You see the name of this large Texan, Gabe Klobosits, and you know there’s a story behind it. Sure enough, the origins of the Klobosits family name come from Austrian lineage. You know, Austrian like Arnold Schwarzenegger — not Australian like Crocodile Dundee which is what his friends in Texas thought. Now Gabe Klobosits can laugh about it. The pronunciation of his name will continue to get botched and that’s okay for the 23-year-old (happy birthday) from Katy, Texas. They will get his name right when he gets to the Major Leagues as the announcers get the game notes with the phonetic pronunciation.
In 2017, Klobosits was a 36th-round draft pick out of Auburn University by the Washington Nationals after he didn’t sign 3-years beforehand as a 25th-round pick of the Boston Red Sox. The hulking relief pitcher is 6-foot-7 and 250+ pounds and intimidating on the mound. In his first pro season after last year’s draft, he impressed the Nationals brass as a crafty reliever with a combined 1.47 ERA in 20 games between the Gulf Coast League Nats, short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays and Low-A Hagerstown.
Klobosits was promoted to the High-A Potomac Nationals to start this season under the tutelage of pitching coach Sam Narron and manager Tripp Keister and a group of catchers who are all willing to give advice. His repertoire of pitches include his two-seam and four-seam fastball, split-finger and slider. It’s the consistency of those pitches along with perfecting the movement which is what he is working on. The split-finger is a “touch” pitch which has been described by one of his P-Nats catchers, Jakson Reetz, as “nasty”.
“I started two games my first year in college at Auburn and they weren’t good, and they moved me to the bullpen,” Klobosits said in his honest tone. “Having some struggles was a good learning experience for me. Something I never had to face in my career.”
The one thing that has changed has been his mentality and trusting his stuff and that is what Klobosits is trying to do.
“You have to be able to land an off-speed pitch to keep them honest,” Klobosits said. “But it all starts with command of the fastball and that consistency. Getting ahead in counts and trusting your stuff. I had a mechanical flaw that I have worked out. I throw a 4-seam and a 2-seam fastball. If I want to go in on a righty I will throw the 2-seam and a 4-seam to go in on a lefty. My split is my go-to pitch.”
The split-finger he can get to move different ways and that is the pitch he is constantly working on, but he certainly understands it all starts with locating that fastball.
“If you can’t locate a fastball then you’re going to get hit around,” Klobosits said. “You have to have conviction in everything you throw. You have the power to shake-off the catcher.”
Gabe shared the story of a recent learning experience of how his catcher, Jakson Reetz, wanted a certain pitch and Klobosits shook him off. Reetz again went back to wanting that pitch and emphatically put down the sign for the splitter. Big Gabe obliged and threw the pitch and it got clobbered. The moral of the story was that while the pitcher has the power to shake-off the sign — you also need to trust your catcher. Klobosits said he just didn’t execute the pitch and took full blame.
This season Klobosits has appeared in 11-games and has a 2.20 ERA with one save in his only opportunity. He’s averaging a 9.92 K/9 rate and just needs to get that WHIP to where it was last year which will get all of his numbers in line with his goals.
Klobosits likes playing golf and playing video games like Fortnite. Most of all he loves playing baseball and helping his team win. For now, he is going to have to just be a good teammate as he just got put on the DL yesterday with an elbow strain.