The Twins are in the lull time of spring training after players have reported and before the start of games. There are plenty of players making adjustments to being in a new organization. Other players are sliding into the daily routines that help them prepare for the coming season.
It is hard to get a lot of information about players at this stage in the spring training process. This still doesn't mean that there aren't some positive signs coming out of Fort Myers.
Two pitchers have already made a strong impression in the first week of workouts. JO Berrios and Kyle Gibson were both high draft picks by the Twins but they are on opposite ends of the organization's minor league system. Gibson will be fighting for a big league job and Berrios will be in the lower levels of the minors.
For Gibson, this isn't his first time being in camp with the big league club. It is, however, his first time in camp since he has recovered from Tommy John surgery. The coaches might remember the Gibson from before he went under the knife and now they have to familiarize themselves with Gibson version 2.0.
In his first opportunity to face live hitters since the end of the Arizona Fall League, Gibson got plenty of swings and misses. He wasn't exactly squaring off with the heart of Minnesota's order. Joe Benson, Brian Dinkelman, and Eric Fryer stepped in against him and there were some good sliders thrown at them.
Gibson would tell reporters after the session that his changeup is "pretty much where I want it." His fastball has been good in the bullpen but he missed some spots during his live throwing sessions. It will be critical for Gibson to hit his spots with his fastball so this is one area for him to improve in the coming weeks.
Since the Twins only drafted Berrios in June, this is his first real opportunity to be in camp with the club. He didn't have a formal invite to big league camp but he is preparing to play in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico. This gives many of the coaches a first chance to see the 18-year old.
His breaking balls were sharp and he had good control of his other pitches. During his throwing session, Twins coach Scott Ullger asked, "And this kid is 18-years old?" I thought this quote from La Velle E. Neal summed up the situation quite nicely. "The guy looks like a clubhouse attendant when he walks around. But he has grown man stuff"
It will be interesting to see how far Berrios will be able to rise this season. He did very well in both rookie league last year so he should get the opportunity to start in Cedar Rapids. If things go well there, he could find himself in Fort Myers by the end of the year. There is no reason to rush him since he is so young.
Gibson will be another story. There isn't a whole lot left for him to prove in the minor leagues and he will be 25-years old for this entire season. He might end up in the minors to start the year but fans are anxious to see what he can do with the big league club.
The future looks bright for both of these players even if they are at opposite ends of the Twins minor league system.