A few minutes ago, the Twins waded into the off season player acquisition pool. They’re still in the shallow end and wearing water wings, but so is everyone else at this point. The first waiver claim of the young off season makes complete and total sense based on the Twins patterns, however.
Ian Gibaut is exactly the kind of pitcher the Twins have consistently targeted. Gibaut came up through the Rays system, which means that Rocco Baldelli should be familiar with him. He threw two innings in 2019 for the Rays, and was then DFA’d before being claimed by the Rangers. He pitched exactly 12.1 innings for Texas in both 2019 and 2020.
From Darby Robinson at Drays Bay:
His slider and Fastball can play, but he probably needs one to be much better or needs to improve command to be anything.
Rays kinda dumped him quick, which was super shocking to us. When they pull the plug on a reliever that’s usually not a great sign for them (another example Jamie Schultz who came up with Gibaut). But that change-up is really good, so if he had another pitch that made folks take notice, I think he could tap into something. And like Adam said, he’s a big old boy. He’s gonna enjoy discovering Juicy Lucys.
Lets take Darby’s scouting report about the change at face value, he’s well positioned to give us that information. Now lets add in some Fangraphs information: According to the limited sample available, Gibaut’s slider is actually his most effective pitch.
Per Fangraphs, Gibaut throws his fastball about 55% of the time, with the rest being split between his slider and change up. He threw the two a roughly equal amount in 2019, but leaned more heavily (almost 30% of the time) on the silder in 2020. His fastball averages slightly over 95 mph, while the slider sits around 88 mph and the change around 86 mph. In other words, he’s not a power arm, but has enough zip to succeed for a couple years in today’s game.
Runs above average data says that Gibaut’s fastball is below average, and the change up sits right at average, with the slider slightly above. The samples here are small, so a huge caveat must be applied, yet there is enough to suggest the Twins would like his profile.
We know the Twins like relievers with a good slider. Matt Wisler (and before him, Ryne Harper) provides evidence the Twins can unlock the potential of a guy with this particular skill set.
This is a low-level waiver wire transaction. It likely isn’t anything big. Gibaut may-or-may-not get a few innings in 2021 for the Twins. But he could also be an asset, and there isn’t much else going on.