The journey to Brooklyn was very different for each of the Cyclones’ 30+ players on the 2015 roster. However, for Mike Gibbons, the path was particularly unique. The right-handed slugger comes to Brooklyn after signing with the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 2014 following a successful summer with the Torrington Titans of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
A Connecticut native, Gibbons looks back on a very unique road that led him down to New York.
“It was pretty interesting. It happened pretty fast,” Gibbons said. “It was kinda different just because it happened so fast and I didn’t go to a team directly after I signed because it was so late, so I went back to school for the fall semester and then went to spring training.”
Coming to MCU Park as a decorated college athlete, Gibbons was also a standout pitcher during his time with the FCBL. He ranked third best in the league after going 4-2 with 59 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings of work. The righty also held opponents to a .240 batting average and posted a 10.48 strikeout per nine innings ratio.
During his last season at Wheaton College, Gibbons posted a 4-1 record with a 1.89 ERA after 37 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched. He held opponents to a .203 batting average and leaves the Lyons with a 9-3 record and a 2.63 ERA after 106 innings of work. After signing with the Mets, Gibbons became the third Wheaton student athlete who has signed with an MLB team in the program’s history, and the first to be offered and sign a professional contract before his senior season.
Throughout an unconventional process of going pro, Gibbons had a strong backbone of family and coaches guiding and encouraging him along the way.
“My college coaches were really supportive throughout the process. They obviously probably wanted me to come back for my senior year, but they was great throughout the process and wanted me to do what was best for me and my family,” Gibbons said. “We weighed the pros and cons and talked about it with each other, and he told me if it was his decision he would do the same thing.”
Not only were his college coaches a major source of support, but Gibbons also credits the team dynamic as foundational for preparing him for the demands of pro ball. The responsibilities placed on him as a student athlete were a helpful preview for the demands he now faces as a professional.
“I thought our college atmosphere, even though it was division three, kind of prepped me just with mentality, like the process and the grind of handling the academics with sports in college,” Gibbons said. “You just gotta take it a day at a time and just focus on what you want to get better at—just take each day for what it is and appreciate the time you have playing in affiliated ball.”
Gibbons now looks forward to a summer of diligently learning and improving during his time in Brooklyn—including this evening when he takes the mound for the Cyclones in Auburn.
“I’ve got a few things that I want to work on, and hopefully by the end of the summer when I’m looking back at it I’ll feel like I improved upon those things.”
--By Kaylee Pofahl