Monday, July 25, 2011

Doubts growing over Gibson debuting this season

At the beginning of the season, there was a dull roar over one prospects that stood out above the rest last season. Kyle Gibson had shown the Twins organization in 2010 that he was the kind of prospect that could be something special. In one season, he had flown from Class A all the way to Class AAA. At each stop on the journey, Gibson showed the ability to get hitters out and to be a quality starter.

What a difference a year can make?

The 2011 season has not been all the Twins could hope for from young Mr. Gibson. In his first full season at the AAA level, he has stubbled to a 3-8 record with a robust 4.81 ERA. These are not exactly the standout numbers the Twins were looking for when Gibson was invited to big league camp for this year's Spring Training.

The team in Rochester has struggled throughout the season for numerous reasons. Because of injuries, the Twins have been forced to rely on Rochester for multiple players. This means that the line-up behind Gibson on any given day might not be the best defensive and offensive unit that could be combined at Rochester. This could be one reason for some of his struggles this season but there are other signs of his struggles.

Just looking at the last eight games for Gibson can give a fan a good idea of some of the struggles that have plagued him in recent weeks. In those eight starts, he has pitched over five and a third innings in only one of the starts. He has given up five home runs after only giving up six home runs in the entire first half of the year. The amount of walks that Gibson is allowing has also increased including five walks in his last start.

There is something missing from Gibson at this point in the season. There could be some issues with arm fatigue and the organization has been cautiously watching him in recent weeks. The team gave him extra time off before and after the All-Star break to give his arm a rest. Last season, he had 152.0 IP and this season he has managed 95.1 IP, the most for anyone on the Red Wings.

The team's concern over Gibson could hold back the high ranking prospect from making his major league debut in 2011. The Twins seem complacent to stand with the starters that have gotten them to this point in the season. Anthony Swarzak has also showed that he can be relied on for a spot start and to eat innings when a starter falters early in a game. There might be no reason to call up Gibson for the 2011 campaign.

I am a big fan of Kyle Gibson and I can not wait to see him in a Twins uniform. At the beginning of the season, it was one of the things that I was most looking forward to in the 2011 year for the Twins. For now, it might be best for Gibson to get himself right by the end of the season. If he can make it hard for the Twins to keep him out of the rotation for next season, that will be a great end to the 2011 season for Gibson.

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