Perhaps one of the most significant additions to the San Diego Padres in the last 12 months is Ruben Niebla.
The current major league pitching coach is getting the most out of the Padres staff, and it is not a coincidence that the team is still playing late into October. Niebla waved his magic wand over several men who are enjoying success at a whole new level.
San Diego loves their new coach. He has fit in well with the Padres.
The Guardians were hesitant to lose their longtime coach, but they knew Niebla longed to return to Southern California, where he has roots. The Calexico native has a daughter at SDSU and a wife who has coached softball in the El Centro area for years. The Padres wasted no time when Niebla became available, and the rest is history,
Being a major league coach in this day and age goes way beyond just evaluation. You must relate to the players and gain trust. Niebla works well with different individuals, and all who speak of him talk about his commitment.
His improvement to the whole staff cannot be undersold, but here are a few areas where you saw instant results from the 50-year-old pitching coach.
Working with MacKenzie Gore
MacKenzie Gore was broken. His development has stalled, and the Padres were rightfully concerned. Mechanically speaking, he was all over the place and failing at adjusting. Ruben Niebla was seen at Petco Park working with Gore days after he was signed by the Padres. In the winter, Niebla went right to work with Gore, and the results were seen immediately as the lefty made the team out of the spring. Gore is in Washington now and should enjoy a solid major league career when it is all said and done. Ruben Niebla paid a considerable part in stabilizing this young pitcher.
Getting the best out of Blake Snell
It can be frustrating watching Balke Snell pitch. The southpaw has some of the best stuff in the league, but he can also be an enigma. Snell seemingly always has trouble going deep into games. He has swing-and-miss stuff, and with that, the lefty goes deep into counts very often. That can be maddening, but he also gets wild from time to time and leaves pitches all over the place. Niebla has stabilized Snell and his second half of the 2022 season was one of the best in all of MLB. Snell gave up four hits on weak contact against the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLCS, but he worked through it, showing incredible poise. You have to figure Ruben Niebla assisted in that.
Bullpen emergence in 2022 is no coincidence.
Nick Martinez and Robert Suarez went from pitching in Japan last year to being vital members of the pitching staff. Luis Garcia is annoying one of the most consistent seasons in his career. Adrian Morejon and Steven Wilson have not shown a lot of immaturities you expect from young pitchers, and Tim Hill has quietly thrown a productive season for the Padres. They are getting results from virtually every pitcher who has toed the rubber in relief for the Padres. This shows that Niebla is not a one-trick pony and that he is capable of working with men in different roles and players who possess unique personalities.
Revamping Josh Hader‘s mechanics
It was reported last week that Ruben Niebla had noticed some mechanical issues with Josh Hader. The left-handed closer was still a Brewer, but Niebla felt he could get more out of the pitcher. A.J. Preller pulled off the miracle and acquired Hader in August. The immediate numbers were not well, but the southpaw worked with Niebla and focused on getting through the ball. The results are a dominant close who is throwing triple digits and showing improved control. Hader’s slider is as effective as ever, and the pitcher is also working on a changeup that is filthy. Niebla once again scores. The Padres are lucky to have this man, The future is bright in San Diego.