Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kyle Gibson Scouting Report

Kyle Gibson had Tommy John surgery last year and has been working his way back this year. The first round pick in 2009 made his first 2012 start in AAA (in 2010-2011 he was pretty good in the International League with a 8.11 K/9IP, 2.59 BB/9IP, and .89 HR/9IP) on Saturday and I was able to catch most of it online. Gibson has a bit of pause in his delivery, but nothing too dramatic. The arm action is mainly over the top and the delivery is a little strange. He really takes advantage of his height (and frame) by doing so, but one wonders if this is why he was injured in the first place.

Gibson's fastball hit 93 MPH and he can throw it straight high above the zone and also run it down low in the form of a moving fastball. He did throw a straight fastball to a right-hander (Matt Tuiasosopo) down low and away and got a whiff for a strikeout. He showed the ability to keep the ball low for the most part and he  should be able to get plenty of ground-balls, which is important to the Twins.

Gibson can throw a rare changeup for strikes. It doesn't have a lot of movement but it does have good speed differential. It is the worst pitch out of the 4 or 5 (depending on whether you want to count the 2-seamer as a separate pitch) Gibson throws.

The curveball was also solid, getting him swings and misses with nice break. He can throw it for strikes and it is of the harder curve variety, but it isn't a slider (at least not in its break). He has a slider that is obviously harder and more of a dirt swing and miss pitch.

The amount of good options he has is very encouraging for Gibson and the Twins. He can keep hitters guessing with a few pitches he can throw for strikes and a 2 put out pitches (the slider and the fastball) and has the stuff to do it against good hitters. Many times, you see a guy with good stuff/movement/velocity, but no idea how to locate or mix his pitches, or just the opposite, a guy that can pitch, but doesn't really have the stuff to get hitters in the big leagues out. To me, Gibson isn't dominating, but has the full package. An above average fastball along with different breaking/off-speed pitches and movement is why Gibson was picked int he first round and should allow him to be successful in the big leagues. If he shows he is healthy in spring training, he looks like a guy who could make the opening day rotation. If he starts the year in the minors, it will be a good opportunity to improve his changeup, but if he starts in the majors, he should just junk it as it will be destroyed in the Majors.

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