• What's Next for Kyle Gibson?

    On Monday, the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets played the series finale of a series that started in April. The Twins lost 6-1 and will now head to Detroit where they'll play the Tigers for the next three days. Kyle Gibson made the start and went just 3.2 innings. He was charged with four runs on ten hits and two walks. Immediately following the game, he was demoted to Rochester.

    The question of "What's next for Kyle Gibson?" can take on any number of meanings for Twins fans. There are the short-term and long-term implications and possibilities to that question.

    Photo by Betsy Bissen

    Let's start with the short-term. We know that Gibson's innings would be monitored throughout the season. In the offseason, we heard that Gibson could be limited to 130 to 140 innings. Once spring training came, the front office backed away from giving a hard number of innings, saying they would just monitor how he was pitching and how his arm responded.

    When I talked to Gibson after the Saturday night game against the White Sox at Target Field, he still maintained that they had not yet been given any timeline. He only said that Terry Ryan and others in the front office only insisted that Gibson be completely honest with them about how his arm, and specifically his elbow was feeling. He said that he continues to feel strong.

    So, what is next for Kyle Gibson? As it relates to 2013, there are several questions.

    How much more will he pitch, and in what role?

    Gibson is a starting pitcher. He is currently at 143.2 combined innings on the season between Rochester and Minnesota. He could make another start or two for the Red Wings. He could make those one or two starts and then be shut down for the season, likely around 155 innings. He could skip the next two starts, and then start for the Red Wings in the playoffs, if they make the playoffs.

    Gibson could also pitch out of the Red Wings bullpen for the rest of the season (about two weeks). His innings and pitching frequency can be monitored very strictly.

    Is it possible that we see him in a Twins uniform in September? It may be unlikely, but maybe Gibson is able to work out some things, get some time on the Disabled List to rest, and come back to work a hand full of innings for the Twins.

    I think the more important question is how you feel about the future of Kyle Gibson.

    What means more to you? How much do you choose to make of ten starts at the end of his rookie season in his first season back from Tommy John surgery? Do you choose to go back to his scouting reports before Tommy John surgery and how well he pitched during his strong run at Rochester in May and early June?

    There is a general belief that a pitcher should throw no more than 20% more innings than he did the previous season in an attempt to keep healthy. If Gibson ends the 2013 season with 150 innings pitched, a 20% increase in 2014 would put him at 180 innings. I think that's a pretty solid goal.

    The scouting reports are what they are. They're something that can help predict how well a pitcher could do. Not how well they will do, but what they possibly can become. In his short time with the Twins, we did see a fastball that sat in the low-90s and touched 94 as we had heard. When he was pitching well, we did see some very good sinking action. We saw that he does have three pitches.

    What we didn't see were a ton of ground balls. His ground out to fly ball ratio was essentially 1 to 1. His strikeout rate dropped, which is no surprise. We also saw his walk numbers increase. Some of it might just be the big league hitters have better eyes, and maybe those sharp, sinkers and sliders that several AAA hitters get taken by big league hitters when they dip below the zone. It's certainly an adjustment that Gibson will need to, and will, work on before 2014.

    Gibson will be 26 years old throughout the 2014 season. Certainly, that is not young for a player with just ten big league starts. However, when you consider that he lost half of 2011 and most of 2012, and then still was working back early in 2013 because of the surgery, he's where he should be. For those that think this is old, well, The Twins would get his ages 26-31 years under their control.

    It's probably fair to say that the big league debut season of Kyle Gibson has been disappointing, but hopefully people can see enough of the big picture not to give up on an arm as talented as Gibson's. That's as silly as giving up on Aaron Hicks because of his 2013 struggles. The truth is that most players come up from the minor leagues and experience some growing pains. The hope is that Gibson will return in 2014, fully healthy, and better off for his struggles.

    My Opinion

    It is my opinion that the Twins should give Gibson one more start in Rochester, and then shut him down. Let him enjoy the offseason and just have a regular workout routine without the rehab. I have no doubt in my mind that Gibson will be in the Twins Opening Day rotation, and in the rotation for years to come. What happened in his 51 innings with the Twins this season didn't affect my thoughts on this future. If he had been great, my opinion of his future likely would not have changed.

