As he continues to make his return from Tommy John elbow surgery, Gibson is likely to throw between 20 and 30 innings for Peoria, which would bring his total up to around 70 or 80 for the season, including his work at Single-A Fort Myers, Triple-A Rochester and the Florida instructional league.♦ Ten Questions with Kyle Gibson (Twins Daily)
The Twins haven't determined what Gibson's innings workload will be in 2013, but it's likely he will be given an opportunity to pitch in the major leagues if all continues to go well.
Have you allowed yourself to start thinking about being added to the 40 man roster, going to spring training and, after all you've been through and all the hard work, what it will mean to get that call, to the big leagues?♦ 2012 Arizona Fall League Delegates: Minnesota Twins (Seedlings to the Stars)
KG: I have tried to think mostly about the present work I am doing. It is always hard not to think about what it will be like to be called up to the big leagues, if I get that chance, but the most I think about that, the less I am focused on staying healthy and getting better so that if I do get that chance, I am ready! I am very much looking forward to spring training, without a doubt. I want to go into it and show that I am healthy and ready to pitch wherever the Twins want to send me.
Heading into the 2011 season, Gibson was one of the 50 best prospects in baseball and started the year out strong with a sub 2.0 BB/9 and SO/9 over 9.0 in each of the season’s first two months. In June and July however it became apparent that something was wrong. His velocity and strikeout rate dipped and his control deserted him. Tests revealed a torn ligament in his pitching elbow and he was subsequently shut down for the year and underwent Tommy John Surgery.♦ Seven Tigers prospects begin Arizona Fall League play today (Motor City Bengals)
The fact that Gibson bounced back so quickly to make 11 starts this season is in itself a positive sign. Even more encouraging is that he finished with a 33-6 SO-to-BB rate in 28.1 innings between the three levels and appeared to be knocking off the rust rather quickly. He has the stuff and control to be a #2 starter in the major leagues and the Twins badly need to him to reach his ceiling. His assignment to the AFL was a bit of a no brainer and a strong performance coupled with a healthy and productive 2013 spring training should earn him a spot in Minnesota’s Opening Day rotation.
Tyler Clark, who’s not known as a “stuff” guy, put up stupid-good numbers in Lakeland (a 0.63 ERA) for most of the year before earning a late season call up to Erie where he struggled in seven appearances (7.36 ERA).♦ 2012 Arizona Fall League Delegates: Detroit Tigers (Seedlings to the Stars)
Tyler Clark turned into quite the closer for Lakeland for the majority of this season, tallying a 6-1 record at the back end with 9 saves. To top it off, his opponents only hit .137 against him in Lakeland. Although his numbers dipped when he made the jump to Erie, expect to see him light up AA and maybe make the move up to AAA Toledo next season. Clark is one of the more under-appreciated pitchers in Detroit’s farm system. Obviously, his invitation to participate in the Arizona Fall League puts him in a special category, however, when asked to name the top pitchers in the farm system, fans will usually rattle off names like Drew Smyly, Casey Crosby, Bruce Rondon, and at one time, Jacob Turner. Clark has a good repertoire of pitches, and his experience from college ball should pay dividends in the coming years.♦ Arizona Fall League Preview (SeatllePI.com)
The Padres are also sending Matt Stites, who also posted a sub-1.00 ERA this year, but did so while allowing 3 HRs in the pitcher-friendly Midwest league.♦ 2012 Arizona Fall League Delegates: San Diego Padres (Seedlings to the Stars)
Stites, 22, was the Padres’ 17th round pick in 2011 and the Padres chose to start him slowly for a college pick. After Stities dominated, now the Padres are going to try to speed him up beginning in the AFL. Stites was nearly unhittable for Low-A Fort Wayne, going 2-0 with a 0.74 ERA, an 11.1 K/9, a 0.6 BB/9, a 0.7 HR/9, and 13 saves in 42 appearances and 48.2 IP. He struck out 60 while walking 3. What? Stites features power stuff, controlling his fastball well at around 94 MPH, tossing a sharp slider out of the same arm slot, and also throwing a good straight changeup. With his current arsenal, Low-A hitters couldn’t do anything against him. In the AFL, the Padres are going to see whether Stites can more advanced hitters out right now. Stites needs to work on commanding his fastball within the zone, getting the consistent tight break on the slider and hanging it as rarely as possible, and he needs to find a way to get some sink on his changeup because it’s movement is unimpressive and Stites only gets by with it thanks to a good arm action and its speed differential with its fastball. If Stites shows progress to making all those things happen, he has the ability to be in Double-A by midseason if not sooner and in the big leagues in two years. The Padres are giving Stites a chance to prove himself against more experienced hitters in Arizona, and with a good performance, he’ll get on the fast-track to the majors.