Perhaps Kyle Gibson has been so highly touted iwthin the Twins system because the team has been so bereft of minor league talent, or if Gibson really is the real deal. As someone who as had major elbow surgery within the past couple of years, Gibson likely isn’t quite at his full potential, but may prospect watchers still say he could become a 2 or 3 starter some day. For the Twins, that’s pretty good.
Ah, but the elbow injury. Because of the elbow injury, Gibson is still on an innings limit, despite this being his 2nd full post-injury season. I’m not a doctor so I won’t pretend to know if this is the best course for the Twins to take. I do have an inkling as to what this means for the Twins though, and it’s probably not good.
Gibson only has, I believe, about 80 innings left before he reaches his soft innings limit (also, an innings limit is dumb. Should be a pitch limit, that’s one thing I do have an opinion on. Or maybe a doctor should check him out every once in a while) That won’t get him through the rest of the season. With Stephen Strasburg, this was relevant, because he was pitching the Nationals to the playoffs. The Twins haven’t been well regarded for their medical staff, and I suspect that they wouldn’t feel so tied to the innings limit if they were contending.
But there is still an innings limit. The Twins have burned through Sam Deduno, PJ Walters, Pedro Hernandez and Liam Hendriks before getting to Gibson, who has been the best minor league pitcher for the Twins so far this season, because the team didn’t want to expend Major League service time on a lost season. They also obviously felt they weren’t just one starting pitcher away from contention. Gibson was never, and still will not put the team over the hump.
Now, however, they saved a year of arbitration eligibility by holding Gibson back, and as the Twins flirt with irrelevance, his innings limit isn’t a huge deal. Who cares that Gibson will be shut down in September, when the team won’t be on it’s way anywhere anyway?
While it will be very nice to see Gibson in Minnesota at long last, I think it’s also a sign that the Twins are done thinking about this year and only have the future in mind.