After years of failing to live up to his first-round status, Kyle Gibson is dealing right now for the Twins. Can fantasy owners trust him enough to be a waiver wire add?
The Minnesota Twins are off to a slow start this season after being one of MLB biggest surprises in 2017. While their young core surely had a lot to do with that, Kyle Gibson’s breakout has somewhat gone overlooked. Should fantasy owners trust Gibson off the waiver wire though?
Gibson’s story is well told. The former first-round pick has only mustered a 4.65 ERA over 132 starts in the majors and has largely failed to live up to expectations.
The Twins know that as he approaches his seventh MLB season, he will probably never hit his hopeful ceiling. But, the team has continually given him the chance to carve out a role in the back-end of the rotation.
More from Fantasy Baseball
- 5 fantasy baseball waiver wire pivots to replace Triston McKenzie
- Fantasy baseball mock draft 2023, 12-team: Aaron Judge over Trea Turner?
- 3 fantasy baseball sleepers being drafted too late
- NBA DFS picks December 25: Merry Bucking Christmas
- Fantasy Baseball: Hot pitchers worthy of starting this weekend
For a guy that posted exactly a 5.07 ERA two years in a row heading into 2018, trust is not a word often a word associated with Gibson. He struggled so much last season that the team sent the 29-year-old to AAA to figure things out, and since he has returned, he has taken a huge developmental step.
The breakthrough started during the second half of 2017, as he posted a 3.76 ERA/1.27WHIP/70 K line over 13 starts. Digging deeper, it is not as though he has seen a velocity increase or anything of that nature. He has simply tweaked his pitch selection.
Prior to 2017, and for most of the first half, Gibson would feature a sinker/slider/changeup combo. After not missing any bats and getting roughed up, he moved towards more of a fastball-heavy approach, still threw his slider and change near the same rates, but just became more aggressive with his heater.
The results were nearly instant, and that approach is carrying him towards more success in 2018. His last outing was easily his best this season, and he blanked a stacked Yankees’ lineup over six innings while striking out 10.
He had the Yankees flailing all day, and his stuff looked the part of a guy that has finally figured out his stuff plays. He still battles the strike zone, he only throws about 60% strikes and walks four batters on average per game. Yet, he boasts a 13% Whiff rate over his last 18 starts dating back to 2017, a rate that rivals the likes of Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber.
The Twins could use any type of quality innings they can find, and Gibson is offering just that. He gets two starts this week, against the Blue Jays and White Sox, two matchups he can easily perform well in for fantasy owners.
Fantasy owners have been fooled before by Gibson when he has put together decent stretches. But, the pitch mix change and prolonged success, serves as tangible evidence. There will be no better time than now for owners to add Gibson, and no better matchups for them to exploit.