Tagged: Interview

Interview: Orlando Hudson

O-Dog.pngIn need of a second baseman, the Minnesota Twins waited until early February to make their move. The transaction came in the form of Orlando Hudson, a two-time All-Star and active participant in the community.
Orlando was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule, and just before team workouts begin next week, answer some questions for an interview on his decision to join the organization, his charity and more.
A Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up in South Carolina, who was your favorite baseball team, and who were a few of your favorite players?

Orlando Hudson: The New York Mets were my favorite team. Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey, Jr. were some of my favorite players.

AVFTT: Who is one person or a few people who have helped you along the path to professional baseball?

OH: My father and my uncles Lynwood and Boyd helped me a lot growing up. They would have me in the yard playing baseball all the time. My father showed me how to play the game as he was a great baseball player himself, and still loves to play today.

AVFTT: What is the greatest part of being a professional baseball player, and what are a few of your greatest memories?

OH: The greatest part of being a professional baseball player is that God chose only a few of us to play the hardest sport there is, and that makes us special. A few of my greatest memories are winning four gold gloves, making two all-star teams, and hitting for the cycle.

AVFTT: What has the experience been like to go from a late-round draft selection to a Gold Glove defender and an All-Star second baseman?

OH: It does not matter how early or late you go in the draft, what matters is working hard to get there and stay.

AVFTT: How difficult has it been to battle through thumb and wrist injuries throughout your career? What has helped get you through those tough moments?

OH: Prayer and family support has helped me to get through the tough injuries. They were just stepping stones God put in my path to make me stronger.

AVFTT: How do you feel right now? What is a normal day like for you during the off-season?

OH: I feel great right now. A normal day for me is getting up to hunt before day break then taking the kids to school. I go to the gym daily. I enjoy spending time with my family and children every day as well.

AVFTT: You founded the C.A.T.C.H. foundation, what is your primary goal with that charity, and what have been some of the best things that you’ve been able to do with it?

OH: The primary goal of the C.A.T.C.H. Foundation is to raise awareness and funds about autism while helping families and children cope with it. I have been able to have events in my home town and the city I play in, and raise money that is donated to SARRC, which is a foundation that deals with research for autism. In my home town of Darlington, the money goes to the county Autism Program.

AVFTT: The Twins’ organization has often been well connected with the community, what are some things you hope to do in your time with the organization and in the Twin Cities?

OH: I hope to raise awareness and funds for autism of course, but I also plan to work with the RBI program through my Around the Mound Tour which helps inner city kids get more involved in baseball.

AVFTT: You talked with several teams for quite some time before choosing Minnesota. Were the Twins interested early on, and what were some of the selling points that ultimately had you choose Minnesota?

OH: Yes, I talked with several teams, but the Twins were not one of them early on. Minneapolis is a great city and having to play with the best hitter in the game, Joe Mauer, are some of the reasons why I chose Minnesota. Not to mention the great fans!

AVFTT: What are your thoughts on having the chance to hit between Denard Span and Joe Mauer, and play with the likes of Jim Thome and Justin Morneau among others? 

OH: This will be one great experience with all the speed and power in the lineup.

AVFTT: Have you had the opportunity to see the team’s new stadium, Target Field? 

OH: I have not seen the stadium in person, but I have seen pictures and it looks nice. I know I am going to fr

AVFTT: You’re known as the O-Dog, where did that nickname come from? 

OH: O-Dog was a name that some of my boys came up with in high school after the movie ‘Menace to Society’ came out. My dad’s nickname is Dog.

AVFTT: You’re known as an outdoorsman who likes to both fish and hunt, are you excited to get outdoors in Minnesota this spring and summer? 

OH: I do like the outdoors because of its beautiful nature, but I do not plan to fish or hunt in Minnesota.

AVFTT: As you continue your career, what are your goals both on and off the field?

OH:: As I continue my career I would like to expand my foundation and open an autistic school in Darlington, South Carolina and hopefully one day make the Hall of Fame. I want to also be known as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball.

