You've discovered the home of one of Indiana's finest youth select clubs under the direction of the Bandits Youth Foundation, Inc. Bandits Baseball is in its 18th year of providing training for players ages 8 to 18. Bandits teams are not about winning at all cost, but rather seeing the "big picture" of a player's career. The Bandits stress fundamentals, knowledge and playing the game the right way. We're here to assist the player with achieving their goals, whether it be playing high school baseball or softball; college baseball or softball, or possibly beyond. The Bandits' program has produced scores of talented high school players and almost as many college players in the past 16 years. Feel free to browse our site and contact us if you should have any questions. Our mailing address is P.O.Box 156, Greenfield IN 46140.
The Tommy John rehabilitation is over. The hoopla surrounding his big league debut has passed.
Kyle Gibson is ready to get to the big leagues once again — and stay there.
Minnesota Twins’ pitchers and catchers are due to report to the franchise’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 16. At that time, Gibson, a 26-year-old Greenfield-Central graduate, will embark on the biggest spring training of his professional career as he competes for the No. 5 spot in the Twins’ starting rotation.
“He’s a big piece of the future of this club and we got him through (the 2013 season) healthy which was great,” said Terry Ryan, Minnesota’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “Now we’re hoping that he can take the next step — make this club and get to the point where he’ll give us a chance every time he takes the mound.”
After throwing 368 and a third innings over the better part of four years and overcoming “Tommy John” reconstructive surgery on his throwing elbow in September of 2011, Gibson made his major league debut on June 29, 2013.
A six-foot-6 right-hander, Gibson lasted 51 innings in the big leagues, compiling a 2-4 record with a 6.53 ERA in 10 starts before being sent down to Triple-A Rochester (N.Y.) on Aug. 19. Because of a predetermined innings limit, Gibson was shut down on Sept. 2 having thrown a combined 152 and two-thirds innings in 2013 between Rochester and the big leagues.
At this time last year, Gibson had fulfilled his goal of simply being healthy enough to compete for a spot on the Twins’ staff. Now, the 2009 first-round pick will battle a handful of other pitchers for the only open spot in Minnesota’s rotation.
“Competition is always a good thing in my mind. I think it makes everybody better, and I have a lot of respect for the guys I’ll be competing against,” Gibson said. “I want everybody to throw well and I want to get picked at the end of spring training. That’s the plan.”
When Gibson was called up to the bigs last June, the former Missouri Tiger joined a squad that wound up losing at least 96 games for the third year in a row. The Twins’ rotation posted the second-worst ERA in the American League for the third consecutive year and the club’s 2013 offense ranked near the bottom of the AL in runs scored, total bases, on-base percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage.
And when he actually toed the rubber, Gibson’s performance in the majors was uncharacteristic of his solid minor league numbers.
During his brief time with Minnesota, Gibson’s ERA (2.92 to 6.53), walks per nine innings (2.9 to 3.5) and WHIP (1.16 to 1.75) rose from his 2013 numbers at Rochester, while his strikeouts per nine innings rate declined from 7.7 to 5.1.
“Obviously, last year was a lot of fun and a learning experience for me. I feel like it definitely prepared me for this year. By all means, it didn’t go how I wanted it to go because I wanted a little more time up with the Twins, but that’s part of the learning curve. Overall, if I throw stats aside, I’m fairly pleased with how I progressed last year,” Gibson said. “But, baseball is a game of numbers and I feel like I can definitely do better.”
Gibson took note of the numbers, and he also heeded the advice given to him by the people in Minnesota directly invested in his success — particularly Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson and Ryan, who recently spent time with his young pitcher on the team’s Winter Caravan.
“His stuff was fine; it wasn’t as crisp as it can be or will be. He got deep into counts, he got behind in counts and unfortunately his pitch total got up there quickly. I don’t think he attacked as much as he probably should, can or will. That’s the only concern. I thought he pitched somewhat timid,” Ryan said. “Some of it was because of his injury, coming off that. His first time in the league, that’s another issue. It’s tough to do this up here as is, but he’s coming of that other stuff and he’s a rookie doing it — and we were struggling and couldn’t score runs.
“All in all, I can tell you that I am happy with where he is, but he can be a lot better than what we saw. I think everybody knows that.”
Everything Ryan mentioned was echoed by Gibson, who was also victim of old-fashioned bad luck at times. The batting average of major league hitters off Gibson on balls in play (.350) was significantly higher than the American League average of .298. Even when Gibson was ahead in the count, opposing batters hit .309 off of him, over 100 points higher than the AL average of .205.
The aforementioned balls-in-play and count averages tend to whittle down from the extremes with larger sample sizes, and that should especially be true with Gibson because his three primary pitches — a slider, changeup and a low-to-mid 90s sinking fastball, are rated as ‘plus’ pitches by scouts — an assessment Ryan endorsed, too.
