Minnesota Twins: Is It Time to Give Up on Kyle Gibson?


Kyle Gibson hasn’t quite panned out for the Minnesota Twins since being drafted in 2009. Is it time to give up on the right-hander?

Since being picked 22nd in the 2009 MLB Draft, Kyle Gibson has had an up-and-down career with the Minnesota Twins. In that draft, he was picked ahead of both Randal Grichuk and Mike Trout. Back in 2009, there was clearly a lot of promise in Gibson.

During the 2008 college baseball season at Missouri, the right-hander had a 3.84 ERA with a 9-4 record. In 86.2 innings pitched, Gibson had 96 strikeouts, good for third best in the Big 12. Coming into his second MLB draft (having been selected in the 36th round by the Philadelphia Phillies during the 2006 season) Gibson was extremely well-liked by scouts.

He was drafted by Minnesota 22nd overall. He spent almost exactly four years in the minor leagues. By that time, the 27th overall pick in that same draft was the runner-up for American League MVP behind Miguel Cabrera.

Gibson split the 2010 season between three teams and made it as high as Triple-A. That year, he accumulated a 2.96 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 152 innings pitched. Not bad for your first year in professional ball.

All that said, 2010 would be the peak of Gibson in the minor leagues for several years. In the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he averaged a 4.47 ERA. This was probably due to a sore elbow that later resulted in Tommy John surgery, but an injury that severe as well as dwindling statistics is a cause for concern.

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With Tommy John surgery and a rough couple years of pitching behind him, Gibson came out strong in 2013. In 17 games started, the then minor leaguer had a 2.92 ERA in just over 100 innings pitched.

On June 29, 2013, the Twins decided that it been long enough. Gibson made his major league debut that day against the Kansas City Royals. He pitched six strong innings, giving up two runs on eight hits, walking none and striking out five. He could not have asked for much more. However, including  that start, his season totals ended up being a 6.53 ERA in 10 starts. Since 2013, Gibson has a 4.15 ERA pitching in the back-end of the Twins rotation.

Now, you know the history of Kyle Gibson; for a while he was forgotten while other first round selections that year made their mark on baseball. It has been seven years since the Twins first took their chance, and at this point, they have to be wondering whether it is time to give up the Kyle Gibson dream.

This season in particular, Gibson has a 3.84 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 194.2 innings pitched. This is not bad by today’s standards, and it seems Gibson can continue to be an effective pitcher at this rate. He is only 28 years old and probably has several years at this pace left in him.

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Giving up hope or losing trust in Gibson depends on how one considers what Gibson was supposed to be, and how he ended up. Yes, he was a first round pick and probably has not lived up to the hype that he was getting. That said, the Twins still have a quality pitcher in their rotation. At this point, they do not really care where he was picked or what he was supposed to be; they care about what he is now and how he can help their team.