Interview: MLB 10: The Show’s Jody Kelsey

The Show InterviewOver one month before real baseball begins at Target Field, fans will have the opportunity to see the park in action. For the first time in a video game, baseball will be played outdoors in Minnesota, and Senior Producer of MLB 10: The Show, Jody Kelsey was kind enough to answer some questions.
From the difficult task of replicating Target Field before the team steps foot in the park as well as the Minneapolis skyline, to the decision on Joe Mauer gracing the cover, Kelsey shares insight on what the job entails and a few things fans can expect to see when the game hits shelves on March 2nd.
A Voice From Twins Territory: How long have you been working on Target Field to get it ready for the final version of the game?

Jody Kelsey: We start off our process with pre-development, which includes layout and the collecting of reference material. This took about one month. Once we’re ready with our references, the overall digital construction of the stadium is about two-three months in the making. The digital construction encompasses modeling, texturing and lighting.

AVFTT: What role did the Minnesota Twins organization play in the process of putting the ballpark together for the game?

JK: We have contacts with all the MLB teams, and our contact with the Minnesota Twins helped to provide us with the blueprints, as well as other instrumental reference photos during the stadium construction. We provided samples of specific details we’re looking for, one example being the type of tree species they will be planting within the batters eye, which they provided to us. We need to know all the details, big and small.

AVFTT: When you guys work on building a stadium, what are the steps? What type of research do you do, on-site visits, etc.

JK: After obtaining all the needed reference material, we go into the initial layout stage. Our main focus deals with important items such as wall dimensions, wall heights and field layout. We then go into construction and model detail. Accuracy is always on our mind, so during this process we continue to check for updated reference material to assure the model is as accurate as the real stadium. Texturing and lighting is the final stage in the development of the stadium. During this whole process, we do travel to the stadium sight if possible, obtaining photo and lighting reference allowing us to recreate the most realistic stadium experience for anyone playing in Target Field in MLB 10 The Show.

Mauer OnDeck2.png
AVFTT: When you guys went to Target Field, what were your initial impressions? What stuck out about the ballpark?

JK: Unfortunately, we did not actually make it to Target Field this year. We relied on the Twins to get us all the data and they were incredibly helpful.

AVFTT: What makes Target Field unique? What are a few things your team noticed that might stick out to fans and make the park different?

JK: I would have to say the detail that the stadium encompasses. Things like the unique lines of the Metropolitan Club to the metal detail running through the entrance plaza in left field. The stadium is packed with character even down to the dark green window color.

AVFTT: No sports video game has needed the Minneapolis skyline before; what went into developing this, and was it difficult because this will be the first game to feature it?

JK: Lots of internet research occurred to find building placement, building heights, etc. We also used existing city photos we have from previous visits for texture map accuracy. This combination allowed for an exact digital replica of the downtown Minneapolis.

AVFTT: The Metr
odome is no longer in use, will it remain in the game?

JK: Yes. We’ve added the Metrodome to our Classic Stadium collection joining Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium.

AVFTT: There is an all new presentation system and stadium realism; what type of new animations, celebrations, ballpark effects, presentation effects, etc. can gamers expect to see at Target Field and all other ballparks?

JK: Night time player lighting has a richer, more realistic feel to it, now that we are accounting for the self shadowing effects cast by the stadium bank lights. Day games will immediately look different, and you will feel the difference between 1pm and 3pm, both in the light energy, and the stadium cast shadows. Clouds now cast faint shadows on the world, which brings yet another realistic soft touch to the feeling of the visuals. Reflection and energy maps convey current time conditions, and are localized, so you can watch the reflection change in a baserunner’s helmet as he rounds the bases. Additionally, players populate dugouts and bullpens in real time and we’ve added stadium specific touches with scoreboards, jumbotrons, real-time clocks, splashcams, etc. We’ve also included crowd animation updates like stadium-specific behaviors such as animated objects, fireworks, splash counts, TB cowbell, and improved play-off atmosphere with additions such as noisemakers and rally towels.

