Happy To Be A Twin

Kyle Gibson doesn't mind sliding to the 22nd overall pick

Click here to see the complete Twins draft class of 2009 and track signings

MINNEAPOLISKyle Gibson tried to make sure that all the teams interested in him before the draft knew about his arm injury. The Missouri righthander suffered a stress fracture in his right ulna May 30, and he wanted all the teams to receive copies of an MRI report.
The Twins took pitchers with their first four picks. RHP Kyle Gibson's success will depend on his recovery from a stress fracture in his forearm, but the Twins got depth in LHP Matt Bashore (supplemental first round) and power relief RHPs Billy Bullock (second) and Ben Tootle (third). Golden Gophers 2B Derek McCallum (fourth) and OF Eric Decker (21st) have upside, particularly Decker if the Twins buy him away from football.

But he ran out of copies. One team (Boston) said it couldn't take a chance on drafting the 6-foot-6, 210 pound Indiana native without seeing the MRI. Things worked out just fine for Gibson, however, when the Twins selected him with the 22nd overall pick. That spot was fine with Gibson, who before the injury had been predicted to go in the top five or 10.

"I'm happy I fell to the Twins," said the second-team all-American, who was 10-3,  3.47 this spring with 123 strikeouts and only 18 walks in 99 innings. "I think it's a really good organization to be in. They have a great track record with pitchers."

Gibson's stock fell dramatically after the injury. He began feeling discomfort about six weeks before the draft but wasn't overly affected until his final two starts at Missouri. He lost velocity, going from the low 90s to the low 80s. There was great relief when the stress fracture was discovered, since an elbow injury and possible Tommy John surgery was feared.

"They have full confidence that I'm going to be healthy, and I have full confidence that I'm going to be healthy," Gibson said. "I'm the kind of guy that wants to go out and compete, and I knew that it wasn't my elbow. The only thing I know how to do is go out there and give my team a chance to win."

Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said the Twins landed a top-notch pitcher with character to match.

"His character is off the charts. His work ethic is off the charts. His athleticism is off the charts," Jamieson said. "The thing that made the difference for him was his willingness to do those things to get stronger, to get better. The only way that happens is through hard work."

Gibson could be throwing again by mid to late July. The Twins were willing to take what they considered a minor gamble and draft him, knowing his upside.

Gibson has a fastball-slider-changeup mix, throwing a fastball with good sink and tailing action. He throws a crisp slider at 82-85 mph and a changeup with fade that can generate swings and misses. He has exceptional command and pitchability. He repeats his smooth delivery easily, and his big frame has him throwing on a steep downhill plane.

Twin Killings

• With a compensation pick (No. 46 overall), the Twins took Indiana lefthander Matt Bashore. His fastball hits 94 mph and like Gibson, he has good size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and throws a solid changeup and breaking pitches.

• A third big college pitcher, 6-foot-6, 225 pound University of Florida righthander Billy Bullock, was the Twins' second-round pick. He was a strong in relief this spring and was viewed as one of the best draft-eligible pitchers in the Southeastern Conference. His fastball has hit 97 mph and he adds a slider and changeup.