Results tagged ‘ AFL ’
Kyle Gibson was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round of the 2009 draft. Since the draft, things haven’t gone as planned for Gibson, as although his stats have been decent, he hasn’t been able to stay completely healthy; having to undergo Tommy John surgery in September of 2011.
As far as Gibson’s stats go, he’s certainly lived up, for the most part, to being a first round draft pick. The 2008 Team USA pitcher went 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA in his first professional season, in 2010. Good enough to earn him a promotion to AAA Rochester at the end of the year, after beginning the season with A+ Fort Myers.
Gibson’s stellar inaugural season didn’t translate into 2011, however, as although he was selected to participate in the All-Star Futures Game, at Chase Field, Gibson went 3-8 on the year, with a 4.18 ERA. To put it in simpler terms: That’s not very good. But Gibson’s poor pitching wasn’t entirely his fault. Gibson had an arm injury, which resulted in him having to have Tommy John surgery during the offseason. A surgery that would turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Gibson.
Post surgery, Gibson had a sudden boost in velocity, as his fastball rose from upper 80′s to lower 90′s, this past season. In Gibson’s most recent (partial) season, he went 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA; which is misleading due to the few innings in which he was able to pitch. As a result of the shortened season, Gibson traveled out to Arizona to participate in the Arizona Fall League, where he was selected to make the start for the Western Division in the 2012 A.F.L. Rising Stars Game–lasting two innings and giving up a couple of runs.
As long as things continue to go smoothly for Gibson, between now and the start of the season, barring any unpredicted setbacks, you can expect to see Gibson in the Major Leagues sometime during the upcoming 2013 season; if not on Opening Day. He certainly has the potential to get the call up out of Spring Training, and as such, is a guy everyone needs to keep a very close eye on in the coming months.
Kyle Gibson–top 10 prospect in the Twins organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up?
I have always been involved and interested in baseball because my dad was. He was a high school baseball coach after he played a little bit of junior college baseball in his prime. He still likes to play in a mens senior league to this day. I believe that is why he would be my biggest influence on my love for the game up to this point.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
I had a couple when I was growing up. My dad was a huge Nolan Ryan fan, so obviously I thought he was cool, but believe it or not, I used to play a little short stop in my younger/shorter/faster years, and at that time Barry Larkin was a favorite player of mine as well.
3.) You were drafted by the Twins in the 1st round of the 2009 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you first found out? Initial thoughts?
The process was a long and stressful process at times mainly because I found out I had a stress fracture in my right forearm about 4 days before the draft. That made everything a little more stressful than I imagined, but even with that said, it was a fun process and I learned a lot. My parents and I decided to stay home and invite some people over to the house to watch the draft, so I was sitting outside in our driveway under a tent with what ended up being a few more people than the “some” we had planned on inviting. Everyone was getting a little anxious because from everything we had heard there was no definite place I was going to get drafted. So as the picks went by we got a little more anxious, but when my name was called there was a loud cheer, and I still get chills thinking about that moment in my life.
4.) You had Tommy John surgery in September of 2011 and seemed to have an increase in velocity. Has that increase in velocity changed the way you go about pitching or did you keep the same basic approach?
It does not change the way I pitch too much, other than the fact that I now have a much different fastball and slider. I have needed to learn to trust my fastball a little more because it’s now consistently in the low 90′s where before I was more consistently 89. My slider has also gained some velocity and has sharpened up a bit, so I have needed to adjust to that as well.
5.) Is there any one stat that you pay attention to throughout the season? Or do you try to steer clear of them altogether?
I would say there are a couple stats that I like to look at, and those are walks and ground ball/fly ball ratio. I hate walking people, so that is why that is so important to me, and I also know that when I am at my best, I need to have the defense involved. The best way for me to do that is to get lots of ground balls and allow our infielders to do the rest.
6.) You made the start for the West division in the 2012 Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game. What was that experience like, in terms of going up against some of the best hitters that minor league baseball has to offer?