AVFTT: Joe Mauer has become one of the game’s best, outside of that fact, what were the key reasons for choosing him as the 2010 cover athlete?

JK: Well, it’s impossible to ignore that Joe is one of the best players in baseball today and that is one of the reasons he’s a great fit for MLB 10 The Show. But, it’s also the entire body of work that he has put together in just a short time. His accomplishments at the age of 26 are almost unrivaled in the history of baseball. Joe is also just moving into the mainstream with people now understanding and appreciating the skill that he brings to game. On top of that, his range on the field links very well to what our game, The Show, really encapsulates, which is the deepest experience we can bring to your living room short of you actually putting on the equipment and getting on the field.

Interview: Joe Posnanski

Joe Posnanski is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. He’s written three books, wrote for The Kansas City Star from 1996 to 2009, has twice been voted as the Sports Columnist of the Year by the Associated Press, and has been nominated for a grand total of 21 sports writing awards. 

Posnanski covers many sports, but he’s well known for his baseball writing, and in recent years, his name has become even more widespread to Twins’ fans. He’s been very passionate about two causes that relate to Minnesota Twins fans in particular: Joe Mauer and the MVP, and Bert Blyleven and the Hall of Fame. 
Joe took some time out of his busy schedule to talk Mauer, Blyleven, writing, the Metrodome and more.

Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up, what was your favorite baseball team, and who were some of your favorite players? 

Joe Posnanski: Well, I was a hardcore Cleveland Indians fans in the 1970s and my favorite player, without question, was Duane Kuiper, a gutsy second baseman who could not run fast or hit with power or hit much at all. But I loved him just the same. Loved pretty much all those Indians – Buddy Bell, Andre Thornton, Rico Carty (who would keep his wallet in his baseball pants and would not slide), Len Barker, Frank Duffy, Rick Manning, … well, just say all those Indians players. 

VFTT: What was your childhood dream, did you always know that you wanted to be a sports writer? What influenced this decision? 

JP: My childhood dream was to play second base for the Cleveland Indians. And if that did not work out, I was willing to be an overachieving wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. And if that didn’t work out, I had an image of myself sprouting up so I could be a point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite all my backup plans, none of those things quite worked out. I did not think about becoming a sportswriter until college … my decision was basically influenced by flunking out of accounting. 

VFTT: What has it been like in the past year to have the opportunity to join Sports Illustrated as a senior writer covering Major League Baseball? 

JP: Well, the great thing about my job at Sports Illustrated is that I get to cover everything. Baseball is my calling card, I think, and I love it. I also love that when baseball season ends I’m writing football and when football season ends I’m writing basketball and golf … I love the variety of my job. 

VFTT: What are your thoughts on sabermetrics? How do you feel they change the way people look at players and baseball in general? 

JP: Well, sabermetrics, as I understand it, is the analysis of baseball through objective measures – so my general thoughts: I love that. I don’t agree with everything I see, and I don’t understand everything I see, but I like the idea of trying to find truth in baseball rather than just throwing out an opinion without some effort behind it. 

VFTT: Regarding sabermetrics, where do you cross the line? When is the time to ‘ignore’ them in certain cases when looking at players? 

JP: I don’t think you EVER cross the line in an effort to find truth in baseball or any sport. I think people can use statistics in a misleading way to prove a pre-determined point, and so I suppose that’s crossing the line. But that’s not really sabermetrics. And I don’t buy for one minute that the enjoyment of the game is in any way hindered by numbers. I get a huge thrill out of Albert Pujols’ wide stance, Carlos Beltran chasing down a fly ball, Tim Lincecum painting the outside corner with a 98-mph fastball, Evan Longoria making a diving play to his left, and a guy hustling up the line to beat out a double play. I love the big and small details of baseball. But that doesn’t prevent me from wanting to challenge what I see and know more than my observations can tell me. 

VFTT: You lobbied hard for Joe Mauer’s Most Valuable Player candidacy this season, what made you feel so strongly about him winning the award? 

