Kyle Gibson was expected to improve last season to become a reliable starter at the top of the rotation, but instead took a step back as both his walk rate and strikeout rates deteriorated. Gibson landed on the DL in April with a sore shoulder and missed nearly two months. He never got back on track when he returned as his velocity, strikeout rate and control all declined from the previous season. At his best, Gibson offsets his lack of strikeouts with a good groundball rate and average control. Perhaps health was the issue, but he'll need a bounceback season to remain in Minnesota's rotation.
Gibson threw six scoreless innings with four strikeouts in Sunday's loss to Boston to lower his spring training ERA to 1.59. Gibson will make a minor league spring start Friday and then start Minnesota's third game of the regular season on April 6, MLB.com reports. Gibson altered his delivery in the offseason to help reduce shoulder pain and the new mechanics could point toward a bounceback season after a disappointing 5.07 ERA last year. He has just a 6.1 K/9 this spring, however, as he'll likely need to improve his strikeout rate to make a significant leap this year.
Gibson gave up one run over five innings Thursday to lower his spring training ERA to 2.08. He has a 13:4 K:BB in 17.1 innings. Gibson altered his delivery in the offseason to help reduce shoulder pain he had last season. So far the results are encouraging as he's set to begin the season as the No. 3 starter.
Gibson changed his delivery this offseason in hopes of keeping his shoulder healthy this season, Mike Berardino of The Pioneer Press reports. Gibson was sidelined for seven weeks last season with shoulder pain and said he felt "some discomfort" when he started his offseason throwing program. Intent on finding a fix, the 29-year-old turned to a physical trainer who showed him how to pronate properly at the end of his delivery. This motion keeps the humerus from rubbing against connective tissues, providing better longevity throughout the season. Gibson figures to be a large part of the Twins' rotation this season, so the alteration could lend benefits down the homestretch.
Gibson agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million contract with the Twins on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. A lack of alternatives in the Twins' organization is perhaps the best thing working in Gibson's favor entering 2017. He seems secure in the rotation (at least to start the year) despite posting a 5.07 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 147.1 innings last season. Gibson was done in largely by walks (3.4 BB/9) and home runs (1.22 HR/9).
Gibson gave up four earned runs over 6.1 innings with eight strikeouts and one walk, but got a no-decision in Friday's win over Kansas City. Gibson had a season high in strikeouts in his last start which at least offers some hope for next year after a disappointing season. Gibson was expected to improve this season to become a reliable starter at the top of the rotation, but instead took a step back as both his walk rate and strikeout rates were worse than last year. He finishes the season with a 5.07 ERA and 4.75 FIP. It will be interesting to see if he still fits prominently into Minnesota's plans for the rotation once a new GM is hired in the offseason.