With some good prospects already behind us, let’s move on to a prospect who moved through the system at a good pace in 2017. Such a good pace, in fact, that he could very well have an impact on the Rays pen in 2018.

No.45, RHP Ian Philip Gibaut, 24 yrs old

Born: November 19th, 1993 in Houston, Texas

Height/Weight: 6’3” 250 lbs Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed: after being selected in the 11th round of the 2015 draft for $100,000

Twitter handle: @igibaut33

Baseball America Rankings

  • Pre-Draft: 476th in their Top 500 rankings

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 36
  • Low: Unranked

Ian Gibaut: Abilities

  • Fastball w/good movement, works in mid-90s, touches 97 MPH
  • Plus Slider
  • Change-up a work in progress
  • Abilities notes: The fastball-slider combination alone has been noted as enough to make Gibaut effective in the pen. While he’ll need to keep himself in shape and healthy, his imposing demeanour on the mound has been noted as an asset that should help him earn a late innings role shortly after being tested in MLB.

Joined the Rays by way of….

  • The 2015 draft, where he was selected 328th overall

His coach has the following to say at the time he was drafted

“He has a power arm and he has a body that is potentially going to be a big, strong body,” Tulane baseball coach David Pierce said. “And he still right now has to continue to redefine his body but there is one thing that separates him from so many people in the country and that’s because he has a power arm.”

Latest Transaction: April 23, 2017, assigned to AA Montgomery from +A Charlotte

Note – His promotion to AA was well-earned, as he threw 8.1 innings and only allowed 1 walk and 2 ER while striking out 14

Facts, Honors, and Awards

  • Hometown is Houston, Texas
  • 2013 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, NCBWA Freshman All-American, Conference USA All-Freshman Team, NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List
  • 2014 NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List
  • Had a brief stint as a starter during his junior year season
  • While a Tulane sophomore he had injury (forearm) issues but came back strong as a junior, pitching in 27 games, managing 46.1 innings, and finishing with a 3.11 ERA and 51 Ks
  • 2015 American Athletic Conference Honor Roll and threw 2 shutout innings in the American Baseball Championships vs UConn, only allowing 1 walk
  • Gibaut’s selection by the Rays made it the 2nd year in a row that they selected someone out of the Tulane program. In 2014, they selected RHP Kyle McKenzie in the 20th round, but he has since been released.
  • The sheer dominance that Gibaut displays at times makes it easy to dream about his being a closer during his career, as noted in the tweet below,

Stats Notes: Has managed 17 saves in 25 save opportunities so far in the minors, and has dominant stuff vs both LHB (.161 avg against, 1.14 whip) and RHB (.184 avg against, 1.11 whip) *2017 AA Stats

Interesting Comparison: Chris Devenski

  • While Gibaut is a bit heavier than Devenski, they’re the same height and have similar motions to the plate and overall stuff. Both have a mid-90s fastball that can reach 97 MPH when required, and both have the sliders to complement it.
  • Devenski, however, had the slight advantage of amore advanced change-up, whereas Gibaut’s is still a work in progress.
  • Both Gibaut and Devenski reached AA by their 24th birthdays, and it’s easy to see the Rays being aggressive in promoting Gibaut to the MLB pen, just as Devenski was promoted from AA to MLB when the Astros needed him in 2016. The Rays will likely have him gain AAA experience, but Gibaut could definitely see some MLB time this coming season if he continues his current trajectory.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

Honestly, that Gibaut is this far back on our list should be an indication of just how deep and talented this system is. Here we have a RP that profiles as a possibility for 2018 at some point if he succeeds as expected early on, and he’s ranked here. There’s a good argument, based on stuff alone, that he should be placed well within the 20s.

There are some compelling reasons for his lower ranking, however. First, while in college, Gibaut battled forearm issues, raising worries we can’t ignore. Secondly, he’s been about league average age wise throughout his professional career. Finally, when he was tested with a AA assignment in 2017 he allowed 4.4BB/9 – a pretty significant red flag.

On the other hand, he doesn’t allow many home runs and was very successful inducing ground balls, so his ranking is not any indication that we are down on his potential, simply that he’ll need to sort out and prove a few things before placing higher. He has managed to sort things out as he moved from LoA to HiA, and he’ll need to do the same in AA before getting tested in AAA. Should his success continue, he’ll be on the list of possible call-ups for the Rays.

With back-end of the pen potential, Gibaut is a name to watch closely in 2018. If those walk numbers become a thing of the past, he’ll be one of the favorite challengers for setup and closing roles in the foreseeable future.

Ian Gibaut: Spotlight Videos

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 50 Rays Prospects


Article first appeared on www.draysbay.com