To borrow a popular sporting cliché, Gibson simply wants to control what he can control — stay ahead in the count, be aggressive and make opposing hitters swing at the pitches he wants them to swing at. That logic applies to supremely talented players like Detroit Tigers’ first baseman Miguel Cabrera, the two-time defending American League MVP, too.
“You’re going to face hitters that are on a hot day. If you catch Miguel Cabrera on the wrong day, you might not be able to get him out if you face him 15 times,” Gibson said. “At the same time, if you’re facing him in 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 counts the whole day, then yeah, he’s going to have a chance to get a lot of hits because he knows the ball is going to be pretty close to the (strike) zone — if not in the middle of the zone. That’s a situation I put myself in quite a bit.”
Jim Callis, a reporter for MLB.com who has been covering prospects and the draft for over 25 years, has followed Gibson since his senior year at G-C. Callis said Gibson’s struggles during his first go-around in the majors aren’t a “huge concern” but also noted that more is expected of the righty.
“I think you sometimes see that with a lot of rookie pitchers — regardless of whether guys are talented prospects or even guys who aren’t — where you get to the big leagues and you try to be a little too fine,” Callis said. “Instead of doing what got you there, you try to make the perfect pitch and you fall behind in counts.”
The top four of Minnesota’s rotation appears set with four veterans — holdovers Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey were joined by free agent signees Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco this offseason.
Sam Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley — all of whom are older than Gibson and sport career ERAs north of four — represent Gibson’s primary competition for the fifth spot. Andrew Albers was thought to be included in that group, but the left-hander will reportedly pitch in Korea this season.
“I wouldn’t say it’s his to lose because he didn’t perform last year. … I think if you’re the Twins, you’d like to see him in that role because you have some expectations of Kyle and he’s got a higher ceiling than Deduno or Diamond,” Callis said of Gibson’s chances to win the No. 5 spot in the rotation. “Frankly, at this point, I know they brought in Nolasco and Hughes and they’ve got Correia and Pelfrey, but I mean it’s not like you have a slam-dunk ace in that rotation.
“But if he doesn’t make the Opening Day rotation and went to Triple-A, I think he’d get the call (back to the majors) pretty quickly.”
Whether or not he’d be OK with a Triple-A assignment is tough question for Gibson to answer. After 72 starts in the minors and countless bus trips around the continental United States, he’s ready to establish himself with Minnesota and ease the burden that comes along with being a first-round pick. But all he can really do is pitch as well as he can and let management make the decision.
“At this point in my career, I mean would I be happy with it? Absolutely not. I want to be in the big leagues. … Obviously, I don’t want to go back to the minor leagues,” said Gibson, who will turn 27 on Oct. 23. “But my best response is at this point in my career, I have no control over that. Even if I do pitch well, there are business circumstances that happen that could send me back to the minors.
“… If you have four guys that are throwing really well and I’m not the guy that is chosen, if I just sit there and pout on it and go to Triple-A and don’t use it as motivation and a learning experience, well then when my number gets called the next time around, I’m not going to be ready. That’s kind of the tough part of that question is everybody is going to be competing for this job, wants to be in the big leagues and is ‘not OK’ with coming back to the minors.”
Regardless of whether he’s in the minors or majors, it’s fair to wonder if Gibson — who will be three years removed from Tommy John surgery in September — will be issued another innings limit. Gibson said he was told he’s essentially in the clear, and plans to be able to pitch 180 to 200 innings.
Ryan didn’t commit to an innings limit, but alluded to the club keeping a keen eye on Gibson’s innings total.
“Once we get into the latter part of the season, we’ll see where we’re at. We certainly don’t want to abuse it and have any setbacks, but I think he’s pretty well free and clear,” Ryan said. “If we close in on September and he’s above some of that area where you’re looking to end up at, we might have to keep an eye on that some.”
It’s a safe bet that at some point in the 2014 campaign, Gibson will see considerable time with the Twins. The club is heavily invested in his future and would love to see him put it all together.
“I can’t give you enough superlatives about this lad,” Ryan said. “Now it’s just a matter of us moving forward and him taking that God-given ability that he has, the size that he has and the mechanics he has, and putting it all together and putting it to use.”
We are blessed to be involved in baseball because:
• of the look in his eyes after he has had a big game.
• of the tears in his eyes after a tough loss.
• the times he drags himself away from those video games to come and ask ‘Dad, wanna play some catch?’
• he is learning lessons in life from this wonderful game. He is learning to deal with failure, and that hard work and discipline results in more success AND fun.
• he's also learning selflessness in working towards team goals, and to not concern himself with things over which he has no control.
• of all the wonderful friends that we have made at the ballpark that will remain friends even after the bright lights dim.
We are thankful for:
• the coaches that care and give so many hours to help other people’s kids have a meaningful and enjoyable baseball experience.
• the umpires that take so much flack but give so much for the love of the game.
• the wins that bring such joy and gratification.