    So, what are your thoughts? This is a pretty broad topic, with several parts. It will be interesting to see what the Twins, along with Gibson, decide to do.
    This article was originally published in blog: What's Next for Kyle Gibson? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Hopefully people can see enough of the big picture not to give up on an arm as talented as Gibson's. That's as silly as giving up on Aaron Hicks because of his 2013 struggles.
      What other choice do Twins fans have but to hope the for the best at this point?
      There are very few exciting inhouse options for Starting Pitching in 2014 so by default Gibson should be given every chance to prove himself.
      - Same with Hicks in CF.

      If both struggle in 2014 at least we can assume that 2015 will provide other options. But for now, there is no one else.
      So all we fans can do is close our eyes and pray to whichever deity we choose to follow.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      That he was/is our most big league ready SP prospect doesn't provide much optimism for 2014. I really thought he'd come up and immediately be our best pitcher, it puts into perspective the growing pains that prospects and young players are prone to and paints another bleak picture for next year. I wouldn't throw him too much more at this point and, again, hope for the best next season.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      I think it's time to take a serious look at our pitching coaches, scouting and pitcher development in the minors. Something is really wrong!
    1. MichiganTwins's Avatar
      MichiganTwins -
      I am not sure any of this should make us respond so greatly.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I think Gibson should finish the season with the Redwings in the rotation and then be available for bullpen duties in the playoffs. He deserves to pitch a few playoff innings. I don't think he should be available to go back to back days out of the pen but at least appear in a game or two in the series. I also don't think a few innings in relief then will hurt his arm. He should then prepare for next spring. I don't have a problem if the Twins want to call him up for the last few weeks and have him pitch out of the pen the rest of the season but I don't think he should get many innings. Then he needs to rest and get ready to compete for a spot in the rotation next year. I don't think it should be a given that he will make the team but I think he has a chance. He probably wont be a great pitcher next year as he will probably need next season to make adjustments. I do expect better results than the 50 innings we got this year however.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      I like his chances to be effective next year. Control is most often an issue for TJ pitchers. He could not get ahead in the count. That leads to walks and/or pitches down the middle because he had to throw a strike. Next year he will be stronger and better overall. My outlook for him was not so great for this year so its disappointing but I did not expect too much. I am glad they finally brought him up so was able to log time at the mlb level. I think he profiles as a #3 and that leads us back to same questions about how that Twins can any legit #1/#2 starters. Per Winston Smith...maybe a huge shake up is necessary.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      I think it's time to take a serious look at our pitching coaches, scouting and pitcher development in the minors. Something is really wrong!
      Uh, yeah. There is something drastically wrong, flat-out, straight up wrong. Basically every pitcher worth anything in the system has been injured in the past two seasons or is injured right now. And when the few that are actually qualified to get to the big leagues do they just fail. Something like this has to be systemic.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      How is it that the Twins seem to bring up one bust after another, while a team like the Rays seems to bring up one star after another?

      Meanwhile, Gibson's problems don't trouble me much. Young pitchers often have unstable stuff early in their careers. He'll be at least average next year, then a little better after that.

      This was not the horse you were looking for.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      I'm not so bummed out by Gibson's MLB performance thus far. You would definitely like to see better results, but those don't tell the whole story.

      I honestly thought Gibson had a lot of bad luck that made the numbers look worse than they should/could. That's not to say he would have been amazing without the bad luck, because he wouldn't of been, but could have looked a lot better. In the games I watched, I saw a lot of weakly hit bloopers or ground balls that ended up as hits, and that's a function of his 'stuff' that hopefully regresses/progresses, however you look at it. You can see the movement he has on that sinking fastball, and I'd say quite matter-of-factly that he still doesn't have his slider back (which was his best pitch pre-TJ). Those are things to look forward to.

      But overall, I'd call getting to the Majors in his first full season back after the surgery a success.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I don't think it would be so disappointing if it not for the recent success of so many other top arms. Most seem to be doing well and many are thriving. Sure Gibson was not quite at the same level as Shelby Miller and Jose Fernandez, but he was on the same level as Tony Cingrani and Chris Archer.

