8. Kyle Gibson, Right-Handed Starter, 24 years old.
2011 Stats: 3-8 with a 4.81 ERA in 95 innings, with 91/27 K/BB for AAA Rochester.
Last year's rank: 1 Acquired: Drafted by the Twins in the 1st round (22) of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft out of University of Missouri.
Going into last season, Gibson was poised. He was our #1 prospect and he'd jumped three levels in 2010. He looked like he was almost ready to make the team. All he would need was a couple of months to fine tune in AAA and anyone of the Twins starters that fans had anointed as worthy replacement, those they felt were beneath Gibson's ability would be banished and Gibson would come in on a white horse to save the day. That didn't happen, then he got hurt.
Gibson had what looks like a rough year based on his record and ERA, but it really wasn't bad at all. He struck out 8.59 a game and only walked 2.55. He was hurt by the 11 HRs he gave up and the .339 BABIP. Gibson's numbers really took a hit in his last 3 starts when his elbow problems started to flare up. He gave up 16 earned runs in 14 innings, spiking his season ending ERA by almost a run. In his last start, he walked 5 (the most walks given up in his career) in 5 innings.
After his July 22nd start Gibson was shut down. The Twins went with their usual route of rehab for his torn ligament, before eventually opting for surgery on Sept 7th. Would having the surgery earlier have made an impact on Gibson's career? Probably not, but getting a little work in this year could help him get a little better feel his pitching and routine going into 2013.
Ideal scenario: Gibson's rehab goes well and he is ready to go for 2013. The success rate of Tommy John has really increased and that is why he is still worthy of a top 10 ranking.
Path to the majors: Assuming Gibson is fine, he probably should start the 2013 season in with a cup of coffee in AAA. With Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Jason Marquis and Scott Baker all potentially leaving after the 2012 season (or sooner), Gibson will have to be considered one of the options to go north with the team out of spring in 2013.
This blog will from here on out be written in honor of my friends Paul Hemmingsen (August 13, 1972 - October 10, 2009) & Bob O'Neill (September 25, 1975 - December 12, 2011) Two great friends, gone too soon!
The blog name "On the Road with Shawn" is in reference to playing games on the road. I am a Twins fan that travels a lot and no longer lives in Minnesota. The name seemed appropriate. The blog posts focus on game adventures (usually road games), Minnesota Twins content and other baseball content. Many posts are stat driven, others are lighter. My hope is to bring a fresh voice to Twins territory.