10 flights of stairs. I'd guess that happens to Gibson and every other athlete also. It is possible that 90 or 100 pitches are great, but that 114 is too many. The harder you work your muscles, the longer it takes to recover from that work. Maybe 114 is too many for him right now, and 100 is not.

      Now, we really don't know if that was the cause of the issues or not, that's another discussion entirely. Either way, he's better than 1 - 3 of the starters now, and should be up, learning here, getting ready to be effective next year.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      The Twins are just slow and are failing to make any roster moves this year.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      If indeed true, however, then any pitcher who can't comfortably throw 114 pitches, in one outing, probably shouldn't be promoted to the major leagues.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      I doubt that many, if any, of the Twins current MLB pitchers could comfortably throw 114 pitches in an outing. They're never asked to.
      Yup, no argument there. The Twins starters should not be in the majors.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post

      Now, we really don't know if that was the cause of the issues or not, that's another discussion entirely. Either way, he's better than 1 - 3 of the starters now, and should be up, learning here, getting ready to be effective next year.
      I agree, but am willing to go farther: I doubt that throwing 114 pitches was the reason he wasn't effective in his next start. I would have major concerns if that turned out to be the case.

      And to be clear, I have no problem with the Twins calling up Gibson and putting him in the rotation.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      Why on earth did they let their top pitching prospect throw 114 pitches 18 months after TJ surgery? His bad outing is directly related to that. It's almost as though they intentionally gave him a dead arm so they can delay his promotion to the majors.
      The night before Rochester played a 16-inning game, so Gibson helped their bullpen out a bunch by throwing the complete game. Also, he was given an extra day of rest before this next start that was a clunker, so I don't buy the dead arm notion.

      Agree with Nick overall though, their handling of Gibson is dumb. It's nice that a guy like Hernandez may get 1 or 2 more "opportunities," but the fact is everyone already knows what he is, and that's a spot-starter on his best day, not someone to prevent a future rotation fixture from getting his own "opportunity." Gibson will not be worse than most of what they're using right now, so they might as well get some actual value out of those limited innings.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      Why on earth did they let their top pitching prospect throw 114 pitches 18 months after TJ surgery? His bad outing is directly related to that. It's almost as though they intentionally gave him a dead arm so they can delay his promotion to the majors.
      I hope Terry Ryan let the AAA manager get an ear full over that as well , If Glynn is so cavalier over Gibsons pitch limit and recovery , maybe we need to find a new manager , or is it that the Twins front office , ie. Evil Pete and Terry Ryan failed to express how they wanted Glynn to handle Gibson? Im sure we will never know, but I for one have seen the penny pinching imcopetense of these 2 dynamic dual in the past , and choose to believe they forgot to do there jobs....
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Of course, how fortunate will it be for the Twins when those 2-3 extra starts by Hernandez or Pelfrey cause Gibson to lose Super 2 status. As the team threw caution to the wind with Arcia and Hicks, I'm sure it wasn't a consideration early on in the season. However, I'll bet the front office thinks they are getting too close to the cut off to promote Gibson now. They'll sacrafice those 3 starts to save possibly millions of dollars now that they've come this far.
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