Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.
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Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next. Mikie Mahtook and Enny Romero have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The next player to be examined in detail is …
#47: Ian Gibaut, RHP, 22 years old
- Throws: Right Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 235 lbs
- Drafted: in the 11th rd of the 2015 MLB draft by the Rays
- Signed: for $100,000
- 2015 Affiliate: Princeton, Rk
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2017+
Gibaut’s 2015 Splits
- Follow him on Twitter:@igibaut33
- Threw to a 3.11 ERA with 51 Ks over 27 GP (46.1 IP) as a junior
- Noted by DRaysBay’s Scott Grauer as one of the more prominent Rays RP prospects: “The 21-year-old Gibaut could be a find for a Rays after 11th-round pick pitched better in his professional debut than he did at Tulane. In 98 innings with the Green Wave, he owned a 9.6 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. Both improved significantly with the Princeton Rays. “
Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America had the best post-draft quote about Gibaut:
"“here’s a fun relief arm: Ian Gibaut (Princeton Rays) has a power fastball (touching 95), dastardly changeup, and power slider. When he’s directional and has his landing point down, this guy is nasty.”"
Was understandingly very happy to be drafted into MLB:
On Gibaut’s fastball-slider combination, his coach in Tulane – David Pierce – stated the following:
"“He’s one of the best in the country,” “When he is at his best, he’s 91 to 95, 96 (miles an hour on his fastball). But the thing is that for him to be at his best, he’s got to really utilize his slider much better. And when he hits with the slider, it really opens things up, especially against a fastball-hitting team because everybody is cheating to his fastball so he just speeds it up and it’s a lot tougher to hit when he has that second pitch.”"
Best Tools & Abilities
- Fastball which reaches 97 MPH
- Slider that needs some work but has above-average potential
- Ability to include a change up
If you’re looking for one of the more relievers in the Rays system that projects to be most dominant if and when he reaches the majors, Gibaut has to be one of the top 3-4 on your list. With an above-average fastball and slider that projects to match once it’s consistent, he has the tools needed to be effective in the relief role.
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There was some talk about trying Gibaut as a starter, but the Rays seem to – at this point – like him better in the relief role. The prevailing thought was that if he developed his change up enough, he could be a very effective starter. That would be the case, but it’s hard to say how much speed would come off the fastball-slider combination and how long it would take Gibaut to adjust to the starting role after being a reliever for as long as he has.
Instead, the Rays enjoyed what may have been a surprising uptick in performance in Princeton last season and may be willing to invest in moving him quickly through the system as a reliever. If that’s the case, it speeds up his arrival time by quite a big margin and allows them to continuously prepare him for a role at the back-end of the bullpen.
There’s a lot to like about Gibaut at this point and he joins Bradon Koch as one of the most intriguing relief prospects in the system. With a small sample size to work with it’s hard to tell how well he’ll do going forward, particularly as he deals with a possible mid-2016 HiA/AA jump. But at this point, the future looks good for Gibaut and he’s put himself in a position to make big strides next season.
Gibaut will likely begin the 2016 season in Hudson Valley or Bowling Green and will move up based on performance. If his slider’s on early in the season, we could see him in HiA before the all-star game comes around, and it’s not out of the question that he finish the season as high as in AA. That would put him in a position to compete for a call up at some point in 2017 if the Rays are aggressive in promoting him.
It’ll be interesting to see how consistent Gibaut’s slider becomes and whether or not he continues to develop his change up to the point where it becomes average and a possible surprise strike out weapon. He has the makeup to deal with issues as they arise, and seems to have the composure to handle the back-end of the pen duties.
The Rays made have quite the track record when it comes to drafting and developing pitchers and Gibaut may become another success story. He has all of the attributes you look for in a high-quality pitcher and if he continues to put in the work required to make a push for The Show, we expect he will get there. We wish him all of the best in 2016 and look forward to news of his first promotion of the year.