JP: He was clearly the best player in the American League. I just thought it was so obvious that I had to write about it again and again – imagine, a catcher leading the league in batting, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. It had never happened before, and it’s one of the great accomplishments in baseball history. I hoped it would be rewarded, and I’m glad that it was rewarded. 

VFTT: You have stated that you felt Mauer should have won the Most Valuable Player award in both 2006 and 2008, did this make you push for him harder in 2009? 

JP: No, I don’t think so. I’m a big Joe Mauer fan. I love watching him play. I think he was underrated in 2006 and 2008 – I voted him MVP in 2008 and would have in 2006. But I think 2009 was a year apart even from those two seasons. 

VFTT: What do you feel Joe Mauer’s future holds? Do you see any way that Mauer is not a Twin after the 2010 season? 

JP: Well, I see a way, of course. If he pushed it, he could probably get $30 or $35 million a year. But I HOPE he stays a Twin because he means so much to the town and the Midwest in general. At the end of the day, I hope I would never tell anyone how to live their life. I would love to see Minnesota pay Mauer fair market value and I would love to see him stay there for his whole career. But that’s up to Mauer and the Twins. 

VFTT: You have a Hall o
f Fame vote and it’s been said that you are ‘obsessed’ with the process of filling out your ballot, is this true? 

JP: I would say that’s probably true – but I don’t think it makes me different from many Hall of Fame voters. Most of the voters I know take the process very seriously. 

VFTT: You watched Bert Blyleven growing up, what were your impressions of him at that period in time? 

JP: I thought he had the best curveball I had ever seen. It was a Bugs Bunny curveball that would start at your eyes and end up at your toes. I know that generally he was not viewed as a big star, but I thought he was just awesome when he pitched for some lousy Cleveland teams in the 1980s. 

VFTT: You voted for Blyleven the first year you had the opportunity to vote, how strongly do you feel about him being in the Hall of Fame? 

JP: Well, as strongly as I can feel, I guess. I vote for him. I push for him. I probably won’t handcuff myself to Cooperstown doors … I leave that for Rich Lederer, who feels even more strongly than I do. 

VFTT: What are your key arguments of why Blyleven should be in the Hall of Fame? 

JP: Well, there are countless arguments both ways. I guess at the end of the day, my feeling is that a pitcher who is fifth all-time in strikeouts, ninth all-time in shutouts and 27th all-time in victories belongs in the Hall of Fame. 

VFTT: What do you think other voters who don’t vote for Blyleven see? Why has it taken so long for people to begin to vote for him? 

JP: Well, there are arguments against Blyleven. He didn’t win 300 games, which is probably a silly line to draw but it is a pretty clear-cut line – if Blyleven had won 13 more games he would have gone to the Hall in one of his first three ballots, I bet. He only won 20 games once – another silly line in my mind but it’s there. His winning percentage is low for a great pitcher, and fairly or unfairly he really did not have a reputation as a great pitcher. It just takes a while for all that to flush through the system, I think. 

VFTT: After getting 74.2 percent of the vote, is it a guarantee that Blyleven will get in next year? 

JP: There are no guarantees in life, but I’d say he’s 99% sure. 

VFTT: You’ve twice been named the best sports columnist in America and have been nominated for over 20 other awards, what has that all been like? 

JP: My mother always says that with all my awards and 4 bucks I can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It is really nice that people have thought enough of me to give me some awards and I’m very appreciative. But I also know that’s not what this is all about. 

VFTT: What is your favorite part of covering major league baseball on a daily basis? 

JP: Well, I don’t quite get out there on a daily basis, but I love the whole thing – love watching batting practice, love watching infield (when they do it), love everything about the daily process of baseball. 

VFTT: What is the best event that you have witnessed in person in your time covering baseball and sports in general? 

JP: I’ve been to so many great things. The Jeter home run shortly after 9/11 was incredible. But I’ve really seen a lot of great stuff. 

