Having watched Kyle Gibson pitch at the University of Missouri the last two years, I know he can be a very, very good pitcher. So when I saw that he’s working a 3.21 FIP through 37.0 innings with the Twins’ high-A Fort Myers Miracle, I can’t say I was surprised.
The Twins do a fantastic job developing pitchers whether they have good stuff or not. Nick Blackburn doesn’t have great stuff, but he’s developed into a pretty solid back-of-the-rotation starter in the last few years (minus his poor start this year).
The same goes for Kevin Slowey, although he’s developed into a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy despite having a fastball that barely touches 90 on the radar gun.
Scott Baker has better stuff than Blackburn and Slowey but still doesn’t have great stuff—and he hasn’t had a WAR below 2.9 in a year in which he’s made over 20 starts in his career.
Gibson has better stuff than all three of those previously mentioned pitchers, which is a pretty scary thought for the future of the AL Central.
He features a very good low-90′s fastball with movement and a plus slider to go along with a good-not-great changeup that could develop into a plus pitch.
More importantly, though, is that Gibson has good command of all three of his pitches. He’s done a fantastic job keeping the ball down so far, and that’s where the title of this post comes into play.
Of balls put in play off Gibson, 66.7 percent have been ground balls—two in every three. If he can continue to keep the ball on the ground at a high rate (obviously not that high), he’ll quickly move through the Twins system, having success everywhere he goes. Through just 37 professional innings, Gibson would be projected to have a 5.07 FIP if he was called up to the majors today.
While that’s not great, remember that Gibson is still in the nascent stages of his pro career.
Even though I’m a White Sox fan, I’m really rooting for Gibson to make it to the majors quickly and have success when he does make it. I’ve covered the Missouri baseball team the last two seasons, and I can say without a doubt Kyle Gibson was the best interview I’ve had over the last two years.
Professional, mature, cordial, informative, knowledgeable, witty, pick an adjective. I always enjoyed Gibson starts not just because I got to see him pitch, but because it meant I had the pleasure of talking to him after the game. Heck, even when I didn’t do a story about Gibson, I still tried to interview him because he always had great things to say.
So here’s hoping Gibson makes it to the bigs quickly. I may be rooting for a division rival, but I’ll always root for Kyle Gibson.