That experience was a lot of fun. Had I not given up a moonshot to the first batter I might have enjoyed it slightly more…..just kidding. It was a great opportunity, even though for only 2 innings, to square off against [Jarred] Cosart, who I have known for many years dating back to when he had committed to Missouri out of high school before the Phillies drafted and signed him. It was a lot of fun for all of us, and good to get that chance to pitch another time against the best the minors has to offer.
7.) What are your plans for the remainder of the offseason to help you prepare for 2013? What are your goals for 2013?
Since my regular season extended into my offseason more than usual, I am now starting to get back into the swing of things and throwing again. Workouts will get more intense as I make sure my arm and body are prepared for another long season. My goals have a lot to do with staying healthy, and hopefully making it up to the big club and having a positive impact on our chances of winning. Everyone wants to become a big leaguer, and I really hope I am able to do that this year.
8.) Favorite TV show?
‘Sports Center’ or ‘Duck Dynasty’.
9.) Favorite food?
Steak or Mozzi’s Pizza from Greenfield, Indiana where I grew up.
10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
Always have fun. Baseball should be something that they enjoy doing. Work as hard as you possibly can. I always look back and know that I could have worked harder because I never really knew what it took to become a professional. So have no regrets and work as hard as you can, but have fun doing it!
Big thanks to Kyle Gibson for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @kgib44
Anthony Bass is fairly new to ‘The Show.’ You might of heard of him; you might not. Either way, I’m very confident that you’ll be hearing a lot from Bass in the near future. Bass made his Major League debut for the San Diego Padres, on June 13th of this year. He only pitched in 27 games (3 starts) but achieved success–recording 2 wins and a fairly low 1.68 ERA. Not bad for a guy who just turned 24 years old, on November 1st. Bass–who’s on the Padre’s Active roster for next season–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball?
I started playing baseball at 5.
2.) Did you always want to be a pitcher?
I pitched and played every position when I was younger.
3.) Describe what your Major League debut was like. What was going through your head?
Humbling. I was thinking, this is my shot.
4.) What does it feel like to be having success this early in your career?
Countless hours spent on the baseball diamond and working on being the best is starting to pay off.
5.) Do you like the NL, with the chance for you to hit? Or would you rather have someone hitting for you? (Like the DH in the AL.)
I like the NL. All 9 players in the field should hit.
6.) Which of your pitches is your favorite to throw? (Not necessarily your best pitch.)
7.) Favorite T.V. show?
I like storage wars.
8.) Favorite shoe brand?
9.) Favorite food?
10.) Favorite sport, besides baseball?
College basketball. (Michigan State.)
11.) Favorite type of music?
12.) Favorite moment of your baseball career thus far?
Making my MLB debut.
Big thanks to Anthony Bass for taking the time to answer my questions. You can follow him on twitter: @AnthonyBass45
Speaking of twitter, if you follow me then you might have seen my tweet on Monday stating that this Q and A entry was going to have a surprise at the end. Well, keep reading to find out what it is.
It all started with a simple question of whether or not Anthony Bass had any game used items left over from the season that he’d be willing to get rid of. I fully expected a polite, but firm, “no”, but that’s not what happened. Bass–being the awesome guy that he is–proceeded to offer me his AFL (Arizona Fall League) Batting Practice jersey. I was thrilled. To get something like that from a guy like him? I couldn’t believe it.
I sent my address, and told him where I wanted him to sign it. (Yes, he offered to autograph it too!) I then waited patiently for it to arrive in the mail, as it did on Saturday:
Notice the patch on the bottom right portion of the jersey? Here’s a closer look:
You can sort of see the autograph in the picture above, but here’s a better look at it:
I can’t begin to thank Anthony Bass enough. He’s truly an extremely nice guy, and I wish him nothing but the best as he continues his journey in the Majors. He’s one of those guys that you can’t help but root for.
I hope to meet Bass in person at a 2012 Padres game, to thank him for answering my questions and sending me his AFL BP jersey. If that happens, I’ll be sure to post an entry about it right here on my blog.
Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow everybody!!!