Padres Prospect Report: Gabe Ribas

Gabe Ribas has already earned the "hard work" moniker since being drafted by the San Diego Padres. A 14th round pick in the 2002 draft, Ribas is coming off a season where he was voted the Padres Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Ribas is an imposing 6-4 on the mound and has the look in his eye of someone menacing. He uses that, his command of the strike zone and his brain to play the game and play it well.

Kevin Towers praised Ribas saying, "Great arm. You never want to rush guys, but at the same time we're anxious to see how (he can) handle (himself)."

"He works very hard," Terry Byrom says. "Gabe is always one of those guys that when I would come to work, after lunch is usually when I would go to the Pressbox for the first time for home games, by 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon on most days, he is one of the guys already here going through his dailies – whatever it is on the five day schedule he was supposed to do.

"There didn't have to be a coach out there, there didn't have to be another player, he is just out there working hard."

Ribas spends a lot of time in preparation. He is not overly gifted, but has the mindset to succeed. His hard work paved the way to a stellar season in Fort Wayne.

"(Ribas has) incredible control and command of his pitches and of the strike zone and a good knowledge of the game," said Byrom. "Especially good baseball knowledge of the game."

Gabe Ribas will start 2004 in Lake Elsinore after blazing through Fort Wayne with a 13-3 record and 2.25 ERA. In 116 IP he struck out 116 and walked just 26 and allowed a miniscule 3 homers in 19 starts.

Ribas also had a perfect game into the eighth inning for the Wizards.

Ribas has the ability to work both sides of the plate effectively, but one thing many have told him is it is ok to walk a guy. Ribas, highly mental in his approach has had a hard time understanding that.

"One of the things he and I talked about, that he said he learned last year in Eugene from the coaching staff and again this year from Mike Harkey (the pitching coach), is understanding when it is ok to lose a guy," Byrom confirms. "When it is ok to not give in and just walk a guy. And he said, ‘I just don't walk anyone. It's a difficult concept for me to think about it. Not necessarily pitching around a guy, but not giving in to him in a certain situation.'"

Ribas will instead try and make the perfect pitch and will get beat within the strike zone. It is part of his makeup and when you are taught to throw strikes from such a young age, it is hard to waiver from that.

"Gabe is an incredible young man," Byrom said. "Very smart, very articulate, almost and I think he would laugh about this and admit it, almost too smart. In a way sometimes in this you kind of have to have the Bull Durham ‘Nuke' LaLoosh. You kind of have to have that approach to it. You can think too much."

"Low 90's fastball, good curveball, pretty good change," says one Padres scout. "And he doesn't walk anyone, which can be a bad thing actually."

The idea is to be "wildly effective". Rather than just working the corners, work the strike zone outside of the zone. Rear and go instead of being deliberate in the approach. This will throw the hitter off of predictability.

On July 19th, Ribas made his debut in Lake Elsinore and got hammered for six runs in five innings, leaving his ERA in High-A over 10. He quickly settled down after trying to do too much and brought his ERA down to 4.05 after his fifth start. Then pressing with the team in the playoff hunt Ribas tailed off, allowing 19 runs over his next four starts to end the year 4-5 in nine starts with a 5.81 ERA.

"He did a great job here and from what I understand he had a couple of rocky starts out there in the California League," said Byrom.

Ribas still has a lot to prove, especially in a hitter's league like the California League, which had just two full time starters with an ERA under 3.00 and three with an ERA under 3.45.

"He is a guy that I would expect – it wouldn't surprise me to see him in Double A this coming season. I wouldn't think he would start there, but it wouldn't surprise me either."

Ribas will be 25 when the season starts and if Towers' praise is any indication, we will likely see Ribas in Mobile this year. That is unless he collapses in Elsinore. Given his work ethic, it is not likely.

Denis Savage can be reached at

MadFriars Top Stories