Following a big season at San Jose State in 2021 where he hit .381/.503/.850, the Cincinnati Reds selected Ruben Ibarra in the 4th round of the draft. With the late timing of the draft, Ibarra only played a little more than a month as a professional before the season came to an end.
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When 2022 began, Cincinnati sent the first baseman to Single-A Daytona to join the Tortugas. In his debut on April 8th he went 1-3 with 2 walks, but things slowed down after that. Over the final three weeks of April Ruben Ibarra went into a big slump, hitting just .164 with four walks, and he slugged just .194.
But when the calendar flipped over to May, Ibarra flipped the script in the Florida State League. Over the next six weeks he would hit .400/.500/.771 with a pair of 2-home run games mixed in. In what would be his final game with Daytona on June 12th he homered twice and drove in five runs.
Three days later he was in High-A Dayton with the Dragons. The right-handed hitter started out hot there, going 5-16 with a home run in his first four games. But he would go into a a 3-week long slump after that, hitting just .148 in 16 games. On July 14th he broke out of that slump with a home run against Lake County and seemed to be getting things back on track, homering again in the next series. Unfortunately that would also be the final series he would play on the season. A thumb injury led to Ibarra being placed on the injured list on July 28th and he didn’t return for the remainder of the season.
For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Ruben Ibarra Scouting Report
Position: First Base | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 290 lbs | Acquired: 4th Round, 2021 Draft
Born: April 26, 1999
Hitting | The hit tool is below-average.
Power | Above-average with plus raw power.
Speed | Well below-average.
Defense | Below-average.
Arm | Below-average.
At first glance the above scouting grades don’t look like it could lead to a starting caliber player at the big league level, but it’s a bit deceiving. Even good defensive players at first base are almost always below-average defenders overall. They are almost all below-average runners, and most have below-average arms. Those are the usual reasons that they are playing first base.
Where Ruben Ibarra sticks out is with his power. In 2021 instructional league he hit a 478-foot home run. While he didn’t quite match that during the 2022 season, he put up high-end exit velocities and continued to show plenty of home run power.
His platoon splits in 2022 were interesting. He walked against lefties quite often, but he didn’t hit for much power. The sample size here was just 69 plate appearances which could help explain it – but this is an area where we could see some improvements come from in the future.
Defensively he’s a good first baseman. Despite his size he is very agile and athletic and shouldn’t have a problem remaining at the position (as opposed to having to become a designated hitter).
The power will play, but as he continues to move up the ladder Ibarra will need to be more consistent than he was in 2022 at the plate.
Ruben Ibarra Spray Chart
Interesting Stat on Ruben Ibarra
During weekday games, Ruben Ibarra hit .290. In games that took place on Saturday or Sunday he hit .175.