On a busy day of minor-league movement in the Twins organization, the biggest piece of news to come out yesterday was that 2009 first-round pick Kyle Gibson has been promoted to Class-AA New Britain. Less than a year after being drafted out of the University of Missouri, the right-hander finds himself at the second-highest level of minor-league competition.■ Gibson's great start (fangraphs.com)
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The fast start and quick promotion are sure to remind many fans of Matt Garza, who was drafted in 2005 and was pitching for the Twins in 2006. Certainly, the two players have their similarities. Both were polished right-handed starters drafted in the first round out of college. Both possessed very good command. Both entered their first full seasons at the age of 22. And neither one spent a whole lot of time in Ft. Myers.
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Much will depend on whether Gibson can keep whiffing batters at a solid rate while forcing tons of grounders at the next level. This will certainly be something worth keeping an eye on.
Gibson is a prototypical Twins draftee, as he combines solid sinker-slider (and an improved changeup) stuff with fantastic command. He has walked 2.5 batters per nine so far this season, but should be capable of even better numbers than that down the road. But where the Twins have usually found success with flyball pitchers in the past — Baker, Slowey, Garza, etc. — Gibson promises to throw an arm into the Minnesota rotation capable of a 50% groundball rate. I say this with confidence both due to the scouting reports on the tilt he gets from a 6-6 frame, his command, and two starts this season
■ Ace's Miracle days over (Fort Meyers News-Press)
He struck out 40 batters and walked just 12 and tossed a one-hitter against Jupiter in late April.■ Cats welcome Gibson (twins.baseball-news-update.com)
"He's excited," said Miracle manager Jake Mauer. "I'm sure he is looking forward to the new challenge. He'll be facing some hitters that are older and more experienced up there."
“I’ve seen him just enough in spring training to state that he’s got an ideal frame (6-foot-5, 208 pounds), a very efficient mechanical delivery that he repeats and he throws a lot of strikes with three different pitches,” said Terry Ryan, the Twins former general manager presently in New Britain in his role as special adviser to current GM Bill Smith.■ Gibson stays grounded in minors (Masters of War)
Ryan said Gibson was projected to go higher in the draft but his stock dropped when he sustained a stress fracture in his right forearm.
“He’s going to surface at Double-A, which bodes well for us and him,” Ryan said. “I think he’s one of those fast-track type pitchers. ‘Here it is, go ahead and try to hit it.’ But he locates pretty well.”
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.