On Wednesday, I posted a Q&A with Ryan Walker
, a minor league infielder who the Twins drafted in the 2013 draft. Today I'm posting another Q&A with a Twins prospect.
Brian Gilbert was the Twins 7th round pick in 2013 out of Seton Hall University. He spent time as a starter his first two seasons, but he became a strong prospect his junior season when he was the team's closer. After signing, he spent time with Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. Combined, he posted a 0.78 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP. He also struck out 14 while walking just one.
Enjoy today's interview with Brian Gilbert, and feel free to discuss and ask questions in the comments below.
Twins Daily (TD): Growing up in New Jersey, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch?
Brian Gilbert (BG): Being from New Jersey you'd think I'd be a Yankees, Mets or Phillies fan. Not me. I was a Red Sox fan. I really enjoyed watching Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz throughout the years.
TD: What are your best memories from your high school baseball days? Did you play other sports?
BG: Winning back to back Group IV State Championships at Toms River High School North and breaking the single season HR and slugging percentage records my senior year. I only focused on baseball in high school.
TD: Talk about your decision to go to Seton Hall. Were you recruited elsewhere too?
BG: After visiting other schools, walking on to Seton Hallís campus I just felt a sense of comfort right away, seeing the history and how beautiful the campus is and meeting the coaches, walking around the baseball field and knowing I could be a part of such a historic program. It just seemed like the perfect fit. Schools such as Oral Roberts, Fordham and a few others were recruiting me but none were as appealing as Seton Hall University.
TD: What were your best memories/moments from your college playing days?
BG: My freshman year I was in the starting rotation. We had an up and down season but ended up winning the Big East Championship and advancing to a regional. My junior year and final season I was the team's closer and had the most games finished in the Big East, along with being selected 3rd Team All Big East.
TD: As the draft approached, were you seeing or talking to more scouts? Did you have much conversation with any Twins scouts?
BG: With the draft approaching I was in contact with numerous scouts. The Twins came in the picture late. That's when scout John Wilson invited me to a pre-draft workout and going to the workout turned out to be one of my best decisions. John Wilson and the Twins ended up taking me in the 7th round.
TD: When the Twins took you in the 7th round, where were you and what was that experience like? (Was that about where you were expecting to be picked?)
BG: I was at home with my family when I was selected. It had to be the most anxious I have ever been in my life waiting for that phone call. Between rounds 4-8 is what we were expecting so everything worked out great.
TD: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you? (In E-Town, and then with the move up to Cedar Rapids)
BG: The adjustment wasn't too bad especially since I had my teammate from school, Zachary Granite. I adjusted quickly with the situation and it was a sense of relief knowing that baseball is my job now. I kept my same mentality pitching from school to E-Town up to Cedar Rapids and that led to success. Being promoted from E-Town to Cedar Rapids was a great feeling, along with a confidence boost.
TD: I've read and been told that you have a "closer's mentality." What does that mean to you, and would you say it is accurate?
BG: Having those words next to my name is a great sight to see because I want nothing more than to be a major league closer. And yes, I would say that's accurate because I love when the pressure is on and I have to get the last three outs of the game.
TD: I've also heard that you could be a starter, at least early in your pro career. What are your thoughts on starting versus being a reliever? Do you have a preference?
BG: I've started, and I've closed. To be honest, I feel that I am more valuable as a reliever. I like the adrenaline rush from being a reliever. I like the high pressure situation at the end of the game, and I really like pitching with full-out, maximum effort. I definitely prefer relieving especially with my personality and my mentality.
TD: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?
BG: My parents, grandparents, friends, teammates, coaches, everyone along the way has helped me in some way whether it was baseball-related or not.
TD: Outside of baseball, what do you enjoy doing? Hobbies, etc?
BG: Outside of baseball, I enjoy fishing, crabbing, cooking, music and movies.
TD: As spring training is now just a couple of months away, what are you most anxious and excited about?
BG: I'm anxious to just start pitching in game situations again and prove myself to my coaches and teammates. I'm excited to meet other players and coaches I have not met before and learn from them and take in as much information and helpful tips as I can.
TD: Have you set any goals for yourself for the 2014 season?
BG: My main goal is to compete to the best of my ability and help win ball games for my team. As far as individual goals, my main individual goal is to stay confident and stay positive if/when I struggle and come across some adversity. I believe if I do that the numbers will be what I want them to be.
TD: Favorite Baseball movie?
BG: Even though I rooted for the Red Sox, my favorite baseball movie is 61*.
TD: What is one thing about yourself that you would want Twins fans to know?
BG: I was one win away from playing in the Little League World Series when I was 12 with Toms River Little League in 2005.
Thanks for reading, and thank you to Brian Gilbert for taking the time to answer our questions. He's got a chance to move up the Twins ladder quickly if he is in the bullpen.