      Likely not coincidentally, those guys can all strikeout the side if need be.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I believe Gibson will come back strong next year and have a solid season. Hicks on the other hand is more of a question. His power has come on more as his career has gone on, but his average has been pretty inconsistent. So from a player that was scouted as a 5 tool player he is going to need to hit better than .200 even with his walk rates and gold glove defense. If he had the minor league track record of Arcia, Rosario, or Sano I would have more faith in a Hicks rebound in '14.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I mostly agree with Steve. It could have been a better start but I have to think he was gassed at this point. I'd shut him down soon and have him ready for next season. He'll certainly be one of the 5 starters next year.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      I'd shut him down soon and have him ready for next season. He'll certainly be one of the 5 starters next year.
      Yes, shut him down now--at most give him one start in Rochester and a token playoff appearance...He will be in the Twins rotation next year if only by default.

      The Twins have a few pitching prospects in the low minors led by Stewart and Gonsalves and a bunch at Cedar Rapids. The next couple of years are a test of the Twins minor league pitching gurus and medical staff--if by the end of 2015 none of these kids are up here (or worse several are hurt)--then we need to change the minor league pitching coaching staff.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      How is it that the Twins seem to bring up one bust after another, while a team like the Rays seems to bring up one star after another?

      Meanwhile, Gibson's problems don't trouble me much. Young pitchers often have unstable stuff early in their careers. He'll be at least average next year, then a little better after that.

      This was not the horse you were looking for.
      I could tell you why, but I've noticed that praising another team in the league is frowned upon here, so I won't.

      But, I don't think Gibson is/will be a bust. It's a lot to expect a guy coming off TJ to come right up and be great in his first go against MLB hitters. And, as some have pointed out in the other thread, a deeper look shows that he was doing some things well, which should lead to better results once he gets his control down.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Uh, yeah. There is something drastically wrong, flat-out, straight up wrong. Basically every pitcher worth anything in the system has been injured in the past two seasons or is injured right now. And when the few that are actually qualified to get to the big leagues do they just fail. Something like this has to be systemic.
      This has been an issue for several years now, and I have yet to see any replacements among the medical staff.
      Perhaps changes have been made, but those type of moves don't get any press? I'm not sure.
      I thought for sure heads would have rolled after the whole "Bi Lateral Leg Weakness" season (Mauer was not the only odd injury situation that year, remember Kubel being 'day to day' with his foot, then missing 2 months), and yet as far as I can tell we are here 3+ years later, still dealing with constantly injuries and injury mismanagement (Scott Baker anyone?) and yet nobody has lost their job because of it.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      This has been an issue for several years now, and I have yet to see any replacements among the medical staff.
      Perhaps changes have been made, but those type of moves don't get any press? I'm not sure.
      I thought for sure heads would have rolled after the whole "Bi Lateral Leg Weakness" season (Mauer was not the only odd injury situation that year, remember Kubel being 'day to day' with his foot, then missing 2 months), and yet as far as I can tell we are here 3+ years later, still dealing with constantly injuries and injury mismanagement (Scott Baker anyone?) and yet nobody has lost their job because of it.
      The head trainer was replaced last year.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      He's recovering from TJ surgery and facing major league hitters for the first time. I wouldn't read too much into his failure this season as it portends for his future.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      He's recovering from TJ surgery and facing major league hitters for the first time. I wouldn't read too much into his failure this season as it portends for his future.
      Right. He can now take what he learned, improve, get stronger and come back next year.

      If not...hopefully the weather is nicer next summer...
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Am not concerned by Gibson's issues up here . Will be more concerned if they continued next year.
    1. Sconnie's Avatar
      Sconnie -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      He's recovering from TJ surgery and facing major league hitters for the first time. I wouldn't read too much into his failure this season as it portends for his future.
      Agreed, provided Gibson takes steps forward next season, he could still have upside, but its limited. He's never going to be "number 1 guy". Question still remains, Why does the Twins pitching systemically suck? What to do about it?
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