In his first year of professional baseball, Kyle Gibson rocketed through three levels of the Minnesota Twins’ farm system and won the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year award.
And, according to him, it wasn’t even his biggest accomplishment of 2010.
Gibson, the former Mizzou pitcher, married Liz Straatman, the former Mizzou gymnast, a few months after his baseball season ended.
“That was probably the highlight of the year,” Gibson said of his marriage. Of course, that was the predictable answer coming from one of the more intelligent, down-to-earth athletes you’ll find.
“I bet he probably said getting married,” said former Mizzou pitching coach Tony Vitello with a laugh when asked what he thought Gibson said was his biggest accomplishment of the year. Vitello knows Gibson well—the current TCU coach went to his former pitcher’s wedding and conducted a pitching camp with Gibson in Indiana earlier this month.
There aren’t many things that would count as biggest accomplishments than what Gibson did on the field in 2010, though. Obviously, getting married is one of them.
Across Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A, Gibson posted a 2.96 ERA with 126 strikeouts and just 39 walks over 152 innings. But, more importantly, Gibson had a 2.31 ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio, meaning he induced about two ground balls for every fly ball allowed.
“It was important for me to get more ground balls, because the more pitches you allow the hitters to see, the better chance they have to get a hit,” said Gibson, adding that it became more important for him to get opposing batters to put the ball on the ground as he climbed higher in the minor leagues. “As you go up, the hitters are better, but as you go up, the defense gets better.”
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