Gibbs Brings Solid Reputation to Boise

BOISE – One thing that rookie catcher Micah Gibbs isn't afraid to do is ask the questions needed to improve his skills. Gibbs, a third-round Cubs draft pick out of Louisiana State University last month, has found himself in a catcher's heaven at short-season Class Low-A Boise.

Hawks manager Jody Davis, a two-time All-Star and a Gold Glove-winning catcher, is Gibbs' mentor in his first year in the Cubs' organization.

"Hopefully I haven't asked him too many questions, but I've got a lot more so I'm trying to even it out through the days and ask him a couple questions here and there," Gibbs said. "I want to one day be like him. He was an All-Star two times and won a Gold Glove. That's definitely something I would like to achieve."

Davis has likewise taken advantage of coaching Gibbs. The familiarity of what it takes to be a major league catcher has helped.

"I think it's a given communication," Davis said. "We know what we are going through behind the plate, which makes it easy for me to communicate and talk to those guys. I can tell he's really been picking my brain, asking me a lot of questions. It's good to see a guy that into it."

Exposure to baseball started early in Gibbs' life and is something that has run in the family. Ben Gibbs, Micah's father, was a catcher at Kansas State.

"Every kid wants to be like their dad. I wanted to be a catcher, too, and of course I wanted to be better than him. Even when I was younger and knew I wasn't, I still told him I was. That's how I got into catching," Gibbs said.

While his dad's collegiate career at Kansas State was a predominate reason for his son's interest in the sport, the Wildcats weren't even an option for Micah Gibbs, he said.

"Kansas State sent me a letter, but they never called me so it wasn't too much of a choice," Gibbs said. "He kind of wanted me to go to Rice because it's a tremendous education and that's where my mom wanted me to go, too. But after they went to a couple LSU games and saw what the fans were like and how much they loved the game, they knew I made the right choice," said Gibbs.

At LSU, Gibbs earned a reputation as a big hitter. He batted .388 and slugged 10 home runs in his final college season, leading the Tigers in hitting.

But since arriving in Boise, Gibbs has struggled. He is currently batting just .093 between Boise and the Arizona league in 11 games.

"I definitely have lost it here in the first couple weeks, and I'm not really living up to that hype at LSU. It's kind of what you have to (do)," Gibbs said.

Although he is struggling, the coaches still see the talent Gibbs possesses.

"I think he's a good athlete number one, and I think time will tell what kind of a hitter he will be. I think the one thing he does do is keep his bat head in the strike (zone) for a long time and that lends itself to being a good hitter," Hawks assistant coach Gary Van Tol said.

LSU's reputation as one of the best college baseball programs in the nation has also helped ready Gibbs for major league play.

"It's the best you are going to get before the big leagues. We average 10,000 to 12,000 fans a game, have a brand new stadium with a big scoreboard, and you're not going to get anything like that until you get to the big leagues. We were really spoiled," Gibbs said.

"He comes from a really good program at LSU. He's very well schooled in the position that he is in and for the (Boise) club, he's going to be a real good leader and bring a lot of experience. He's a winner," Van Tol said.

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