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Micah Gibbs' Curious Failure

Matt Swain

Illinois engineering student, way too emotionally invested in the Cubs.

As part of a new strategy to provide the blog with more content, I'm going to try to start posting more often by expanding on shorter thoughts I had been expressing on Twitter. It's probably something I should have been doing for a long time, so I guess better late than never.


Drafted in the 3rd round out of SEC powerhouse Louisiana State, switch-hitting catcher Micah Gibbs was generally considered a pretty polished hitter. He finished up his 2010 season with a .388/.458/.592 line in the tough conference, showing a nice all-around bat that looked like it could be enough when matched with his defensive skills to propel him quickly towards the maojrs.

Well, two months after the draft, Gibbs hasn't had anything close to the start that most people would have anticipated, with an embarrassing .108/.200/.118 line for the short-season Boise Hawks, a low Class-A squad. So what gives?

Looking a little closer at the numbers, you'll notice that of his 10 hits, 7 have come against left-handed pitchers. Hitting from the right-handed batters box, Gibbs has been respectable at a .304/.407/.348 clip, which makes what has happened in the remainder of his at-bats even more remarkable.

Get this: Micah Gibbs is 3 for 75 as a professional hitter against right-handed pitching. He's hit just 2 line drives and has an OPS of 160.

That's astounding. I'll qualify this by saying it's an extremely small sample size that should be watched for a while longer before conclusions are reached. But as little as he is squaring up the ball, it seems like the best solution for Gibbs would be to drop left-handed hitting from his repertoire.

There is a precedent in the Cubs system in Ryan Theriot, for whom the move worked wonders, turning him into a major league player at a point in his career when that seemed entirely unlikely and earning him millions of dollars. Hopefully Micah will follow suit soon enough.



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1 Comment

baselines said:

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I've been shooting the games (photography), and have noticed that he tends to lean heavily on his back leg when he swings, often resulting in less-than-stellar wood on the ball. I am not an expert, but feel that if he would stay more upright, he would be able to square up the ball better and have success. He is a strong kid, but seems to be off balance. Just my opinion, of course; I am surprised that Jody hasn't noticed it from the 3rd base coach's box ...

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