During the 2022 season, Ruben Ibarra split the first half of the season between Single-A Daytona and High-A Dayton. He found success in Daytona where he had an .864 OPS in 42 games. But in 26 games with Dayton he struggled and hit just .188 with a .631 OPS before an injury cost him almost all of the second half of the year.

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The Cincinnati Reds sent Ruben Ibarra back to Dayton. In 2023 he began the year in the same place he ended the previous year – on the injured list. Ibarra missed the first three weeks of the season before returning to the lineup for the final week of April. He went 0-3 in his first game, but picked up at least one hit in the four remaining games of the month – including his first homer of the season.

That hot hitting carried forward into May, and in the first seven games he hit three more home runs. But the hot-hitting came to an abrupt halt as he went 2-20 over the following week. Ibarra picked things back up over the final 11 days of the month, putting up an .806 OPS with two home runs. Everything slowed down in June and for the next five weeks the first baseman struggled at the plate, going 15-82 (.183) in 24 games.

On July 9th Ruben Ibarra picked up two hits against Great Lakes. He kept hitting the rest of the month, hitting .267 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. When the calendar flipped to August, so did the script. For the first two weeks of the month, Ibarra hit just .135. Everything turned around starting on August 15th and for the next three weeks he hit .319 with seven home runs before slumping for the final four days of the season.

For all 2023 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 | A below-average hit tool.

Power | He has plus power.

Speed | He’s a well below-average runner.

Defense | A below-average defender (see below).

Arm | A below-average arm.

The calling card for Ruben Ibarra is his power. Listed at 6′ 5″ and 290 lbs., he’s about as big of a guy you’re going to see on a professional baseball field. But even with that size it’s clear that he’s actually quite athletic. His size limits his speed and defensively he’s only going to be able to play first base. That puts his defensive value on the negative side – but he’s a fine first baseman, it’s just that it’s very, very difficult to have overall positive defensive value if you are playing first base. He moves well around the bag and should have no issues remaining at first base (as opposed to having to become a designated hitter).

At the plate, Ibarra can hit the ball about as hard and as far as anyone. He’s got plus to plus-plus raw power. His game power is already above-average. In order to get the most of the power he’s going to have to be more consistent at the plate. And that also holds true for his hitting overall. Ibarra was hot and cold throughout the season, struggling to find consistency. That’s held true for his professional career to this point.

His power will play anywhere, but as he continues to move up the ladder he’s going to need to hit for a better average. A first baseman has to hit for elite power or hit for a solid average and above-average power if he’s going to start in the big leagues.

Video

Ruben Ibarra Spray Chart

Interesting Stat on Ruben Ibarra

In 2023 he struggled against starters but had a lot of success against relievers. In 183 at-bats against starting pitchers he hit .219/.319/.377. In 157 at-bats against relievers he hit .261/.375/.516.

7 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    Moment of truth for Ibarra this year at AA. McGarry will likely have moved back up to AAA, and Stewart/Collier will be in Hi-A. With CES in the ML’s, and 2023 draftees Carter Graham and Jack Moss in Daytona, that’s quite an impressive group of 1B, especially since just a year ar three back there was no clear replacement for Sir Joey of Votto.

  2. MK

    Hope this kid can improve his contact. He quickly became a fan favorite.

  3. kdavis

    I would say that he needs to get down to 250 lbs. Maybe that will improves is ability to get his bat on the ball.

    Adam Dunn was a decent hitter at the end of his minor league career. Only after he started swinging for the fences and added weight did his career decline. Maybe that should be a cautionary tale to this guy.

    • DaveCT

      He’s thought to have just average bat speed. Hard to say if weight is a factor in that or not, but I’d wager being 6’5″ with a massive frame has an impact, Aaron Judge being an extreme outlier.

      I’d also wager that a successful year at AA might cause other teams to take a flyer on him and, as an asset like that, we might be able to utilize Ibarra in a trade at some point for a greater need than 1B. Not bad value for a 4th round pick.

    • Optimist

      When did Dunn’s career decline? He was a beast for 10 years running, had a legendarily horrid year, recovered from that and plateaued at 3 more above average years. In a few eras he would have been a HOFer – as it is he’s solidly in the HOVeryVeryGood.

      • Lsdavis

        He hit over 320 his last year in the minors. And his strikeouts were at still a manageable level. Meant to say declined in later years. Toward end of career he was over 300 lbs

  4. AMDG

    A career 0.239 hitter in the minors, despite regularly being as one of the older players on his teams.

    Positionally limited to DH or 1B.

    Considering those 2 factors, if he ever makes it past AA, that would be quite the accomplishment.