Kernels pitcher Sawyer Gipson-Long uses his science and research background to help improve on the mound

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:51 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Kernels starter Sawyer Gipson-Long subscribes to the motto: “Once you stop learning you stop growing.”

He said his strength is his constant dedication to improving himself, even if he sells himself a bit short.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m the sharpest tool in the shed,” Gipson-Long said. “I’m a really hard worker, and if there’s something I can’t figure out in that moment I’ll find a way to get an answer to it.”

Gipson-Long comes from a scientific background. He went to college at Mercer where he studied a one-of-a-kind major called chemical commerce, a combination of chemistry and business.

He was drafted as a junior, so he finished his degree in between his first and second seasons in pro ball. When he graduated and began to focus fully on baseball, he started a third discipline, not business or chemistry, but body mechanics.

“(I’m) really interested in how to body works and how you move,” Gipson-Long said. “Trying to figure out how I move, how my muscles move, how my muscles fire, what’s my arm doing, all this kind of stuff.”

Being a baseball bookwork is a trademark of his game. He says he likes being able to understand how he’s really doing on the mound, and backing it up with well-researched knowledge.

“It just kind of helps me cement what I want to know in my head a little bit. It keeps me a little more disciplined in that aspect, it’s a continuous learning process.”

That attention to detail has Gipson-Long in the top-10 of the Midwest League in both ERA and strikeouts per 9 innings.

“Coming from that scientific and studious background(has) helped me along the way stay on track and stay focused and figure out some of the problems that I’ve encountered throughout my career so far.”

That career won’t be ending anytime soon, but when it does, Gipson-Long has another dream. It’s no surprise he says his bright mind might end up in medical school.

“I think I want to be around baseball for the rest of my life,” he said. “It would be something in sports, hopefully work with a professional team maybe the Twins organization one day as a team doctor. I think that would be a dream come true.”

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