The Minnesota Twins have lost 10 of their last 11 games to sink a season-worst eight games under .500. After spending the off-season revamping their starting rotation, the Twins have watched their starters go fewer innings and post fewer quality starts than any American League club not named the Astros. Opening Day starter Vance Worley has already been optioned out to Triple-A and fellow off-season addition Mike Pelfrey has an ERA upwards of six-and-a-half.
While things are going bad in the Twin Cities, former first-round pick and current Rochester Red Wing Kyle Gibson is establishing himself as a possible solution to the starting pitching problems with the big club.
Gibson twirled eight shutout innings on Saturday to piggyback on a complete game shutout he had tossed on May 19. Overall, Gibson hasn’t allowed a run in his past 18 innings of work and has allowed just four runs over his past 30 innings, all of which came in a three-inning outing on May 14 against Durham.
Gibson’s recent run of dominance has lowered his ERA to a mere 2.82 across 60.2 innings this season. He has walked 17 while fanning 53 on the year. It’s a run that has all but put to bed the questions about his health. Gibson underwent Tommy Johnsurgery in September of 2011. It would appear his recovery is fully complete.
With that hurdle behind him and the big league rotation in shambles, how much longer will Gibson be relegated to Triple-A? My guess: not very long.
Gibson is already 25 years old and a year-and-a-half removed from his surgery. There is little to no reason for the Twins to be coddling him at this point. Gibson has tossed a pair of nine-inning complete game shutouts in Rochester already this year and has been allowed to throw as many as 116 pitches in a single outing while routinely approaching the century mark.
At the same time, Gibson has produced a strikeout rate of nearly eight per nine innings, limited his walks, and pitched very close to his FIP, which stands at 2.72, meaning his results are what the peripherals say they should be. He’s not getting hit-lucky or stranding an unusual number of baserunners, he’s simply pitching great baseball.
By all rights, Gibson should have already thrown his last Triple-A pitch before getting a call to the Show. There is no one in pro ball pitching better than he is right now and certainly no one in the Minnesota rotation that has as much upside.