Despite his rocky start, Gabe Klobosits deserves another opportunity in the bullpen.
Gabe Klobosits’s 2021 season was full of ups and downs. He started the year at AA and threw 16 scoreless innings before he finally allowed a run. Over that span, he struck out 23 and only walked six. Part of his success stemmed from his fastball/slider combo, allowing him to overpower opposing hitters. His heater sat around 94 mph.
In 20 innings at AA, he went 2-1, with a 0.90 ERA, and 26 strikeouts while going 3-4 in save opportunities. His dominance led to his promotion to AAA where he didn’t seem to lose a beat. In his first nine appearances, he posted a 0.00 ERA and only allowed one inherited runner to score. He also struck out 10 and walked two.
His continued dominance didn’t go unnoticed. On July 30th, Klobosits made his MLB debut, allowing one run in 2/3s of an inning. Nerves were definitely a factor, but he showed a glimpse of what allowed him to prevail in the minors.
Unfortunately, he posted a 5.56 ERA in 11 & 1/3 innings. He was never able to find a rhythm and was sent back to AAA. Undeterred, Klobosits finished the season strong, posting a 2.45 ERA in 18 & 1/3 innings. He struck out 10 and only walked two.
Despite his rocky start in the majors, Klobosits should be part of the Nationals bullpen next season. He is only 26 and needs to adapt to MLB hitters. Washington is in the middle of a rebuild and can allow for Klobosits to deal with his growing pains.
Something that stuck out while he was in the majors was that he posted a barrel% of 2.4%. Opposing batters only barreled up the ball once against him. However, he had a hard hit % of 48.8%. Known as a groundball pitcher in the minors, he was seeing an uptick of opponents lifting the ball against him in the majors. He had a 42.5% GB%, but a 48.5% fly ball percentage.
Putting Klobosits back in the Nationals bullpen is the only way for him to gain experience and find a way to keep the ball on the ground. At this point, he doesn’t have much left to prove in the minors.