Monday, March 7, 2011

Prospect Profile: Kyle Gibson

Profile: RHP - 6'6" - 210lbs -BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 23


• FB2 91-93: Exceptional arm-side run, well commanded. (60-65)
• SNK 88-90: Very heavy sink, well commanded. (60-65)
• SL 83-84: Tight rotation, good tilt, mediocre break, gets ground balls. (55-65)
• CH 82-83: Good arm action, good depth, gets ground balls. (50-65)


A consensus Top-10 pick after three dominant seasons at he University of Missouri, Gibson feel when his velocity dropped in his junior year and then right before the draft, he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his forearm. Despite being one of the best, most projectable pitchers in the draft, he slipped to the Twins at #22 where they pounced. Negotiations dragged out through the summer but Gibson finally managed to sign an above slot 1.8m deal in a rare over-slot signing by the Twins.

On the mound Gibson works very fast and uses his 6'6" frame to generate tremendous plane, working out of a somewhat high 3/4 slot. Gibson's delivery is tall and fall and low effort, allowing him to repeat his motion easily, in turn giving him good command. Gibson does a good job utilizing his lower half, allowing him to hold his velocity well into games without adding stress to his shoulder. He consistently works out in front and finishes his pitches.

While Gibson doesn't generate tremendous velocity with his fastballs, he can locate them quite well and they really dance. Both his two seamer and his sinker have good late life and big break. They're above average right now and could play in the Major right away. He can use both pitches against hitters of either hand and they're very tough to barrel.

In terms of off speed stuff, Gibson has two solid offerings in his slider and changeup. HIs favorite is the slider which lacks significant break but does get good depth and tilt - enough to get under the bats of lefties and get righties to chase out of the zone. Some people like the pitches upside more than I do, which is impressive given that I project it as a plus offering. His changeup grades similarly and has good sink and run.

Performance Analysis:


His K rate dropped off as he advanced levels, but with some additional work at AAA, his stuff is far too good for it to remain that low. Still, he's not so much a strikeout pitcher as a pitcher. Gibson won't blow you away with velocity but he doesn't walk many, and he burns worms at a pretty incredible clip. He's likely to play above average across the FIP board: strikeout rate, walk rate, and ground ball rate. The ability is there to be a 55-60% GB pitcher who can strikeout seven per nine, while walking two per nine. All of which are good to great marks.


People like to compare him to Brad Radke, but that's not really a fair comp. at all given the fact that they have vastly different stuff. Conservatively, I think he's Derek Lowe. But more likely, he's Tim Hudson with an extra six inches of height. He could be Brandon Webb on the high end if his GB stuff plays at it's absolute best. Either way, he's highly projectable, and that two seamer is one of the best you'll see.

Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery. 

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