Interview: Kyle Gibson

Gibson Interview.png
Back in 2006, Kyle Gibson was selected out of high school in the 36th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. The young right-hander opted for college, and for the past three years he spent his time pitching in the Big 12 for the Missouri Tigers.
Ranked as high as number four on draft prospect lists by Baseball America, the Twins were pleasantly surprised that the youngster fell their way. With the 22nd pick in the first round, the Minnesota Twins made Gibson their pick.
After this past season, it was discovered that Gibson had a stress fracture in his right forearm. The injury was not considered serious, and since being selected in the June draft, Gibson has went through rehab and is now completely recovered.
With one week remaining before the signing deadline, Gibson remains unsigned along with many other first round picks. The young righty was kind enough to answer some questions for an interview.
Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up, who was your favorite baseball team, and who were some of your favorite players?

Kyle Gibson:Growing up my favorite team was the Reds. But I have a buddy, Jake Fox, who is now with the Cubs and ever since they drafted him they have been my favorite team.

VFTT: What current player would you say you’re most like and why?

KG: Other than the difference in velocity, I feel I’m most like Justin Verlander. A tall, skinny guy who just allows his body to work with his arm.

VFTT: You were ranked as the 4th best draft prospect by Baseball America. What is it like to get that type of recognition and what does it mean to you?

KG: To get that type of recognition is awesome! God has blessed me with the talents that I have and parents that really care about me, so that helps as well. Without them I would not have been able to get as far as I have.

VFTT: Where were you when you were drafted by the Minnesota Twins, how did you find out, and what was the feeling like?

KG: I was in my front yard watching it on TV with a bunch of friends and family, and it was a great feeling!

VFTT: Since being selected, what has the entire process been like?

KG: The process has been very protocol for a first round pick. There was a long time where nothing got done because we were waiting on my arm to heal. But now the negotiations are working and going pretty good.

VFTT: You suffered a fracture in your right forearm prior to the draft. Where are you in the recovery stage, how difficult has it been to handle, and what do you believe was the cause?

KG: My arm feels great. I have been throwing for about two and a half weeks and it feels awesome! It was a crazy five days once I found out, but everything worked out for a reason. We believe the cause of the stress fracture was just throwing while tired and not getting enough rest and recovery.

VFTT: The good news on the injury front is that it isn’t a long term thing. Do you expect to have the same velocity, movement, and repertoire as before? And, is it true that you were going to take this time off before pitching again anyways?

KG: It is true that I was going to take 6-8 weeks off anyways. I had thrown five or six complete games and heard somewhere that I averaged 110 pitches per start. That is including a start of 45 pitches at Oklahoma State and a start of 70 in the Big 12 tourney. So my arm had a long year and it needed some rest! As for my return, I should be as healthy and as strong as before. My forearm should actually be stronger than it was before because that is just the trend with stress fractures. My arm feels really fresh right now so I should have all the velocity, and the change up has felt as good as ever this early in my return so that is good as well.

VFTT: What do you feel is your biggest strength, and what is one thing you’re looking to most improve upon?

KG: My biggest strength is probably the fact that I can throw all three of my pitches for strikes in any count. I pride myself on that and not walking guys. My biggest thing I need to work on would probably be making sure my stuff is as good from the stretch as it is from the wind up. I got much better at that this year but still need to work on that.

VFTT: What is your goal for the rest of the year, and what are you looking to do in the off-season?

KG: My main goal for this fall is to get back into the swing of things on the mound and get my comfort level back after taking time off. I also want to make a good impression in my first couple months as a Twin.

VFTT: Through little league, high school, and college what is your greatest baseball moment?

KG: I think my favorite baseball moment is a three way tie. My senior year I was one strike away from back-to-back no hitters in the post season! Then two of them from this year are the fact that I was able to throw a complete game in five of my first six Big 12 games with all of them being against teams ranked in the top 25 at that time; that was a blast. The favorite being against number one Texas. Then the last one was this year as well. Being able to throw 15 innings to end the year without giving up a run, and doing it all with a stress fracture and not knowing it! That was fun and it was challenging at the same time.

VFTT: Who is one person or a few people who helped you along the path to get into professional baseball?

KG: I would say my dad is the biggest person who has helped through the years. He has been able to help me in every way I have needed and it has been great to have a family like mine who can back me all the way.

VFTT: What do you think it would be like to make a major league debut with the Twins?

KG: I get really excited to think about my major league debut and I think it will be an absolute blast to do it with the Twins! I hope that I can get up there as soon as possible and help contribute wherever I can.

VFTT: The Big Question – How confident are you that you’ll sign by the August 17th deadline?

KG: Right now I am not sure how confident I am. That is an issue that will be figured out on Monday.

Quick Five:

Favorite baseball movie? For Love of the Game
Superstitions? None
Pre-game meal? I love a good steak, but never have a chance for that pregame. Anything really, just as long as my stomach is nice and full!
Do you wear a particular number? #44 for college, and just because it was the number available to me. It has grown on me!
Weirdest thing someone has said to you at a game? In high school my junior year when I was about 6’3″ and 160 pounds someone yelled, “Hey daddy long legs, throw the ball!” That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard.
I’d again like to thank Kyle for taking some time to answer these questions and wish him the best of luck with his signing and hopefully his future with the Minnesota Twins organization.

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