In a season of negativity when it comes to the health and performance of their starting pitchers, the Minnesota Twins have some good news. Former first-round pick Kyle Gibson has been promoted to Triple-A Rochester as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. He will start on Saturday and take the place of the injured Pedro Hernandez, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the trade involving Francisco Liriano last month.
Gibson was selected 22nd overall in 2009 out of the University of Missouri and has been considered one of the top prospects in the Twins’ minor league system since, even after having elbow issues in 2011 that led to surgery. In 11 combined appearances (nine starts) this year for Minnesota’s Gulf Coast League team and Single-A Fort Myers he has a 2.49 ERA over 21.2 innings with 23 strikeouts and five walks.
Overall in three seasons at the minor league level Gibson is 14-14 with a 3.58 ERA over 269 innings, including a 3-8 record and a 4.38 ERA in 111 combined innings (21 starts) in Triple-A during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Gibson’s progress is worth watching late this season and during spring training next year as the Minnesota Twins search for major league-level starting pitchers. Good performance, and more importantly his health, should put Gibson firmly in the mix for a spot in the starting rotation. He could earn a spot in the bullpen if the team is hesitant to give him a starter’s workload early in the season to avoid setbacks with his elbow, but in any case he should leave spring training with the Twins next year as long as he is healthy.