Friday, May 24, 2013

Kyle Gibson, Sam Deduno, P.J. Walters and "consistency"

P. J. Walters is 4-2,
3.31 in Rochester.
Word trickled out Thursday evening that P. J. Walters will inherit Vance Worley's rotation spot on Monday. How the space will be cleared (on either the 25-man active roster or the broader 40-man roster) is unclear; the Twins still have to make room on the 40-man roster for Sam Deduno, who is to start tonight in Detroit, much less make room for Walters.

The Twins' public rationale earlier this week for going with Deduno over Kyle Gibson — that Deduno has a good record against the Tigers and that Gibson needs to show more consistency — was a bit baffling.

Deduno started twice last season against Detroit and came away with a 9.64 ERA, which is neither good nor sufficient statistical evidence to make a judgment on. As for the consistency issue: Is there any pitcher anywhere more consistently inconsistent than Sam Deduno?

Giving Deduno the chance over Gibson doesn't really disturb me. Deduno's raw stuff is intriguing, and he probably would have been in the opening rotation had he not injured his groin in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.

But going with Walters over Gibson ... that's another matter.

Gibson is supposed to be, eventually, a rotation anchor. Walters is back-of-the-rotation filler at best, more likely a "Quadruple-A" guy — good enough to thrive in the upper minors, not good enough to survive in the majors.

One of the top goals this season for the Twins has to be establishing Gibson in the major league rotation. This would seem a good opportunity to start on that project. Instead, the Twins are going with a low-ceiling alternative. They must have a reason for that, but I really don't see what it is.

Walters and Gibson have very similar records in Rochester this year. Gibson is 3-5, 3.25 with 52.2 innings in nine starts and 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings; Walters is 4-2, 3.31 in 54.1 innings in nine starts and 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings. In total, there's isn't much difference between the two state lines.

Gibson has alternated brilliant starts with short, dismal ones. Perhaps the basic stuff is different from game to game, which would suggest lingering physical issues related to his rehab from Tommy John surgery. If that's the consistency the Twins refer to — being able to bring the same velocity and movement to each game — then I can grasp the point in leaving him in the minors. If the argument is that the results aren't consistent, I'm not buying it.


  1. It's got to be service time considerations. He'll be up in less than 2 weeks.

  2. I agree with Mike. The Twins will essentially get Gibson for the rest of the year for free if they just wait until June. That's just good use of resources, especially in a season like this.