30 December 2009
5. Kyle Gibson, RHP, 22 years old
2009 stats: Did not play
Last year’s rank: Not ranked
Acquired: 1st round selection of the Minnesota Twins in the 2009 draft
Athletic abilities aside, Kyle Gibson has a reputation for being one of the nicest, most humble guys on any team. His work ethic and knowledge of the game are unrivaled.
On the pitching mound, though, Gibson is perhaps more impressive. Standing at 6'6'' and weighing 208 lbs, Gibson is extremely projectable and could very easily improve on his three above-average offerings. His best pitch – given a plus-plus grade by many scouts solely because of his meticulous command – is his fastball, which sits in the low 90s. Gibson also boasts a plus-plus slider and an above-average changeup.
Besides the control he holds over his pitches, Gibson's mechanics and delivery are nearly flawless. Assuming he is 100 percent healthy, the 22-year-old could fly through the Twins' minor league system.
Of course, health is the largest question mark for the Twins. Gibson slid to the lower half of the first round because of a stress fracture in his forearm, which appears to be completely healed. While the positive reports from doctors are good to hear, Twins fans would like for Gibson to validate his doctors by dominating on the field. If Gibson can accomplish that, there's no telling how high he could go.
Another one of Gibson's strengths is his stamina. His fastball hits the 93 mph mark in both the second and ninth innings, if need be. During his senior year at Missouri, Gibson consistently threw over 100 pitches an outing.
One of the aspects of his game that needs work is holding runners. Several scouts have claimed that Gibson has a slow throw to first base, and could potentially be distracted by runners on the corners. With some age-old drills from Fort Myers' pitching coach Steve Mintz, though, these potential problems could be adverted.
While at worst he would be an effective 3rd or 4th starting pitcher, most scouts consider Gibson capable of being considered a major-league ace.
Ideal scenario: Gibson will start the 2010 season in Fort Myers, but will most likely advance to Double-A New Britain before too long. He could conceivably reach Triple-A Rochester before the season ends. Gibson will probably start 2011 in Rochester, and could be called up soon thereafter.
Path to the majors: Assuming the Twins don't sign a young pitcher to a six-year deal in the next two years, there will be plenty of room in the rotation for Gibson when he is deemed ready.
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