Skip to main content
Publish date:

Kyle Gibson has turned into a strikeout pitcher, and it's amazing

The veteran right-hander has nearly doubled his strikeouts per nine innings.

With Jose Berrios expected to make a jump this season and the addition of veterans Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn, it's shocking that Kyle Gibson has been the best starting pitcher for the Twins this season. 

Even more shocking is that Gibson has completely changed, evolving from a pitch-to-contact guy to a strikeout pitcher. 

The 30-year-old's career-best strikeout season came in 2017 when he whiffed 6.9 batters per nine innings. This season, he's averaging an unreal 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings and is on pace to finish with more than 230 strikeouts. 

There are only 12 other starting pitchers in the American League averaging 10+ strikeouts per nine. Ironically, one of them is Lance Lynn (10 K/9), who ranks just behind Gibson even though he's been far less successful overall. 

And consider this: Johan Santana, who led the Twins and majors in strikeouts from 2004-06, averaged 10+ strikeouts per nine innings twice in his career (11.4 in 2002, 10.5 in 2005). 

Minnesota has had just one starting pitcher crack 200 strikeouts in a season since 2007: Francisco Liriano with 201 in 2010. 

Gibson has 44 strikeouts in seven starts this season. Look how long it took him to reach 44 strikeouts each of the first five years of his career 

  • 2017 - 12 starts
  • 2016 - 11 starts
  • 2015 - 12 starts
  • 2014 - 14 starts

So why has Gibson suddenly changed?

Fox Sports North analyst Roy Smalley says Gibson is now pitching with two fastballs – a two-seamer and a four-seamer – and has found his curveball. He already had an above average sinker and a decent slider, so he's now working with five effective pitches. 

If there was ever a reality check it had to of been in his late-April start at Yankee Stadium, when he set a career-high with 10 strikeouts against a Yankees lineup that's an unforgiving as they come. 

Gibson's strikeout numbers are up this season, but his turnaround actually started in mid-July last season. Since July 22, 2017, Gibson owns a 3.46 ERA with 114 strikeouts in 115 innings.

If Gibson keeps this up, it'll be an incredible turnaround of what appeared to be a wasted first-round pick by the Twins. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-12-05 at 6.49.03 AM

Saturday snow causes havoc on Twin Cities roads

There were countless spinouts and crashes across Minnesota.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”


Kyle Gibson has been a completely different pitcher lately

Gibson has been excellent on the mound since late July – here's why.

It's been a decade since the Twins had a pitcher like Jose Berrios

Reaching double-digit strikeouts isn't exactly the "Twins way."

Report: Kyle Gibson signing with the Rangers

The 32-year-old has spent his entire career with the Twins.

Kyle Gibson shines in Twins' win over Red Sox

Gibson lowered his ERA to 3.42 on the season.

Possible roles for Kyle Gibson in the playoffs

What will the Twins do with their veteran starting pitcher?