Tigers Scouting Report #44: Tyler Gibson

After being drafted in the middle rounds of the 2011 draft, the Tigers were able to pry him away from his college commitment with a big signing bonus. What makes the toolsy outfielder so impressive, and where's his risk?

Tyler Gibson

Vitals

Position: Outfielder
Date of Birth: 6/17/1993 (2014 Opening Day Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6-2/200
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Acquired: 2011 Draft, 15th Round
Ranking History: #12 (2012), #31 (2013), #44 (2014)

Background: Over-slot signing in the 15th round in 2011 that signed for $550,000. Struggled in his full debut at the rookie level in 2012, hitting just .167/.295/.253 in 52 games. Improved but continued to struggle after a promotion to short-season Connecticut in 2013, hitting .203 with seven extra-base hits in 45 games.

Performance:

2013 Tyler Gibson Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
Connecticut 138202833112226493.203.313.290


Scouting Report

Body: Physical specimen; extremely impressive; exceptional athleticism; natural strength is very good; long/lean athlete; room to add more strength without sacrificing flexibility and fast-twitch potential; can dream on the body; plus-plus.

Hit: Gaping holes; can swing through mediocre stuff in the strike zone; has an idea/plan at the plate; knows the strike zone but has no pitch recognition ability; completely lost with spin and soft stuff; has plus bat speed but gets long to the ball when he gears up to drive it; can catch up to good velo when he stays short; more frequently swings through velocity as he tries to do some damage with the swing; pitch recognition has to come a long way for hit tool to have any potential; showed minimal feel for hitting last year; hit tool will limit ultimate development; don't see hit projection at all. Grade – Present 2/Future 2

Power: Big raw with potential for even more; power comes from multiple sources; strong, leveraged swing at times; quick and compact swing with plus bat speed at other times; both variations can drive the ball out of the park to all fields; power doesn't play in games because of poor feel for hitting; minimal hit projection will always keep power from showing in games; could run into the occasional ball as he matures; has approach to make it work if he can improve feel for the barrel; raw power flashes plus but plays down to below-average and likely will not manifest to such a degree. Grade – 4/5

Speed: Quality run; runs better underway; can be a little slow out of the box but shows easy plus speed when he gets going; speed plays more solid- to above-average home to first; plays plus in the outfield; has speed to handle center field; overall above-average runner with improving instincts that could allow run to ultimately play in plus range; athleticism should allow speed to remain in game even if he bulks up a bit through physical maturity. Grade – 5+/6

Defense: Showing improvement in the outfield; still new to the position after playing SS in high school; takes more direct routes to the ball; jumps can still be a half-tick late on the ball; glove projects better on OF corner than in CF; potential above-average defender in left field or right field; can cover ground and track in the gaps. Grade – 4/5

Arm: Below- to fringe-average arm strength; doesn't play in RF and can be troublesome in CF at times; fits best in LF; has improved some as a pro but still less than average; throwing mechanics and release are inconsistent, resulting in erratic velocity and accuracy. Grade – 4/4+

Other: Good makeup; easy going attitude; can look like he doesn't care on the field but has intense competitive drive; open to instruction but can struggle applying lessons to game action; still learning nuances of the game and improving instincts; exceptional athlete but the game doesn't come naturally to him.

Final Word

Summary: Impressive set of tools; impressive athlete; great combination to have; hit projection is limiting factor and will prevent offensive progress, including realization of raw power in game situations; extremely raw and will need unrealistic hit tool improvement to approach an MLB future; tools and athleticism drive the profile; lottery ticket.

Risk: Extreme risk; minimal natural feel for the game; poor performance at lowest levels; hit tool is key to profile and lacks projection; long shot.

Projection: Lottery ticket that could click and shoot through the lower levels over the next two to three years, or he could be out of the game in two years. Ultimate ceiling rests in the above-average regular range but there is minimal chance he approaches that projection. More likely an organizational player or ultimately a toolsy non-prospect that can't make it click.

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