VFTT: The Minnesota Twins will be outdoors next season, have you seen the new stadium, and what are your impressions? 

JP: I have seen the stadium, and it looks absolutely beautiful. I know people talk about the weather a lot, but I know that June and July and August in Minnesota are about as beautiful as anyplace in America, and it always made me sad to go inside and play ball on those days.  

VFTT: Do you think weather will be a factor in Minnesota any more than it is in Detroit, Cleveland and other colder cities? 

JP: Probably not. I was lectured by my friend Jeff Shelman on that very subject when I brought it up. Early April could be brutal, late October could be brutal, but generally it is not much different from my own Cleveland hometown. 

VFTT: As the team leaves the Metrodome, what are your impressions of the facility and your greatest memories of the park? 

JP: Well, it’s weird … I always liked the Metrodome in an odd way. It was a great place to cover a baseball game – ev
erything was easy there. It may not have been a great place to watch baseball, but for a writer who just wants access to and good sight lines and all that, it was pretty great. And I liked the possibility that a player would lose the ball in the roof. 

My greatest memory there, without question, was Buck O’Neil Day. I was traveling with Buck then to write my book “The Soul of Baseball” and they had Buck O’Neil Day – gave out baseball cards with him on it, brought in celebrities like Tony Oliva – and it was just beautiful. Minneapolis is one of my favorite places in the world, and that’s a big reason why.

Interview: Ben Tootle

Tootle Interview.png
The Minnesota Twins were pitching heavy in the 2009 Draft, and after selecting pitchers in the first round, compensation round, and second round, the team continued the trend in the third round when they selected right handed pitcher Ben Tootle from Jacksonville State University.
Tootle went a combined 19-9 in his career at Jacksonville State, and was highly regarded by many teams. Named as one of the best prospects in the Cape Cod League, Tootle throws a mid-90s fastball that has touched 99 MPH according to reports.
After signing with the organization quickly, Tootle headed to play for the Elizabethton Twins. Thus far, Tootle has appeared in six games and pitched 6.1 innings allowing no runs and an opponents batting average of just .190.
Ben took some time to answer a few questions for an interview.
Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up, what was your favorite team, and who were a few of your favorite players?

Ben Tootle: My favorite team is the Atlanta Braves, and my favorite player has always been John Smoltz.

VFTT: You were ranked by some as the 4th best prospect in the Cape Cod League. What does that mean to you?

BT: Being ranked is neat, but it really didn’t mean too much to me because it’s basically just someone’s opinion or projection. I try not to think about what others think I am or could be, I just like to play.

VFTT: Had you talked with scouts, and were you expecting to be selected when you were?

BT: I talked with scouts the entire year, but they told me many different things. The draft is so crazy that it’s hard to tell when you will actually go. 

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

BT: I was at my apartment in Jacksonville, AL with my parents. It was basically a big relief that it was over and I’d be taking the next step in my career.

VFTT: Going from being selected, to working on getting signed, to getting started in games, what is the entire process like?

BT: The drafting and signing process isn’t something I enjoyed, honestly. I’m happiest when I’m actually on the field. The process in between just gets me to that point and you have to do it.

VFTT: What have been your initial impressions of professional ball since your debut?

BT: My initial impression was that there is such a variety of cultures and different people from different parts of the world who are talented and come together to play on one team.

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

BT: My goal for Elizabethton is to get adjusted to pro ball life and get better. My off-season goal is to get stronger and work on my skills.

VFTT: Through little league, high school, college, and even the first games at Elizabethton, what is your greatest baseball moment?

BT: My greatest baseball achievement I think is my summer in the Cape Cod league. All my drills, bullpens, long toss and conditioning paid off and everything came together for me to put forward a great summer for myself.

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

BT: My parents have supported me my entire life and were very supportive during the whole draft and signing period, so they had the biggest impact. Coach Case at Jacksonville State definitely helped me a lot, believing in me during my three years at Jacksonville, so he also had a huge impact in getting me to where I wanted to go.

