Tyler Gibbons watched his Major League Baseball draft as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds last week while sitting on the couch at his parent’s house in Liberty Township next to a longtime New York Yankees area scout: his dad Mike.
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In typical years, each would have been in the draft rooms of their respective organizations. Mike has worked the draft from the Yankees’ spring training facility in Tampa, Fla., for years. The coronavirus pandemic forced baseball to hold a virtual draft this year. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Gibbons family.
“That was the first draft with me being a scout and him being a scout, so we thought we would do a family thing,” Tyler said Monday. “If anybody got a call, you kind of got up and left the room, but it was a very cool experience to sit next to my dad who’s been doing it for so long.”
Mike began his scouting career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1995 and moved to the Yankees in 2003. He covers Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky and added half of Tennessee to his workload in the past year. Tyler, a 2013 Lakota East graduate who played baseball at Capital University, covers the same area minus Tennessee.
Tyler, 25, earned a promotion to area scout last fall after serving as a video coordinator for two seasons with the Reds.
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“As a kid, you’re not necessarily dreaming about being a scout,” Gibbons said. “You’re dreaming about being a player. But I quickly realized I’m not going to necessarily be as skilled to be those players, so how can I join the Reds organization? You get the video job, and it feels great that you’re a part of the Reds organization. It’s your local team. Then the minute I transitioned over and it finally hit me that I was a scout for the Cincinnati Reds, it kind of felt like a dream come true.”
Gibbons' early scouting has already paid off. He got to know Austin Hendrick, who the Reds drafted with the 12th pick in the first round Wednesday, last year during the East Coast Pro Showcase in Hoover, Ala. Gibbons and J.R. Reynolds, another Reds scout, ran a team that included Hendricks and got to know him well.
“He’s just such a special kid,” Gibbons said. “He’s very easy to talk to. The one thing about him that really stands out is how professional he is — just the way he goes about things. He has a plan for everything he does. He likes being in a routine. He likes his schedule. The fact that we got him in the draft, I couldn’t be happier.”
Gibbons credited Brad Meador, the Reds’ director of amateur scouting, and Paul Pierson and Joe Katuska, assistant directors of scouting, and the whole department for helping the Reds decide to pick Hendrick.
“With his bat speed, his power, who he is as a person, it’s an outstanding pick,” Gibbons said.
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Gibbons has learned a lot from his dad about scouting in terms of doing things the right way, being efficient and trying to not “bite off more than you can chew” as a new scout. Gibbons also met many scouts when he was younger and following his dad to games. Many of those scouts are still in the business, and now Gibbons runs into them on the job.
“I definitely feel I’m like a combined son to a lot of these guys,” Gibbons said.
Tyler and Mike ran across each other only once this spring while scouting before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the baseball world. In the previous two years, when Tyler traveled around the country collecting video on top prospects, Tyler crossed paths with his dad several times.
When Tyler and Mike do talk baseball, they don’t trade information on prospects. They’re too competitive for that.
“We don’t tend to share too much just because we don’t want the Reds and the Yankees sharing info,” Tyler said. “If we feel like we’ve got something special on a specific player or something like that, we’ll keep it to ourselves.”
Gibbons got into scouting by gaining experience as an intern in the Cape Cod League, first with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the following summer with the Chicago Cubs. Those organizations asked him to concentrate on five teams each summer in the league and get video on every player.
Those internships led to a video coordinator position with the Reds in 2018 and 2019.
“It was my job, along with Brandon Marr, to cover the country and get video on the top prospects: high school and college kids,” Gibbons said. “That way when it came to the draft, if we talk about player X, Y and Z, we can pull up their video and everybody can see the pitching mechanics, hitting mechanics, how they run and throw and all that stuff.”
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Gibbons hopes to get out on the road again soon for the Reds. Major League Baseball informed clubs on Monday they can start sending scouts on the road again, but according to reports, there will be a limit of three scouts per club per event.
Gibbons doesn’t know for sure what his summer will look. The Cape Cod League and Prospect League are among the college summer leagues that have cancelled their seasons.
“It’s going to be weird,” Gibbons said. “You’re going to do anything you can to try to see some of these kids play, but I don’t know exactly how it’s going to be end up being.”
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