What the Numbers Don't Tell You

PORTLAND, ME - Derrik Gibson, the Portland Sea Dogs' starting shortstop, is batting .189 with no home runs and 7 RBIs through 19 games this year. For the casual fan it might be easy to overlook Boston's 2008 second round draft pick in favor of a guy with a better stat line. The general consensus from the coaching staff: Don't sleep on Gibson.

The numbers rarely tell the whole story and with such a small sample size, manager Kevin Boles and hitting coach Dave Joppie are not worried about Gibson's batting average.

"The numbers can be deceiving in terms of what types of at-bats he is putting together," coach Joppie said, "the approach has been there...he has scored the ball very well, especially with two strikes, and has hit a lot of balls right at people."

Thursday night's game against the Trenton Thunder was a perfect example of that. Gibson went 0-4 on the night but worked the counts very well, seeing at least five pitches in three of his at-bats.

In the bottom of the fifth inning he hit a sharp liner right at Abraham Almonte, Trenton's right-fielder, and in the seventh hit a deep fly to the centerfield warning track that Melky Mesa barely got to. Both balls were well struck well but simply didn't find the gap.

When asked what the numbers don't tell us about Derrik Gibson, manager Kevin Boles had a lot to say. "What I can tell you is that he has a real balanced approach at the plate, he has been driving the ball to all fields. He is being aggressive. That is something that we like to see . . . He has managed his at-bats and has done a quality job for us.

"Defensively, "Derrik shows above average range and has plus arm strength. He centers the ball well and always seems to be in the right position."

Last year Gibson hit .240 for Single-A Salem but didn't start to find his groove until late in the season.

"I struggled a little bit in Greenville and Salem and it finally clicked for me in Salem in the second half," Gibson said.

The 6-foot-1 shortstop worked hard to develop some consistency to his swing and his approach at the plate. A busy offseason spent working out and doing drills helped him with that.

""I wanted to pick up where I left off [from the second half of last season]," Gibson added. "I did a lot of front toss with a guy that has seen me swing for a long time." Gibson also worked with an under-sized glove and bat to help hone his hand-eye coordination.

"In baseball you are not going to be perfect but you try to perfect your plan at the plate. You want to be a tough out at all times and not miss your pitch. I want to battle," he said.

Nearly twenty games after making the tough jump from Single-A to Double-A, Dave Joppie thinks that Gibson is transitioning very well.

"In the past Derrik has had the tendency to be somewhat passive at the plate and he is getting to the point where he is trusting his swing and he is trusting his approach a lot more than he has in the past," Joppie said, "realizing that he can drive the baseball."

Gibson will continue to work on maintaining an aggressive approach at the plate and slowing the game down defensively but the front office is not worried about the numbers.

"He has the ability to handle the bat well." Joppie explained. "He can put a bunt down when you need it, execute a hit and run, so there are a lot of situational things that Derrik has done that benefits the team but doesn't show up in the box score. So, we look beyond the stats."


Diehard Magazine Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThe numbers rarely tell the whole story and with such a small sample size, manager Kevin Boles and hitting coach Dave Joppie are not worried about Gibson's batting average.
\r\n
\r\n\"The numbers can be deceiving in terms of what types of at-bats he is putting together,\" coach Joppie said, \"the approach has been there...he has scored the ball very well, especially with two strikes, and has hit a lot of balls right at people.\"
\r\n
\r\nThursday night's game against the Trenton Thunder was a perfect example of that. Gibson went 0-4 on the night but worked the counts very well, seeing at least five pitches in three of his at-bats.
\r\n
\r\nIn the bottom of the fifth inning he hit a sharp liner right at Abraham Almonte, Trenton's right-fielder, and in the seventh hit a deep fly to the centerfield warning track that Melky Mesa barely got to. Both balls were well struck well but simply didn't find the gap.
\r\n
\r\nWhen asked what the numbers don't tell us about Derrik Gibson, manager Kevin Boles had a lot to say. \"What I can tell you is that he has a real balanced approach at the plate, he has been driving the ball to all fields. He is being aggressive. That is something that we like to see . . . He has managed his at-bats and has done a quality job for us.
\r\n
\r\n\"Defensively, \"Derrik shows above average range and has plus arm strength. He centers the ball well and always seems to be in the right position.\"
\r\n
\r\nLast year Gibson hit .240 for Single-A Salem but didn't start to find his groove until late in the season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I struggled a little bit in Greenville and Salem and it finally clicked for me in Salem in the second half,\" Gibson said.
\r\n
\r\nThe 6-foot-1 shortstop worked hard to develop some consistency to his swing and his approach at the plate. A busy offseason spent working out and doing drills helped him with that.
\r\n
\r\n\"\"I wanted to pick up where I left off [from the second half of last season],\" Gibson added. \"I did a lot of front toss with a guy that has seen me swing for a long time.\" Gibson also worked with an under-sized glove and bat to help hone his hand-eye coordination.
\r\n
\r\n\"In baseball you are not going to be perfect but you try to perfect your plan at the plate. You want to be a tough out at all times and not miss your pitch. I want to battle,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nNearly twenty games after making the tough jump from Single-A to Double-A, Dave Joppie thinks that Gibson is transitioning very well.
\r\n
\r\n\"In the past Derrik has had the tendency to be somewhat passive at the plate and he is getting to the point where he is trusting his swing and he is trusting his approach a lot more than he has in the past,\" Joppie said, \"realizing that he can drive the baseball.\"
\r\n
\r\nGibson will continue to work on maintaining an aggressive approach at the plate and slowing the game down defensively but the front office is not worried about the numbers.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has the ability to handle the bat well.\" Joppie explained. \"He can put a bunt down when you need it, execute a hit and run, so there are a lot of situational things that Derrik has done that benefits the team but doesn't show up in the box score. So, we look beyond the stats.\"
\r\n
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