Monday, August 25, 2014

Contemplating Kyle Gibson

Kyle Gibson staggered through his Sunday start,
unable to complete five innings on a humid day.

A promising season for Kyle Gibson is rapidly decaying.

The former first-round pick has been either very good or very bad. Sunday's outing against Detroit -- 4.2 innings, eight hits, four walks, five runs -- fit in the latter category.

I thought last season that his call-up was timed for failure; it was his first full season back from his Tommy John surgery and he was hitting the fatigue wall. Gibson worked 51 innings for the Twins and 101.2 for Rochester, a total of 152.2. Sunday's start puts the big right-hander at 144 innings on the season, and it's possible that he's wearing down.

Or it's possible that he's just too limited a talent to truly thrive in a major league rotation. What we've seen is a good hard sinker and not much else to get hitters off that pitch. He lacks a swing-and-miss offering -- a consistently sharp breaking ball or a baffling changeup -- so his strikeout rate is subpar, and he doesn't make up for it with stellar control.

What he is, is the latest in the Twins line of sinker-slider righties: Joe Mays, Carlos Silva, Nick Blackburn, Mike Pelfrey. These are back-end of the rotation types, inning eaters. You might get a big year out of these guys, but you won't get much more than one.

The Twins drafted Gibson with the hope that he'd become a front-of-the-rotation guy. He's 26 now, and ace status is not awaiting him. That doesn't make him release bait -- there are bigger problems in the Minnesota rotation -- but it does make him a mild disappointment.

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