Friday, July 27, 2018

The emergence of Kyle Gibson

Considering the quality of the opponent and the venue, Thursday might well be the best game Kyle Gibson has ever pitched.

That is not damning with faint praise, for while Gibson's career record -- 49-55, 4.50 ERA  -- does not signal a future Cooperstown inductee, his history is one of inconsistency. All pitchers have better ERA in their wins than in their losses, but Gibson has over the years taken that concept to an extreme.

  • Career ERA in his wins: 1.91
  • Career ERA in his losses: 8.00
  • Career ERA in his no-decisions: 4.07

But the horrid outings have been much more rare in the past 12 months.

The change, as Bollinger implies, started almost exactly a year ago. Gibson started on July 16 last year against Houston; after allowing four runs in six innings, his ERA for the year was 6.29. By season's end, it was 5.07. Over his final 12 starts of 2017, his ERA was 3.57, which is pretty much a match for his 2018 ERA.

He is a different pitcher now than he once was. For years he was essentially a match for Mike Pelfrey, relying heavily on a two-seam fastball with which he had uncertain command. This gave him a dismal strikeout rate. Now he has a four-pitch mix -- four-seamer, two-seamer, slider, change -- and he is much less hittable.

He remains under team control for next season. While there are trade rumors swirling around him, I would be loathe to deal him for anything less than a truly top-shelf prospect.

1 comment:

  1. How much more attractive than Gibson was the Blue Jays' A.J. Happ? Consensus suggests that the Yankees overpaid for him. Doesn't that increase the Twins' leverage?