The Arizona Fall League is a chance for top prospects to show off their talents. This year Kyle Gibson is certainly taking advantage of his opportunity. Through his first three starts (13.0 innings) he is 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 19 K.
The showing is even more important for Gibson, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. He returned in the middle of the year in 2012, making 13 appearances (11 starts) across three levels. While his 4.13 ERA was not very appealing, he posted 33 K vs. 6 BB.
It’s the latter, especially just coming off of surgery, that has to appeal to fantasy owners. He has continued it in the AFL, with just 2 BB. If he can continue with that type of control, you would have to think he could make an impact in 2013.
He had reached Triple- in 2011 prior to get injured, so making his Major League debut should be a forgone conclusion. The question is, how many innings will the Twins let him go? He pitched just 95.1 in ’11, though was at 152.0 in ’10. That question is going to go a long way in determining his potential value.
Gibson was ranked as the team’s top prospect by Baseball America heading into 2011. At the time they said:
The Twins have produced a bevy of pitchers in recent years who thrive on their knack for throwing quality strikes with solid but not outstanding arsenals. Gibson has similar pitch-making ability to Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and former ace Brad Radke—and he has better stuff.
His command, control and makeup all enhance his total package. His ability to induce groundouts and his knack for finding a little extra velocity when needed make him adept at controlling damage and avoiding big innings.
It is the last statement that is important and he as been showing the ability once again. They discussed a fastball that sits in the high 80s to low 90s. A slider that was a “plus offering that helps him generate plenty of groundballs—2.3 groundouts for every airout in 2010—and some scouts project it as a future 70 pitch on the 20-80 scale.” He also has a change-up, which also was considered “plus”.
With that type of repertoire what’s not to like? While he may not be able to strikeout a batter per inning in the Major Leagues, he has shown tremendous control, is a groundball pitcher and offers more than enough strikeout ability. Thats the perfect combination for fantasy owners.
Given his injury he likely won’t be on many radars this season, but he should be. He has the potential to be a tremendous under-the-radar option, especially in the deepest of formats. Tommy John surgery just doesn’t offer the same fear that it once did, so don’t use that as an excuse.
With the potential and opportunity, this is one rookie worth stashing.
Make sure to check out the rest of our extremely early 2013 rankings: