The Minnesota Twins keep giving their veteran starter chances to take the third playoff rotation, but at this point he should be left off the postseason roster.
For years, the Minnesota Twins have shown unwavering support for Kyle Gibson. As the team trudged through the dark years of the mid-2010s, Gibson was a mainstay in the rotation as the front office crossed their fingers that he would someday become the upper rotation starter they thought he would be when they selected him 22nd overall in the 2009 MLB Draft.
However, things haven’t been so easy for the man who was selected two picks ahead of Mike Trout and as the Twins head toward their first division title since Gibson made his MLB debut in 2013, they have reached a point where they can no longer trust the right-hander.
Of course, Gibson’s 2019 season hasn’t been completely awful. After a battle with E. Coli during the offseason, he got off to a slow start before turning things on through the month of May. While he enjoyed tremendous run support from the Bomba Squad, Gibson started the year 7-3 with a 3.70 ERA that seemed to suggest he could be a valuable member of the rotation.
From there, things have come unglued for Gibson partially because of a battle with ulcerative colitis and partially because he hasn’t pitched well at all. Since June 19, Gibson has a 6-4 record, but an ERA of 5.76. Even more concerning has been his control, which has seen him issue 33 walks in the past 79 2/3 innings.
Again, some have theorized that Gibson’s stomach issues have been the cause for this, but he’s just not pitching effectively. Although FanGraphs shows Gibson is enjoying the highest swinging strike rate (13.1%) and chase rate (36.2%), he’s rarely throwing the ball in the zone as 34.4% of his pitches have been in the strike zone, which is a career-low rate.
On top of that, his demeanor on the mound has also been something that’s concerning. It seems that every time Gibson has gotten ahead of a hitter, he starts to pick around the plate instead of attacking it. In other words, he appears to be afraid of throwing a strike even though his stuff may be good enough to get hitters out anyway.
With all of this mixed together, it seems like Gibson is what he is at this point of his career. At 31 years old, that’s probably the truth. However, some still feel like there is this layer of untapped potential and with his well-liked personality within the Twins’ clubhouse, there’s a good chance he’ll be back in 2020 despite his looming free-agent status.
But haven’t we seen enough of Gibson during his tenure with the Twins. The nibbling is out of control and after only lasting 1 2/3 innings against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night, it may be time to finally move on.