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

BT: Making a major league debut for me would be a dream come true because it’s what every player wants to achieve. I would not take it for granted and would soak up the entire experience to remember every detail.

Quick Thoughts:
Favorite baseball movie? Rookie of the Year
Superstitious? I toss some dirt after my last warmup pitch every inning. I don’t know why, I just do it. 
Pre-game meal? Don’t have one.
Do you wear a particular number? I try to get number 13. If not, the closest number to it. When I was younger everyone said it was unlucky so I wanted it to prove them wrong.
I’d like to thank Ben for taking some time to answer these questions, and wish him the best of luck for the remainder of the season at Elizabethton.

Interview: Matthew Bashore

Bashore Interview.png
With a compensation pick sandwiched between the first and second rounds, the Minnesota Twins used the 46th overall pick in the June draft to select left-handed pitcher Matthew Bashore from the University of Indiana.
Bashore was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, once on the first team and once on the second. He finished one strikeout shy of the school record with 108 strikeouts last season, and he signed quickly after being selected and has already made his professional debut with the Elizabethton Twins.
Matt took some time to step away from the field and answer some questions.
Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up, what was your favorite baseball team, and who were some of your favorite players?

Matthew Bashore: Growing up in Ohio my favorite team was the Indians and my favorite players were Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, and Sandy Alomar Jr.

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

MB: A current player that I am most like would be Andy Petite. I think he was my dad’s favorite pitcher and my dad taught me to pitch after him.

VFTT: What was the college experience like, and what does it mean to you to make two All Big Ten teams?

MB: The college experience was great for me because it taught me so many things. It helped me grow up and learn to be on my own.

VFTT: Had you talked with scouts, and were you expecting to be selected when you were?

MB: Yeah, I had talked to scouts and I went around where they seemed to say I would.

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

MB: When I got drafted I was watching it on the computer at my parents house with my family and girlfriend. It was funny because some teams were outspoken about what they thought of me and showed interest. The Twins were very quite about it with me. So when it was their turn to pick and they selected me, I was already looking ahead to see who I thought maybe would pick me.

VFTT: What have been your initial impressions of professional ball since you made your debut? 

MB: My initial impressions of pro ball are great, I enjoy the freedoms that come with pro ball compared to college ball. It’s hard to complain or have a bad impression when your getting paid to play baseball.

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

MB: I feel that my biggest strength is my mental strength. I am always composed and can always relax myself. I feel that I can push myself harder and further than others. The biggest thing that I look to improve on would be getting a good change-up. When I get a grasp for that pitch I will become a more complete pitcher. 

VFTT: Through little league, high school, college, and even the first games with Elizabethton, what is your greatest baseball moment?

MB: Throughout my baseball career my favorite baseball moment would be in legion ball when I was in high school. I had pitched a good ten inning game and I was being DH’d for until the bottom of the tenth. We were down by two and the coach let me hit for myself with the bases loaded. I hit a ball which I thought was gone so I was jogging a little to first. It hit the wall so I started running hard. I tried to stretch it into a triple and the ball kicked away into the dugout. So I then got home for what I call a walk off grand slam.


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

MB: The one person who has helped me the most would be my father. He has put so much time and energy into helping me with the game and I wouldn’t be the player or person I am without him.

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

MB: To make a major league start with the Twins would be an amazing feeling. I have a lot of hard work to get there but that thought helps me push myself each and everyday.

Quick Questions:
Favorite baseball movie? Major League
Superstitious? Yes, I am superstitious but only on the days I pitch. I have a pair of sliders that I only wear on the days I pitch and whatever I do inbetween innings I’ll do exactly again if I have a good inning. I’ll sit in the same spot if I have a good inning, but if I don’t, I’ll sit somewhere else. 
Do you wear a particular number? Any number the Twins give me I’ll wear, I just want one. But if I had a choice my favorite number is 22.
I’d like to thank Matt for taking some time to answer these questions and wish him the best for the remainder of the season at Elizabethton.

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 GibsonGrowing 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.