• the losses that keep us humble and make us understand where we need to improve.
• those wonderful families - moms and sisters and little brothers, who squeal with glee for each hit, yet kiss away the tears and offer gentle admonitions to ‘suck it up’ when they get thrown out at home with the tying run and bloody their knee.
• those who wash their warrior’s uniforms and prepare his lucky pregame pasta before every game.
• who come to love the game and never want it to end.
• this little boy's game we call baseball. If we are lucky we can share with our son for a long time. And we'll all look back on it as some of the best years of our lives!
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Holidays to All !
The success for our 2012-2013 season exceeded expectations. Players and coaches alike ended the season with overwhelming responses. We had three teams that finished third at the World Series in Indianapolis. Many teams walked away as tournament champs this season. Even though it is not our clubs' primary goal to win every tournament, it is always a great accomplishment.
As with any size club, this year has had challenges. However, our overall growth and its membership support was at an all time high this year. I can not thank everyone enough that pulled together to make this season a success. It is the volunteer spirit and hard work of our members that make this club what it is, one that we can all be proud of. Our board welcomes suggestions and volunteers. Continued prayers as we look to our future.
The future is right around the corner. The Greenfield Daily Reporter introduced our field construction plans to the public on July 20th. The overwhelming support that we have received from our local government and businesses has been amazing. We are grateful to have so much support from the community. We are still on schedule to have four fields and four practice fields ready in the upcoming spring. 2014 will be a huge step for our club after so many changes in the past year. We are excited at the opportunities that we have been blessed with and look forward to the years to come.
Bob Jennings and the facility he built at 84 Sports have proved to be a monumental step for the Bandits and our continued growth. A big thank you to Mr. Jennings for his support. He has continued to improve the facilities that will be seen this winter.
We are excited to have confirmed 15 teams for our upcoming 2013-2014 season with three additional teams that have requested to join. Those teams are going through the interview and evalution process now. This just confirms the positive influence and reputation that the Bandits organization has in the baseball community. We would like to welcome Mike Hill our new 8u Head Coach, Scott Brown (a returning Bandit) as our 13u Head Coach, and Ryan Spearman as the 16u Head Coach.
We are also proud of the fact that all ten of our head coaches from the end of the 2012-2013 season are returning as well. We are still interviewing a few other coaches for additonial teams. In addition to returning coaches, 80% of the existing club base has committed to return next season as well. Our goal is to have 100% of our players return, however, we understand that this is huge goal and not likely. Our return rate this upcoming season is the highest our senior board members recall in many years.
The board thanks you for your support and prayers. Our future is bright and we are excited at what is to come.
President, Bandits Baseball Inc.
Our 13U Bandits team brought home the title of Express Summer Slam Champions on June 23rd. The boys were undefeated in four games before bringing home the title. Congratulations boys!!
The 11u Bandits Team were crowned the CITL Champions 2013 the weekend ending June 23rd at the Field of Dreams in Noblesville. Nice job boys!
Congratulations to our 8U Bandits for winning the Rush Hour Classic Tournament in Frankfort, IN. The team went undefeated in pool play to finish out the tournament with only one loss out of six games. Go Bandits!!!!
The 2014 8U team still has roster openings! For more information, please contact Head Coach Mike Hill at (317) 498-5620.
The Bandits Youth Foundation has just completed its 17th season of providing an atmosphere in which players, ages 8 to 18 (and college age), experience baseball instruction at the highest levels.
Our 8u team was named the champion of the Annie Oakley Baseball Classic Tournament in Greenville, OH July 19-21. The boys won 4 of 5 games winning the championship game 17-7. They scored a total of 91 runs in 5 games over the weekend. Great job boys!!!
The 13u team finished the 2013 season with a win. They were crowned champions of the Indiana Cardinals 5th Annual Jacket Classic in North Vernon July 14th. Great season boys!
The 11u went 5-1 July 4th Weekend to bring home the championship at the Lights Over Morse Lake Tournament in Cicero. Nice job Guys!
We will be collecting orders until February 7th for fan wear. We need to have the orders emailed by 2/7 (you can mail to PO Box 156 Greenfield, IN 46140 - but needs received by 2/7)
Questions, please contact Sue Ramsey 317.448.7879 or email@example.com
The Indiana Bandit Class of 2013 players are busy getting ready for their final HS season of baseball. Several of last year's 17u Bandits have already made commitments to colleges and several others are considering options. We wanted to update you on what these young men are looking at now.
We'll try to keep this list updated as more information becomes available. The Bandits and Bandit Coaching Staff are extremely proud of all of our former players. We'd like to wish each of them much success in the future with their career path. Best of luck gentlemen!
By focusing on the little things, our 14u Bandit team was crowned the champions of the Early Bird Tournament in Morning View, KY on March 24. The team went undefeated at the tournament bringing home their first title of the season. Way to go team!!!!!
From the classic comedy routine
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