The Minnesota Twins Should Bring Up Kyle Gibson

When your starters have 4.34 SO/9, strikeouts have to come from somewhere, right?

Earlier this week, Vance Worley threw a complete game shutout for the Minnesota Twins’ AAA team in Rochester. Worley was atrocious in his time in the majors this spring, so this came as quite a shock. But, don’t worry, Twins fans – if you think this means Worley will be back soon, you are sorely mistaken. As it turns out, complete game shutouts are your ticket to being damned to AAA Rochester for eternity.

The Next Great Strikeout Hope

Enter Kyle Gibson. Gibson is the 25-year-old prospect that the Twins have been pumping ever since they drafted him out of Missouri in the first round of the 2009 draft. In his first year in the minors, Gibson went from high-A ball to AAA. He has been stuck there ever since.

A lot of this is due to Gibson’s Tommy John surgery that made him miss a majority of last season, allowing him only 11 starts and 13 appearances. This year, however, Gibson has pitched well at AAA, his health appears fine, and he is still mired in the Twins’ farm system.

Gibson in his 11 starts this season has a pair of complete game shutouts and has allowed zero earned runs in four of his outings with only one earned run in two others. Despite all of this, he has been bypassed by both Samuel Deduno and P.J. Walters in getting the call to the big leagues this spring when the Twins have needed help.

Hypothetically, if Gibson’s numbers were to translate directly to the majors, his 59 strikeouts would be 90.3 percent higher than any other pitcher on the Twins’ staff. That current leader, by the way, is Glen Perkins. Yes, Glen Perkins, the closer, who has pitched a grand total of 19.2 innings this year. Good Lord.

As of right now, the highest SO/9 of any player to have made a start this season for the Twins is Pedro Hernandez’s 5.33, but he is back in AAA with Gibson because of his 6.67 ERA. Gibson’s 7.97 SO/9 would lead the Twins’ combined starter SO/9 of 4.34 by 83.6 percent. If nothing else, Gibson’s promotion would at least give the fans something to cheer for (a desirable characteristic when your team is 23-28).

The biggest thing working against Gibson right now is his inconsistency. I mentioned earlier his six starts allowing one earned run or less – what happened in the other five starts? Um, don’t ask. In those starts, he has allowed five, three, five, four and six earned runs respectively, going less than five innings three times.

As I have said many times this season, the Twins need to be all-in on the young guys this year. They aren’t going to contend, so if a player is either young and in need of development or a guy that could be trade bait at the deadline, they need to be on the field as soon as possible. This includes Gibson. You don’t want to enter 2014 with Gibson in the rotation making his big league debut. Get him some experience now so he can be ready to set the Twins up for a playoff run within the next few seasons.

Jim Sannes covers the baseball and the Minnesota Twins weekly for numberFire. Contact him on Twitter @JimSannes.