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The 22nd pick of the 2009 MLB draft, Kyle Gibson will be making his first start of 2019 on Wednesday against the Royals. After struggling throughout his career he finally seemed to put it all together in 2018. Kyle has been pitching in the majors since 2013. He owns a career 4.47 ERA, 1.406 WHIP and a 2.04 K/BB. He only had one year before 2018 where he finished with an ERA under 4.00 (2015.) Time seemed to be running out for the Twins first rounder to establish himself. Then the 2018 season came. In 2018, Gibson finally was able to solve some of his problems. In a July 2018 interview he discussed it saying "I was putting too much stress on myself." Gibson said the key for him was just getting out of his own head. He realized in 2018 that he had to go back to just having fun with the game. This led to a fun comeback story for Kyle Gibson. Kyle finished the season with an ERA of 3.62 (career best), a WHIP of 1.32 and a K/BB of 2.27 (career best). What did Gibson do differently in 2018 that led to success? Let's take a look. His pitch velocity for all five of his pitches went up. The fastball went up from 92.3 in 2017 to 93.3 in 2018. The slider, change up, sinker and curve also all went up by 1+ MPH in 2018. He used the slider 3.1% more and the curve was up 4% from his career usage. Swing percentages actually stayed relatively the same, but contact%, balls swung at outside the zone, and swinging strike% all went up by a percentage point. These one percents aren't much but they could have led to line drive percentage and Home run/Fly ball ratio being decreased as well. A different key stat that was increased was the percent of soft hits allowed. (19.5% in 2018 compared to 15.4% in 2017). Some more numbers that were noticeably better from 2017 were K/9, K/BB, OPP AVG, WHIP, BABIP and LOB%. The K/9 went from 6.89 to 8.19. This translated to the K/BB going from 2.02 to 2.27. Perhaps the most impressive numbers were OPP AVG dropping from .290 to .238 (52 point drop), the WHIP going from 1.53 to 1.30, the BABIP going from .328 to .285 and the LOB% going from 72.3% to 75.5% . Why do I think he will maintain the success? In 2014 and 2015 we could actually see the pitcher he was becoming, before 2016 got off to a horrible start and he got back into his head. In 2017 when Gibson was still struggling, he was sent to the minors to regain his confidence. He threw 17.1 lights out innings and was called back up. Gibson then threw all of September with a 3.28 ERA, a 1.121 WHIP and a K/BB of 3.88. Here are Gibson's batted ball ratios. He is very well set in the GB inducing category (49.8%) when compared to the MLB average and his line drive percent took another dip closer to average to 22%. It is clearly shown that the years Gibson has seen the most success (2014, 2015 and 2018) he has been able to produce a lot more ground balls. Gibson carried that success all the way through 2018 and is looking like he has regained his confidence. The key for him is the fast start to the season. In 2016 and '17 the slow start to the seasons derailed the whole thing, while 2014, '15 and '18 All started off much better. Expect more of the same from Gibson as he takes the number 2 spot in the rotation behind Berrios. They could be one of the best 1-2 punches in any rotation, especially with both showing improved strikeout capabilities. Berrios struck out 10 in the opener and Gibson had a swinging strike% of 11.5% last year. Thank you for reading my article on Gibson. Go check out my Twitter @MnTwinsTalk18 and my own personal website EverydayTwinsTalk.com
The Minnesota Twins signed Jonathan Schoop to a one year $7.5 million contract this offseason in a bridge deal to prepare for Royce Lewis among others. It seems like fans and people around the game have already written off seeing Schoop anywhere with the Twins past 2019, but the question has to be asked, what if Jonathan Schoop returns to his 2017 form? In 2017 Jonathan Schoop was one of the best second basemen in baseball. He ranked like this among them (min of 120 PA): 2nd in home runs (32) 1st in RBI (105) 10th in AVG (.293) 6th in SLG (.503) 8th in wOBA (.355) 8th in wRC+ (122) 5th in WAR (3.6) Fielding wasn't as good but it was good enough to pass as long as you are hitting like he was. 14th in UZR (-3.2) 8th in DRS (0) 12th In FLD% (.981) 5th in 10-40% chance to make play (27.3) Overall the hitting alone puts him in the top 5-10 second basemen in baseball. He is on the Twins and is a great player to have a potential bounce back campaign. The Twins were able to grab him as an under the radar pick up because he struggled so much in 2018. Obviously there is something with his swing that the front office was confident can be fixed. He was also dealing with a leg injury throughout all of 2018 that limited his abilities. So hypothetically if Schoop were to repeat 2017 or even be better, what would his outlook be for remaining on the Twins in 2020 and beyond? I think there are three options. 1.) Jonathan Schoop resigns on a multi-year contract and a middle infield prospect is traded. 2.)The Twins let him walk in order to make room for Lewis, Javier, Gordon etc. 3.)The Twins have a bad year and trade him at the deadline. 4.) Schoop resigns and moves to third, Polanco to 2B, Lewis/Gordon/Javier to SS and Sano to 1B I think al of these options except number three could really work in the Twins favor. Recent contracts for second basemen have been looking like this: D.J. LeMahieu 2 years $24 million Jed Lowrie 2 years $20 million Brian Dozier 1 year $9 million Jean Segura 5 years $70 million Dee Gordon 5 year $50 million Andrelton Simmons 7 years $58 million I would imagine that if Schoop can repeat 2017 or get even better that he would get somewhere around the Jean Segura deal of 5 years $70 million. Schoop will only be 26 or 27 so signing an impact second basemen into his early 30's couldn't hurt. I would imagine if he is resigned he will have to eventually have to move over to third base in order to make room for Royce Lewis and Jorge Polanco. The second option the Twins have will be to let him just go to free agency so the Twins keep their money and can spend it elsewhere. This wouldn't be a crazy move even if Schoop has a great year, just based on the fact that Royce Lewis, Wander Javier, Nick Gordon and others are in the minors. Another possibility is one that would hurt the most but is still possible. The Twins could have another down year and swap Schoop for a few prospects. I would much rather see the Twins trading prospects for impact players at the deadline but we will just have to wait and see. If Schoop is resigned it's likely he would play one more year at second base while waiting for someone like Royce Lewis to emerge. The infield would eventually be shifted all around and look something like Schoop at third, Lewis at shortstop, Polanco at second and Sano at first. . Four offensive weapons with slight defensive liability at 3 positions, but with great outfielders it balances out, right? Overall I've never been so hyped or just excited about a one year contract for a player coming off a really bad year but Schoop could just be really good. If the Twins are right and they are able to pinpoint something he was messing up with his swing and get him back to his strengths, this $7.5 million contract could be a great deal. Thank you for reading my Jonathan Schoop post. Go check out my seperate blog @EverydayTwinsTalk.com I would love to do more interactive articles with fans, so go visit my Twitter. (@EverydayTwins). If you enjoyed please leave a like and share with your friends.