Surprise Draft Gabe Klobosits Sparkles In Pro Debut
Six-foot-7 righthander Gabe Klobosits’ expectations changed dramatically over the course of his first summer in pro baseball.
When the 36th-round pick first pitched in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2017, he was thrilled to have an opportunity. If he hadn’t been drafted, Klobosits was considering going to back to Auburn for a final semester to complete his supply-chain management degree before finding a job. "I didn’t really perform well at Auburn, to be honest,” said Klobosits, 22. "I thought I wasn’t even going to be drafted. But getting in the right system, I knew I had a chance.”
Klobosits, who was a 25th-round selection of the Red Sox in 2014 after the first of his two successful years at Galveston (Texas) JC, struggled in his two seasons in the Southeastern Conference. As a senior, he went 0-1, 5.18 in 33 innings.
To the 245-pound Klobosits’ surprise, scout Eric Robinson liked enough of what he saw to persuade Washington to draft him. Then Klobosits went 1-0, 1.47 with 34 strikeouts and eight walks in 31 innings at three stops in the Nationals' system, which included five innings at low Class Hagerstown.
Five of his six saves came under pitching coach Tim Redding’s tutelage at short-season Auburn.
"I learned to lead with my front hip, use my legs more and really stride down the mound,” Klobosits said. "Then (the organization’s pitching coaches) moved me to the third-base side of the rubber to have more deception with my slider.”
Though Klobosits saw immediate results, he said it helped that the coaches and managers were patient with him. With his frame, mid-90s fastball and plus splitter, they see that there’s a lot with which to work. Klobosits said his slider is still a developing pitch, but farm director Mark Scialabba sees it as another strength for the reliever.
2017 MLB Draft Grades: Washington Nationals
A report card for the Washington Nationals 2017 MLB Draft picks.
Klobosits "leverages the baseball very well, pounds the strike zone to both sides of the plate in the low to mid-90s and keeps hitters off balance with a hard, sharp, late-breaking slider,” Scialabba said.