By Jim Lane
CURVE, Pa. – With a name like Pabst, it’s not surprising many of Altoona Curve catcher Arden Pabst’s teammates call him PBR. “You know, Pabst Blue Ribbon,” the Curve catcher answered, with a smile, when asked if his last name attracts nicknames.
Nickname aside, Pabst has logged a lot of miles in his young baseball career. A native of Los Angeles, Pabst went across country to play college ball at Georgia Tech before signing professionally with the Pirates.
“I went to North Carolina for the USA Baseball Complex,” Pabst said before a recent Curve practice at Peoples Natural Gas Field. “That’s where I was originally seen in the recruiting process. I didn’t necessarily want to stay close to home (California) so I went into the recruiting process with all my options open.
“I visited Georgia Tech and it was the best decision of my life. It was a whole different part of the country and ACC baseball is a lot of fun.”
As a junior at Georgia Tech (2015), Pabst led the ACC in caught-stealing percentage (.445) and caught stealings (25), the most by a Tech catcher since Matt Wieters’ 22 in 2007.
Pabst was picked by the Pirates in the 12th round of the 2016 MLB draft and has made a steady progression in the organization with stops at short-season West Virginia Bears (2016) and low-A West Virginia Power (2017).
He began 2018 at high-A Bradenton where he made the mid-season Florida State League all-stars before a promotion to Class AA Altoona in July. Due to an injury, he also had a weekend stay at AAA Indianapolis and between the three teams he hit .264 with career-high totals in home runs (10), RBIs (36), doubles (14) and triples (2).
Pabst earned an invitation to his first big-league spring training camp in 2019 and “it was awesome, so much fun,” he said.
“I got to play in some games and just being around the big-league club was great to see how those guys go about their business,” he said. “It was very encouraging to me to know that I’m getting there (majors). Overall, it was a fantastic experience, a great learning experience for me.”
Jason Stallings was Pabst’s locker mate.
“He’s a great guy,” Pabst said of Stallings. “Just observing all the veterans – Corey Dickerson, (Francisco) Cervelli, (Starling) Marte – and how they go about their day to day basis was really informative for me.
“To see how they take care of their bodies, how they all have their own routines and trust themselves with their routines –seeing that was really helpful for me.
“The biggest thing I noticed is that it’s the same game;” he added. “The guys are a little older and have been doing it longer, but at the end of the day, it’s baseball and they’re really good but everyone makes mistakes at the highest level.”
“We have a really good ballclub here and have a lot of big leaguers on this club,” Pabst noted. “I believe that it’s just a matter of time and you’ve got to be patient, pay your dues, learn and develop.”
Curve manager Michael Ryan is glad to have Pabst back with the Curve.
“Pabst came from Bradenton before our all-star game,” Ryan recalled. “He shared time with Kelly and now becomes the main catcher.
“He got to experience major league camp and I think he learned a lot because he’s become more of a leader. He’s more vocal, is going about his business and it’s starting to show on the field.”