Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft, 15th Round
Ranking History: #12 (2011)
A 15th round pick in 2011, Gibson had a firm commitment to play baseball at Georgia Tech before the Tigers made a strong push and pulled him away from his commitment with a $500,000 signing bonus. He signed late and played only four games in the GCL that summer, hitting just .143.
As a 19-year old in 2012 the Tigers again assigned him to the GCL where he struggled to adjust to the lofty competition of the pro game. In 52 games split mostly between center field and left field, Gibson hit just .167 and struck out 68 times in just 221 plate appearances. He did manage to walk 30 times, steal 18 bases and pick up ten extra-base hits.
It all starts and ends with the physicality and the athleticism for Gibson. A physical specimen, Gibson looks bigger than his listed height and weight. He is a strong, well-built guy with explosive athleticism and exceptional physical projection.
Gibson is a legit plus runner that will flash a little better speed once underway. He can cover plenty of ground in the outfield and on the bases, but his instincts remain extremely raw. He was caught stealing seven times in just 25 attempts last year and struggles to read pitchers and get a good jump. He could steal 20-25 bases per year if his instincts develop.
In the outfield, he makes up for some of his poor jumps with his speed but he must improve his reads off the bat if he wants to remain in center field long term. He is a converted shortstop that is still learning to play outfield so the required development is not a surprise. With a solid-average arm, he can fit in center field if the defense comes.
Gibson's size, strength and natural bat speed lend well to his power projection. He shows an ability to smoke the ball when he barrels it and also displays some ability to elevate the ball off the bat, giving him plus raw power and the potential for average in-game power.
Gibson's profile comes off the rails when talking of his hitting ability. He is extremely raw at the plate, frequently chasing secondary pitches out of the zone and getting caught out on his front foot. He recognizes fastballs and shows command of the strike zone when not forced to discern between fastballs and breaking balls. When pitchers resort to going soft or throwing spin at him, Gibson looks like a fish out of water. Any projection of his hit tool is a complete guess at this time and he will have to make massive adjustments to barrel the ball consistently and allow his other tools to be a factor in game situations.
The dream of what Gibson could be is significant. He has plenty of robust, explosive tools thanks to his natural athleticism, but those tools come at a price. Gibson is extremely raw and could remain that way for quite some time. If everything comes together, which is highly unlikely, Gibson's tools could make him a very good everyday outfielder.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% R
Gibson has not had any major injuries during his career.
Gibson needs time on the field to slow the game down and begin translating his considerable tools and potential to actual on-field skills. That time is likely to come in extended spring training in 2013 and he could easily spend another year trying to figure things out in the complex leagues.
With a player as raw and as toolsy as Gibson, it is easy to get caught up in the dream of what the player could be in a perfect world scenario. In reality, Gibson represents a lottery ticket for the Tigers; a ticket that could eventually pay off in a very talented player, but also a ticket with extremely long odds.
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