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June 28, 2013

The Call-Up

Kyle Gibson

by Jason Parks and Bret Sayre


The Situation: Mike Pelfrey hit the shelf with a back injury, and Gibson was already on alert-five in Triple-A, eagerly awaiting his first major league opportunity.

Background: Gibson was a highly touted collegiate arm coming out of Missouri, but a few velocity valleys and an injury concern (forearm stress fracture) pushed him down the board. He fell to the Twins with the 22nd pick and signed for $1.85M. Most thought that when and if healthy, Gibson could move through the ranks of the minors in short order and provide the major league staff with an innings-chewing arm with upside. Healthy in 2010, the tall right-hander looked the part, making 26 starts and logging 152 IP in his minor league debut, erasing most of the injury concerns, and looking like a safe bet to develop into an above-average starter.

Gibson started his second minor league season at the Triple-A level, where he allowed hard contact at times despite showing the ability to miss some bats. Some scouts soured on his frontline upside, calling him more of a middle-of-the-rotation type (which would still make him a valuable addition to any pitching staff). The velocity tumble he experienced in college once again showed its face during the summer, and by August, Gibson was on the shelf and looking at Tommy John surgery.

Gibson slowly made his way back into game action, and by the time he took the mound in the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League, not only had his stuff returned, but the velocity had spiked and his slider was as sharp as it had been since his first season. A healthy Gibson once again returned to Triple-A in 2013, and has been steady but not spectacular in 15 International League starts.

The Scouting: Gibson looks the part of a prototypical power arm, standing 6’6’’ and flashing the ability to work in the plus velocity range. The problem has often been his consistency, as he’s suffered from fluctuations in velocity throughout his career, both in college and at the pro level. As a starter, Gibson should be able to work comfortably in the low 90s, with the arm strength to go get more when he needs it. The pitchability forces the arsenal up, as he can work the fastball east/west and pitch backwards if the situation calls for it.

At times, Gibson’s slider is a bat-missing weapon, a sharp offering with tilt that is effective against both lefties and righties. He shows the ability to manipulate both the length of the break and the velocity, giving the offering more than one dimension. His changeup is another pitch that can flash plus, with good action that allows him to throw it effectively off the fastball. The stuff is good, but it’s not great, and at times Gibson can find too much of the zone.

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Related Content:  Scouting,  Minor Leagues,  Twins,  Call-up,  Kyle Gibson

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Brad Mill... (06/28)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Brad Mill... (06/28)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Grant Gre... (07/08)
Next Article >>
Overthinking It: Dylan... (06/28)

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