Dustin Gibbs aims to impress

Peoria, AZ-- The San Diego Padres have historically found a place for undrafted free agents. For one reason or another, they are overlooked, but the Padres have found a number of intriguing prospects and Dustin Gibbs wants to add his name to the mix.

"Well, it was kind of a shocking experience," Dustin Gibbs explained of signing with the Padres. "Around February, I didn't think I was going to have a chance. Got a call from Mr. (Bill) Bryk and he wanted me to come to Indiana to throw a little bit and see how I do. Things went pretty well. There was a Philly scout there. He told me he would let me know by noon the next day. Me and my dad were on the road for 40 minutes or so and I got the call from him telling me, "Congratulations, (you are) going to be a Padre.

"It was kind of a freak deal. It happened kind of quickly. It has always been my dream to play at the next level. I am thankful to get this experience and the chance to play."

Gibbs, a 22-year-old Bidwell, Ohio native from Rio Grande University, went 6-2 mark with a 2.81 ERA as a senior, earning Second-Team All-AMC honors.

Arriving at camp in early March, the right-hander features five pitches, including a two-seam and four-seam fastball. He also throws a slider, a split-fingered fastball and a changeup – the latter one of his newest pitches.

Four-seamers up in the zone and split-fingered pitches down are what he deems his best "out" pitches. His four-seamer has topped out at 93 MPH in the past, but he has been working regularly between 87 and 91 MPH this spring.

"I really like throwing the fastball – four-seam on an out pitch, kind of high, trying to get them to chase," Gibbs explained. "Other than that, the split-fingered – it drops kind of well. It is a pretty good pitch as long as I can get it out front."

The changeup is a pitch he learned in college but never really used versus the aluminum bats he faced and he is toying around with different ways of throwing it now.

"It is coming around," said Gibbs. "Right now, it is adjusting to the next level. I have always thrown a changeup. Razor (pitching coach Dave Rajsich) has been working with me on a little bit different grip and trying to get it out in front. Other than that I think it is coming around."

Gibbs has room to grow on a 6-foot-5 frame and the Padres believe his stuff will improve with added weight.

And Gibbs hope is to get that development time with Low-A Fort Wayne this year. One thing he has noticed since arriving in camp is the competition level has been turned up a notch.

"A lot more talent – a lot bigger size, players are quicker, bats are quicker, very competitive right now. Everyone is here to get a job just like I am here to get a job. It is very competitive.

"It is a great opportunity to be around these guys and I am very thankful."

He will be more thankful if his name appears on one of the rosters when the season begins in early April.

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