This interview was conducted by Nate Rowan, a recent graduate of Concordia College, Moorhead where he majored in Print Journalism and Communications, and did play by play work for Cobber athletics.
Kyle Gibson was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the first round (22nd overall) in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Missouri. In 2010, spending time at single-A Fort Myers, double-A New Britain and triple-A Rochester, Gibson was 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 26 starts including two complete games. He walked only 39 batters in 152 innings of work.
So far this season, Gibson is 3-7 with a 3.89 era in 14 starts. He was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 29. In that stretch, Gibson posted a 2-0 record with a 1.42 ERA in two starts while surrendering just seven hits in 12 2/3 innings.
Nate: I understand you are a recent newlywed; talk about that a little bit and how marriage has changed your perspective on the game of baseball?
Kyle: "Through the years of growing up and maturing, even through college, I learned quickly that baseball is important, very important, but in the grand scheme of things it is always important that baseball is kept in its spot on my list of priorities. And even though it is a job field that is extremely fun and enjoyable, it cannot take precedence over other things in my life.
Nate: Talk about your recruitment and decision to attend the University of Missouri. It seems like the Tigers continually produce some of the top pitchers in the college game. Why do you think that is?
Kyle: "Coach [Tony] Vitello, who is now a recruiting coordinator at TCU, saw me play the summer after my junior year and was the last school to get involved in the recruiting process. I just really liked the school, the coaches, and their facilities. Combine all of those things with the level of play in the Big 12 conference, and that is the reason Missouri was the right choice for me. I think Missouri is really good at developing pitchers because they have a philosophy very similar to a professional pitching staff. Attack the zone and go at contact. Do not walk guys and make them swing.
Nate: Last season you were named the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year; who or what do you credit the most in your development since joining the Twins organization?
Kyle: "I think there are a lot of pitching coaches to thank for my development. I was a process last year for me to get used to the pro ball game and making sure my body was ready for the five day rotation. That and getting my pitches ready and more refined were two things that really helped me throughout the season. And of course the defense always plays good, and that helps a lot.
Nate: You were named the top prospect in the Twins organization by Baseball America in 2011. What has the Twins Front Office revealed to you about their plans for your development and can Twins fans expect a Kyle Gibson sighting at Target Field in 2011?
Kyle: "The front office never really reveals too many plans to players because they always want you working hard toward a goal of being a big league player and not to get complacent. I think they want me to just try and keep developing, and making everything I do a little bit better each time out. All that I have heard from them is keep working and trying to get myself in a situation that if I am called up at whatever point in my career that is, that I can be at my best and make a good effort of sticking in the big leagues. They have made it clear that they do not want to rush me too much, and they said when I am ready, they will call me up. I believe that very much and that makes it easy for me. I just have to go out and work hard, and try and get better and allow the front office to make the decision when I am ready."
Nate: Talk about your repertoire of pitches for those unfamiliar with you and what would you consider as your “out” pitch?
Kyle: "Well I think what makes me the pitcher I am, is the fact that I will throw any pitch in any count for a strike when I am feeling at my best. But if I need to go to a certain pitch for a strikeout it’s probably going to be a slider most of the time on a righty and a changeup or a slider on a lefty. But on the good days sometimes they all can be go-to pitches. But those days don’t happen very often!"
Nate: You talked about the Twins system earlier and how they have developed you. How have you progressed this season, what aspect of the game has improved the most and what would you like to better in your own personal game?
Kyle: "Well each outing I have felt as if I have learned something. My main goal is to get experience and make sure there is no situation I haven't been in, and no situation I can’t work through. I think the main thing I need to work on now is [fastball] command and throwing not just strikes, but quality strikes in the location where I want to throw them."
Nate: The Twins have had injury problems all season long and that has affected the personnel with the Red Wings. What affect does that have on you, if any, and what are you doing personally in an attempt to avoid missing any action?
Kyle: "I would say it hasn't affected me too much except for having a lot of different guys on the team. But that has been fun to meet a lot of people and get to play the game with them. To stay healthy it’s a couple things; try and rest plenty, try and keep up on my workouts and training room work. But so far this year, God has blessed me with good health and I hope it keeps staying that way!"
Nate: It's game day at Frontier Field and you are scheduled to start. What is your routine the day of the game and do you do anything that would be called "out of the ordinary"?
Kyle: "My routine is show up about three hours or so before the game and relax. Play cards, go out and watch some [batting practice], eat some food and just chill out a bit. Then about an hour and 15 min before game time start getting dressed, shower if I need to, and get in the training room to get a stretch from our trainer by 45 min prior to game time. Then 30 to 35 [minutes] before game time I get outside, stretch, throw and get ready. Nothing too out of the ordinary though."