Written By: Dan Cook, WCCO Radio
Kyle Benjamin Gibson was born October 23, 1987. Two days later, the Minnesota Twins won their first of two World Series titles.
Just shy of 22 years later, Gibson became the Twins 2009 first-round draft pick.
And on Saturday, he made his Major League debut against the Kansas City Royals.
Gibson’s path to the majors was far from direct. He was first drafted by the Phillies out of high school in 2006, but chose to attend the University of Missouri instead.
After being selected by the Twins in 2009, many thought his ascension to the big club would come quickly.
Instead, after a solid 2010 season, he started feeling some arm soreness in 2011 and was eventually diagnosed with a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament which is the precursor to Tommy John surgery.
Gibson had his elbow repaired in September of that season and was back on the mound for the Twins’ Gulf Coast League team 10 months later.
He proceeded to make two starts for the Twins Single-A Fort Meyers club, followed by two more at Triple-A Rochester.
Following the 2012 season, Gibson was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he was named AFL Pitcher of the Week in Week 2 and participated in the AFL All-Star Game.
Entering 2013, Baseball America listed him as the Twins fourth-best prospect. Most assumed he’d make his MLB debut at some point this season – it was just a matter of when.
It’s become fashionable in GM circles to hold back certain players’ debuts to gain an extra year of service time before they become arbitration-eligible, and some pundits were grumbling that Gibson would’ve debuted earlier if not for that consideration.
Twins GM Terry Ryan vehemently denied that theory, pointing out the Twins’ willingness to have OF Aaron Hicks start the season in the majors, despite his rookie status.
Ryan claimed that the delay with Gibson was more about allowing him to develop a sense of consistency at Triple-A in the hopes that once he joined the big club, he’d be here to stay.
Those “consistency” questions were apparently answered when Gibson notched his fifth-straight win over seven starts on June 20. He’d gone at least 7.0 innings in four of his last seven starts, compiling a 2.31 ERA and holding opponents to a .187 batting average.
Gibson officially “got the call” on June 25 and joined the Twins on the road in Miami.
This brings us to his first MLB start on Saturday.
The buzz was palpable at Target Field in both the stands and the clubhouse.
The evening prior, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier had expressed his enthusiasm.
“Yeah, that’s going to be really exciting for us. I know everybody’s been anticipating him being up here,” Dozier said. “From personal experience and playing with him, he’s one of the hardest workers. He always competes his tail off every time he gets on the mound. I like playing behind him a lot.”
Prior to the game on Saturday, manager Ron Gardenhire was asked how he thought Gibson would react to “the moment.”