Why Twins SP Kyle Gibson Makes Us Tickly Inside

Find out why we love him ahead of his Yankees start today.

Is it a bit obsessive to analyze a guy’s first start in the big leagues? Yes. Is it a bit over-analytical? Possibly. But, gosh darn it, Kyle Gibson makes me all tickly inside, so let’s go.

With his 6-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals, Gibson became the first Twins first-round pick to win in his Major League debut. Ever. Nine had tried, including Matt Garza and Glen Perkins, but none had succeeded before Gibson. Sure, wins don’t really mean anything for a pitcher, but Gibson earned his on Saturday.

Inside the Win

Gibson’s final line of six innings allowing two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts isn’t going to blow anyone away. However, as you dig a bit deeper, there are a lot of reasons to be a bit excited about this dude’s first time on the bump.

First and foremost, Gibson didn’t walk anybody. For a high-strikeout guy like Gibson, that’s huge to keep his pitch count down. In his six innings, Gibson threw 91 pitches, 64 of which were strikes. That’s a strike-percentage of over 70 percent, kiddos. I’ll take it.

Second, Gibson only had one really rough inning, where he allowed a pair of runs in the third. Other than the third inning, Gibson did not face more than four batters in any frame, including retiring the side 1-2-3 in his sixth and final inning. The Royals did enter play today with the 12th-highest batting average in the league, so it’s not the 1975 Cincinnati Reds, but it’s certainly not the 2013 Miami Marlins.

Finally, Gibson recorded 12 strikes on swings and misses, making his swinging strike percentage 12.8 percent. Scott Diamond and Sam Deduno currently lead the team in that category at… drumroll… 6.4 percent. Gibson was exactly twice that on Saturday. Give me Gibson, or give me death. Or Miguel Cabrera. Those are the only things that will suffice.

So, no, Kyle Gibson did not solve world hunger, cure all of the injured puppies from those tear-jerker commercials, or discover Jimmy Hoffa in Target Field’s limestone walls. However, he did give Twins fans something to be excited about by turning in a solid start that is hopefully an indication of what the future holds.