Thursday, March 10, 2011

3 for 1 Special: Kyle Gibson

Today marks the final day in a three part series from this week called "3 for 1 Special." The theme for this series of posts has been to look at the three candidates that remain to fill the final spot in the Twins Opening Day rotation. On Tuesday the focus was Kevin Slowey and his statistical outputs over the course of his career. Day two of the series looked at Scott Baker and his place in the Twins organization. The final piece of the "3 for 1 Special" is centered around Kyle Gibson.

Gibson is in his first Spring Training with the major league squad and from the sounds of it, he has wasted no time in impressing the Twins brass. He has pitched in two outings with the A team this spring and has given up a run in each of those appearances. Many of the radio personalities that have made the trip down to Ft. Myers have commented that they are continued to be impressed by the maturity that has been shown by Gibson.

The first year of professional baseball for Gibson saw him make numerous stops in three levels of the Twins organization. He appeared in 7 games for the Class A Ft. Myers Miracle and had a (4-1) record, 1.87 ERA, and a 1.038 WHIP. In Ft. Myers he was also able to pitch a complete game shutout. His next stop on his path was at the AA level with the New Britain Rock Cats. This is the level that Gibson saw the majority of his playing time in 2010. He pitched 93 innings for the Rock Cats with a (7-5) record, a 3.68 ERA, and a 1.215 WHIP. The final stop for the year was at AAA Rochester, where Gibson made three starts. Gibson was feeling the fatigue of a long season and only averaged around 5 IP per start. He had an ERA of 1.72 and a WHIP of 1.085.

There was an interesting story about Gibson at the end of the Twins radio broadcast on Tuesday. Kris Atteberry was announcing the game for the Twins Radio Network and he told the tale of his experience with Gibson during this year's Winter Caravan. Atteberry was part of the caravan crew that include Gibson and former Twins pitcher, Jack Morris. During supper one evening Gibson couldn't wait to talk pitching with Morris, the World Series hero. Dan Gladden, who was also part of the radio broadcast on Tuesday, said that he wondered why more pitchers didn't take the opportunities that they had to pick the brains of the veteran pitchers that were around them. His example for the Twins was the fact that Bert Blyleven is on every flight with the Twins and he never sees the younger pitchers come to discuss the game with the Hall-of-Fame pitcher. Gibson is eager to learn from those around him and that trait will serve him well in his major league career.

Between the three pitchers that have been featured in the "3 for 1 Special," Gibson is most likely the long shot to make the rotation when the team heads north from Spring Training. For various reasons the Twins will let Gibson spend a little bit more time seasoning at the minor league level. This allows the Twins to keep Gibson under team control for a greater amount of time. The Twins will turn to Slowey or Baker to fill the final spot in the rotation with the edge going to Baker at this point. If anyone in the Twins rotation has a set back, Gibson will be primed and ready to arrive on the scene for his major league debut.


twinsfocus said...

Great three-piece post Cody. I agree with you that Baker will be the one who grabs the final rotation spot. We started hearing a lot last year of how the organization feels about Slowey. Not to mention, the Twins seem to want Baker to step up and be "the guy" in the rotation.

It is obvious that won't be the case, but I feel they still want him in the rotation. I think the Twins brass feels Baker still has a lot to give to the rotation.

I do think it is only a matter of time before Gibson is up though. There will be injuries and possibly regression or slumps by some of the pitchers currently in the rotation. The Twins can plug a few pitchers in there for now but come late June-early July, Gibson should be ready to make the jump to the bigs.

NoDak Twins Fan said...

Thanks for the comment!!!